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-   -   new owner experience and cam housing leak (http://986forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5445)

roleur 03-20-2006 06:52 PM

new owner experience and cam housing leak
Thanks to all for a great site!

Well, I am now an official card-carrying member: 2001 S, one owner, 22,700 miles, sport package, tiptronic, 18” wheels, black exterior + beige interior.

I did what everyone says NOT to do - purchase online without a PPI. I realized it was a risk and went ahead for the following reasons:
- Ebay seller[broker] had a feedback score of 177 with 95.9% positive feedback.
- Seller said car condition “excellent” for every component.
- Seller said a Porsche mechanic inspected it, changed oil, and said it had no problems.
- Clean Carfax matched seller's and original dealer's info (current seller, original dealer, previous owner all in same area).
- Called dealer that originally sold car to check maintenance record: at 5,144 miles oil and filter change, replaced rear tire, replaced fuel cap (warranty), no other service recorded.
- Car had only one key, asked seller to provide another… he reluctantly agreed… while at dealer to program key, I called dealer and asked if they would perform an inspection, but dealer could not for at least a week... dealer went on to say he knows seller and has a solid, honest reputation.
- Car had everything I was looking for at $2K to $5K less than other similar cars that are/were recently for sale.

Received it last week – amazing! What a work of art and engineering!

Drove home and noticed a slight steering wobble at 30 mph and up. Parked in garage and smelled a little burning oil. Besides that, smiling ear to ear. (After driving for a couple of days, wobble dramatically reduced.)

Took it to a local dealer for an inspection and peace of mind, results were:
- Original battery at end of life and should be replaced.
- Front tires were scalloped on inside (Pirelli), tires appear to be original.
- Oil leak at camshaft housing cover, dripping on exhaust.
- Everything else in very good shape.

So here are the options:
- Local Porsche service/dealer asking $1850 to replace gasket of cam housing cover, says needs to drop exhaust to do it and takes about 8 hours.
- Recommended 30K service for $1160 with spark plugs be changed at same time because they will be easily accessible during above procedure.
- Recommended brake flush for $265 [I will do this].
- Recommended replacing 2 front tires for $590 [I will replace all 4 tires next season].
- Offering credit of -$375 if cam housing + 30K service performed together.
- Offering credit of -$150 of done within 30 days because of reduntant checks just performed with inspection.
- 15% off with PCA membership.

I understand it was a risk to purchase without a PPI, and that owning a 5 year old, high-performance car will require maintenance.
My goal is to make the best of it, take care of this car, and hopefully get many years of enjoyment from it... here are a few questions:
- I read a lot about RMS, but only saw a couple posts on cam housing leaks, is this unusual? (dealer says that around/after 2001 Porsche switched to better gasket/sealant material)
- $1800 to replace cam housing gaskets high?
- Is it that much easier to change plugs during this, or can they be changed relatively easily without dropping the exhaust?
- After discounts, $2,110 for new cam housing seals + 30k service worth it?
- Is this leak considered a ‘mechanical problem’ that the seller should have disclosed?

I was a little reluctant to share all this (and risk being called foolish!), but i know i will learn something from it, and the info might possibly help others.


98Boxster98 03-20-2006 07:42 PM

Hi roleur -

Welcome to the Boxster world. I'm sure that someone here will be able to answer your questions regarding reasonable maintenance cost but I'm not one of them. I just wanted to say I appreciate your bravery in posting despite any feelings of being perceived as foolish. I, for one, appreciate the opportunity to learn from your experience, as you say. What's life without taking a little risk every now and then? Sounds like even if you get the work done by the dealer, you still have a pretty good deal based on your research. Next time you and I both will remember to get a PPI next time we get a used Porsche.

Just a little morale support, buddy.

aBsOlUt 03-20-2006 09:28 PM

I got a used 2004 986 S with 7000 miles no PPI from the dealer. It still has 3.5 years of warranty and thats why I actually did it.

I only Carfaxed the car (which is not doing anything good anyways) and ever since I got it I have had NO problems except a dead battery which was replaced for free (labor free as well).

The car is simply a true work of art, don't regret, once all issues are fixed you will only smile.

bmussatti 03-21-2006 02:10 AM

roleur, what Porsche dealership in Chicago are you working with?

roleur 03-21-2006 07:27 AM

98Bosxter98: thanks! i appreciate your support... i ask myself if i would still buy it if i new about the oil leak? i think so... the combination of features and low mileage/1 owner is appealling... if this is 'minor' and fixable without major consequence, i am still in good shape.

bmussatti: those numbers were from Loeber... but also called Westmont and they quoted between $1400 and $1600... who have you worked with?

absolut: even with the issues, i am smiling! what a joy to drive and a pleasure to look at! good call on getting some warranty left... i had to keep it under $30K, but wanted the S and the Tip and 30K miles or less, so the cars in that range were mostly outside of warranty.

bmussatti 03-21-2006 08:04 AM

roleur, I have not worked with any of them yet. I take delivery on my car Monday!!

I have been to all of the dealers though the past 7-8 months. I think Westmont (Gino) and The Porsche Exchange (Scott) would be the most competent in the area. My only concern with Loeber is that they are a very new Porsche dealer.

Just my 2 cents.

Jeph 03-21-2006 04:53 PM

To my Chicago Brethren...
Here's what I suggest: Find an independent specialist! If you're a PCA member and attend any of the events, it shouldn't be too hard to find a recommendation. They will be cheaper than the dealership (no matter what discounts you stack up). Chicago has got to have plenty of specialists.

Midwest Eurosport
104 West Irving Park Road
Bensenville, IL 60106
(630) 595-5577

Vaia Auto
860 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL
(312) 733-0076

601 Sidwell Ct. Suite I
St. Charles, IL
(630) 377-3774

I found these first 2 from this list. The shop I use, and love, is also on this list (if that establishes any credibility). Found that last one on Google.

I am prone to bash dealerships due to their dishonesty and high prices (not just Porsche Dealerships). I hear complaints about customer service frequently too. All in all it doesn't add up to favor the dealerships. Ironically the 2 times I've taken my car to a dealership, they were quite nice and did the (minor) repairs for free. (Plug: Boardwalk Porsche, Plano, TX)

That my best advice. I don't know the answers to your other questions.

98Boxster98 03-21-2006 08:01 PM


Originally Posted by Jeph
The shop I use, and love, is also on this list (if that establishes any credibility).

Cool that you recommend Zim's Autotechnik. I just happen to have an appointment next week with them.

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