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Old 08-15-2017, 09:42 PM   #1
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Is a '98 a bad thing?

I am looking at purchasing a '98 Boxster with a 5 speed manual. The car has had the IMS bearing replaced with ceramic about 10,000 miles ago. It was damaged in front but only damage to the nose and the front trunk (truck hitch backed into it). The repair work appears to be excellent. Car is on a clean title and appears in solid condition during my first test drive. I am a complete newbie but have read a lot about the IMS/RMS/slip sleeve issues with 986's but really like the car. Had someone that knows Porsches well say to NEVER consider a 98 as the engines are trash. My question is, since the IMS/clutch were done recently and the engine has made it 110k, does that not mean the issues that troubled the early 986's were either already fixed (no records that far) or that it has a better than average chance of not being impacted by the issues that caused early engine failures? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-15-2017, 09:49 PM   #2
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A PPI by a reputable dealer would be money well spent, also ask for the paper work on the IMS replacement, if you are serious about the car contact who did the work...I would go there in person and talk about the job and see what they have to say. Last thing if I were really ready to buy the car is see how many miles on the last oil change (Hopefully a lot....the more the better) Tell the shop you want a oil change and you want the filter the second it comes out of the car. be prepared with a good ziploc bag....take the filter home and cut it open and go over with a bright light and a magnet and look for metal of any sort.....best advice I can give you. Also if he wants to talk about a engine warranty for say $500 extra for 6 months.....buy it after you read it carefully....if an engine replacement is covered under a catastrophic failure you are in a pretty good place.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:32 AM   #3
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i certainly wouldn't call the 2.5l motors trash. They are what the spec boxsters race with and the only 986's to come from the factory with a dual row IMS which had the least (<1%) failure rates. I am a bit new to 986's but did a lot of research before purchasing and the 2.5's are pretty stout.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:59 AM   #4
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NOT Trash

I've had my '98 for nine years and 60,000 miles. Nothing but routine maintenance and lots of fun. Changing the IMS bearing in a '98 is a waste of money in my opinion. If the car has been properly maintained you've got nothing to worry about.
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Old 08-16-2017, 04:27 AM   #5
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97-98.5 have some odd parts on them that are not shared with the rest of the first generation. It's mostly not that big of a deal because they are pieces that never break and or can be upgraded if they do break (except the door lock mechanism). There are many things I like about the 98.5-99 and consider them one of the best example's of the 986. In certain ways the 97-99 are more durable than the 2000-04.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. Feel better about spending the money for a proper PPI now. Can you tell me how I can determine if it fits in the 98.5-99 category your mentioned? Assume it is by the VIN but where is the cutoff?
Will let you know what happens.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJFrog View Post
Thanks for the responses. Feel better about spending the money for a proper PPI now. Can you tell me how I can determine if it fits in the 98.5-99 category your mentioned? Assume it is by the VIN but where is the cutoff?
Will let you know what happens.
If you check the VIN decal on the left door, it should show a build date (month/year) which would show you if it's in the early, middle, or later part of the model year.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:31 AM   #8
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I'm not sure when the cutoff date is but the early 98 cars will have some 97 parts on them. The suspension sub-frames are the biggest difference and it's easy to tell the difference between the two. I'll see if i can post some pics later on. Another quick way to tell is the long middle plastic belly pan. The early one's had holes down them.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:34 AM   #9
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I misspoke earlier and since have corrected it. It's the door lock mechanism that is different for the 97-98.5
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Old 08-16-2017, 12:30 PM   #10
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Looks like an early 98. Manufacture date is 8/97. Have the VIN of that would help show any additional details. Let me know and I will PM it to you.

Drove it again and seems very tight and strong. Actually smoother and quicker than an '02 S I recently tested. Definitely can see how these things are addicting.

Squeaks a bit in the rear suspension when I manually bounce it. Sounds great with top down, some suspension rattle with top up. Other than that seems sorted.

Interestingly had 2 Porsche shops say they no longer do PPI's. Too much liability. Would agree to do oil change and 20 point inspection but not a formal PPI.

Hoping to call her mine before the end of the week. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 08-16-2017, 02:48 PM   #11
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With the age, mileage, and suspension squeaks and rattles the car may need a suspension rebuild. You may want to factory this into your purchase costs.

For a 98 to feel faster then a 02 S the latter Boxster most of had some issues. A car with 25% more horsepower even with some of the extra weight the later Boxsters added should not feel slower.

Good luck and welcome.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:43 PM   #12
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I'd love to know why the Porsche expert you talked about said these motors are trash. Couldn't be farther from the truth.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:34 AM   #13
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Here's the a rear subframe from a 97-98.5 and a 98.5-04 sitting on top of it. The 97-98.5 has snap on tabs for adjusting the control arms while the 98.5-04 has them cast into the unit. The 98.5-04 rear subframe is also much more beafy and probably weighs a pond or two more than the earlier style. The spec guys break these more than anything and that's usually from side impacts.

The front subframe is also different and the easy way to tell the difference is where the control arm mounts. The early style is completely straight while the later style has a bow to it. The front subframe on the early cars doesn't show anymore likelihood to break than the later style.

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Old 08-17-2017, 02:23 PM   #14
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I have a 97 chassis that was converted into a Spec Boxster race car in 2013 at 205,000 miles. Now the chassis has around 260,000 miles. The fact that it was a 97 and not a 98 or 99 has never been an issue in any way and the fact that the original engine lasted 205,000 miles says that the engine certainly wasn't crap. Earlier this year, the front end was damaged in an on-track incident and was easily repaired with readily available parts.

Buying the first year of a new model is always a bit risky but after 20 years, what ever growing pains might have existed have surely been repaired/replaced by now.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:49 PM   #15
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I've had my 98 since 25, 000 miles and now have 85000. The car has been serviced at the dealership. The clutch and IMS/rms were done at my time of purchase. The car has been a dream. Declined the coil packs and clutch change at 60,000 and the car still runs strong. No real issues.

I later bought a 2000 996 thinking I wanted more power. The 996 is a great car, but at autocross im faster in the 986. Although the plan was to sell the 986 and just can't give it up.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:30 AM   #16
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Loved my '98. Sold it with about 78k miles...motor's oil analysis came back excellent from Blackstone. The '98's had the beefier dual row IMS bearing. The only thing I would say about the 2.5L baseline is it is a bit easier to stall coming off idle but once you get used to how to launch it you will forget about that.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:00 PM   #17
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Smile Thank you

Joined the Club today and brought home my first 986. Thanks for all the feedback. Looking forward to enjoying many miles of top down fun. A few things to work on so will be posting more in the days/weeks to come.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:15 AM   #18
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The 2.5 flat sixes are The Best ever sounding of all Porsche productions - combined.

That '98 will work just fine

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Old 08-21-2017, 07:34 PM   #19
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Welcome to the club! FYI, I'm only 1-2 hours away from you and feel free to text/call me if you ever need a part, advice or a helping hand. I'm also pretty connected with Porsche shops here in Texas and can give you some numbers if you find yourself needing to bring it somewhere to get fixed.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:14 PM   #20
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Congrats! Pics!

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