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Old 04-05-2006, 02:17 PM   #1
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Questions from a prospective Boxster owner

'lo all,

It has been sixteen years since my last Porsche (a garnett rose metallic 944 with black fuchshow I miss thee) due in large part to a small thing. My daughter.

The time has come that I feel the burning desire to once again regain my place in Porsche ownership, on the chariot of choice this time around is the Boxster. Model year 1999 through 2001 (Boxster or Boxster S, whichever is available at the price Im willing to pay at the time Im willing to pay it).

Ive scoured the web, and run multiple searches but I still have a few lingering questions that I was wondering if I may obtain answers for.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated, so thanks in advance. Alright, in no particular order:

1) Are there any glaring common ailments with any of the 99 though naught one cars? RMS? MAF? When kicking tyres what should I look primarily to?

2) I see the Boxster uses Lokasil cylinder liners from KS Aluminium Technologie AG, which are silicon enriched aluminum alloy. My question is: are there any known problems with this? Im thinking back to the Nikasil horrors of BMW & Jags mid 90s debacle with high sulphur fuel. In theory these techniques should be for our benefit, but it seems that Lokasil was testbedded on the boxster so I am curious, any adverse determinations?

3) How is the top for wear? Ive never owned a cabriolet, and Im not keen on seeing new top! top just replaced! in many of the ads Im reading. As I understand it these are manufactured by the same company that does mercs tops so I trust them to be of good quality, but if they are short lived items my question is: Can a DIYer replace/repair tops? How pricey is this luxury? What about the electric motors and such? I hate electrics in autos and prefer as many manual items as possible so if the electrics fail is there a manual back-up for top operation?

4) What is the Porsche recommended service interval for the Boxster? When does it occur (time and mileage) and what is involved with said service? I see a lot of sub 60k mile cars on the market, Im guessing these are being unloaded to avoid a major service cost.

5) How hard is it to do general maintenance to the Boxster? Can I get to the plugs easily? Airfilter? Oil change? Clutch?

6) My daughter is still young, and lightweight, and I have a natural detestation towards airbags. Can a DIYer install the passenger side airbag immobilizer? How much does this part(s) cost? Can the airbag be deactivated without the use of a special seat?

7) This vehicle will be driven a helluva lot more than the ones Im seeing on the market (Ive put 80k miles on my audi in the past four years, and that time was split with another two vehicles) and my priority after the fact of smile factor is cost of ownership. Will a standard Boxster be that much more affordable to maintain than the S? Or is the cost irrelevant between the two/three engines?

8) Is there a way to disable ABS by way of a switch?

9) I figured out how to adjust the reach of the steering wheel, does it have a tilt?

10) Are the interiors generally worse for wear? Or are the examples Im seeing simply been beaten upon?

11) Aside from the obvious (its a Porsche, it has a soul lacking in other cars) why should I get a used Boxster over a new Miata or lightly used S2k.

Again, thanks to any and all who read and/or reply. Any links are appreciated as well (Ive been to the common ones such as 986faq).


Sorry for any duplicative questions

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Old 04-05-2006, 02:38 PM   #2
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today I went to the Porsche dealer and had
oil change and filter
air filter/cabin filter
all around look

cost? $400

But Its the only thing I did all year. I had 10,000 trouble free miles. knock on wood.

Get yourself at least a 2000 year model and tried to find a low mileage S.
In my opinion not buying an S will cost you money when you resell.
Bruce Lee says there is a ton of leases returns and lots of garage queens flooding the market now that the 2000's are at least 5 years old.
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
today I went to the Porsche dealer and had
oil change and filter
air filter/cabin filter
all around look

cost? $400

But Its the only thing I did all year. I had 10,000 trouble free miles. knock on wood.

Get yourself at least a 2000 year model and tried to find a low mileage S.
In my opinion not buying an S will cost you money when you resell.
Bruce Lee says there is a ton of leases returns and lots of garage queens flooding the market now that the 2000's are at least 5 years old.
With the cost of maintenance of the easy stuff, many people choose to do it themselves. The oil change can be tough, though, unless you really have all the right tools and space and a place to dump the oil.

Air filter/cabin filter is easy, and stuff like short shift kits, wheels, brake pads - much of this is pretty easy to do yourself.
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Old 04-05-2006, 03:28 PM   #4
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yeah your right I definitely considered doint the air/cabin filter myself but with so little maintanance needed in the first 30,000 miles I want to give the next owner of my car service records that indicate it was all done by Porsche. That's got some value to it for sure considering the reputation of this car being expensive to repair and maintain.

I've always been leary of buying cars that have been maintained by weekend warriors since most are doing allot of these things for the first time.
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Old 04-05-2006, 03:58 PM   #5
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i tried to answer all your questions to the best of my ability. im sure someone will say that im wrong about something, but i think most of this is right on.

1. late 98's / early 99's had a defect in the casting process of the block. the blocks were porous, so porsche installed cylinder liners to fix the problem. some of these liners have come loose leading to catastrophic engine failure. many people will say that most of these effected engines how now been replaced. As far as RMS, there is some chance of RMS problems in every boxster and watercooled 911 except the 911 turbo, gt3, and gt2. these cars use a different block.

2. No. There is no issue with Lokasil liners. the issue was with the engines mentioned above.

3. the mechanicals and cables of the top were upgraded on the 2000 model year. these have far fewer probs. 97-99 have more top probs. top problems are very expensive at the dealer. they would charge you 700.00 just to replace stretched cables. the cables are about 30 bucks. labor is high at the dealer. as far as condition, its all reletive to care. Now 2003 and newer will have a glass rear window.

4. every 15k miles or one year. the 15k service is oil change, pollen filter, air filter, and a supposed checklist that the techs go through. at a dealer this can easily be over 700.00. this is sometimes referred to the minor service. the major service is the same plus spark plugs, bleed the brakes, etc. that can easily cost 900.00 at a dealer. yes, you are right- many people unload these cars cause they dont want to pay for a scheduled service and they know the car is near needing a brake job too or some other major service.

5. you can easily change your air filter, oil and filter, spark plugs, and maybe the clutch. you have to lift the car to do the oil change or sparkplugs. the air filter can be done from inside the car. if you are mechanically inclined you can do the clutch, but it may be a good idea to let someone else do it and check and replace the RMS at the same time.

6. not sure about this, but porsche sells a car seat that when buckled in will turn off the airbag. everyone i know has let the dealer do this.

7. i do not think an "s" will cost much more to maintain at all. parts for break jobs may be a little more.

8. i dont think you can disable abs. car has excellent brakes. there is a weird feeling under extremely hard braking though

9. no the wheel doesnt tilt

10. the drivers side seat bolster usually shows alot of wear on older cars.

11. because....... there is no subsitute, thats why!

i really reccomend that you stay away from 5-6 year old cars that have only logged a few thousand miles per year. i would look at year 2000 and higher. a car with high mileage and a good service history could be a safer bet. also, if you can budget it find a 2003 with some warranty left. a high mileage 2003 with 15 months waranty left is better than a 99 with 15K miles. if you buy a 99 it may or may not have recieved a new engine. sometimes this can be hard to find out. porsche dealers will generally only tell you if the car has been serviced at their dealer. the best bet is a very clean car with a stack of reciepts for all service.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:07 AM   #6
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Silly_me, you've been given some very good, sound advice from those who drive what you want to buy.

Newest S you can afford with some factory warranty remaining and a glass rear window and Bose Sound is my suggestion, just to reiterate what others have said.

If I had it all to do over again, I would have saved my money and bought an 2002 S... fine car with lots of improvements, a glass rear window and far quicker off the line than my 2.5 liter engine.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:29 AM   #7
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i agree w Randall. i have been doing car stereos for about 13 years and the boxster is the hardest car to put a good system in. go w the bose and leave it alone.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour
Silly_me, you've been given some very good, sound advice from those who drive what you want to buy.
Thanks again all, and Randall the information in your sig links are very helpful. I'll be looking at an '01 on my way home tonight.
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:48 AM   #9
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Hi,

My recommendation is to seriously look at all Model Years. There are some real CremePuff '98 and '99s (at Bargain Prices) while there are some real Dog '01 and '02s. There have not been that many Boxsters produced that you would have to check out 55+ Cars to find one in the shape and at the price you want. I doubt in your area there would be 10 Cars which you would seriously consider for one reason or another. And, there is some correlation between the amount of work you put in up front to the quality of Car you eventually buy. AND NO MATTER WHICH YOU CHOOSE, PAY $300+ FOR A PROPER PPI - EVEN ONE WHICH IS CERTIFIED!

All Porsches are expensive to own. None are particularly reliable, especially as compared to the 2Ks or MX-5s. The 'S' will cost the same to own and maintain as the Base Model, with the exception that you may drive it Harder and suffer the consequences of this.

If depreciation is an issue, stay away from Fun Cars altogether. In one form or another, they are all Black Holes! You can't Reason your way into a Porsche - it's gotta be a Love Affair, and one which will bring it's share of Love/Hate!

Don't be enamored by the Porsche Crest. A Miata will bring just as many smiles to most people at one third the cost.

I'm not trying to discourage you, I love my Boxster. But, in truth, I hate it much more than I imagined I would as well. I have had virtually no problems per se, but one carries a greater degree of anxiety than I ever have with any other Sports Car, even the stream of Lotus, which I have owned.

If you're still reading this, do your research and go out and find the best one you can for the money... then NEVER look back! Good Luck!...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:06 PM   #10
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So..... I'm back. And let it be known that the garage full of motorbikes has nothing to do with the reason why I STILL don't own another Porsche

And my teeny little daughter is now... 16, and change, and has started the year as a senior in Highschool

And I find myself in a conundrum, as a soon-to-be empty nester with no need for jump seats, and still no Boxster in the garage, and a kid with a need for a reliable car for college......we must capitalize on this situation;

Scenario a) we buy a cheap used snore-o-matic for the kiddo.

Scenario b) we buy a late model 986 and give the kiddo wifey's snore-o-matic.

As much as it pains me I vote for option B. But, despite my previous research, and my well received responses below I have a few more questions:

-Was the engine sorted out in the late model 986? I recall Excellence stating that the issue wasn't really sorted until the 987... confirmation?

-Was the timing chain tensioner still an issue for the late model variants?

-If I were, oh I dunno, go and have a look at an 03 with 60k miles on it this coming weekend, what would I, hypothetically look for as a sign of trouble?

*note: it seems that the serpentine belt, spark plugs, and oil change seem fairly easy and shade tree possible..... what am I missing, what sort of issue is lurking for a 'routine' engine drop in order to get to?

Again, as previously, many many thanks folks

OT, wasn't this the guy from Doom ->
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:31 PM   #11
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There is only so much you can see without dis-assembly, so aside from overall condition check the CV boots at the wheel if you can. I just looked at mine (which only has 32K miles) and both are torn. Also, lift the carpeting or reach under the seam to see or feel it there is any moisture (coolant) in the trunk.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:14 PM   #12
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Question for MN, why do you feel the altruism is more present in a PPI than a certification? Nine for ten they are going to be the same folks conducting said examination. A PPI is only as good as the mechanic, the program is not factory monitored for quality and essentially gives one no leverage in the case of a future repair.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:17 AM   #13
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Question for MN, why do you feel the altruism is more present in a PPI than a certification? Nine for ten they are going to be the same folks conducting said examination. A PPI is only as good as the mechanic, the program is not factory monitored for quality and essentially gives one no leverage in the case of a future repair.
Don't think you'll be getting a response from MNBoxster anytime soon. He's been gone from these parts for quite some time now. Or he, as some say, returns from time to time in an altered incarnation...spooky, eh?
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:23 AM   #14
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11) Aside from the obvious (it’s a Porsche, it has a soul lacking in other cars) why should I get a used Boxster over a new Miata or lightly used S2k.
Look no farther than the obvious. Why buy the Porsche?

Because, if you don't, everytime you walk into your garage and see your miata/s2k/solstice/z3/ you will sigh, deeply and sadly, and say to yourself "Shoulda got the Porsche".

Because, if you don't, every time your pull up at a light beside a 986 or even a 914, you will pull the brim of your hat down lower and feel inadequate and envious.

Because, if you don't, you will stare longingly at the procession of shiny Porsches driving past as the local PCA chapter goes out on their regular Sunday afternoon jaunt, to which you were not invited.

Besides, do you really want the apple of your eye, your little princess, to have to have admit to her friends that her dad drives a miata? Of sure, she'll try and tell them that he coulda bought a Porsche if he wanted to, but they will just say "Yeah, right" as they exchange smirks behind her back and cross her name off the popular list. Colleges with more stingent acceptance standards may become unavailable to her.

So, you see, it's not just for you, it's for your daughter as well. Buy the Porsche - you owe it to yourself, but more importantly, you owe it to her.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:45 AM   #15
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get a good low milage S and you should be good to go. Many things you can do yourself.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:48 AM   #16
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And if everything Mark said isn't enough, the poles are going to shift on Dec 21, the outer crust of the Earth will reverse motion, when it stops to change directions the Oceans will slop over the lands and wipe out most of us as mother Earth has correctly surmised that we truly need to get rid of numerous Richardheads....

So till then.... Drive the best sports car you can get your mitts on, smile frequently, be friendly, smoke a ten dollar cigar, drink a stupid expensive single malt, treat 2012 like Mayan and Egyptian predictions are fact, that way, if the dung does contact the fan at least you went out hearty and among-st the small group of humans privileged enough to fire up one of the best cars on the planet. If the ancients are wrong we get to have Christmas all over again May 2013 when the driving season in NY begins again.

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Old 09-05-2012, 06:16 AM   #17
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The general consensus around here seems to be that $2000/yr is typical maintenance costs on the 986's.

Do the wrenching yourself and perhaps its half that or less.

I agree with the others that the reason you buy a Porsche is because "There is no substitute" and having just got mine in May of this year I totally agree.

Nothing drives or handles like a Boxster unless you can afford one of those super cars.

You buy it because you love the drive!

Also, buy the "S" model or you may fall prey to "S" envy sooner or later.

There are a number of weak points in many model year combinations and from my research I choose the 2001 "S" because the cylinders are the most robust as described by a Porsche engine re-builder on these forums.

The RMS is an annoyance if you get it but the IMS issue can destroy your engine if you are in the unlucky 5% that are stricken. Thats why you will read the IMS proactive replacements being done with a 3rd party improved part, when the clutch needs replacement.

Avoid a car that has ANY dripping oil from the engine as its likely the RMS or IMS and guaranteed to cost you $1000 or more to fix.

A good car that needs no repairs should leak absolutely nothing.

In the end only you can decide but if you test drive a Boxster and don't fall in love then don't bother and just accept a cheap substitute.

PS: Due to the support by the great members in this forum/site, if you can wrench on your car there is virtually nothing you will not be able to do yourself, including making a Boxster race ready, upgrading engines and anything else. That is what you get when you hang out with enthusiasts.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:07 AM   #18
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Greetings,

I have never understood why people suggest that changing the oil on a Box is difficult or requires special tools...neither is the case.

In reality, an oil service on my 2002 S is much easier than on my Lex GS400 or my GF's M Cooper S. The filter is right next to the oil pan. A small oil filter wrench or strap wrench makes it easy (don't over-tighten it). The drain plug is easily accessed as well. You need a jack, jack stands, a simple metric socket set and whatever you want to use to grab the oil filter (sticky rubber gloves would probably be enough to remove it by hand as long as it's clean.

If I paid $400 for an oil service I don't think I'd be able to sit down for a week!

Hengst filters are $14 on line and 5 qt jugs of the synthetic of your choice can be had for under $30.

My oil changes cost me:

~$30X2=$60 + $14 = $74 at the most, even if I figure my time at $200hr (time you'd spend in the dealer's reception area anyway) I am doing better than going to a dealership, plus I get to inspect the underside of the car.

It's really not a big deal and not beyond the capabilities of any healthy adult I've met.

Stop the bleeding folks, save your cash for real repairs...
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:31 PM   #19
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Ok, what is the deal with the IMS? And was it ever 'fixed' in any of the 986's years of production?

It appears that a 'fix' is an aftermarket piece?

I'm assuming failure of this can kill the engine?

I've driven a few examples but not really inspected them, but where should I look for oil? I'm assuming the undercarriage is covered by aerodynamic flimflam?

Also, what's the average life of a clutch?
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:00 PM   #20
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The IMS issue is basically a bearing that can fail in the engine and destroy the engine in the process. While there is no hard data on the actual number of cars affected, it is generally estimated at between 2 and 5 %. Some peeps lay awake at night worrying about it, others never give it a thought. I would be in the latter group.

There was no fix forthcoming from Porsche for the 986. There is a company, LN Engineering, that make an upgraded bearing that can be retrofitted and is said to solve the problem. Most people do that upgrade at the same time they do the clutch and RMS. I expect that's when I'll do it. In there anyway, why not?

Dunno what the life of the clutch is - haven't worn mine out yet. As I'm at 130000 km I expect it will be within the next couple of years.

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