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Old 07-18-2008, 09:39 AM   #1
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Digital Oil level Problems

I have a question about the digital oil level gauge. When I turn the key, it counts down from 5 seconds, but rather than showing a full level (which the dipstick shows, and driving around without seizing the engine confirms) it flashes empty. I called the dealership and they quoted around $85 for the oil level sensor. However, when I talked to service, they said that they have only seen that 5 times in the past 10 years, and each time it was because someone hooked up jumper cables to the battery backwards, and damaged the circuit board behind the gauge cluster. The only way to fix it, of course, is to replace the entire gauge cluster, which new would be $1800.

Has anyone had this problem before? I am really hoping that it is just the sensor, or possibly a bad connection, and not the cluster. Other than the frustration of having a non functional digital dipstick (I have never had one before, so I am really not missing out) is there any problems with just leaving it as is, or should I anticipate the rest of the cluster to go out eventually as well?
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:40 PM   #2
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I doubt anything else will be affected if you do nothing, and if nothing else goes out, you don't have to come out of pocket to fix this issue.

Your conventional dipstick works nicely and my Porsche tech doesn't really put much stock in the digital one anyway because it reads so differently depending on when you measure your oil level... the motor should be off for 1/2 hour and on a level surface to get an accurate read with the digital oil level gauge.

BTW, you can buy a cluster off eBay for $250 from time to time. Keep an eye out for the one you need based on your part number. Each model year requires it's own version, so they're typically not swappable between MY's. Some are new and unprogrammed and it's just $100 at the dealer to do it. Others require reprogramming, which can be done through Palo Alto Speedo in California.
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:51 PM   #3
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What is the history of the car and this issue?
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:49 PM   #4
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Randall, thanks for the info. I had seen the clusters on ebay but didnít know what was involved in the swap. Is this something that can be easily done, or does it require special tooling? I have plenty of experience with disassembling domestics, just a little nervous when it comes to taking the dash of my Boxster apart.

In terms of the cars history, its a 2 owner, low miles (39k) car. I wasnít too concerned about the problem, just something I would like to get fixed for the sake of getting it fixed.
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:11 PM   #5
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It's easy. Two screws and three or four plugs. Swapping it out takes about 15 minutes tops.

Be sure to reply to ToolPants request...his level of expertise in these matters far surpasses my own. Heck, I learned most of what I know from him!
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'97 Boxster (Black Hole for 42,000 Dead Presidents and counting) - 122k
New motor, transmission, suspension, and on and on and on it goes...

Last edited by RandallNeighbour; 07-18-2008 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:42 PM   #6
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Sent ya a PM... I've got an extra cluster available
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:38 AM   #7
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Was it like this when you bought the car?
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:37 AM   #8
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Geez, Jeff, could you not get to sleep last night? 3 am posts?
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'97 Boxster (Black Hole for 42,000 Dead Presidents and counting) - 122k
New motor, transmission, suspension, and on and on and on it goes...
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Pants
Was it like this when you bought the car?

Yes, not something new, but something I would like to tool with when there is nothing else on tv and before I go out
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:00 PM   #10
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I'd say forget the digital stick and just got with the regular one. Of course if you want to pay $85 for the new sensor plus labor you can, but like you said it's no guarantee. Wonder what labor cost is to put one of those sensors in?
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