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Old 02-10-2019, 10:02 AM   #1
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986 vs. 987 - Commonalities and differences?

I now own a 2005 Boxster S - a 987. Prior to this I owned a 2002 Boxster S 986. From a number of perspectives, the 986 spoiled me. Now make no mistake, I actually like the 987 better for what I use it for - a fun weekend, fair weather car. I donít track it or anything like that.

What spoiled me with the 986 was the resources available for the 986, vs. virtually nothing at all for the 987. Even something like this forum - there is just nothing like this available for the 987. This forum has so many active talented people, and you can learn anything you want about the 986 here. There are a couple of forums that dabble in the 987, but there is little traffic on them, and so much of that is Cayman track use centric.

There are no used parts gurus like Woody on the 987. Iíd asked Woody why there were no real 987 specialists like him, and why he doesnít really deal with the 987, and his answer made perfect sense - guys commonly race the 986, and racing tears cars up, and Woody and guys like him fill that need for replacing the stuff torn up in racing. Then I ask myself why guys donít race the 987. I have no answer for that. Theyíre not a whole lot more valuable than the 986ís - certainly not more valuable than 986ís were when guys first started racing them. My 987 handles better than my 986, and itís certainly faster than my 986. Beats me why guys donít race them. Anyone have any knowledge on why that is?

If you look at repair information, the 986 has so much information available, and the 987 virtually none. The 101 Projects for your Porsche Boxster, and the 986 Boxster Bentley manual have no equivalent for the 987. I donít know why that is.

Iím guessing that lots of information on the 986 will cover the similarities on the 987, but there is no real way to tell what is the same and what is different. Iím hoping that some of you guys on here who are so much more knowledgeable than I am will start commenting on this thread with what you know, not just for me but for the many to come behind me with the same questions.

Given all that, hereís what I know so far.

First of all, all I really know anything about is ďSĒ models, and even then what I know is somewhat limited as compared to some of the very knowledgeable guys on here. I know nothing at all about base models. For the 987, there are two ďversionsĒ, the 987.1, which is model year 2005 - 2008, and the 987.2 which starts in 2009 until the 987 ended in 2012. There are lots more 987.1 available than 987.2, with the most common reason usually given being that the economy crash in 2008 basically killed off sales of the 987.2ís.

There are numerous differences between the two, but the main and primary difference is the engine. The 987.2 engine has direct port injection with no IMS bearing. Itís a major redesign. 2006 to 2008 engines have a newer design IMS bearing. Itís bigger and some say less prone to failure than the IMS bearing that is in the 986 engines. However, the engine casing has to be cracked open to replace it. It canít be easily replaced like the 986 IMS bearings. 2005 is a strange model year for the 987, in that some engines have the old 986 IMS bearing, while some have the 2006 style IMS. Apparently there is no way to tell which one you have until you drop the transmission and look at the rear face of the engine. My understanding is, the 2005 engine with the old style IMS is essentially the exact same engine that is in the 2003-2004 986, with a bump in HP.

Obviously the styling of the car is different. Some like it better, some not. Personally I like it better because I was never a fan of the headlights in the 986. All in all it is pretty similar though. The interior styling is different too.

So, as I said, my knowledge is somewhat limited. All you guys on here who know so much more than I do, can you chime in for those to follow to learn too? What is different on the car? Just as important, whatís the same? Electrical, suspension, body components - what is the same and what is different between 987 and 987? What parts of the 101 book and Bentley book apply to the 987? What canít it be used for? Hopefully one day this thread can be used for guys buying 987ís to work on their cars too.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:22 AM   #2
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986 boxsters are cheap and they made a lot of them - this means lots of amateur racing and development of a spec class - racing drives aftermarket support.

986 boxsters are cheap and they made a lot of them - similarily, a lot more caymans were made than 987 boxsters; hence you see more caymans racing and support for that than you do for the 987 boxster.

986 boxsters are cheap and they made a lot of them - the are accessable to the average guy, who then encounters the cost of porsche maintenance which drives the strong diy community. really, a guy who drops $150k on a 911 is not going to diy on his car.

finally, re your question on commonality. i would just note that current porshe practice is to do two updates for each generation of car - a mechanical update and a cosmetic update. cosmetic happens with the rollout of the new generation (986 to 987, 987 to 981, etc.) and mechanical happens mid-run (986 got better cams in 2003, 987 went to dfi in 2009, etc.). as such, you'll see a lot of commonality in mechanical components between late 986 and early 987.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:34 AM   #3
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Excellent and timely post, Doug. Very glad you did it.

And it's especially timely for me. I've been in the market for a used Boxster for a couple of months. Taking it slow. No hurry. Waiting for the right car, right deal, to come along. Originally, I was focusing primarily on the 2003/2004 model years, but would also consider some earlier ones. But more recently, I've been looking at 2005/2006 MYs because they cost only a little more than the later 986's and they seem to have some significant upgrades -- more HP, totally new interior, bigger brakes, new 6 sp on the S, etc, etc

So, I'll be waiting along with you for the replies to your post.

P.S. - Maybe there should be a separate Section in the Forum for 987's?
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:34 AM   #4
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P.S. - Maybe there should be a separate Section in the Forum for 987's?
I was hoping someone would mention that. I don't know how to get the forum host/moderators ear, but it would be a terrific idea to have a subforum on here for 987 Boxsters.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:17 PM   #5
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well, it is a '986forum', and there already is a 'cayman' subforum ...
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:52 PM   #6
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well, it is a '986forum', and there already is a 'cayman' subforum ...
Yeah, I know it's called that, but it's really a Boxster Forum.

356 posts in the Cayman subforum, 354,000 posts in the Boxster Gen Discussion subforum. Need I say more?
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:09 PM   #7
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If anyone can add to the known commonalities vs. differences that would certainly be helpful.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Doug427 View Post
If anyone can add to the known commonalities vs. differences that would certainly be helpful.
This might help you:

https://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/modelyeardifferences
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:03 PM   #9
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Then I ask myself why guys donít race the 987. I have no answer for that
I'm guessing that's because there are not many sanctioned racing classes in which the 987 is competitive, as compared to the 986 like mentioned above.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:59 PM   #10
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All of the above plus....

.....986 is the last “analog” Boxster.

986 has a spare tire.

987 does NOT have a spare tire.

986 has a dip stick so you can actually see what your engine oil looks like and know exactly how much oil is in there.

987 has no dipstick. Only a digital level.

986 has beautifully integrated, aerodynamic headlights that were a styling icon that defined a generation.

987 has “see, I look like a classic 911” headlights that are derivative and bland.

986 saved PORSCHE from bankruptcy.

987 is just a refresh with more electronic crap.

The 986 was built from 1997-2004.

Lots more of them around.

987, not as long a run.

986 is the thinking person’s PORSCHE.

987 is just another Porsche. Not a landmark design that saved a company and dominated the market.

986 is Star Wars.

987 is Empire Strikes Back.

Life was better before Luke made out with his sister.

Cheers.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10/10ths View Post
.....986 is the last ďanalogĒ Boxster.

986 has a spare tire.

987 does NOT have a spare tire.

986 has a dip stick so you can actually see what your engine oil looks like and know exactly how much oil is in there.

987 has no dipstick. Only a digital level.

986 has beautifully integrated, aerodynamic headlights that were a styling icon that defined a generation.

987 has ďsee, I look like a classic 911Ē headlights that are derivative and bland.

986 saved PORSCHE from bankruptcy.

987 is just a refresh with more electronic crap.

The 986 was built from 1997-2004.

Lots more of them around.

987, not as long a run.

986 is the thinking personís PORSCHE.

987 is just another Porsche. Not a landmark design that saved a company and dominated the market.

986 is Star Wars.

987 is Empire Strikes Back.

Life was better before Luke made out with his sister.

Cheers.
That's real helpful. Thanks. Cheers.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:31 PM   #12
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Ok....

....https://www.porscheclubgb.com/regions-registers/registers/modern/boxster/boxster-buyers-guides/987-buyers-guide
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:33 PM   #13
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Another....

.....https://www.planet-9.com/showthread.php?t=109296&amp=1
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:36 PM   #14
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More....

......https://www.ebay.com/p/Essential-Buyers-Guide-Porsche-987-Boxster-and-Cayman-2nd-Generation-Model-Years-2009-to-2012-by/237625724
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:42 PM   #15
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10/10ths,

You wouldn't, by any chance, be biased toward the 986, would you?
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:01 PM   #16
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^
l
l
l
l
l
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10/10ths View Post
.....986 is the last ďanalogĒ Boxster.

986 has a spare tire.

987 does NOT have a spare tire.

986 has a dip stick so you can actually see what your engine oil looks like and know exactly how much oil is in there.

987 has no dipstick. Only a digital level.

986 has beautifully integrated, aerodynamic headlights that were a styling icon that defined a generation.

987 has ďsee, I look like a classic 911Ē headlights that are derivative and bland.

986 saved PORSCHE from bankruptcy.

987 is just a refresh with more electronic crap.

The 986 was built from 1997-2004.

Lots more of them around.

987, not as long a run.

986 is the thinking personís PORSCHE.

987 is just another Porsche. Not a landmark design that saved a company and dominated the market.

986 is Star Wars.

987 is Empire Strikes Back.

Life was better before Luke made out with his sister.

Cheers.
Best post since I have been coming here...

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Old 02-12-2019, 03:43 AM   #18
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As stated (over and over and over) 986's are cheap and there are a lot of them. Though I rarely see them when I'm driving around
987 Boxster has the Cayman as a competing model and certainly diluted the Boxster's numbers
If there had been a Cayman released with the 986 Boxster, well that's an interesting thought. I know I would have gone that direction instead of the Boxster if $$$ where relatively close.
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:54 AM   #19
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Under the skin, the 986s and 987s are rather close to being identical (engine change in the refresh cars being a major caveat). Granted that's a generalization.

I have both in my driveway at the moment (roof repairs to my mom's '06). The exhaust is simplified which makes the clutch bleed a breeze from underneath - it also sounds better in stock form. The reshaping of the roof to permit a larger side window makes ingress/egress a touch smoother, interior room is improved.

My personal thought on the biggest drawback is the interior, only as the soft-touch paint is worse than in the 986 and a more brittle plastic was used (especially on the door panels).
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:51 AM   #20
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I'm guessing that's because there are not many sanctioned racing classes in which the 987 is competitive, as compared to the 986 like mentioned above.
Another reason there isn't as many 987's racing as 986's is that the 986 has flooded the market. If someone wants to race a Porsche, there's tons of prepped boxsters. If you want to race a cayman then you'll more than likely have to get it built. Building a cayman for racing is about three times more expensive than what you can find a spec boxster for right now. That being said, there is one racing series where the cayman is coming in strong for 2019. World Racing League has slowly turned into a big racing series for Porsches of various engine sizes. 6 years ago it was mostly 2.5 spec boxsters that defected from PCA. Over the years it's become a pissing contest and the motor and transmissions have gotten bigger. Most boxsters have 3.2 motors with half running cayman 6 speeds. Last year a trickle of Caymans entered the series with one winning the GP1 class. This year it looks like more are entering caymans with some jumping from 986 platform.
The 987 will never be as popular as the 986 for racing. Not saying the 986 is better. It's more of a numbers thing. The economy was doing great during the 986's run but most of the 987's run was during the great recession. Less cars means less supply and higher prices. I hate to say it but when it comes to porsche racing, it will never be like it was 2-5 years ago. We're on the downward slide of affordable racing porsches.
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