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Old 11-18-2007, 06:11 PM   #1
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Angry Need help...please.

I purchased a 2000 Boxster in August of this year. At the time, the car had 46,500 miles, now, it has about 49,000. I didn't do a PPI, and I have to admit, I know next to nothing about vehicles, so that was a major mistake. I do live in Kansas, so getting a PPI out there was going to be difficult, and trusting someone I hadn't met before to give me unbiased information on a vehicle being sold in his hometown didn't seem to be worth the cost.

Well, a few weeks ago, I began to hear a small whine when driving the vehicle. I attributed this to the brakes, and figured I would need to get the brakes checked soon. Last night, it was about 43 degrees outside, and when I got into my car with my wife and started it up, I noticed a large amount of smoke coming out of both the passenger and driver side engine vents. The engine sounded normal, and the engine temperature showed 180, so I figured that the engine always vented that much side exhaust, but because it was so cold, this is the first time I could see it.

I drove it for about an hour straight, and the side vents were just billowing smoke. I couldn't tell that was happening while I was driving, but it was very apparent every time I stopped. After my wife and I went into where we were going, I came back out of the theatre after 25 minutes, and the passenger side vent still had exhaust coming out of it.

We cut our evening short, and began driving the hour home. After 5 miles, even though the engine temperature still red 180, the right side of the engine temperature gauge began flashing red. I believe this means that the vehicle is lacking coolant. I waited 20 minutes, and opened the coolant cap in the trunk. I added a gallon of water, and decided to drive the car back home. I never went over 50 mph. I didn't see the red flashing coolant indicator any more, but the side vents were still billowing smoke. Also, the engine did make a high pitched whine twice when I accelerated.

As I pulled in to my driveway, the coolant light began flashing again.

So, here is my situation.

I live in Topeka, Kansas, and I can't seem to find anyone who can repair a Porsche here. I think I'll need to have it towed to either Lawrence or Kansas City to even have it inspected.

My questions:

1. What do you all think the problem might be?
2. What sort of repair costs am I looking at?
3. I purchased the vehicle for 17,500, but I only owe 5000 on it...should I try to just trade it in to a dealer and recoup as much value as I can on another vehicle if this appears to be a major problem?
4. Should I be freaking out?
5. Does anyone who of a good Porsche mechanic in my area?

I love this car, and would love to keep it, but I'm not going to throw money away on it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

1. What does this sound like to you guys?

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Old 11-18-2007, 06:17 PM   #2
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Man, it is tough to pinpoint an issue on the cooling system. Do a search and you will get many cause and effects. You might be lucky enough to pay for a 4 dollar cap and be done with it. If you are making smoke, it might be a cooland leak? I am no technician but someone with more info will soon chime in.

Mine was a thermostat. With labor, I believe I paid 500 or so. My temp. did rise though, so your's is probably not that. If you are truly worried about the car (after the repair), take it to your dealership now and have them inspect the car, do the PPI after the sale and you will know what you are up against.

Do not get rid of it yet, it's a wonderful car and maintenance really isn't THAT bad.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:38 PM   #3
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It definitely sounds like a coolant leak issue to me. The smoke you saw was likely steam. It could just be a broken hose. It would be important to make sure that you have the right proportion of antifreeze to water in your system. Since you dumped a gallon of water in you should dump a gallon of antifreeze in as well, and make sure it's the right kind of antifreezee for your porsche. The last thing you want is for your engine block to crack due to freezing. Good luck with finding a mechanic.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:48 PM   #4
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It certainly sounds like a coolant leak. It could be something as simple as a ruptured hose. If you had a bad thermostat or water pump you should have overheated. The key for you now is don't drive it. The fact that you were able to drive it for two hours without the engine melting down leads me to believe you have a relatively minor problem. Driving a car with insufficient coolant can turn into a $10,000 engine replacement quite fast, so if you haven't blown it up yet...don't.

Try reaching out to your local Porsche Club of America Chapter. It looks like you are in Zone 10, Wichita. Here's their web page http://wic.pca.org/ Their President is Tim Maher. Shoot him an email and tell him where you are and what your problem is. I'll bet you he'll know of a good independent Porsche mechanic in your area, who will have you back on the road in no time.

Trade it in? That would be quitting.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for the advice and information!
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:12 PM   #6
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Call Imagine Auto in Kansas City (Lenexa Area). Excellent people.

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Old 11-19-2007, 03:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kansaslawguy
right side of the engine temperature gauge began flashing red. I believe this means that the vehicle is lacking coolant. I waited 20 minutes, and opened the coolant cap in the trunk. I added a gallon of water, and decided to drive the car back home.

As I pulled in to my driveway, the coolant light began flashing again.
Bingo, red indicator flashing = low coolant

Gallon of tap water? If yes, in the future, only use distilled water in an emergency. Tap water is very corrosive to the internals

My first check would be pulling up the carpet in the trunk looking for leaks out of the coolant reservoir (inspect thoroughly for cracks), a very common problem. The steam sounds like a leak dripping out both sides of the trunk, probably leaked below the indicator limit while on your drive home. Of course, hands and knees under the car looking for leaks is required here too.

A bad water pump could be the cause of your issue as well, the coolant/water has to go somewhere so start at the top and work your way down.

Finally, don't panic, as a 2nd 986 owner, I treated my first like a new born baby. Calmly inspect the car, call your PCA chapter Pres for local resources (as already stated)

Good Luck!

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Old 11-19-2007, 09:42 AM   #8
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I really appreciate all the suggestions. Alright, my water reservoir is completely empty again. I also see what appears to be water located pretty much right underneath where you put the water in. So, this is definitely a coolant leak of some kind. My big question now is, where is it leaking, and is it leaking into the oil.

As a note, the water I used was a gallon of distilled water I purchased at the store, so no concern about the use of tap water.

I contacted the PCA closest to me, and am awaiting a response. I appreciate the current suggestions, and if any one else has them, I'd be glad to hear them. Also, I'll post again what I find.

Last edited by kansaslawguy; 11-19-2007 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:57 AM   #9
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Whine noise likely came from your Water pump, when the coolant light flashed and you were dangerously low on coolant, there probably was no coolant around the pump and that caused it to whine.

As for the leak, I dont know where that can come from, that will require a mechanic.
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:01 AM   #10
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Sound like everyone here has great advice for you. It should be easy to pinpoint the exact location of the leak. It must be inside your engine compartment since steam is venting. Fill up the resivoir, let it sit for a while (the longer the better) and see if there are any apparent leaks dripping. If not open the engine cover and start the car letting it idle to operating temp. You should keep an eye on your resivoir just in case it is leaking from the bottom where you can't see it. With the top up it should be relatively easy to see where the leak is by following the steam back. It may be a something simple you can reair yourself.


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