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Old 12-18-2010, 12:53 AM   #1
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model year info / my 1st drive

Hi,

I took my first test drive in a Boxster today. Very nice! It was an 04 5spd with 51k miles. I think I love it.

I've been having a blast for the last 12 years in my 96 Miata and have decided it's time to up my game. I was thinking about a Mazdaspeed Miata, then I test drove two S2000's for my first time today. The sales guy asked if I also wanted to test a Boxster; I almost said no. Maybe I should have because now I don't think I can go back to the Miata or S2000.

The way my Miata is prepped, it can pretty much keep up with or beat almost anything on a tight twisty road, but it's... a Miata. The S2000 feels like a more refined Miata in some ways, but I've read about isolated steering feedback and snap over-steer (couldn't verify either on the test ride on wet city streets with the sales guy beside me).

I would describe the Boxster as guttural. The sound and feel (steering, suspension, torque) was beautiful. So now I'm stuck looking for a Boxster. I say stuck because I'm a detail freak and I hate the process, but I gotta do it.

So here goes. I'll research the info on this forum. I just need to know where I can find model year information. I'm looking for the significant changes for the different years. I also need to know what problems to watch for in the different years. For example, something called IMS failure sounds bad, but I'm sure not all years suffer from the problem.

Thanks in advance for your help. I should have driven one of these sooner. I also said that about the Miata when I bought one. Both great cars in different leagues.


Last edited by baxster; 12-18-2010 at 12:56 AM. Reason: detail freak
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:22 AM   #2
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You can thank him yourself, he's a BB member here

http://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/mikesporscheboxsterwebpages
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:39 AM   #3
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Boxster test drive

Well, don't feel bad about not having to test drive one sooner... it's like anything else we graduate to much bigger and hopefully better things in life..
At least you could say that you have enjoyed all the years that you have owned the Miata, whatever it was, turbo or non-turbo!
It could also be unfair to compare the Miata to a Boxster, ehich are two totally different beast !
The blessing is that you are on the right site. it's just a matter of browing through all the contributor's here.. In no time you will get familiar with the experienced Senior guys in this forum...
Good luck with your search and enjoy the journey.. Don't forget to update the site with your experiences as this can be passed on future Boxster owners too !
thank you,
t2
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by t2-bxtrs
It could also be unfair to compare the Miata to a Boxster, ehich are two totally different beast !
t2
You're right. I meant that the Boxster was in a different league than the Miata, although both are great in their own respect.

I just found the sticky thread, "Thinking of buying a Boxster". That should answer a lot.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:30 PM   #5
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I am lucky enough to own a Miata (2003 LS) and a Boxster (1999 base)!

There is no doubt that the Boxster is the better car in almost every way but only the Miata brings back the true original feeling of my old Triumph sports cars (TR6 and Spitfire). Also the parts and repairs for the Miata are dirt cheap compared to the Porsche (which is comparable to the costs for maintaining my BMW's).

My advice is to definitely move up to the Boxster. There are a lot of Buyers Guides and other info online but at the end of the day its still all about finding a good used car that's not been trashed by the previous owner.

Drive several and then pick the best one in your price range. Its also worth it to have a pre-purchase inspection done (I used my local Porsche dealer for $175).

I didn't worry about the IMS or RMS problems since there is nothing you can do to predict them and it seems to be a very small percentage of cars. I figured for under $12K its a throwaway if the engine completely fails and I'd just get another one rather than spend $10K+ on an engine rebuild. I mean, I can go through 4 used Boxsters for the price of a brand new one (which I seriously considered buying).

If you can afford a little more money, get an S model, but the base model is still very fast and drives 99% as well as the S for most folks.
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Last edited by thstone; 12-18-2010 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:56 PM   #6
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I'd like to keep my Miata and turn it into a track rat, maybe even spec series.

I'll admit I'm concerned about the IMS/RMS problems. I've read that the RMS can be inspected for oil leaking and measured for play. I guess there's no way to tell if the IMS is about to go, short of pulling the engine apart, or something like that??

The Miata had a crank seal/bearing issue in their 1st year of production. Mazda fixed that quickly and the engines have been bullit proof since. I'm surprised that Porsche has let this problem go on for so long.

I hate to rehash this topic because I'm sure most of you are tired about explaining it. In my searches, I haven't seen what percentage of owners that have experienced the IMS or RMS problem. Do you think we're talking something like 1 or 2%?
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eightsandaces
You can thank him yourself, he's a BB member here

http://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/mikesporscheboxsterwebpages
baxster, did you follow this excellent advice and check out Mike Focke's website?

Especially the section on Problem Areas?
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by clickman
baxster, did you follow this excellent advice and check out Mike Focke's website?

Especially the section on Problem Areas?
I thought I read most of it. It's probably my 2nd grade reading level cause it seems I've missed some info.
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clickman
baxster, did you follow this excellent advice and check out Mike Focke's website?

Especially the section on Problem Areas?
I reread the section on problem areas. I didn't see anything on occurence or % chance of the problem happening.

The price range I'm looking at for a used Boxster isn't too much more than what it would cost for an engine rebuild/swap/etc. It would be nice to know what my odds are that my investment (if you can call it that) is going to almost double in price. Even an IMS prevention repair is pricey.

So what would you say the odds of an IMS failure are? 10%, 20%, 30%...
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baxster
I reread the section on problem areas. I didn't see anything on occurence or % chance of the problem happening.

The price range I'm looking at for a used Boxster isn't too much more than what it would cost for an engine rebuild/swap/etc. It would be nice to know what my odds are that my investment (if you can call it that) is going to almost double in price. Even an IMS prevention repair is pricey.

So what would you say the odds of an IMS failure are? 10%, 20%, 30%...
One can only guess at the odds and it would not be an educated guess at that because Porsche has not publicly declared how many IMS issues they have fixed. We can only say it is a small percent that may seem bigger than it really is when looking at a forum such as this one due to the fact that there are thousands of boxster drivers out there who never have a problem but also never get on a boxster forum and say "I have not had a problem" The guesstimations I have seen seem to be around 1%, which is a very low number unless you are in that 1%!
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baxster
I reread the section on problem areas. I didn't see anything on occurence or % chance of the problem happening.

The price range I'm looking at for a used Boxster isn't too much more than what it would cost for an engine rebuild/swap/etc. It would be nice to know what my odds are that my investment (if you can call it that) is going to almost double in price. Even an IMS prevention repair is pricey.

So what would you say the odds of an IMS failure are? 10%, 20%, 30%...
That is a huge debate and you will never get a good answer.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yelojkt
The guesstimations I have seen seem to be around 1%, which is a very low number unless you are in that 1%!
1% would be an acceptable risk, if that's what it is.

I'm going to try to post a poll on the topic. Let me know if a poll has been done before and i'll search for it. Ok, I see a survey has been done but I think a poll would be easier to read and would give you the percentages.

I'll ask:
1. have you had IMS failure that lead to engine failure (yes or no)?
2. have you had IMS failure and repair (ie, bad seals) that did not need new engine? (this would be for those who checked the IMS with a clutch repair etc)
3. miles/km on your 986 if no IMS failure or at time of failure
4. manual or tip
5. engine size
6. model year

Do you think this would be a good poll to do, and if so, what other questions would you ask? Even though it's a small cross section of 986 owners, it should give us a better idea of the extent of the problem.

Last edited by baxster; 12-20-2010 at 12:01 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baxster
I reread the section on problem areas. I didn't see anything on occurence or % chance of the problem happening.

The price range I'm looking at for a used Boxster isn't too much more than what it would cost for an engine rebuild/swap/etc. It would be nice to know what my odds are that my investment (if you can call it that) is going to almost double in price. Even an IMS prevention repair is pricey.

So what would you say the odds of an IMS failure are? 10%, 20%, 30%...
The reason Mike didn't quote a % is because there ain't one to be had.

The problem with a poll, as has been discussed on this issue before, is that you won't get a true representation of the problem because most people don't have an issue, and they won't be paying attention and responding.
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Old 12-20-2010, 04:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by clickman
The problem with a poll, as has been discussed on this issue before, is that you won't get a true representation of the problem because most people don't have an issue, and they won't be paying attention and responding.
Good point. I think the title is important. Eg., "Important 986 Poll" would be better than "IMS Poll". Hopefully that will get the attention of those on the forum, without IMS problems, to participate.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:19 PM   #15
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I'm no forum demographics expert, but I would think that most of the people that own Boxsters don't go to forums, unless they're having a problem. So you're not going to get their "no problem" vote, because they don't care.

Buy the car because you really like it, and then just enjoy it. When it's time to have the clutch done, do the IMS and RMS at the same time.

Don't worry about Jake's 20-odd other major engine failure modes.

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Last edited by clickman; 12-20-2010 at 11:21 PM.
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