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Old 02-11-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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Need advice about tuning up my 986

Hey everyone,

I have a 1997 986 Boxster (Black 52,300 Miles)

I am planning on attending some track days in the spring/summer. Any suggestions on how to tune up the engine & handling while keeping it a street car? My uncle is a BMW&Audi mechanic so all the labor associated with any upgrades would be free.

My budget is about 5k....Thanks for your help.

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:33 PM   #2
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I'd take it to a track day or two stock and see how you like it before dumping $5K into it. Plus that way you can kind of calibrate your mind for what the car is like stock and use that as a benchmark for comparing future improvements to.

For $5K you can do a lot:

Coilovers
Front and rear sway bars
Extra set of wheels with sticky tires

I'd personally go for something like this:

Bilstein PSS9 or KW V3 coilovers - $1,800
GT3 front sway bar with end links - $450
Tarret rear sway bar with end links - $425
Wheels - $1,000 used
Tires - $1,200 or so

I think that would be a pretty slick setup for the track, and on the street you can throw on your street wheels/tires and simply adjust the shocks to make it softer.

Kirk
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:44 PM   #3
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If I were you... I'd do nothing!

Do a few DEs. Your car is very capable in stock form and will more than exceed your abilities (to start, anyway).

It may turn out that you don't like track driving. If so, your unmodified car will still be in its perfect, factory street trim.

If, after a few DEs, the bug has really bitten you, then you have a multi-year slipperly slope in front of you that starts with innocent mods to your car which over time make your car far less fun on the street (but a blast on track) and eventually you end up with a big pickup truck and a trailer to shuttle your track beast around.

If you really get that serious, the Boxster may not be the best platform. It all depends on the group you run with and your own goals. By me, our PCA run groups are full of 996TTs, GT3s, and Cup cars... to say the least a Boxster can't keep up. It can get frustrating in a slow car surrounded by fast ones. If you have a similar situation in your region, then you may want to join the arms race once you get accomplished at driving a mostly stock Boxster.

Food for thought.
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:58 PM   #4
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You don't mention your track day goals or experience. I will assume you are fairly new to the sport of high performance driving. As others have said:

The good news: Your Boxster was "Track Tuned" the day it rolled off the lot as new. Brakes, suspension and motor offer a great deal of reliable track performance without changing anything. It's a Porsche not a Honda Civic. Respect the racing heritage.

The bad news: Most of the Boxster aftermarket Hot Rod tuning and performance bolt on speed secrets that you see all over the internet are "greatly exaggerated" to be polite. They are extremely effective at lightening your wallet while offering little or no tangible performance gains (faster lap times at the track).

My suggestion is to get her up on a lift and do a thorough safety inspection. Make sure you have good tires, steering, suspension and brakes. Change out all the fluids and filters. Have a performance alignment done. Add safety gear like a helmet, gloves, fire extinguisher and roll bar extension if required by your local track. Run your car in stock class on street tires for the first year. Once you have honed your skills and shown your tail lights to the rest of the cars in stock class you will be ready to make full use of tuned suspension and comp tires. The really fast Boxster drivers in SoCal are running stock motors, tuned suspension and comp tires.


Have fun. Drive safe.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:28 PM   #5
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Ditto on what the other two fellas have said. The most effective AX mod I've got is a set of R comp tires on another set of wheels. The second most effective mod is a set of K-sport struts.
Beyond that, I enjoy my short shifter and the sounds from exhaust and intake mods.
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:07 AM   #6
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Although relatively low mileage, your car is 12 years old so I would be concerned about the basics first.

1) Brakes - replace the brake fluid with quality stuff. Don't argue just do it. If the pads are more than 1/3 worn replace them. Check rotors - consider new ones. Don't skimp on brakes they are the part of the car that gets the most wear at the track

2) Tires - full and careful inspection. Are there any signs of unusual wear? Any bulges?

3) Oil - change it and the filter - Mobil 1

4) Wheel mounting - jack the car up, remove each wheel in turn. Are there any bad bolts? Make sure wheels are properly torqued

5) Suspension - any creaks and groans? Any play in steering? Does the car pull to one side on the highway? Common problem is front sway bar end link - check 'em

6) Clutch - replace fluid or at least have it bled.

7) Safety - are seatbelts worn out? Are seats solidly mounted? Are seatbacks solid? Remove floormats. Check passenger side too - your instructor expects his seat to be as safe as yours. Is drivers footwell carpet holed or worn? Empty the interior of all loose stuff before going to the track.

8) Junk in the trunk - clean out both trunks before you get to the track

Other than those things I would not do any modifications to the car for your first track day. There will be enough to keep your mind busy without worrying about whether this or that performance enhancement is making a difference. Remeber this is not a race.
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:48 AM   #7
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"For $5K you can do a lot:

Coilovers
Front and rear sway bars
Extra set of wheels with sticky tires

I'd personally go for something like this:

Bilstein PSS9 or KW V3 coilovers - $1,800
GT3 front sway bar with end links - $450
Tarret rear sway bar with end links - $425
Wheels - $1,000 used
Tires - $1,200 or so"

Ditto, if you have 5K burning a hole in you pocket, that is just what I would do. Even if you were not to track the car the suspension upgrades will transform the driving experience.

Ed

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Old 02-12-2009, 07:22 AM   #8
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"It's not a Honda Civic!"

Someone finally said it!
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:13 AM   #9
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A few things that could be done to the engine would consist of our spin on oil filter adapter, deep sump oil pan kit and maybe some induction and exhaust enhancements.. Also, don't rule out an ECU reflash :-)

Here is the install video for the Spin On Filter Adapter, if you are interested in filtering 100% of the engine's oil and being able to use much better oil filters than factory.




Quote:
Most of the Boxster aftermarket Hot Rod tuning and performance bolt on speed secrets that you see all over the internet are "greatly exaggerated" to be polite.
I concur, but there are exceptions to this... Like the components that we have went the extra mile to truly develop and test before bringing them to market.
We have comparative data for every component we sell as most of it was developed to be applied to our performance engines that HAVE to perform.

Last edited by Jake Raby; 02-12-2009 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:41 PM   #10
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More for Jake

Hey Jake, when you test those mufflers be sure to (and I am sure you will) let us know which ones actually add or subtract from the torque we so desperately need. Also a run down on the mid range drone would also be appreciated.

AKL
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Old 02-12-2009, 04:47 PM   #11
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Don't worry... We know that torque is power and that HP is generally just for marketing. I develop for torque, especially with these engines where their hydraulic lifters seriously impede the RPM range.

The mid range drone is the biggest challenge, but we can do it...
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:44 PM   #12
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My thoughts

Read the rules of the class you propose to run so you don't do anything that will have to be undone. Talk to those who race in that class. Do some DE days first. Invest in a helmet and a rollbar extension if required. Do the brake fluid change. Ask people what they use for brake pads for dual use.

In short, don't spend a lot of $ until you are sure you want to stay with that hobby...it is a slippery slope. There are always cars around people have spent too much $ on and then found they don't want to continue.

OTOH, if by track days you mean DE, again find out what is required from those running the event and the track where it will be held. Get a safety inspection well before your first day.

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