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Old 03-01-2017, 06:01 AM   #1
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Fix strut or wait a few years?

My mechanic said that the struts are leaking and should be replaced. The car has 65700 miles and is a 2000 Boxster. I just use it for short distance side road driving to work and occasional highway driving. I drive it about 3000 miles a year. Haven't been to the track in 15 years. I'm not noticing any huge problems. Possibly a little more creaking with age, no bounce when I push the car down. I got a quote of 3400 for parts and labor including realigning the wheels.

What would you all recommend? Is it critical to do ASAP? Will I harm the car if I wait? Is it unsafe to drive? Or should I just wait a few years (who knows how long it will survive anyway). Is the price right? I'd prefer to wait a few years, as I've put in a lot of money the last three years and want to slow down the spending.

They also recommended replacing brakes and discs for 1000 which I intend on getting done in a few months with the spring/summer oil change.

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Old 03-01-2017, 06:21 AM   #2
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In my opinion not critical ASAP to replace the struts, if they are going out they may not dampen the springs as effectively, so you may notice a little more bouncy ride and you may be getting onto the bump stops more (if you even have any left at this point, they crumble away with age). However you should be OK, I did a lot of track driving on my shot struts starting at around 115,000 miles with only shreds of bump stops left and it was OK. I could sure tell a difference once I got it all replaced though I did all the work myself so it was only parts cost, for me it was around $1000'ish for 4 new Koni FSD dampers, new bump stops, and new strut top mounts in the front. I kept my backs as they looked very good with no cracking and so forth that I could easily see in the fronts.

In my opinion at $3400 to replace the struts, the price is wrong. Even refreshing all the rubber bits (bump stop around $10 each and front strut top mount, around $35 each, backs were more) and the strut itself ($250'ish for Bilsteins although there now appear to be some budget replacements), $3,400 is way too much in my opinion.

Brakes at $1,000 is way too much too, you can get 4 OEM style Meyle rotors for an S model for around $200'ish, OEM style brake pads for <$100, and replacing it all is only 1-2 hours for all 4 corners. Base rotors may be even less.

Struts is a tough job for a first time DIY, but brakes is an ideal first time DIY project.

Are these full dealer prices at a Porsche dealership? Maybe you could find a trusted indy shop that does Porsche, should come to much less than the prices you are quoted above.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:42 AM   #3
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Can't comment on the price to replace the struts, but I would put strut replacement in a totally different difficulty class from doing the brakes. Brakes take me a couple of hours for each end of the car, working in my driveway with no lift. Much of that time is spent jacking up the car.

Was this $1,000 price just for the front end? (they are the first to wear given the amount of braking done by the front tires.) Did you trip a brake wear sensor? Take a look at replacement pads and you'll be astounded by the amount of material left after the light comes on. It's definitly not a "service or die" indication. I've gone a couple of months with the light illuminated, though this of course depends on how much driving you do. If the wear light hasn't come on yet, why is he pushing a brake job? That's what the sensor is for.

I've always done my brakes myself. It's almost idiot proof. Last time I did it the parts cost me ~$300-350 from Pelican for the front end. New pads, rotors, shims, wear sensors (I always replace them as they either get mangled in the removal or have tripped the brake wear light) and caliper bolts. Usually I spend much less that. I don't replace the calipers every time. (I remember a dealer telling me that they "always change the rotors with every brake job.") And while they were worn admittedly below specs, I got 100,000 miles out of my front rotors with no problem. Gasp! The horror! This is a street car, never tracked. YMMV

I'll do the rears on the next change. And I only do an alignmnet if I notice unusual tire wear. The pins on the fronts were a little corroded so I'll replace all 8 of them the next time the brakes are addressed.

The only problem I've ever had is last time the wheels wouldn't come free from the hubs. Couldn't bang them loose. A buddy suggested loosening the lug bolts a bit and driving it in a circle to free them which did the trick. Reinstalled them with a light coat of antiseize after lightly cleaning the surfaces with a wire brush.

Any number of guides out there, so if $ is a concern this can go a ways toward the cost of a strut change. Don't forget to have the brake fluid flushed occassionaly. I think Porsche recomends every two years -- the ABS pump can be pricey to replace I hear.

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Last edited by Cbonilla; 03-01-2017 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 03-01-2017, 08:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by steved0x View Post
In my opinion not critical ASAP to replace the struts, if they are going out they may not dampen the springs as effectively, so you may notice a little more bouncy ride and you may be getting onto the bump stops more (if you even have any left at this point, they crumble away with age). However you should be OK, I did a lot of track driving on my shot struts starting at around 115,000 miles with only shreds of bump stops left and it was OK. I could sure tell a difference once I got it all replaced though I did all the work myself so it was only parts cost, for me it was around $1000'ish for 4 new Koni FSD dampers, new bump stops, and new strut top mounts in the front. I kept my backs as they looked very good with no cracking and so forth that I could easily see in the fronts.

In my opinion at $3400 to replace the struts, the price is wrong. Even refreshing all the rubber bits (bump stop around $10 each and front strut top mount, around $35 each, backs were more) and the strut itself ($250'ish for Bilsteins although there now appear to be some budget replacements), $3,400 is way too much in my opinion.

Brakes at $1,000 is way too much too, you can get 4 OEM style Meyle rotors for an S model for around $200'ish, OEM style brake pads for <$100, and replacing it all is only 1-2 hours for all 4 corners. Base rotors may be even less.

Struts is a tough job for a first time DIY, but brakes is an ideal first time DIY project.

Are these full dealer prices at a Porsche dealership? Maybe you could find a trusted indy shop that does Porsche, should come to much less than the prices you are quoted above.
^^^ Everything Steve said. ^^^
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Old 03-01-2017, 09:24 AM   #5
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In my world brakes and tires are everything so I dont delay. Just had front stuts replaced at 120k miles....BIG difference in handling but I had many more miles. Basically the whole front suspension has been replaced since 88k but I think I should have started with the struts.But as time goes by I am wrong more often than not.
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:02 PM   #6
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So 3400 for struts and 1000 for brakes??? Run, don't walk but run away from this shop. For that money I will fly to you with tools and do it for half including upgraded parts. Even with a basic jack in your driveway this would only take a few hours. I can't bring an alignment rack with me so will have to pay someone the $69.95 for the 4 wheel alignment.
On a serious note: if your brakes are low then replace them. It takes no time at all and can be done with a basic tool kit or go to an independent shop and bring them the parts, they should charge around 1 hour labor for the front and 1 hour for the rear so about $200.
Struts, if they are not too bouncy and bottoming out you can wait to do them. They don't take long to do either so probably 3-4 hours labor total and you can search the internet and see how little the parts cost.
If you came to my house and I could use my hoist I could have the struts and brakes down in around 3 hours all together with air tools but shops will charge whatever the listed time is and it is probably listed at longer than it actually takes but not anywhere near the prices you were quoted.
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Old 03-01-2017, 08:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. The quote for the brakes includes front and rear pads and discs which I'm assuming is OEM parts. They are saying that they are wearing out and should trip the sensor in the next couple thousand miles or less. I have had the front pads replaced once before.

I know you guys are saying the price is high and I checked PelicanParts and the OEM price comes I believe to about 720 for parts. I may have to check again but if that is the price of OEM and that is what they are using, then it's not too off base - or am I missing something? Are you guys saying don't use OEM in which case I could see the price being a lot less. Also I may try to do it myself as you guys are saying it's pretty easy to do the brakes - I remember the pads were super easy the first time - I watched the guy do it, but the discs are likely more involved.

By the sounds of it, I can wait on the struts and need to find a much lower price. How much should it cost and how long to wait? Again is part of the cost difference OEM vs third parties?
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Old 03-01-2017, 09:35 PM   #8
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Brakes and rotors

Rotors ~ $85/axle for Meyle drilled rotors
Pads ~ $40 /axle for PowerStop ceramic pads. I run these as my DD pads and also sometimes for AX. Stop on a dime and get 5 cents change and virtually no dust
Very easy DIY. At most 2 hours the first time you do it including flushing the system

Changing pads on a Boxster may be one of the easiest DIYs you can do. In probably takes longer to jack up the car and remove the wheels than to actually change the pads. Once you have done it the first time, maybe 30 min for all 4 wheels
Changing the rotors is minimally more work, you have to remove the calipers. Easy peasy

Also get a Motive Power Bleeder ~ $75 to make flushing or bleeding super easy

Struts run ~ 250 each
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Old 03-02-2017, 10:24 AM   #9
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An independent shop is not likely using OEM parts. What happens is they have to mark up the parts, if the rotor costs them $80, it costs you $149.95 etc... That is what they have to do to stay in business but for something as easy as brakes it is not necessary to take it to a shop. To replace the rotors over just the pads it is 3 more bolts, 2 caliper bracket and one rotor screw.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:29 AM   #10
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An independent shop is not likely using OEM parts. What happens is they have to mark up the parts, if the rotor costs them $80, it costs you $149.95 etc... That is what they have to do to stay in business but for something as easy as brakes it is not necessary to take it to a shop. To replace the rotors over just the pads it is 3 more bolts, 2 caliper bracket and one rotor screw.
Bad example. Porsche doesn't manufacture these parts themselves, but purchase them from several manufacturers and then mark them up significantly. You can purchase these parts directly from the supplier or from a distributor for significantly less money, often half of what Porsche sells exactly the same part for. This practice is called relabeling.

In many cases you can purchase parts that are superior to the Porsche parts for less money. The indie I use specializes in auto sports upgrades. They do NOT use inferior parts.

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