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Old 10-12-2008, 01:09 PM   #1
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Hoping it was a good purchase

Just purchased a 2002 S model this past week over in the Chicago area. 1 owner (Trade-In on a Z06), always garage kept, and only 8K miles... Absolute mint condition. No service records per Carfax. Drove it back from Chicago to Virginia this week with absolutely no issues, and put just a little under 1,000 miles on her.

I knew that the maintenance was going to be expensive over the long run and had planned on that... What has surprised me after reading on the boards is the massive amount of engine failure threads. I planned on maintenance costs, but not $10K+ engine replacements.

Is this actually as bad as it seems to someone that just purchased their first Porsche, or am I overreacting and getting myself worked up over nothing?
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:26 PM   #2
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NOT another engine thread!

The reality is that many people hear about the engine failures are freak out, but think about it. There are many more people posting problems , than people that don't have a problem. In the last week, we've had two new members come to the forum, only because they had a problem. But there are no new member that don't have a problem.

Yes, Boxster's are more likely than a Toyota to have an engine failure. But in my opinion after two years on the web and Boxster ownership is that daily drivers have fewer problems, once you pass 35k miles your less likely to have an engine failure, and if you maintain the engine and change the oil at 5k-7.5k instead of 15k miles you'll generally be fine.

Life is far too short to get worked up, and worry about an engine failure, when it doesn't happen that often. We even have a few members that have 130k+ miles on their original engine.
Hopefully you got a good PPI though!
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rick3000
But there are no new member that don't have a problem.

......

Hopefully you got a good PPI though!
Luckily I'm a new member without a problem, just doing my homework :-)

I paid to have a PPI completed at the Porsche dealer as this was purchased at a Chevy dealership because the owner was trading in on a Z06. There wasn't an option of a reliable extended warranty at purchase time so I am shopping for that. Any suggestions?
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:21 PM   #4
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:15 PM   #5
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Yes, unfortunately the engine issues are real.. You do have to remember how many Boxsters have been built since 1997.

A really indepth article on the history and future of the M96 engine will be covered in the December 2008 edition of Excellence Magazine. It will address many of the questions you need answered.

It also goes over what my company as well as LN Engineering and Hoffman Auto Machine have done to help to better understand the engines, bullet proof them and make them into performance power plants.

It's a good article, make sure you get the mag!

Lots of Boxsters don't fail.. Service the engine at closer intervals than the factory recommends and don't drive the car like an old lady! Engines that are ran hard seldom fail!

I have been TRYING to blow the engine in my test car for almost a year- no luck.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:22 PM   #6
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Engines that are ran hard seldom fail!
I am glad someone else if confirming this. Also, I've never heard of anyone trying to get their engine to explode, although I have considered trying to do it to mine before my warranty expires next year.
What are you doing to try and accomplish this?
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Last edited by rick3000; 10-12-2008 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:58 PM   #7
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What are you doing to try and accomplish this?
'No oil changes and zero maintenance..

I also drive the car for 2-3 miles at a time in second gear at WOT against the rev limiter, do purpose hard down shifts at redline and sometimes just hold the throttle against the floor in neutral for 5 minutes at a time.

The car runs better now than it did when I got it last year and started using it as a test bed. I have been thoroughly disappointed with my ineffectiveness in scattering this engine! I am a serious parts breaker, it's how I put food on the table.

I'll post some data logs this week that I have gotten with 28 channels of data acquisition.. Next month our developmental Turbo system will be installed on the stock engine to see what fails first, how bad and when. I need to blow it to bits by January to keep the Turbo specific 2.9 engine installed on schedule for testing so it can be released in Summer 09.

Here, engines are consumables and knowledge is power.

Most of my clients that experience failures do so with their wives driving the cars or in regular low speed driving, lugging these engines has proven to kill them.. Those that are raced and otherwise abused have the least failure rates... There has only been ONE engine failure in the Spec Boxster competition class, those cars are bone stock and driven hard as hell!

And don't try to blow your engine up under warranty.. It's not fair to Porsche or to your car... The replacement engine they give you won't be as good as the original.

Porsche can count every over rev (so can we) and they'll void that warranty in a heart beat if it's been hard on the rev limiter for any amount of time.

My car is a tool, it's no different than our dynos or any wrench in my tool box. It is here to help us learn more about the M96 engine than anyone else ever has. That means breaking lots of parts and experiencing as much as possible as often as possible under extreme conditions that our clients would never replicate.

Last edited by Jake Raby; 10-12-2008 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:14 AM   #8
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There is no data nor logic to support the notion that running the engine hard will lower the chance of engine failure.

In fact, the opposite is quite true.

Think about it. The IMS fails under stress. Is the engine experiencing stress more or less at idle or at 7000 rpms.

Lets stay rational on this topic, huh?

If I had a used Box, I would have a warranty. That is me.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:36 AM   #9
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And what data do you have Jake

that says a replacement engine will be less reliable than an original?

An original of what model year? Versus a replacement engine from what build year?

A late '99 versus a replacement newly built in 2007?

A '02 versus a replacement in 2008?

While the replacement engine will have the design deficiencies of its generation, so would many of the engines it is replacing.

So why do you make this sweeping statement?
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mikefocke
that says a replacement engine will be less reliable than an original?

An original of what model year? Versus a replacement engine from what build year?

A late '99 versus a replacement newly built in 2007?

A '02 versus a replacement in 2008?

While the replacement engine will have the design deficiencies of its generation, so would many of the engines it is replacing.

So why do you make this sweeping statement?
I base this statement on the interface I have had with customers and core engines that have been torn down with each mode of failure examined so they could be added to our data base, hopefully to create trends that will be useful down the road helping everyone.

When the factory reconditions an engine, their methods are similar to what was done with the 99model engines that had sleeves installed, but they don't do this on every cylinder!!! This is a pic of a sleeve that failed in a factory reconditioned engine with only 30K miles on it.

Once the sleeve dislodged the next occurrence was what is depicted in the below pic takemn from the opposite side of the cylinder.



Today most of my calls are coming from those that have reconditioned engines and some of the customers don't even know the engine is reconditioned until it is sent to us, because they bought the car used with little history. It seems that the problematic OE engines have already failed and those that are still on the road were the "Best" of the bunch, some going 150K+.

I only know what we experience from the phone ringing and emails as well as what we are finiding at tear down time and currently the reconditioned engines are the highest failing units, at least with cylinder failures. Lots of these giys don't want another reconditioned engine (in fears of a future recurrence of the same failure) so that may be the reason why we get the job instead of Porsche and may be the reason why the rash of these has occurred lately..
Thats part of the mystery that intrigues me with these engines.

I'll now go over Bruce's post

Quote:
There is no data nor logic to support the notion that running the engine hard will lower the chance of engine failure.
Actually there is, or at least there will be soon. I have gathered a ton of info from how the engines were driven that we have received for work and how they failed. This is part of the trend setting process that will help us see why these things occur and that will help to avoid them.

To date, none of the engines we have seen have died during any type of racing or hard driving, in fact most of them that failed had NEVER been driven that way! Of the 8 cores I have sourced in the past 2 months all but one of them died while being driven at less than 50 MPH!

I take advantage of the time I have on the phone with customers and want to learn what happened with the engine, I even have forms they fill out to describe how the car was treated, maintained and driven since they have owned it. Coupling this with what we find inside is quite interesting and it seems that even given the same set of driving parameters from several different cars and drivers we see that sometimes the same cylinders fail the same way.

It's too early to say this is an absolute as 2-3 more years of interface and investigation will be needed to do that, but I KNOWthat understanding what happens, why it happens and when it happens is a critical aspect of true development. I also need this information to pass on to my clients who buy the engines, determining shift points, driving styles and maintenance scheduling. I have thrown away all the Porsche directives for the updated engines-

Quote:
In fact, the opposite is quite true.
Won't argue there... At least with the majority of engines, but this engine is different and quite misunderstood.

Quote:
Think about it. The IMS fails under stress. Is the engine experiencing stress more or less at idle or at 7000 rpms.
I have not seen or heard of any IMS failures in any of the competition classes, or haven't heard of failures at DE/AX events. Thus far not a single IMS failure we have seen has come from high speed driving. I did buy some cores that had failed IMS, but they were from salvage yards with no history.

It's hard to say at which rev point the IMS is under the most stress. The way the vario cam works the IMS is loaded and unloaded at different revs more and less with varying stresses continually.

It is my hypothesis that the variocam stresses are experienced multiple times in lower speed driving as the vehicle goes up and down through the gears and breaks through the rev range and atuation point of vario cam. This means the loading and unloading of the arrangement is stressing the IMS more frequently at some speeds than others,. At high speed the vario cam is actuated and remains actuated, it is loaded and stays that way so at high speeds with high revs the loading and unloading that works on the IMS bearing may actuially be less than at lower speeds and in traffic.


Quote:
Lets stay rational on this topic, huh?
I think we are... Look at the posts on forums about when engines have failed. See how many people in those threads were at high revs or were driving in a spirited fashion when they experienced a failure, compared to those that were just driving.

Quote:
If I had a used Box, I would have a warranty. That is me.
Its good insurance for sure.. I am working with a couple of warranty companies to create Boxster packages for the entire car that could be applied after one of ourupgrades, or maybe just individually for those that want some security.

Now, I'll close by stating that I don't want to ruffle any feathers here on these topics, I only know what we have experienced and thats more than any other group outside of Porsche thus far. In the beginning it made no sense to me when failures occurred, paying attention and documenting the failures is the only way to seek-out the true issues, understand them and solve them.

If cars are driven and respected as a Porsche should be on a daily basis it seems there are very few issues... That doesn't mean that people should TRY to break their car like I do the test car, but they should not be afriad to see 6,500 RPM at least once a week and 5,000 RPM at least once a day!

I have a broken X-51/ 996 engine here now.. It has a broken crankshaft, but had 12,000 track miles on it! The crank broke because of a LWF install and the removal of the haronic dampening of the dual mass flywheel as well as an imbalance issue due to the flywheel not being balance indexed to the engine, since it was installed with the engine assembled. I'll be updating the site with these pictures and more in the next couple of weeks.

Last edited by Jake Raby; 10-13-2008 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:46 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of the input and information guys... Good stuff for sure.

Been calling around local dealerships this morning asking for warranty opinions from the service managers, and many of them have been giving the thumbs up to Fidelity Warranty. May have to give them a call and see what they can do.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cayenne
Thanks for all of the input and information guys... Good stuff for sure.

Been calling around local dealerships this morning asking for warranty opinions from the service managers, and many of them have been giving the thumbs up to Fidelity Warranty. May have to give them a call and see what they can do.
Good call on the warranty.... Just read that fine print about the engine..

Even when reading Porsche's engine warranty there is plenty of gray area that can bite you in the ass.
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:35 AM   #13
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Extended warranties

I started my quest for an extended warranty on my 06 a few months back and approached my local dealer on the topic. They offer a warranty (AKA,, service contract) "administered" by Fidelity warranty services out of FL.

What bothered me about the pitch was that it was represented as a Audi/ Porsche backed warranty administered by Fidelity. AS I read the fine print, this is a Fidelity warranty and the Porsche dealer is just peddling it like any other aftermarket product--no PCNA involvement at all. You pay your money to Fidelity and they decide to pay or not pay the claim; the dealer and Porsche are out of it. Also, read the fine print of what is covered--there seems to be a lot of things that could fall through the cracks regarding what gets covered.

Finally, do a google search on Fidelity; the one I did turned up a lot of ugly stuff regarding claims that weren't paid.

To my eye, third party service contracts are a big crap shoot; too many ways for you not to be covered after you've written a check. Ford sold me a policy on my 04 explorer--backed by FOMOCO--which has paid roughly $4k in claims in the past 2 years and never a question was raised. BMW also offers an extended warranty directly through BMW.

Why doesn't Porsche?......good question. Go back to the people selling these warranties and find out who gets your money and who administers the claim; if they are the same, keep moving..
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:37 AM   #14
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Heck, if you came all the way to Chicago to buy a 2002 Box S you should have bought mine.

I bought an aftermarket warranty that's fully transferrable, and it has covered the cost of the RMS replacement and a couple of other minor things. Total cost out of my pocket for the work on my car: $32.

It may have more miles, but you know its no garage queen.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:52 AM   #15
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Heck, if you came all the way to Chicago to buy a 2002 Box S you should have bought mine.

I bought an aftermarket warranty that's fully transferrable, and it has covered the cost of the RMS replacement and a couple of other minor things. Total cost out of my pocket for the work on my car: $32.

It may have more miles, but you know its no garage queen.
I see you are in Naperville... I have an office right in Romeoville, that's where I was last week.

Who is your aftermarket warranty through?
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:27 AM   #16
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Yep, I live in the southern Naperville so not too far from Romeoville, but I work in the Loop.

I'm not sure who the warranty is through, I'll have to check my paperwork when I get home. I bought the car at Luxury Motors Downers Grove and got the warranty through them, as well.

I had a cam seal leak so I took the car in to them for repair and they found the RMS leak as well. The leak was slight, but they wanted to fix it anyway. The warranty covered everything 100% so I said go for it.

When I got my baby back she drove better than the day I bought her.
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:18 AM   #17
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Good thing to hear the car needs to be driven hard & fast.

I had a dream on the weekend that I was doing 135mph. It felt so real tho...

"Officer, I had to drive my car really really fast to avoid IMS failures."
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:49 PM   #18
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Easy to be Paranoid

I am in nearly the same category as Cayenne . . . I just bought a beautiful 99 with 14K miles, another garage queen, local trade-in at the Porsche dealer. Had the 15K service already, ran great, no problems for a week. Started reading these forums and discovered the IMS/RMS failure threads, began to tear myself apart with fear. Then -- discovered a pool of oil in the garage. I took the car to an independent Porsche specialist who identified that the car had a leaking oil filler tube. The entire top of the engine was covered with oil. He said there were puddles of oil on top of the engine, and in spirited driving, it got warm and runny and then ran down the side of the engine and accounted for the "leak".

People like my mechanic and Jake Raby in these forums all say to just drive the car and stop worrying. Easy to say, harder to do -- but I'm trying. From what I can tell, the odds of an outright failure are actually pretty low, and all you hear about is the bad cars. That makes sense. In fact, I probably wouldn't have developed my own paranoia so much if the ^&@*$* Porsche dealer had seen the leaking filler and fixed it in their 15K service. They also failed to clean out the radiator in the 15K service as they were supposed to. They assured me that the battery was good even though it's 3 years old and won't hold a charge. And when I first called their service manager with my problems, he wasn't very friendly or helpful. So, I think I won't be doing business with them.

My independent mechanic went over the car and said I bought a really nice car and couldn't find anything else wrong with it. RMS and engine heads were fine, and he said the service records were good (yes, I know I should have done this first but I thought I could trust the mechanics at a Porsche dealer -- WRONG!). Anyway, the independent examination and repair to the oil filler gave me a much better feeling. Wish I could get my money back for the 15K service but since I didn't pay separately for it, I don't see that happening.

Right now I am trying to convince myself that IF by some ill chance the engine does fail, well then Flat 6 has a MUCH more powerful and "fixed" engine to replace it.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:09 AM   #19
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i bought my boxster used from my dad... now it is OFF warranty. he bought it used but practically new, still under factory warranty. when the factory warranty was about to expire, he bought an extended warranty throught eh Porsche dealer - it WAS a Fidelity warranty.

he saved all his records, and I've gone through them. he had a GOOD amount of warranty work done under his warranty. no motor failures....although his car (mine now) had repeat RMS leaks and the dealer gave it a new motor at about 20k miles....

while my dad owned it they put in a NEW convertible top - all paid for. his FULL leather trim on his dash was bubbling or had some sort of scratch..i forget what the defect was but he complained and they gave him a totally new dash.. I belive his dash is leather lined....

he got all new catalytic converters - i saw the bill for that..OMFG it was $$$$.

i don't recall what he paid for his warranty, but due to the car having lower miles, it wasn't terrible...he paid something like $2500 for it. he easily got that much and MORE in terms of coverage.

i hemmed and hawed over whether i should buy another extended to cover teh car while i own it, but the cost quoted me - for a 2000 with 75k miles - was going to be $5000 or so for 3 years. given i only bought the car for about 13k...it just din't seem worth it.

i'm hoping to enjoy this car for a while - and figure if/when i am the "unlucky" few who get a blown motor, i'll just sell the car for parts, and figure i got a good deal ont eh car, and got my money's worth in terms of fun. if/when i buy another porsche, i will probably pony up the money for anewer one that is CPO.

enjoy your car. since you mileage is LOW - you can probably get a much cheaper price on a warranty. the person I worked with at the dealer, said that the year of the car has VERY little impact on the warranty price vs the mileage. she said under 20k miles the warranty costs is VERY low and once you go over that is quickly gets very expensive....


Quote:
Originally Posted by MikenOH
I started my quest for an extended warranty on my 06 a few months back and approached my local dealer on the topic. They offer a warranty (AKA,, service contract) "administered" by Fidelity warranty services out of FL.

What bothered me about the pitch was that it was represented as a Audi/ Porsche backed warranty administered by Fidelity. AS I read the fine print, this is a Fidelity warranty and the Porsche dealer is just peddling it like any other aftermarket product--no PCNA involvement at all. You pay your money to Fidelity and they decide to pay or not pay the claim; the dealer and Porsche are out of it. Also, read the fine print of what is covered--there seems to be a lot of things that could fall through the cracks regarding what gets covered.

Finally, do a google search on Fidelity; the one I did turned up a lot of ugly stuff regarding claims that weren't paid.

To my eye, third party service contracts are a big crap shoot; too many ways for you not to be covered after you've written a check. Ford sold me a policy on my 04 explorer--backed by FOMOCO--which has paid roughly $4k in claims in the past 2 years and never a question was raised. BMW also offers an extended warranty directly through BMW.

Why doesn't Porsche?......good question. Go back to the people selling these warranties and find out who gets your money and who administers the claim; if they are the same, keep moving..
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