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Old 03-18-2010, 10:00 PM   #1
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brother can you spare a starter?

well I guess I lucked out because I was only a half mile from home. I put the key in the ignition and the lights inside and outside turn on (radio etc.) but the engine won't turn just a lot of flickering. Someone helps with a jump start but no dice. Then the power starts to drain. $90 later I'm home in one piece via flatbed.

The starter was squealing every 15th start or so. Is it safe to say the starter kicked the bucket? Anyone have any leads for a quick replacement starter?
Is it a doable DIY? I think someone said it was a real PITA to get to. My indy Porsche mechanic is not far away but he's usually booked solid. If I can get a part shipped overnight this wouldn't be bad weekend project. No wheels otherwise.
The Bentley manual seems a little short on detailed instructions.

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Old 03-19-2010, 01:26 AM   #2
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Sounds more like a battery failure than a starter malfunction.....
If you can access the front frunk & you have a multi-meter, check the battery voltage across the terminals - it should read ~12.5 volts (without engine running).
If less than 12.0 volts, charge battery for at least 4 hours.
If battery is more than 4 years old, replace - the hassle is not worth trying to resurrect it.
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:40 AM   #3
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Like steve said, it may be something else besides the starter. When my battery died on me after 4 years, I had the same symptoms. Enough juice to light the panel, but no crank on the starter. It also could be that your alternator or even that your clutch switch going bad (remember that you must have the pedal all the way to the floor in order to start the car). Of course, it could be the starter too, but if you had a fully charged battery prior to this episode, a few tries to start it with the instrument lights on would not have killed your battery power. Maybe your alternator can't recharge your battery or battery is shot is my guess.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:19 AM   #4
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the battery is barely a year old. I did notice that the trip meter and time on the dash changed when the engine wouldn't turn. The trip meter reset to zero and the time jumped half an hour or so, that seemed odd because I never fiddled with those. Also, The day before I replaced the radio with one Porsche radio for another, simple plug and play without disconnecting the battery. The car however showed no signs of battery issues. Also, the clutch is going fast, lots of slipping. My indy is working on getting the IMS upgrade, clutch kit, etc.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:28 AM   #5
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if you can, i would remove the battery and alternator and take them to an autoparts store that can test them. This will at least give you an idea if it's either of these two.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:09 AM   #6
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One word of warning (if you want to avoid another flatbed)... if your car's clutch is slipping badly, don't drive it anymore, thinking that it will continue to slip and be drivable for a long time. I did that years ago with my BMW 3-series, and it left me stranded for hours, as it finally totally gave away. Now, if I ever see signs of slipping, I get the clutch changed asap.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:45 AM   #7
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Sounds more like an alternator than the starter. Get your battery tested and if it's OK get an overnight deep cycle charge (a battery maintainer won't do it). With a battery you know is good, you should have enough juice to get the car started (assuming it's not the starter) to test the alternator. I bet you'll find the alternator's output is low, running your battery down.

The voltage regulator in the alternator is often the problem. If your alternator appears to be good otherwise (no burned smell, looks clean, turns freely), try changing out the voltage regulator yourself for $20-$30. There are lots of good posts on diagnosing, removing and refitting the alternator.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:46 AM   #8
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I talked with a very reputable Porsche mechanic. He told me that on the newer cars the battery is used as a capacitor in the electrical system. If the value on that 'capacitor' changes, you can end up with some weird faults. Even if the battery is good enough to start the car. I had some strange 'system failure' dash warnings that went away after changing the battery.

Just possible insight as to why your trip odo. reset and time jumped.
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gschotland
Sounds more like an alternator than the starter. Get your battery tested and if it's OK get an overnight deep cycle charge (a battery maintainer won't do it). With a battery you know is good, you should have enough juice to get the car started (assuming it's not the starter) to test the alternator. I bet you'll find the alternator's output is low, running your battery down.

The voltage regulator in the alternator is often the problem. If your alternator appears to be good otherwise (no burned smell, looks clean, turns freely), try changing out the voltage regulator yourself for $20-$30. There are lots of good posts on diagnosing, removing and refitting the alternator.

interesting. I had the car towed to my Indy (another $90 clams, why did I let that triple A coverage expire) the diagnosis was the alternator but the starter is on the way out too. So we have a clutch, ims, rms, starter and alternator. Looks like I'll be taking the bus for two weeks...
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:55 PM   #10
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Hey PLap, if those are the only issues you've got on a 8-10 year old Boxster your in good shape my friend. How many miles you got on that baby? Good luck with the repairs, should have it back before the spring season arrives in NJ
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:29 AM   #11
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68k miles. I hear ya, other than a new throttle body, I haven't had any unexpected repairs before this. Pretty amazing, right up there with Japanese cars and the family Volvos for reliability.

I started pricing the parts ahead of the Indy's estimate and I noticed some price differences on alternators. Some OEM Bosch units on Ebay go for $200 and $350. Some are going for $140 but I presume those are Asian sourced.
How involved is this repair in terms of labor hours? what is an average price for this job including parts?

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