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Old 02-05-2018, 04:14 PM   #1
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New Guy, plenty of questions to get started

Hello all, another new guy here. I've had many cars over the years, this is my first Porsche. It's a black 2002 Boxster S. I'm spending lots of time learning, searching the forum, etc. I'm still at the point where it's overwhelming. Sooo..... I have questions. I know someone is going to yell "DO A SEARCH!" I have and I will continue. However, it's overwhelming right now given where I'm at on the learning curve, and as all of you likely know by now, sometimes the info you get on a search is contradictory in nature, and I don't know nearly enough at this point to know good solid info from bad.

Given all that, here's where I am at:

I bought his car at a extremely low price. It seems to be a good solid car to start with, but it needs at least it's share of TLC. It's a black '02 Boxster S with a light tan interior. I like the color combo a lot. In no specific order here are some of the issues I need to deal with.

1- The IMS bearing. I have learned enough to know it needs to be changed out for an upgraded style. Anyone have a favorite? I'd prefer not to do the whole routine with the pressure line, etc. I'll do the clutch and rear main seal while I'm in there, of course. What clutch are guys using? It's just a pleasure cruiser for the weekend with my wife. No racing.

2- Needs a convertible top. I see all these different fabric types available. I would like to have one that looks just like the top that's on there,, more or less. What fabric type looks like a stock Porsche black top? Think I'll go with a vinyl back window. The glass window would be great but it looks really small. Vision is restricted enough as it is. Fair call on that? Lastly regarding the top, has anyone done it themselves? I have never done one, but it doesn't look too terrible a job on YouTube. Then again, nothing ever does.

3- Air/Oil separator - On the initial hard acceleration after the engine is warm and on warm startup afterward it smokes blue smoke. If you accelerate hard once, it'll smoke. Do it again repeatedly and it won't thereafter. Seems to me to be a classic air/oil issue from what I have read. Any tips on doing this job? Seems like a straightforward job from what I've read.

4- The car doesn't ride well - it seems like a very stiff, vague ride. Of course, it's not a luxury car, but I don't know how to describe it. I just don't feel that it's right. How do the bushings in these cars hold up? I'll probably replace the struts with the Bilstein original type (4's, I think it was?). Again, I'm not going to race it, I'm just looking for a comfortable sporty ride. Are the Bilstein's my best choice? What suspension components typically wear? Are some more usual to wear than others? By the way - I should have mentioned this earlier, the car has 105,000 miles on it.

5- The rubber gasket type material around the headlight bezels, between the clear plastic and the body panels, is not in great shape. Is this available separately, and if so where do I get it? I have found zero on this.

6- The power windows don't work. The pass. side seems to drop a bit as it should when I open the door, but that's it. The drivers side does absolutely nothing. Neither operate with the switches. Ideas?

7- Pass. side electric mirror is dead. It doesn't move at all when you try to move it electrically with the switch. The drivers side works fine. Any common known culprits on this?

8- Last one for now, I promise! - The rubber seals around the window/top joint, and under the doors look to be OK, but I'd like to start looking into changing them. I had a convertible roadster BMW once before and it was not the driest ride inside in the rain. I have looked on line and the cost of these from Porsche is nothing less than hilarious. I know parts aren't cheap for a Porsche, I have had many Benz's and BMW's and I get it - however the cost of the rubber seals from Porsche is over the top. Are any of these available from the aftermarket? If so where do I source them?

That'll be more than enough to get me started. Thanks so much for those kind enough to lend a hand on some of these issues.

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Old 02-05-2018, 04:27 PM   #2
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Well, welcome to the forum! Man, that's quite a grocery list! I sincerely suggest that you start by using the search tool because most of these issues have been covered extensively in this forum. Be prepared for some lengthy reading!
Forum members love to help but you need to approach them carefully since they can occasionally be a bit grouchy.
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Old 02-05-2018, 04:54 PM   #3
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1). LN engineering.
2). I think all of the aftermarket tops look like the stock canvas. I have a glass window aftermarket top and I find the rear visibility a non issue.
5). They are not available separately from the headlights. Some guys have had good luck with weather stripping.

I'll leave the electrical stuff to the experts (particlewave).

Welcome to the best forum on the interwebs!!
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Old 02-05-2018, 05:43 PM   #4
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1). LN engineering.
2). I think all of the aftermarket tops look like the stock canvas. I have a glass window aftermarket top and I find the rear visibility a non issue.
5). They are not available separately from the headlights. Some guys have had good luck with weather stripping.

I'll leave the electrical stuff to the experts (particlewave).

Welcome to the best forum on the interwebs!!
1) I'll leave others to comment, as I'm sticking with my original dual row bearing...

2) I'm also planning to replace mine in near future, I like more vintage vinyl look with larger size, but one thing to consider is that the glass top can be operated in cold climate without fear to crack the vinyl window. if you drive with top down mostly then the window size won't matter.

4) For sporty, comfy ride, check out Koni FSD. I have those on my Saab 9-5 and love them.

5) Mine was gooey but finally bit a bullet to replace original, faded (and burnt lens inside) lights with new ones, and the car looks younger and lighting quality got much better. If your lenses are aged beyond polishing, consider some investment.

7) When I bought my car, pass side mirror was acting strange, it responds correctly to some switch positions but other times no response or both driver and pass mirrors moved together.... Long story short, my issue was that a few connector pins at the root of mirror (behind interior plastic triangle) were bent and shorted with others, apparently someone pushed it misaligned. I carefully pulled and straightened out each pin then mated up to female connector, and it fixed the issue. I'd check your switch first though, you can check for voltage for pass side and carefully open it up for cleaning terminals.

8) I'm very surprised that my 20-yr old top seals does not even leak a drop of rain. I'd not fix it if it ain't broken...
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Old 02-05-2018, 05:57 PM   #5
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How cheap is this car? You sure its worth it?
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the great info so far

Thanks, guys. I'm thinking the first thing I'll jump on is the windows. In reading my post, it really makes the car seem worse than it is. Obviously it's not perfect, but overall it's a pretty good car. Body is in great shape, engine runs smooth and strong, trans shifts well. Brakes are good, A/C blows cold, interior is in good shape. Someone spent a good amount of $ on the audio system as well. It's got a few, most of which are listed above, fairly minor issues. As I had said it only needs TLC. I would guess the prior owner just got bored with it and let slip things that most of us would get right on, and let the list grow. As for the price, I am very sure I get an extremely good deal on it. The prior owner had some circumstances in his life and was very motivated to sell quickly.

It's a much nicer car than it sounds. Again, I appreciate all the input.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:34 PM   #7
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6) The window relays are in the immobilizer. Have you pulled it out to have a look? The immobilizer's mount location is notorious for water intrusion and the windows are generally one of the first things to be affected by a corroded immobilizer board.

7) It may be worthwhile to check both door harness connectors (in the door jamb) for corrosion on the pins. Otherwise, some disassembly and testing of the passenger mirror may be required.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:49 PM   #8
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OK thanks. Once I figure out what an immobilizer is and where it's mounted, I'll look into it.

Thanks for the info!
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:20 PM   #9
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Immobilizer = Central Locking Unit = Electronics Control Unit

It's under the driver's seat.
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:49 PM   #10
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First, buy this book...

https://www.themotorbookstore.com/porsche-986-boxster-boxster-s-service-manual.html

Then:

1) if you have 100k on the motor there is a reasonable chance the IMS was done. At that mileage I might consider just doing the Pelican kit and call it a day. Many opinions and several options. Do the tensioners as well.

2) if you are throwing smoke, do the AOS first. Haven’t done it, but it seems the pinch clamp is a Biotch to get to... other than that, not so bad. Use a Porsche unit, not aftermarket.

3) struts are most likely shot, might be worth a Porsche specialist to take a look see at the front and rear and get a good take on the suspension components if you don’t know what to look for and replace as necessary. Struts, probably springs and mounts is where I would start.

4) refresh your trans oil with the Porsche Unicorn Blood (not on your list but worth doing)

5) when and if you need to take a look at your window regulators/micro switches remember you have side airbags...

6) if I needed to do a top, I would probably look for an 03/4 glass rear window full setup off of a donor car, I think there are some minor mods that need to be done for install, but then you get the headliner and all the goods. Or, source a hardtop, they are usually around 1k give or take. Actually reskinning one without experience looks daunting, but doable. I did several targa tops a long time ago, those could be a pain. Not sure if I would tackle the top on the Boxster...

Have fun. Sometimes with projects the $$$ spent makes absolutely NO sense, but at the end of the journey you have something you built, and that can be value enough.
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Old 02-06-2018, 04:00 AM   #11
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Well, welcome to the forum! Man, that's quite a grocery list! I sincerely suggest that you start by using the search tool because most of these issues have been covered extensively in this forum. Be prepared for some lengthy reading!
Forum members love to help but you need to approach them carefully since they can occasionally be a bit grouchy.
Well, the Americans can be grouchy......

The Canadians are always very polite.
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Old 02-06-2018, 04:16 AM   #12
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Well, the Americans can be grouchy......

The Canadians are always very polite.
Well yes, but I didnít like to say.
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Old 02-06-2018, 04:26 AM   #13
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Well yes, but I didnít like to say.
Because thatís not polite.....
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:20 AM   #14
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Immobilizer = Central Locking Unit = Electronics Control Unit

It's under the driver's seat.
I read up on this last night before going to sleep. This "immobilizer" seems like a real pain in the a$$. In fact, with the possible exception of the IMS bearing, this seems to be the biggest Achilles heel of the car. Given the huge amounts of problems that this thing causes, I would think that someone would have made a sort of immobilizer replacement kit that permanently completes all the circuits that this thing seems to constantly interrupt when it shouldn't. I'm not an electronics guy, buy why not develop would basically be a dummy plug that just completes all the circuits without the ability of this "immobilizer" thing to interrupt them. Has this ever been done?
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:38 AM   #15
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First, buy this book...

https://www.themotorbookstore.com/porsche-986-boxster-boxster-s-service-manual.html

Just bought the book, thanks!

Then:

1) if you have 100k on the motor there is a reasonable chance the IMS was done. At that mileage I might consider just doing the Pelican kit and call it a day. Many opinions and several options. Do the tensioners as well.

I'll have to read up on the tensioners. I wasn't aware of them, what do they tension? I'll have to read up on a Pelican kit. Don't know what that is yet.

2) if you are throwing smoke, do the AOS first. Havenít done it, but it seems the pinch clamp is a Biotch to get to... other than that, not so bad. Use a Porsche unit, not aftermarket.

First I have heard that a Porsche AOS is better than aftermarket. Why is that?

3) struts are most likely shot, might be worth a Porsche specialist to take a look see at the front and rear and get a good take on the suspension components if you donít know what to look for and replace as necessary. Struts, probably springs and mounts is where I would start.

Not a bad idea at all. Thanks.

4) refresh your trans oil with the Porsche Unicorn Blood (not on your list but worth doing)

I've already studied that. Damn. I've never had issues like this changing trans oil. Not only is it obscenely expensive, but I can't find it in quart/liter sizes. Am I just not looking in the right place? I have no need for a drum of this stuff. Anyone know where I can go to buy just a few quarts or liters that I'll need?

5) when and if you need to take a look at your window regulators/micro switches remember you have side airbags...

The power windows right now are my biggest fear. I can handle micro-switches, fuses, switches, etc. If it's that darned immobilizer thing, I don't know how well I can trouble shoot that. Computer type stuff and electrics in general is not my strong point. I have to try to search for a comprehensive step by step power windows troubleshooting guide/procedure. The info on this board is great but it's all scattered around. If anyone knows of a good step by step guide, a link to it would be greatly appreciated.

6) if I needed to do a top, I would probably look for an 03/4 glass rear window full setup off of a donor car, I think there are some minor mods that need to be done for install, but then you get the headliner and all the goods. Or, source a hardtop, they are usually around 1k give or take. Actually reskinning one without experience looks daunting, but doable. I did several targa tops a long time ago, those could be a pain. Not sure if I would tackle the top on the Boxster...

Not sure if I'll handle the top replacement. I might leave the top for last as that's likely the largest dollar item. I want to make sure the car is what I want it to be before sinking almost $2K into a top and labor if I have someone else do it. The top on there is 90% perfect,, just a few areas that the fabric got rubbed up on. No holes no leakage. The rear window, however is completely yellowed and totally not transparent. I guess I'll try the Maguires window product to try to improve on that, unless someone has a better idea on the window. Wish I could use some sort of power tool on it, that's going to be a TON of hand polishing just on that window.

Have fun. Sometimes with projects the $$$ spent makes absolutely NO sense, but at the end of the journey you have something you built, and that can be value enough.
I couldn't agree more. I've done MANY cars, this is the first Porsche. They each have their quirks. The only one that didn't was my Cobra - just tons of good 'ol American horsepower stuck between two frame rails with a gas tank, a transmission, a independent rear setup, a gas tank and a 15 circuit fuse box, wrapped in a beautiful fiberglass body. Stone cold simple and fast beyond belief. That was the only easy one of the bunch. Hopefully this one goes easy and is fun.
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Old 02-06-2018, 01:45 PM   #16
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I couldn't agree more. I've done MANY cars, this is the first Porsche. They each have their quirks. The only one that didn't was my Cobra - just tons of good 'ol American horsepower stuck between two frame rails with a gas tank, a transmission, a independent rear setup, a gas tank and a 15 circuit fuse box, wrapped in a beautiful fiberglass body. Stone cold simple and fast beyond belief. That was the only easy one of the bunch. Hopefully this one goes easy and is fun.
Pelican has an IMS basic kit. Pretty much the same bearing (possibly upgraded) as stock. Certainly one of the least expensive options. Worth at least a look.

The aftermarket AOS replacements are notorious for sucking... Porsche for that one.

Porsche Unicorn Blood, check Suncoast, they have it by the quart.

The regulators arenít too bad, just fiddly.

Should you find your brain box to be an issue check out these guys:

Porsche 996 & Boxster ECU Test and Repair, Immobilizer Removal, and Performance Tuning Upgrades - Specialized ECU Repair

The rest is pretty much the labor and what not. Overall, these are not particularly hard cars to work on, but they are a little more complex. The main issue with motor work is the cramped work space, but again, it is manageable.

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