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Old 05-28-2016, 12:29 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 45
Buying, Owning and Servicing A Porsche On Okinawa

Originally chose to share the information below to explain why I plan to just replace the OEM belt and leave the pulley upgrade for (perhaps) another day. But after writing the response (and finding virtually nothing about Porsches and Okinawa online) I realized some may benefit from my Boxster S buying experience on a small approximately 70 miles long by 2-17 miles wide Japanese island that hosted the horrific and WWII-ending battle against the Japanese imperial military forces and cost over 240,000 lives in less than six months.

My concerns have more to do with the need to alter a part of the engine (the boss) that many have reported as important to an efficient IMS bearing replacement.

I live on Okinawa. The nearest Porsche dealer and Porsche authorized/trained mechanic sits on another Japanese island (part of mainland Japan) nearly 500 miles across the ocean.

(My particular Boxster S did not come with the amphibious option. Spotting a few non-amphibious Porsches testing the ocean waters during some 2011 Tsunami videos has ruled out any ocean-crossing attempts unless by ferry.)

Okinawa Population approx. 1.25 million; Porsche population: probably less than 100. You can drive months without seeing another Porsche unless you head towards the capital city of Naha.

The previous owner of my car and I searched for several weeks trying to find a Porsche specialist but did not find one. We found plenty of mechanics willing to work on the Boxster S but that seemed like a gamble that could likely result in more problems and less money.

The first garage he recommended, because the original owner specialized in performance foreign (non-Japanese) vehicles, had two boxsters sitting in their bays that had reportedly been collecting dust for over a year. The owners apparently did not want to pay for what the garage/mechanics claimed as necessary repairs. If I didn't see all the dust and what appeared to be half-completed work started months, if not years, ago I would not have believed the abandonment tales so easily. So, before I negotiated a price for the externally excellent looking Porsche, I knew I'd personally perform as much maintenance, preventative maintenance, and repairs as possible rather than ending up in an Auto Mechanic Extortion Scheme of Some sort or "A MESSs".

I plan to do as much work as I can on my own as I trust my own mechanical abilities, attention to detail, thoroughness, ability to learn, retain, and apply new information and technique combined with the patience, persistence and willingness to do things correctly over some questionably-skilled mechanic that has neither driven nor seen a Porsche engine: and, due to language barriers, does not have access to the wealth of Porsche technical information and tutorials available in English. Nor do I trust any mechanic with two Boxsters collecting dust in their bays along with a BMW. The only clean car of the five, a late model Ford Mustang - probably the mechanic's.

Though I have yet to locate a Porsche specialist on Okinawa, I do have access to hydraulic lifts and ramps through the US Military Autoskills Facilities as well as their extensive array of tools and some general technical support from the Autoskills Center employees.

I purchased the car after raising her up 5 feet and performing my own 3 hour Pre-Purchase Inspection that included an oil and filter change and an inspection of both oil and filter. Also purchased a BlueDriver OBD tool that showed no trouble codes.
Plan to buy the more thorough Durametric: and, purchased the car knowing I would perform the following:

1. Replace Fan belt, Air and Cabin Filters
2. Replace the engine mount
3. Replace Spark Plugs, Tubes and Connectors (and coils if needed/cracked)
4. Replace Pads, Rotors, and install stainless steel brake lines
5. Replace both rear axle assemblies
6. IMS Bearing retrofit/replacement

The previous (2nd) owner stated he only changed the oil every 5000 km or at least once a year for the last 12 years. Only mechanical/electrical replacements included a new water pump, fan belt, window drop regulators, MAF and O2 sensors. Knowing that he had done little in terms of parts replacement and preventative maintenance (and probably even less by the original owner of 4 years) I knew I'd need to perform several replacements and some preventative maintenance.

My pre-purchase inspection aided me in negotiating from his initial listing price of $17,500 to $11,700. During our month-long inspection/negotiation process, he actually had a new glass-windowed top installed that he purchased from a stateside Porsche dealer during a recent trip to the US. The top looks great and functions well.

The previous owner also "threw in" several hundred dollars in new oil & air filters, two new O2 sensors, three window drop microswitches, a dozen different new light bulbs, two new brake sensors, two liters of Porsche Transmission fluid, all of the manuals, an unused Porsche car care kit, an unused Blue "siren light" that came with the Stuttgart-built Boxster S, jack and Porsche tools as well as a few other items.

I'd like the extra hp boost that coincides with the UD pulley upgrade but not at the expense of a less difficult IMS Bearing replacement.

I asked about the TDC locking alternative to using the "boss" and no one has replied even though I posted the question on three forums (Rennlist, 986, Pelican); so, for now the UD Pulley upgrade goes to the back burner. It only made it's way to the front of the line after searching and reading about fan belt replacement on the Boxster.

Whether or not I perform the IMS Bearing retrofit/replacement, or hire someone to do it, the task seems daunting enough without adding another time-consuming aspect to the already lengthy and difficult task by rendering the boss useless.

I welcome any knowledge/experience you wish to share... love learning so thanks in advance.


2000 Boxster S
Zenith Blue
Black Top/Glass Window
Purchased May 2016
w/41.5k Miles

Last edited by DRGETZ; 05-28-2016 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 05-28-2016, 06:46 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 213
Hi Mitchell,

Enjoyed reading your post, youre a talented writter.

My history somewhat paralells yours so I may have a few tid bits that you may find useful. I puchased my first ever Porsche two years ago. At the time of purchase I told myself then that in order to justify a car that I own solely for enjoyment, it being a second car and a garage queen, that I would need to learn to do most all of the repair work personally. I knew then that my new-to-me 12 year old high performance sports car, with already 99,000 miles on the odometer, would require almost constant repair attention. For the most part that has proven to be accuate.

At the time of purchase my background in auto repair was limited, and while my experience has increased, I still consider myself pretty new to all things maintance and repair. Going back a little further, I spent five years active duty and another seven years as a defense contractor and I will tell you that the auto hobby shop is something that I dearly wish I had access to now as I did then. Having access to a lift and the specially tools makes life so much easier. Ironically, in those 12 years that I did have access the internet was fairly new. The wealth of repair instructions and the ease of ordering parts all via the internet make a DIY auto repair much easier, and combined with your access to the auto hobby shop, you are in a great position to do most all of the work yourself in a fairly painless manner.

I purchased the car from a dealership and almost immendiately the rear main seal went out. Because the dealership covered the cost of that repair I did spend the extra money, out of my own pocket, to replace the IMS. As a rookie mechanic, without access to a lift, I probably would have had that extensive of a repair done professionally but your situation may allow you to take on that big job. Perhaps in 50k more miles I will have the confidence to take on the clutch, sans a lift, but time will tell if I have that kind of confidence.

Its understood your situation and finding a mechanic. However I would continue to look and find someone who you can ask questions and help diagnose problems. On more than one occasion I have paid my mechanic an hours labor to help me diagnose the problem to which I then drive home and repair myself. The things that I have done to my car, both self and professionally, can be found in the narrative of my garage link found below my handle on this post. It will give you an idea of what work I have done.

Folks recommend publications like 101 Projects For Your Porsche Boxster and the Bentley Repair Manual as good books to have. I personally have found them to be marginally helpful, ofter containing lots of info you wont need and little in the way of info you do need. Which still leaves you scouring the internet for repair info. They are good to have, I suppose, but have thus far been of little help to me when compared to the internet.

I dont know what other cars are like to work on and, again, for all I know all cars are this way but in my experience patience is required with a Boxster, a lot of patience. In order to remove and replace part 'D' you will first be required to remove part 'A', 'B' and 'C.' In other words everything takes longer because of the design of the car, it was not built with repair in mind. This probably explains why many shops in my town flatly wont work on Porsche. But as long as you keep this general rule in mind and prepare yourself for it, the car is otherwise the same to repair as any other car. From what my experienced Porsche mechanic told me an under drive pulley is not worth the trouble. I do like the results of desnokling my Boxster and Im considering cutting up my muffler for a DIY sport exhaust.

Finally, four words: Maguires Paint Correction Kit. Live it, love it, learn it. Lots of youtube videos, invest in a DA machine, the kit, add their polish as an intermediate step and perhaps replace the included wax with their synthetic Ultimate Wax. You will be amazed how pretty your boxster can be by learning and properly executing paint correction.
02 Seal Grey 5 Speed
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:49 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: O.C. CA
Posts: 3,410
Drgetz it sounds like you have basic mechanical skills so I recommend you maintain your Box personally. I don't know if you are a medical Dr. but due to the fragile & expensive nature of many of the engine parts in a Box, think in terms of a medical procedure while "operating" on you Box. Since you live on Okinawa I don't want to miss the opportunity to thank you for Military service if appropriate.
If you have Porsche service manuals you are well ahead of most Box owners & want-a-be Porsche mechanics. The Box is 20 years old so there is very little new info & virtually anything can be learned by using the search function.
The host of this forum, Pelican Parts ships overseas, so they may be your best source for parts.

Jerk that is constantly criticzing new forum members and overly advertising my rebuilt engine for sale for a highly inflating price along with other miscellaneous parts accumulated over my 20 years of ownership.
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durametric , okinawa , porsches on okinawa , preventative maintenance , ud pulley

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