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Old 02-01-2005, 02:33 PM   #1
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Want to buy a Boxster, but I'm Afraid..very afraid!

Last year I was poised to buy a 99 boxster... but like an eediot I decided to save some money and try to buy a house... little did i know that is almost impossible in Southern California... anyway, I ended up buying a 02 VW GTI... i got a great deal on it cause it turned out to be some limited edition version that the Dodge dealer didn't know about.. so i got it super cheap... its a fun car .... but i miss driving a roadster.... I use to own a Miata and a Kia version of the Lotus Elan (S. Korea).... anyway, it looks like I can sell the car for the same price I purchased it for even though I've driven it for a year... so I decided to look into a roadster again, and of course my heart slowly drifted back towards the boxster.... I looked over some of the forums to see what people were talking about these days and saw alot of reports of $11K being spent to replace blown motors... now I realize that most of the people who post are usually angry about something and 99% of the others don't even look at the forums.... but seriously though.. how prone are these cars to breaking down... I can't afford to spend 25K on a car.. then spend another 10k to replace the motor or tranny.... maybe I should buy another miata, or a z3 or SLK? I know what peoples advice is, "have it checked out by a mech", but ... seriously folks... is it that much of a hassle? Is the car that unreliable?

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Old 02-01-2005, 03:21 PM   #2
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Simple, try to find a car that still is under the 4 year powertrain warranty and then get an extended service contract. I bought a 2000 S for 30K a little more than I wanted to spend on my Boxster but my #1 motivation was low mileage. My S had a mere 10,000 miles at purchase back in November so I wasn't too afraid to buy an out of warranty Porsche. ALso, here in New Jersey used car dealers are mandated to offer a 90 day warranty. (mine is almost up).
It will take some searching but there are definitely deals to be had.
Do some searching for "problem" on forums like this one and the Renntech forum. And do some seraching for extended service contracts. Be familiar with teh Boxster tooth aches and you'll know what to look for when you check it out.
But one thing is for sure in terms of Maitenance, there will never be another car as easy as the Miata.
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Old 02-01-2005, 03:25 PM   #3
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it all depends on how the person drives it like any car.
All boxsters are made the same, its the idiots who mess about with engines and upgrades who cause the problem.
Some will disagree but its the truth, mess about with the engine and pay the price... If you read these posts about engine failure ect... its down the owner or the prevoius owner.

Boxsters are not probe to faults... I bought my boxster new in 1998 and never had ANY major problems.. I know many other UK owners also who have never had any problems and the only people who have are on internet forums.
Dont take to much to heart about boxsters having major engine failure ect.... If you see a boxster thats looks to good to be true then walk away...

Also anyone who says stay away from the 1997 -1999 is talking rubbish....
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Old 02-01-2005, 04:25 PM   #4
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I think it is fair to say that there is no reliable external data to answer your question. Certainly, you can lose a motor in a Box, like any other car. It IS more expensive to replace/repair the Box motor than say, a Honda Civic.

My experience is that the car can be very relaible if taken care of and driven properly. The issue with a pre-owned Box is that this takes some attention on the part of the buyer to insure he/she is buying the right Box.

Most of the Boxsters I sell come with the balance of the factory warranty. This provides some protection from big ticket items and if you have the funds, this is certainly a way to go. At the end of the warranty, you then need to decide if you go naked, sell the car, or buy an extended warranty.

Overall, if you want the Box, I say go for it, but buy with caution from someone you trust. If you want to call me, I can tell you how I go about buying my Boxsters for resale. Caution and diligence is the watch word here.

Good luck and thanks for posting!
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Old 02-01-2005, 04:35 PM   #5
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Cool

Brucelee...

I just emailed ya today... I use to live down in SD last year... If i had known I woulda stopped by your place.!
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Old 02-01-2005, 06:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonomo
Brucelee...

I just emailed ya today... I use to live down in SD last year... If i had known I woulda stopped by your place.!
Great. If I can help, I will be most pleased~
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Old 02-01-2005, 07:12 PM   #7
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BruceLee,
would you recommend a service contract for a 2000 Boxster with only 12,000 miles?
I passed on the plan they tried to sell me on at the Acura dealership where I bought the Boxster. The previous owner traded it in for a CL or something.
The service records only included one oil change and something electrical I think.
I asked for more but they said that was all it had done.
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Old 02-01-2005, 07:41 PM   #8
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Jonomo,

There were a few issues with 97 and 98 Boxsters engines. I bought my 98 Boxster in 2003 and it has its second engine in it. By the time they are this age, if anything major is going to go wrong, it will have already happened.
Typical things that go wrong with Boxsters are:
Hood retracting cables snap.
Air mass sensors need replacing.

Servicing a Boxster is going to cost more than a Golf, but my garage tells me he doesn't like Boxsters because they rarely go wrong He likes late 70's to early 90's 911 'cos he gets to do $9000 engine rebuilds on them all the time.

I get the impression that the 2.7L Boxsters from 2000 onwards have had most of the bugs ironed out of them, as well as better low-end torque, equipment and power. Probably worth spending up to one of these if you are concerned
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Old 02-02-2005, 04:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
BruceLee,
would you recommend a service contract for a 2000 Boxster with only 12,000 miles?
I passed on the plan they tried to sell me on at the Acura dealership where I bought the Boxster. The previous owner traded it in for a CL or something.
The service records only included one oil change and something electrical I think.
I asked for more but they said that was all it had done.
On this car with that mileage, the service history sounds about right. For the future, I would do an oil change (Mobil 1 of course!) every 7500 miles, not 15K as the manual says. Assuming you drive prudently, this should keep your engine internals intact.

The issue of a service contract is thorny at best. Much depends on the following variables:

What is your risk profile, that is, how well do you respond to planned vs unplanned expenses? A service contract is simply an insurance contract which takes your money before an event happens and in fact, may not happen. On the other hand, it protects you when it does and more so if the costs are higher than otherwise expected.

Some folks love to buy insurance, others never do!

The second variable is the contract itself. What does it cover and how is the company about paying. From my understanding, if that SC was actually underwritten by Acura, they are pretty good about paying. That said, you have to read the contract carefully to see what you are getting.

On the Box, the big ticket items would include a total engine (unlikely for sure), clutch, trans and rear main seal. Less costly are other seals and gaskets and of course, electronics.

I wish I could just answer for you but as you can see, it really is very individual indeed, just like how we all like to personalize our Boxsters here on the forum.
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Old 02-02-2005, 05:14 AM   #10
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Just to throw my two cents in on the subject of extended warranties... In May I bought my '01 Boxster, and the factory warranty ran out in November. During that time, I had a couple of little things fixed under the factory warranty - my HVAC controls had a couple segments on the LED go bad, and I also had the transmission mechanism on my top break. All of it was fixed under factory warranty. The bill for the HVAC was over $1000 (mostly the part from what I understand), and the top transmission was about $700.

I bought an extended warranty from Warranty Direct. I did some research and they've been around a very long time, and I had a hard time digging up dirt on the company. Their converage most closely mimicked what you'd see covered on a factory warranty, and they will let you have the car serviced by the dealer. My coverage was a little over $2000 to extend the warranty by four years and up to 100,000 miles. Knowing how expensive these cars are to have fixed, if only what has gone wrong over the first six months I've owned the car go wrong in the next four years, I'll still be pretty close to breaking even. And I'd hate to have everything sunk because that unlikely failure just happens to occur on my car, and I'm making payments on a car I don't have $9000 for an engine rebuild and a Bxster without an engine is obviously not going to get me much money out of the deal.
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:08 AM   #11
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is that Warranty Direct coverage $2000 a year for four years? ($8,000 total)
I drive the car pretty hard. But I have always changed things on previous car's before they break and I had a great mechanic who won't go near a Porsche.
I only drive about 6,000 miles a year. I rely on daily public transportation to get to work into NYC. So my daily drive is literally 5 minutes to the train station and five minutes back in the evening. Public Transportation is not cheap though $300 a month. I do plan to attend track drving schools and at least 100 Autocross laps, so the car will be tested to some degree.

Service contract seems very tempting, I'm the type that would like hanging out in the Porshce garage just to watch them tell nothing needs fixing. But my mileage is so low I wonder if it will be wasted.
(In the back of my mind I keep thinking about how a 996 I was considering was only $9,000 over the Boxster I bought. But I guess you can't look at it that way)
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:10 AM   #12
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No, it's $2000 for all four years. The key is to buy the coverage before your car goes out of warranty.
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Old 02-02-2005, 08:50 AM   #13
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Funny you should mention the heater/AC display. That is about the only problem I have had with my '99; the display does not show the footwell air distribution arrow, although the function does work. $800 to replace, according to the dealer.
Warranty history on the car shows a MAF sensor replacement, and a Tiptronic trans gasket replacement. No history of problems with the top (yet).
My experience with the Box and the 911 I had before indicates that you should expect maintenance costs to be higher than you would experience on the average Honda or Toyota. Scheduled maintenace costs (15K, 30K, etc) are not cheap. In my case the 30K was $900 at a dealer, and I did not have them fix the AC display.
Do your research, know what you are looking at, and what to look for. Jumping on a car because it is "cheap" is asking for big, and expensive, trouble.
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Old 02-02-2005, 09:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloBoxster
No, it's $2000 for all four years. The key is to buy the coverage before your car goes out of warranty.
yep, my warranty ran out last year. If I had a 2001 Boxster instead of a 2000, I could've had 4 years/60000miles for $2200 with $0 deductible, $1700 with a $200 deductible.

oh well I'll keep looking.
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Old 02-02-2005, 09:54 AM   #15
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What?!?!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aglsteven
There were a few issues with 97 and 98 Boxsters engines. I bought my 98 Boxster in 2003 and it has its second engine in it. By the time they are this age, if anything major is going to go wrong, it will have already happened.
If you're already on your second engine, then that shows me that the motors are not very reliable. I don't think you should have to switch out a motor on a car thats less than 10 years old. That means I should expect to switch out the motor every 5~7 years. That doesn't help me at all. Maybe I'll get the S2000... so ugly, but very reliable!
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Old 02-02-2005, 10:50 AM   #16
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good News,
A few more quotes for my 2000 S which is out of warranty:

Century Warranty Services(from CarFax site)1-877-404-2066(Egor x12946)
CWS is a sub. of Fidelity Investments

(AAA coverage 800-528-2054 and service at any ASE certified dealer)
full coverage (-$100 ded. per visit, not per part)
NOT COVERED:
1.paint
2.glass
3.seating surfaces
4.oil change,tires,battery,brake pads,rotors,softop fabric.
(clutch and flywheel are covered, as well as the softop motor)

Price:
coverage for an additional 60 months/60,000 miles=$1795 (30 payments plus 10% down which is refundable for 60 days if you change your mind. $53 a month no interest)

72 months/72,000 miles=$2096 (30 payments as well, $62 )

This seems like a no brainer. For $350 a year I'm covering the engine, Clutch and all the electrical stuff for the next 6 years. Labor at a Porsche dealer without an extended service warranty seems like it would prohibitively expensive and the parts on electrical and HVAC OEM equipment will easily surpass $1000 (50% of my investment).

I get the feeling that the dealer would have interest to "find" things that "should" be fixed with much more "interest" than if I were walking in without coverage.
Sounds logical right?
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Old 02-02-2005, 11:12 AM   #17
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Lots of the 97s and 98s had rear main seal problems because of out-of-round crank shafts made in the first 2.5's. It wobbled horribly and eventually tore up the seal. I agree with those above this post that said if it has a bad engine, it's already been replaced for these year models... except if you find one a garage queen with 12k on it. I'd be scared of that just because it was in the garage far more than it was on the road and who knows what is rotting out from the inside out.

My '97 had a new $8,000 engine put in it just before I bought it. Right now, it's in my mechanic's garage having the transmission replaced, but only because of of an idiot previous owner jamming it into first gear and dropping the clutch repeatedly, or downshifting into first gear at a high rate of speed.

Search this site for threads about warranties outside of Porsche, and you'll read a recurring theme: "It's a waste of your money as they find loopholes as to why your problem isn't covered."

Buy a Boxster with some factory warranty on it... or better yet, one that is Porsche certified pre-owned and warrented to 100k. IMHO, this is the way to go and what I should have done. I like the older certified pre-owned option because all the stuff that goes wrong with most cars happens at 75-100k, not under 50k, so you get the biggest bang for your buck when X goes out at 79k miles. Also, the certified pre-owned Porsches are thoroughly checked out because they don't want to warrant a dog of a car. Just my opinion.
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Old 02-02-2005, 01:13 PM   #18
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Convinced

Okay.. i'm convinced not to get a Boxster... Owning a porsche has always been a dream of mine... but starting now with a boxster doesn't seem like a good idea.. i was kinda riding the fence and this sort of convinced me.. I think the best time to get one is when I have a bit more money at my disposal so that I can either a) buy a newer one with a warrantee or b) buy one and get ready to shell out money for a huge overhaul of the motor or tranny....

Now i work in the video game industry, so I know how boards and forums usualy work... they are usually filled with whiners and complainers, and its usualy not a good place to judge a product or service.. but people here seem fairly level headed, and I don't see too much whining... what concerns me is that people speak of $10K+ engine and tranny swaps as if they were common as oil changes... like it was part of regular maintnance... sorry folks but I can't afford that... and even if i could... i'd be a bit reluctant..

so I guess i'm sticking to my GTI.. or i'm gonna look into other alternatives.. S2000, SLK, Z3, Z4, etc.... thanks everyone for your input!!! and I'll see ya on the road!
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:01 PM   #19
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yes, its generally true if you can't afford to repair the car, you can't afford the car.

But waiting is definitely a good idea. Soon the prices will come down to where you will be comfortable jumping in. And if the car has low miles and was well maintained its a great oppourtunity because at a certain point the Boxster maintains its value like no other car. Face it everyone wants a Porsche.

I read not so long ago that when the Design for the Boxster was put onto paper the engineers and designers were told that it could not be manufactured for less than $80,000. It was only with the help of Japanese production experts that the German engineering was made possible to the public at $50,000. Without those Japanese experts they would not have sold all those Boxsters and allowed the newest Boxster to be offered at nearly 50% (2005=$43K) of the inital $80,000 design estimate from 10 years ago. Imagine the design equivalent of the $130,000 Ferrari 360 being sold to the public in the year 2015 for a new asking price of $65,000?! One Ferrari for me please in Silver and Red!
The Boxster is an amazing success that saved the Porsche company from going bankrupt.

The other car's you mentioned are nice but are not that much cheaper to make you forget that the Porsche Boxster was engineered to be a world class car.
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:28 PM   #20
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If you want a roadster I would definately consider the boxster as an option. I was in the same place you are a year ago and I chose the boxster over a Miata, TT, S2000, and whatever else. I bought my car with 20k miles on it and now have 34k without any problems at all. The guy who owned the car before me took great care of it as it had a car cover on even in his heated garage. I've done the maintanance myself so it only cost me $200 or so for the 30k service and the car runs awesome. The problem with the ones that have blown motors is that people abuse them, they try to get Carerra performance out of it and it's just not gonna go that fast. I woulde definately take this car over the other roadsters, as long as you find one that has been properly taken care of. The boxster is not the same product Porsche had out 10 years ago which was prone to problems, this is a very modern car that is reliable.

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