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Old 01-20-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
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Tools for DIY projects


I'm a proud owner of my new 2000 Boxster with 65k on it.
I have no history about car (I know it not recommended) but it was cheap and my wife agreed with purchase

Buyer inspection said car is in good condition and I love the look and feel of my new baby!

I spent last week browsing 986forum and getting used to drive the car.

I want to do some DIY projects (seems very easy from pictures at pedro's garage)
There are 2 problems though:
1. I'm a complete noob in cars, I never saw the engine of my lexus rx330 and it took me 2 hours to change the battery myself
2. I have absolutely no tools, except small screwdrivers and computer hardware analytic tools

I need some advice on what tools should I buy, also links to where to buy would be nice (I have no idea what hex bits are and whats the difference between wrench and torque wrench)

Here's the list of DIY projects:
1. Changing oil. My head hurts from reading about what oil is better. What filter should I use? where do I drain the oil? do I need a bucket? What should I use to keep the car raised up?

2. Changing Spark Plugs. What tools do I need for that? How do I check if Spark Plugs are Iridium, platinum.. etc (websites that sell them do not state what kind it is)

3. Changing Timing belt. Looked pretty easy from images at Pedro's garage.. do I need special tools? How do I know that I tightened it enough?

4. Changing Fuel filter. Again looked easy..

If after all this both me and the car are alive.. I'm gonna move to other things.

Any advice is greatly appreciated! I shoud've bought this car a loooong time ago!

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Old 01-20-2010, 05:10 PM   #2
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Congrats on your car and welcome to the forum!

The DIY projects you have chosen are very ambitious, they are the ones I have been hesitant to try but I prefer the electrical side of things, and have just started getting my feet wet on the mechanical side. However I don't think you should have any problems, the Boxster is very well designed which makes it easy to work on, and the most involved DIY you mention would be the spark plugs.

I would recommend shopping at Harbor Freight to get your tool kit started. Start with the basics, some screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, mallet, socket set, WD40, wrenches, etc. If you need some help do a google search for something like 'making a basic tool kit' and you should be able to learn what everything is and its purpose.

Once you have the basics then you can get into more Boxster specific tools. These are the tools I can remember having to go buy to be able to work on my car: allen wrenches (metric), a screwdriver with multiple bits (star, hex, etc.), and a torque wrench that goes to a 100 ft. lb. The only other tools specific to the DIY's you mention that I can think of would be an oil pan, and Porsche oil wrench.

Good luck, and I would recommend reading over the DIY guides, most of them mention the tools you will need.

EDIT: Also, if you want some information on your car try decoding your option sticker and you can also email your VIN number to Suncoast Porsche and they will decode it for you, look at the bottom of the page here .
1999 Ocean Blue Metallic Boxster - blueboxster.com

Last edited by rick3000; 01-20-2010 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:38 PM   #3
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I'd recommend a good "mechanics" starter tool kit from Sears (Craftsman). Their package deals can be pretty cost effective. Quality's quite good for a fairly serious DIYer, they offer a lifetime warranty no questions asked, and they're made in USA. Harbor Freight stuff will probably do the job, but I doubt it'll last or perform as well as Craftsman, and it's almost all made in China - by prison laborers. When I started out tinkering with cars 20 yrs ago I got some cheap stuff. After tiring of tools failing in the middle of projects, I switched to Craftsman and have had minimal problems since.

Get a wide range of 3/8" drive metric sockets (something like 8mm-18mm), a standard ratchet plus a bit one longer, and a range of extensions. A set of open end wrenches (again ~8-18mm) are always good to have. A couple of kinds of Vice Grips, a range of flat & Philips screwdrivers are always useful. If you've got a Sears not too far away, you can always run over to add more specialized toys - I mean tools - to your collection as needed, or you can get very quick delivery by ordering online.

I've given up on heavy metal and junky plastic tool boxes and recently got one of these: http://www.vetopropac.com/ They're pricey but quality's excellent; pretty much bullet proof. Layout's great, too.

Last edited by gschotland; 01-20-2010 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:00 PM   #4
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You will need a LARGE pan to drain the oil in to. A Box contains 9 qrts of oil (most cars have 4.5), so you need something large to catch all that oil. I've got a pan that's 3' x 2' x 4" that I got at Menards. Many on the forum use the large circular pan that can be purchased at parts stores, but it can cause a problem because the center hole that allows the oil into the pan is a bit small and the oil drains so fast out of the Box it spills over the sides of the catch pan because the hole can't handle that much oil that fast.

I built a set of ramps from a 2x10. Started with a piece that is 10" long. Next section is 3" longer. I continue adding pieces each 3" longer until I have them stacked 4 high. Whatever you do for ramps, you'll need to back onto them. A Box will probably be too low to place the ramps in front of the rear tires and you may end up wrecking your rubber mud flaps. Plus there's more clearance with the shape of the bumper placing the ramps behind the wheels.

Some of the DIYs you want to tackle are pretty aggressive. An oil change is a simple one to start with. Since this sounds like it will be your first attempt at one, be sure to smear some oil on the new filter gasket band that comes with the filter and only hand tighten the filter canister when replacing it.

Doing your own work can be very satisfying. But hopefully you have a friend close by that you can lean on in case you have questions. Good luck.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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I was exactly the way you are today when I bought my beat up boxster five years ago. No mechanical experience. No tools. Lots of confidence.

Here's my advice:

- Get the largest set of metric tools from Sears you can afford and one of those cool rolling tool chests in which to store them. That'll look great in your garage, by the way.

- Buy a Bentley repair manual. The thing will make you feel as if you can do a major motor teardown and rebuild! Very cool late night reading for the bedside table too. That's where mine remained for the first year.

- As others have said, you need nice wide ramps for the back wheels. Make them or buy them.

- Buy a race jack. I got a cheap one at Pep Boys (good quality and only $50 on sale) and it works great. You'll use it for years to come on the Boxster and other cars too.

- Buy a set of floor stands. You don't need really heavy duty ones because your car only weighs 2800 pounds. Two will do.

Oil changes take a whopping 30 minutes, and most of that is waiting for the oil to drain. There's only ten minutes worth of actual work to do.

Changing plugs is not as simple because you can't see all of them, but it's not hard to do. Just do one plug at a time and you won't mess up the wire order. I did it last year for the first time and it took all of an hour and a half.

Timing belt? If you mean the serpentine belt it's not hard if you have the diagram. The self-tensioner is built right in. The Bentley manual covers this in great detail, btw.

The fuel filter isn't hard either, but it's messy if you don't do things in the right order or you're not prepared to catch some fuel when you undo it. Once again, your Bentley repair manual will help you do it right.

Men repair and maintain Porsches. You are a man. Therefore, you can repair and maintain your Porsche. That line of thinking has taken me far in life and you're gonna do fine with it as well.

Go get greasy. It's fun, and saves large wads of cash
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New motor, transmission, suspension, and on and on and on it goes...
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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A lot of thanks!

Thank you all for great tips!

I guess in weekend I'll go to Sears and start with a set of metric tools and a torque wrench.
And thanks for words of encouragement.

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:25 PM   #7
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+1 on the Bentley Manual
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:06 AM   #8
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FYI the belt you refer to isn't a timing belt, it runs the alternator, water pump, ac compressor.

PS A set of torx wrenches will come in handy if you don't have them already.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:13 AM   #9
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jack stands and i would say creeper, but it's difficult to get under this car witha creeper when it's jacked up.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:58 AM   #10
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miners light

I can't even begin to say how much this cheap, little tool has helped me working on my cars....

in the past, I never had enough light in hard to reach spaces...with the "head light", I'm never fumbling around with one hand on a wrench and the other on a light.

Best of luck with the repairs!
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:15 AM   #11
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I do all of my own work and one of the best things to have in addition to the above mentioned is a set of ratchet type box end wrenches. They are great for places where a normal socket/ratchet won't fit and flopping a normal wrench is a PIA.

Also a set of sockets for rounded off bolts can save you a lot of frustration when the enevitable happens or someone before you has done shoddy work.

A collection of fluids and other things will make your life easier. Loctite, dilectic grease, Anti sieze, PB Blaster, a torch, angle grinder, rivet gun and plenty of zip ties.

Breaker bar, torque wrench, plug gap feeler guage, swivel for your ratchet, test light, multimeter a good set of cover alls and a box of the blue rubber gloves.

You can do it yourself, take your time, ask lots of questions and take a break when you get frustrated or confused.
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:45 AM   #12
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Sears is having a promotion right now:
10% off on online orders $199 - $349
15% off on $350
You can order online and pickup at the store.

Check out Harbor Freight for basic wrenches, they are really inexpensive there. Wrenches are pretty basic tools that you don't have to worry about the quality as much as other types to tools (power). There's a Harbor Freight down by Ikea in Renton, and a new store by the Fred Meyer on NE 20th & 148th in Bellevue.
See ya on the streets (and curves) of Seattle and if you sail, beware of the Duck Dodge on Lake Union!

PS - One of my favorite drives is SE Green Valley Rd, between Auburn and Black Diamond, with a mandatory stop at the Black Diamond Bakery, and then a jog over to Rooter's Barbeque by Lake Sawyer, to finish off the calorie counting.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:13 AM   #13
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I agree about buying the largest tool kit you can reasonably afford, some even include the tool box. Tools are expensive to buy piece-meal, the bigger the kit, the more you save. Also try Craftsman's on-line catalog, they carry things not sold in stores.

Not to be contrary, but I wouldn't buy cheap wrenches. The only wrench I've even broken is a "China" wrench a co-worker had, and they can tend to round off bolt heads more easily.

Last edited by stephen wilson; 01-21-2010 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:39 AM   #14
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Tool of choice.

Really. The best box set of tools you can afford. Good luck and welcome.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:22 PM   #15
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Ditto on buying a larger tool set - I bought a $250ish set of Craftman tools 12 years ago, and they have treated me very well. One ratchet broke and was swapped no questions asked. You will spend a fortune if you buy piecemeal.

Also ditto on the headlamp, very handy given that you will sometimes be over the engine, sometimes in front, and sometimes under.


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Old 01-21-2010, 01:12 PM   #16
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Something useful for the serious DIY’er........

Changing the engine mounts, or pulling the trans out can be a pain in the butt if you try to support the engine with a floor jack, which ends up always being in the way. Same problem crops up with just about any front driver that you might be doing the same type of maintenence on.

Porsche sells an "engine support bar" that supports the engine from above, but costs about 1,000,000 Euros....................

Harbor Freight has a great alternative:

List for about $60, but you can get it for $48 with one of the 20% off coupons that seem to be in just about every publication these days...........
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:15 PM   #17
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No one mentioned a Hammer.. a really big HAMMER!
And I like Sam Adams tool. I use that one alot.
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Last edited by vath2001; 01-21-2010 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:57 PM   #18
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Sears usually has some pretty good deals on starter tool kits. Get yourself a nice set in the $100-$250 range that has a socket set, pliers, screwdrivers.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:20 PM   #19
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Question about opening top

I didn't want to create another thread.. and search function didn't return anything.

Today I tried to open top for the first time (it's 50 degrees in seattle )

I opened it half-way.. and noticed that plastic rear window is bending.. I kinda freaked out and closed it back.. is it supposed to bend? won't it break?

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:26 PM   #20
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Yes it will break. I was a Carmax last week looking at Boxster's and while putting the top down it didn't fold right and cracked right up the middle. If you just stop about half way and fold it yourself then put it the rest of the way down it will work.

edit* I reread your question and it is supposed to fold right in the middle but you have to watch, your problem is when it doesn't fold.

Last edited by Sikedsyko; 01-21-2010 at 04:29 PM.
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