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Old 07-24-2009, 11:50 PM   #1
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Buying my first Porsche - advice please

After much deliberation and searching I've found Boxter S within my price range.
There are a few minor niggles that need sorting and I wanted to ask if any are a cause for concern.

The oxygen sensor light is on - is this an expensive fix?

The plastic rear screen has a hole in it and would need replacing - again is this expensive.

The drivers side seat adjuster ( plastic knob on right of seat ) is loose and probably needs replacing - is this expensive?

I've already negotiated on price with these things in mind and am having the car inspected by my local garage to determine if there are any other faults pre purchase.

Assuming it checks out and the faults listed above are the only issues I will probably go ahead and buy it.

Thanks in anticipation - Mr K.

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Old 07-25-2009, 03:47 AM   #2
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Wow, lots of issues, forget your local garage, take the car in to a Porsche certified repair shop for a pre purchase inspection (PPI) Personally, I would pass on a box with this many issues.

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Old 07-25-2009, 04:19 AM   #3
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I'm assuming that you are from Jersey in the UK, not New Jersey in the US. I do not know the UK market well, but it seems that Porsches are more expensive there. Many Boxsters are on the market in the US now that are in near perfect condition at reasonable prices. Like the previous poster, I would probably pass on the car you describe if it was for sale in the US.

To answer your questions:

The oxygen sensor is a fairly inexpensive fix if you can do it yourself. The rear window can be replaced, but it is probably not something you would be able to accomplish because you need a heavy duty sewing machine. Sewing in a new window will cost $300-450 if you can find someone to do the job. Many people replace the top with an aftermarket glass window top. That is about $1500 in the US.

I have not had a problem with the seat mechanism, so I won't comment on that.

Here is a good compilation of information on the Boxster:


It describes the oxygen sensor and top repairs.

Randall Neighbor - a frequent contributor on this board - has a good page too.

Good luck.
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Last edited by KevinH1990; 07-25-2009 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:13 AM   #4
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Are you referring to the CEL light when you say that the O2 sensor is on?

MY question really is, how do you know that it is the sensor; do you have the actual code read or is the seller telling you that?

Rich Belloff

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Old 07-25-2009, 05:14 AM   #5
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I would reiterate the importance of using a mechanic who is very familiar with porsches, as oppose to just any mechanic. I used a mechanic who was not familair with boxsters (or porsches for that matter) to do a pre-purchase inspection and he missed a lot of significant things. Even though I was able to repair/replace the items myself, it would have been easier to have a PPI done by a knowledgeable porsche mechanic so I could have a better idea of what I was dealing with.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mr Kipling
I've already negotiated on price with these things in mind and am having the car inspected by my local garage to determine if there are any other faults pre purchase.

how can you negotiate the price, considering those items if you have no idea how much it costs to fix them?
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:51 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the replies, to answer some questions.

The market is Jersey is artificially inflated with all cars fetching above book and UK price. Not sure why as we don't pay VAT so in theory they should be cheaper, captive market I suppose.

A 2001 Boxter S from a dealer would cost approx 14000 - 15000, this car was up at 9800 which I've negiotated to 9000 assuming no more faults than those mentioned. 2 owner car from new with fsh and 34K ( mileage is low in Jersey as it's a small island with nowhere to go )

The faults described are cosmetic and I've had a rough quote from a mechanic friend of 500 to resolve.
My local garage is the main Honda dealership ( Derek Warwick Honda ) who have serviced my cars for years. Derek's a nice bloke and he took me for a blat in his DB 9 so kosher in my book.

My thinking is this, I can't afford ( and won't pay ) 15K for a minter, if I spend 500 ish on a car that is otherwise sound I will gain entry to the segment above current ( BMW 3 litre ) and have a car that is depreciation free for at least a year. The very things that appeal to me scare your typical Boxter buyer off hence value for money. I bought my BMW for 4000 below market price and like the idea of not getting stiffed. I will HPI and have the car pre purchase checked.With regard to negotiating the price to take into consideration the known faults, this is a guideline. I'd be surprised if the repair cost exceeded the 800 discount but everything is dependant upon the inspection so nothing is set in stone.

Hope this all makes sense, it does to my skinflint brain.

I'm grateful for the advice and hope that I've explained my stance, I've wanted a Boxter for ages, my best friend has a 996 turbo and Porsche ownership has been painless ( brakes and tyres aside )

Last edited by Mr Kipling; 07-25-2009 at 10:38 AM. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:12 PM   #8
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Ahh, the seductive call of the siren that is a "cheap" Boxster. Many a new owner has crashed onto the rocks chasing her voice.

Mr K, I would be very wary of what you're thinking of doing. Buying a Porsche is entry into the Big Boys Club. Maintence is definitely included as part of that membership fee. Everything on a Porsche is expensive - parts are typically 4X normal cost and who knows what the labor cost can be. If you're mechanically inclined, Boxsters are relatively easy to work on and you can save some $$$ (sorry, don't have a Euro sign) that way. But if you're on a budget and scraping up every cent to buy a questionable Boxster, you're going to be very disappointed when you can't afford the maintenance. And if you have to have someone else do the work, be ready to pay through the nose. Boxster S' in the vintage you're looking at have a history of needing window regulators, rear wheel bearings, and front suspension pieces replaced. Plus 4 tires cost $800-$1200.

I call this Boxster questionable because if the owner has the nerve to present it with a CEL on, what else is he hiding? And as Brucelee says, how do you know it's the O2 sensor? Boxsters can throw CELs for several reasons. IF you have the stones to buy this car and you don't have a Porsche mechanic look at it, you're getting a cat in the sack. Based on the description you gave of its condition, it doesn't sound like it was well maintained. There are probably lots of problems lurking, just waiting for the next owner.

Which leads me to my next topic. I don't suppose there's a Porsche dealership on your island? Derek Warwick may have been a cracker F1 driver and a stand up owner of a Honda dealership, but the key point is can his dealership work on Porsches? Or is there a good independant Porsche mechanic on the island? If the answer is 'no' to all 3 questions, then owning a Porsche could become very expensive, regardless of whether you buy the one you're looking at or a garage queen. Even garage queens have the problems I listed above. Not sure how you tow a car from island to island.

You mentioned a friend who has a 996TT. Did he buy it new or was it a garage queen? Comparing a new or well maintained Porsche vs a poorly maintained one is not a valid comparison. A poorly maintained example will always cost more in order to catch up to a maintained one. The good news is you can pick his brain on how he handles maintenance and get some idea from him on the high costs associated with Porsches. Use this key reference that's at your disposal.

If you've already decided to buy it, there's probably nothing we can tell you that will alter your decision. Just go into the deal with your mind doing the thinking, not your heart. Remember, you don't HAVE to buy this car. My dad used to say there's always another car around the corner (I've found this is true about women, too).

I hope you make a sound decision. Best of luck.

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Last edited by husker boxster; 07-25-2009 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by husker boxster
Remember, you don't HAVE to buy this car. My dad used to say there's always another car around the corner (I've found this is true about women, too).


wow...really great advice in there. I think I'm printing that one!

And your last statement is SOOOO true. Boy if I had only realized that when I was younger....
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:43 AM   #10
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Buy one if you like - maybe not this one. Don't drive one unless you have a good warranty (might be hard to find) that will cover a $10-15K engine replacement, or you can afford to be self-insured at that level.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:27 PM   #11
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Hi Everyone,
Took the plunge and bought this car, found an independant Porsche specialist who is Porsche factory trained, has been working on Porsche's for 20 years. He has serviced this car from new and knows it well. He advised me that it was in good condition mechanically but needed a service.

Having inspected the car there are no faults above those I am aware of, the oxygen sensor is not a fault and just needed the fault clearing with his diagnostic equipment. He quoted 350 for a major service ( main dealer is 550 ) and I've booked it in for a service next week.

The rear screen is being replaced by a local upholsterer recommended by the garage costing around 300. Oh and as it needed a service I negotiated 500 off the price, more than the cost of the service. So I paid 8500 for a 2001 S with 35,000 miles and full Porsche history. I'll spend around 650 on the rear screen and service and will have a pukka car for just over 9K.

As for warranty, I've never had one in my life, these cars have a reputation for build quality and reliability and the engines are bombproof if correctly maintained.
I may look into a warranty for peace of mind though.

Now the good stuff, went for a blast at 0500 this morning, my god I've never driven anything that handles like this, I've had some tidy cars but the combination of speed, handling and feedback is something else. I love the way it comes on cam at 4000 revs and again at 5000, screaming for the redline. If I can keep my licence I'll be a lucky man.

Looking to take it over to the UK after the service, drive from Weymouth to Lincolnshire through the night, arrive at Weymouth at midnight and I reckon a 6-7 hour drive thru the night. Just out of interest what speed can you maintain without getting tugged by plod after midnight. Not worried about speed cameras as the Jersey cars do not appear on the UK database.

Regards the euphoric Mr Kipling.
Whoops nearly forgot to ask - this car has the PCM sat nav system, where can I get an up to date disc with UK maps and are discs available for Eurpoean countries.

Last edited by Mr Kipling; 07-28-2009 at 11:30 PM.
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