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Old 10-07-2017, 12:02 PM   #1
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Unhappy Seller lied, got screwed on Boxster. Keep or sell?

Whatís the right choice?

I bought a 99 Boxster from a guy who didnít tell me about itís suspension issues, and amazingly the Porsche prepurchase inspection didnít reveal it. The problem is the previous owner put lowering springs on it, and there is no way to align the car properly now. He was in an accident, and I know whyÖ He spun it because the car has no grip!

So here is where I amÖ
Base 986 Boxster. Under 70k mi. Paid $7000.

-Other than suspension, the car appears to be clean... other than a mediocre paint job in the spots he squished.

-I donít think it is, and neither do I mechanics, but I donít think I will be comfortable until I know for certain the frame isnít bent...given the sellerís dishonesty. That will cost me $500-$1000 to find out.

-My mechanics tell me I have 2 solutions:
1. Return the car to stock suspension, $2500
2. Keep it low, but install proper racing suspension, $4-$5000

***IS RACING SUSPENSION WORTH THE MONEY???*** if I spent the money, would I enjoy a noticeable upgrade over the 986 stock suspension? Or would it be a really expensive way to lower the car 1 inch? I do like the 986 model, always felt like my last 986 could have been better planted, and having a little bit of a sleeper is appealing...But wasting money is not.

-I have spent $2200 on the major 65K tuneup
-PPI gave car clean bill of health
- I have invested $600 in personal touches


Last edited by HereIam; 10-07-2017 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:17 PM   #2
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If I sell this car, the buyer will know EVERYTHING about this Boxster! And if you are the kind of person who is willing to put lives at risk for a dollar, screw you. I discovered the problem when I almost put the car into a wall while driving with my 10-year-old son!
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:01 PM   #3
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The lowering springs alone should not be making the car dangerous to drive. Plenty of people put springs on these cars with no problems. The reason they can't align it is because the factory control arms don't have the adjustment in them necessary to dial out the additional negative camber. Negative camber shouldn't be dangerous on its own. Something else might be going on. You also have a third option which is buying adjustable control arms front and rear.
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:23 PM   #4
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Something is fishy. Lowering springs will not cause the car to be all over the road. Only alignment setting that would be affected would be the negative camber, having it out of spec and be little more negative will actually increase cornering grip.
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:27 PM   #5
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The lowering springs alone should not be making the car dangerous to drive. Plenty of people put springs on these cars with no problems. The reason they can't align it is because the factory control arms don't have the adjustment in them necessary to dial out the additional negative camber. Negative camber shouldn't be dangerous on its own. Something else might be going on. You also have a third option which is buying adjustable control arms front and rear.
According to the alignment specialist I took it to, the wheels are going every which way, not just toed in. He speculated it was an amateur weekend warrior job. Whatís more, the Porsche dealer put one of the tires on backwards! Thanks guys, for making me take more time out of my life to fix your stupid mistake. The alignment guy said what you saidÖ He canít adjust it until the control arm issue is solved. All three Porsche specialist I have taken it to say these lowering springs alone are a bad idea.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:10 PM   #6
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Do you have an itemized list from your mechanic that wants to do the $2500 stock work? If so, please post it.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:16 PM   #7
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Why not just trade someone for stock springs and go from there?
These things are already low enough, in my opinion.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:17 PM   #8
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I'm still missing something here. Lowering springs are not causing the "every which way" issue. An amateur job is not either as something would have to be bent or a bushing squished or ..... to cause this. Can you post the printout of the alignment check with the camber, caster, toe in, thrust angle and the SAI (steering angle inclination if the shop works on German cars they will have checked this as the best indicator of bent steering components). I do between 5 and 20 alignments a week on various vehicles and see plenty of shoddy work. I don't recall the last time it took more than a few hundred $$$ to correct it although it has cost more if components are completely worn out such as ball joints, control arms, tie rods, bushings etc.... Just curious, where you from? If you happen to be near the Detroit area bring it by me, it is just $49.95 for us to align your car or at least do a proper base measurement, not trying to advertise, I'm just a tech at a shop that hates shoddy work or people being taken for a ride.
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HereIam View Post
I don’t think I will be comfortable until I know for certain the frame isn’t bent...given the seller’s dishonesty. That will cost me $500-$1000 to find out.
Its worth the money (and shouldn't cost more than $500) because it will be very hard to properly align the wheels if the frame is damaged. I recently had the frame alignment on my Boxster checked after a racing incident just to be sure.

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Originally Posted by HereIam View Post
***IS RACING SUSPENSION WORTH THE MONEY???*** if I spent the money, would I enjoy a noticeable upgrade over the 986 stock suspension? Or would it be a really expensive way to lower the car 1 inch? I do like the 986 model, always felt like my last 986 could have been better planted, and having a little bit of a sleeper is appealing...But wasting money is not.
Yes and no.

Yes, the Spec Boxster setup (PSS9's, adj control arms, adj sway bars, rear toe links, and extended sway bar links) are a huge upgrade in terms of cornering/handling performance over the stock (or M030) suspension. If you plan to track the car or eventually race, this is great setup and well worth the investment. With sticky tires, a Boxster with racing suspension will corner at more than 1.0g.

BUT this setup is not very comfortable on the street. Its tolerable with everything on Full Soft but definitely still stiff riding. On Full Hard (race setting) it will rattle your tooth fillings on rough pavement. I know this because my Spec Boxster is still street registered and I drive it to/from every race. For a daily driver, you could live with it (use the stock Bilstein springs that come with the PSS9's as the 450/500 lbs/in springs that racers use will be overkill on the street) but you'll have to be ready to compromise comfort for performance. Again, I'd only go this route if you intend to track the car on a regular basis with the hope of racing someday.

The best setup on the street for a good mix of performance and comfortable drivability is the factory M030 option.
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Last edited by thstone; 10-07-2017 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:18 PM   #10
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2.2k for 65k tuneup? Did they do an engine out service? Seriously what did they do?

Just because it's lowered doesn't mean you can't get a good alignment. Yes, if you are going for factory 0 camber fronts, that ain't going to happen. You can run -1.5+ camber and still have a very safe setup. I'm not sure where you're located but the places you took the car to do not know these cars....unless you seriously have a bent frame...that would be the only case you can't get a proper alignment.

Plenty people here have lowered cars...i have plenty of this gen 986/996 car "slammed" and have no issues with alignment
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:39 PM   #11
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They alignment guy knows how to set thing to factory specifications he does not actually know how to do alignments. He doesn't really know what to do and can't make it workable because the company doesn't really allow for that.

I've not dived into Porsche alignment specs yet but I doubt that lowering springs would prevent proper tow settings which can very much adversely affect regular driving and make it unstable. Castor, think chair castors, could be a bit crazy on lower springs I guess. If left and right sides are set equally then you could maybe get buy but yea wrong castor that could make the car a bit hard to drive. Everyone want's more negative camber so I can't see that causing the car to be unstable. Again equalizing settings left and right would help a lot but a regular alignment shop isn't going to touch it.

My BS asside. Find a tuning shop not a chain shop or dealer to do the alignment, and if putting factory springs on it would correct all this then do that. You'll probably be happy with handling. A collision specialty shop can tell you if the frame is bent.

Save the springs for when you do want to do a race suspension or sell them to the next wan-a-b tuner. I've got a racing Spec Miata and it's not really pleasant to drive on regular roads so I'd say you probably don't want a racing suspension on a street car. If you are going to track it mostly then go for it.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:11 PM   #12
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Go stock! Unless you plan on racing and spending more to beef up the overall engine performance which will be a couple more thousand
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:24 PM   #13
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They alignment guy knows how to set thing to factory specifications he does not actually know how to do alignments. He doesn't really know what to do and can't make it workable because the company doesn't really allow for that.

I've not dived into Porsche alignment specs yet but I doubt that lowering springs would prevent proper tow settings which can very much adversely affect regular driving and make it unstable. Castor, think chair castors, could be a bit crazy on lower springs I guess. If left and right sides are set equally then you could maybe get buy but yea wrong castor that could make the car a bit hard to drive. Everyone want's more negative camber so I can't see that causing the car to be unstable. Again equalizing settings left and right would help a lot but a regular alignment shop isn't going to touch it.
I couldn't agree more. I redo a lot of alignments from national chains and other shops. We have a term for it "toe and go" meaning they set the toe somewhere within the spec and ship it. A proper alignment starts with setting the rear camber and the thrust angle down the centerline of the car. Even there you will see a range that is within spec that doesn't really work all that great for a particular car or user. A perfect example would be all the BMWs I get to redo because they wear out the inside of the rear tires due to high camber. The spec on a typical e46 is something like -1.8 to 2.7, if a shop sees it in that range they leave it alone even if it's nearing the 2.7 which will accelerate tire wear. If the customer just uses the bimmer as a commuter I set it in the 1.8 range which actually looks bad as our readouts will show it at the edge of the "green" on the dial instead of in the middle, which is what most "techs" think is optimal. You need to go to someone who understands and cares enough to make the car work right. I can rant on and on but I have seen so many cars that "dog track" right after an alignment and check out to be within spec but on the opposite edges front and rear and not even close to optimized.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:32 PM   #14
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2.2k for 65k tuneup? Did they do an engine out service? Seriously what did they do?

Just because it's lowered doesn't mean you can't get a good alignment. Yes, if you are going for factory 0 camber fronts, that ain't going to happen. You can run -1.5+ camber and still have a very safe setup. I'm not sure where you're located but the places you took the car to do not know these cars....unless you seriously have a bent frame...that would be the only case you can't get a proper alignment.

Plenty people here have lowered cars...i have plenty of this gen 986/996 car "slammed" and have no issues with alignment

I had a Porsche dealer do the 60 5K tuneup, and I forgot to mention I also purchased tires. That is why it was $2000-$2200. I canít remember the exact price

As far as my mechanics goÖ My family has been using the same Porsche mechanic for 20 years. He is a top-shelf pro. And the other guys were per his recommendation. He said the alignment guy is the best in our area and doesnít recommend anyone else.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:46 PM   #15
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I'm still missing something here. Lowering springs are not causing the "every which way" issue. An amateur job is not either as something would have to be bent or a bushing squished or ..... to cause this. Can you post the printout of the alignment check with the camber, caster, toe in, thrust angle and the SAI (steering angle inclination if the shop works on German cars they will have checked this as the best indicator of bent steering components). I do between 5 and 20 alignments a week on various vehicles and see plenty of shoddy work. I don't recall the last time it took more than a few hundred $$$ to correct it although it has cost more if components are completely worn out such as ball joints, control arms, tie rods, bushings etc.... Just curious, where you from? If you happen to be near the Detroit area bring it by me, it is just $49.95 for us to align your car or at least do a proper base measurement, not trying to advertise, I'm just a tech at a shop that hates shoddy work or people being taken for a ride.
Thanks for the offer! But I am a long ways from you. The alignment specialist didnít do anything to my car, so I donít have any specs. He sent me away, and said he wouldnít do it.

The guy was kind of a prick, and although my mechanic does a good job giving quality referrals I wonít go back to this guy.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:50 PM   #16
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Do you have an itemized list from your mechanic that wants to do the $2500 stock work? If so, please post it.
I donít. These numbers are based on a rough estimate he gave me after the alignment guy turned me away. I intend to ask him more about this on Monday.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:56 PM   #17
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As far as my mechanics goÖ My family has been using the same Porsche mechanic for 20 years. He is a top-shelf pro. And the other guys were per his recommendation. He said the alignment guy is the best in our area and doesnít recommend anyone else.
Then you want the opinion of a bunch of keyboard warriors who haven't seen your car at all for what? If it can be aligned then do it. If it can't then it is likely due to the slight (sic) fender bender the PO probably also lied about and until you correct the root cause the racing suspension is a waste.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:44 AM   #18
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As far as my mechanics goÖ My family has been using the same Porsche mechanic for 20 years. He is a top-shelf pro. And the other guys were per his recommendation. He said the alignment guy is the best in our area and doesnít recommend anyone else.

Is your mechanic an air cooled guy or a water cooled guy? Most tend to focus in one area or the other.

It never hurts to get a second opinion.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:00 AM   #19
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If an aftermarket suspension was installed, it is therefore a modified vehicle that you have. In this context, it render the vehicle both a personal and public safety hazard (quoted from dept. of transport and automakers' eng. dept).

If there is no way for you/mechanic to scientifically match the geometry/alignment of the original suspension + damping + preload characteristics, then the advice is to stay with recommended settings (factory). There are obviously some folks in the industry who can install and correctly dial those aftermarket springs on performance Porsche cars (few in fact) but finding one in your area could be tricky. Involves a lot more than just slamming some cool looking coil-overs lolll Needs adj links on each and every wheels + custom alignment + damping + preload dialing. Read not exactly easy to accomplish and less than cheap ~ if you are half-serious about an intelligent suspension set-up and safety.

If the intent is a every-day street vehicle and you have nobody who can 'genuinely' dial this Boxster better than Porsche can; my advice would be to rip off this mess and replace with recommended (stock or ROW M30).

Sorry to hear man. Roadster fun shouldn't start like that. Sure you and your 10/y son will sort it all tough
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:14 AM   #20
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Thanks for the offer! But I am a long ways from you. The alignment specialist didnít do anything to my car, so I donít have any specs. He sent me away, and said he wouldnít do it.

The guy was kind of a prick, and although my mechanic does a good job giving quality referrals I wonít go back to this guy.
Ok, wish I could help you out as these things are often not as complicated as they seem.
Not sure how handy you are but you can do this yourself at home with a relatively inexpensive camber gauge and strings. I can write several paragraphs but really just youtube "string alignment" and you can do it at home with strings and a measuring tape. You can get really close and get a good baseline and a driveable car.
Before you start there is something I want you to check: does this have factory wheels and no spacers? Wrong offset wheels or spacers affect the scrub radius on the tires and cause all sorts of problems. Scrub radius is the steering axis inclination angle vs the offset of the wheels, sort of, to put it simply it has to do with the steering axis angle and how close to the center of the tire does it place the weight going crosswise across the tread.

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