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Old 05-14-2010, 05:22 AM   #1
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Should I buy this '97 986...?

I found out about a 97 Boxster with 77k miles inc hardtop and bodykit for sale for $5,500. I did an autocheck and it came back at 91 with everything checking out great til 2/08. Since then it has no records. It is owned by one of those random gas stations with a half dozen cars in the lot and the guy said he has too many cars and needs to get rid of it. It was traded in by a woman apparently who said her Miata was easier to get in and out of.

He says the clutch is good and it drives well, but does have some problems:

-Needs two front tires (no big deal)

-Has a tear in softtop window

-Windows have a problem where they don't go up and down correctly with the button. When you turn the key in the door, they work. (I originally thought regulator but maybe just the window switch?)

-The remote does not unlock the door (hopefully a battery but if not, what else would cause this?)


If these issues have been discussed in the forum previously, I am sorry. I am on a very short timeframe. I am going to see it tomorrow (5/15) and will likely just hand him the cash if it looks good. The local Porsche pre purchase inspection is $335 so I don't know if I should pay that and wait another week to get it (the car is almost 3 hrs away) or take my chances.

Any quick advice would be helpful! I'm an Acura guy and I know nothing about Porsches aside from wanting one! Thanks

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Old 05-14-2010, 05:50 AM   #2
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Do not buy it without a prepurchase inspection. That $300 is the best money you will spend. I wouldn't believe much of what the seller says, he wants you to buy it.

Do not rush into buying it. It's natural to get excited about a fun car like the boxster and want to get it, just be smart too. A lot of stuff could be wrong with it that u can't see and he isn't telling you. If the engine has issues that's huge money.

Think of getting the prepurchase inspection bfefore you buy as like remembering to put on a condom before you sleep with some girl you just met. You might be tempted to skip it, but you might have to livve with the consequences if you do.


I'd slow down get the inspection and remember, there is always another Porsche for sale. Sometimes by waiting you will learn more and ultimately will find a better one.

Good luck!
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Old 05-14-2010, 05:57 AM   #3
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the brakes and rotors ($1,000 with labor), shocks ($2,000), and clutch & flywheel ($2,000) need to be checked out. Not to mention old 02 sensors ($600), axle boots ($300 with labor), etc. Don't be fooled by a $5K asking price for a Porsche. If that car has never had major maintenace performed, and only routine maintenace (oil changes, spark plugs, air filter, etc. -- small do it your self things) the big repairs could easiy run north of the price you are paying. Parts don't last forever and that car's 13 years old.

There's an old saying when it comes to big Porsche repairs, pay me now or pay me later but you will pay.

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Pick up the June issue of Excellence at Borders or Barnes & Noble. There's a $3 fix for remote clickers that stop working. You'll need to order 3 little transistors and a soldering gun with a very pointy end. Also read the article about intermediate drive shafts. But the more common problem with the first run of Boxsters were the mixing of engine oil and water on a particular batch of engines. Also, new tops come with glass windows now for about $700 and the labor is about another $4-500.
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Old 05-14-2010, 06:32 AM   #4
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Sounds like a good price if it is a good car

Tires are more expensive than for your average car...up to 40% more.

Key battery is a probable, mine just went on one of my keys. All three buttons fail to operate the locks even though it is flashing..and this from 3 feet. The ideal is 3 keys, one a valet and 2 with remotes.

Top can be a $600 in parts and do it yourself.

The windows not working causes me to wonder if the security computer under the drivers seat ever got wet. Inspect the car for flood damage.

And even for this cheap car, get a PPI. It can reveal nothing important but it will give you an idea of the condition of things and when you have to plan for expenses...and with a 13 year old car you are going to have some. Or it can tell you you want to keep searching..that this car will cause more hassle than fun.

Unless you are a mechanic, don't buy a 13 year old car unless you have access to a trusted Porsche mechanic. Not because they are a bad car (mine has been wonderfully reliable) but because it is at an age where things wear out or brake down from simple exposure to the ozone in the air.

Change the brake fluid, serpentine belt, inspect the pads and rotors, inspect the age of the tires (see sidewall markings). I also had the radiator flushed, the front radiators cleaned of debris, the plugs and coils replaced....just so I'd know the state of the maintenance.
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Old 05-14-2010, 06:38 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone for all the great feedback. It is extremely helpful.

The allure of the low pricetag Porsche tends to shield some reality of buying an old car. The adage "You get what you pay for" and "cars are terrible investments" seems to always ring true.

Now I'm wondering if I'd be better off with a similar car that I know was taken care of. This one (http://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/cto/1733841693.html) for example has 7k of new parts in the last two years. This car has a blue book value of about 8k, so if I could get the seller down, I may be saving myself money in the long run. Thoughts?
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:28 AM   #6
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my 2cents

Definitely don't rush with this. Porsches are EXPENSIVE to maintain and fix, so you better be ready and make sure the car doesn't need anything major (at least for the immediate future).

That being said, if you don't want to wait the 3 days, try and take it to an independent mechanic. It'll be cheaper and I'm sure they can do it the same day. I would definitely check their reputation though to make sure that they know what they're doing. Also try to verify that they are certified through Porsche to work on cars.

Lastly, if you're willing to wait a little bit, I've realized lately that it'd be a good idea to get the oil checked too from Blackstone. Could tell you a lot about how well the car was maintained as well as potential major problems.

Good luck!
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollie526
Thanks everyone for all the great feedback. It is extremely helpful.

The allure of the low pricetag Porsche tends to shield some reality of buying an old car. The adage "You get what you pay for" and "cars are terrible investments" seems to always ring true.

Now I'm wondering if I'd be better off with a similar car that I know was taken care of. This one (http://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/cto/1733841693.html) for example has 7k of new parts in the last two years. This car has a blue book value of about 8k, so if I could get the seller down, I may be saving myself money in the long run. Thoughts?

Ultimately you want to get the right one. There is tons of sage advice out there. The longer you research it and ask we will all have opinions about each one you are looking at. Bottom line is - Dont second guess yourself. If you feel like it is a good deal then go for it. The deal is not necessarily the asking price of the car though. Once you drive it away that whole "Deal" is now yours to maintain and if not done properly it could make you regret this decision.

I love my car and each day I drive it I cant believe I own it but the day will come that I will have to dump some money into it and it wont be to improve the appearance, it will be something internal.

Good luck.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollie526
Thanks everyone for all the great feedback. It is extremely helpful.

The allure of the low pricetag Porsche tends to shield some reality of buying an old car. The adage "You get what you pay for" and "cars are terrible investments" seems to always ring true.

Now I'm wondering if I'd be better off with a similar car that I know was taken care of. This one (http://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/cto/1733841693.html) for example has 7k of new parts in the last two years. This car has a blue book value of about 8k, so if I could get the seller down, I may be saving myself money in the long run. Thoughts?
So ollie526, what did you end up with?

If the $5500 is otherwise in great shape, that is a good price even for a roller. If you're willing to moonlight as a your own mechanic, it could be a great buy. I know I love tinkering with cars to defy the grim reaper. If you're afraid to break up your knuckles and get some grease in your hair... then this can set you back much more than the fine car you could have bought for $20k.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:12 PM   #9
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Sounds like a good price to me... even if it some day blows (worst case scenario) - you will be able to recover most of the money by parting it out... a used hardtop itself is worth $600.
Meanwhile, if the engine and transmission are good - other stuff can be fixed or lived with untill you have time/money to fix it.
I bought my boxster really cheap 2 years ago before boxster values tanked. $9300, it was an 02 w 76 k miles w clean title that was in an accident and the airbags have deployed. Everyone told me to run from that car, but I bought it, fixed it up (2 airbags+2 seatbelts+ bumper cover ~$1500) and couldn't be happier.
If you can turn wrenches - these cars are not any harder or much more expensive to work on than a honda or vw.
For example some repairs that are possible w 80 k miles: DIY clutch job - $500. M030 sport suspension (Set of shocks and springs on all 4 corners + sway bars) - $1200
brake pads on all 4 corners and rotors resurfaced - $250. key needing a new transmitter if battery doesn't fix the problem - $100.
Of course, if you are not mechanically inclined or expect a 13 year old Porsche for $5500 to be really reliable - you will be dissapointed and should avoid it.
As far as I understand, with 77k miles the porous block would have already surfaced long time ago, but IMS failure may still happen.
Inspection is still a good idea though, even the cheap one as it will let you at least get the car on the lift.
Just my 2 cents. I am an optimist
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:28 AM   #10
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Here's my 2 cents worth. If you want a daily driver but it new or no older than 2 years and get the extended warranty. Now if want a low price older Boxster be prepared to do repairs. A boxster with 60K plus miles is in need of maintenance more so than a new one. I agree with the other guys here, $3,500 to $5,000 grand is what it could cost you.

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