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Old 05-27-2020, 01:08 PM   #1
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Talking Help me make a terrible decision

Just kidding... kind of

Like I posted before, I was looking for a 986 Boxster S, and I think I found one.

The problem is, it's cheap-ish, and there are no cheap-ish Porsches

It has a valve cover leak (is there a way for me to confirm this?) and the exterior/interior are fairly beat up

It's $8k for a 95k mile 2001 Boxster S. Vin Lookup shows Sport Touring Package, Xenon Headlamps, and Sport Exhaust as the options

Does that seem like a fair price considering there is no confirmation the IMS has been done, the cars interior is... rough, and the rear window needs fixing?


Also, how fast would you run from what I described with the valve cover leak (apparently it's a slow leak), and is it something a DIY-er can fix?

My goal with this car is to get something cheap enough to trash on for a summer while my daily is out of comission, and then hopefully sell for slightly less than I paid. Biggest obstacle to that of course, is that I want to replace the IMS bearing since, while I can live with a messed up plastic window and stuff, there's no living with a blown up engine

Last edited by selaliadobor; 05-27-2020 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 05-27-2020, 02:27 PM   #2
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I wouldn't change the IMS. Especially since you're going to sell it at the end of Summer. It's a gamble. Even if you change it, something else may go and cause catastrophic engine failure.

I don't know what prices are like in NYC, but in SW PA, 8K seems a little high for a car as rough as you describe it. You'd probably have a hard time reselling it for anywhere close to that amount.

But then again, changing the IMS will give it some more value, but not enough to get your IMS investment back.

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Old 05-27-2020, 04:35 PM   #3
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What might seem to be a valve cover leak can also be a lot of other things. The oil has a tendency to run down and drip off the valve covers and then its assumed that is the source. But it can also be other things so the actual source of the oil leak really needs to be confirmed. The valve covers can be re-sealed with the engine in the car but its a lot of work. Shops quoted me around $1200. If you can do it yourself, then there are some big savings to be had.

The price seems high for a poorly maintained car. You didn't post a link so I can't see the actual condition but based on your description, but it sounds like it needs more than just a little bit of work.

The key to making a short-term flip financially feasible is buying the car at a price so you can easily re-sell it. That means buying it well below market and then selling it at under market. For example, let's say that this car is worth $7500. I'd offer $6K and be a buyer somewhere in the mid-$6K's. Then you can flip it for the high $6K's and the next buyer will still be getting a good deal (since the car is worth $7500).

How do you get someone to sell you a $7500 car for $6500? Find all of the problems and explain how the car needs $4000 worth of work. Find a seller who is motivated to get that hunk of junk out of the driveway. Negotiate your ass off.

And I wouldn't put any money into the car (unless its absolutely needed) because you will be hard pressed to get the investment back out at re-sale.
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Old 05-27-2020, 05:29 PM   #4
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The valve cover leak isn't a valve cover leak. The valve covers are actually the top half of the cam towers. It isn't as simple as replacing the gasket on a valve cover, you'll also have to remove the scavenge pump and when re-installing the pump make sure that it is indexed correctly (see the last paragraph of this post). The pump will also require a new o-ring.

Like many things on these cars, it's can be way more complicated than you would think. Boxsters are very different from most cars, so you only want to have it serviced at a Porsche specialist, otherwise things won't be taken care of correctly.

When I bought my Boxster, it would smoke like the Blue Angels during an air show in left hand turns when driving quickly. Turns out that the PO had a mechanic friend replace the "valve cover gaskets", and the mechanic re-installed the scavenge pump incorrectly (meaning it wasn't scavenging at all). It took me a while to figure out what was causing the problem, and I almost sold the car in frustration.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the information

I didn't link to it because it's a Facebook listing and tied to the person selling by their name unlike Craigslist and stuff (I don't know why but I'd fee a little weird posting it?) but here are some images:

The exact wording used was:

Slight valve cover gasket leak. I haven't noticed any significant oil loss in between oil changes.
Wheels although dipped are loosing it's chrome coating. Interior is in decent shape aside from the seats having some rips in them."

Rear window needs replacement, I'm not to worried about it, this is a beater so I don't mind a DIY rough fix with glue, and there are a few part outs around here where I might be able to get a new top

The leak is my biggest concern and it sounds like, while it can be a (tough) DIY job, that's only if that's really the source of the leak. So I need better confirmation that's the actual source of the leak...

I'm going to ask how long they've seen the leak for. Hoping the answer will be "for a long time" counter-intuitively. If they say recently, that would imply to me that their mechanic found an issue so they want to get rid of it, but I have a good feeling about them if they're being open enough with the issues it has

Also on pricing around here, 7k-10k seems to be the going rate for a base model Boxster with 60-100k miles for that range

There's one base 2004 for 6.5k OBO in a color I really like actually and indications that the owner kept up on the work required, but that's a lot of miles, and I was leaning towards the S a bit more

Tried to reply with an update and got a message about moderation? What's that about?


Can't reply anymore... so:

Going to try again with this update;

Found one more car:

(other one was sold )

2001 $8.5k asking price, 98k miles

Similar price, but CarGurus claimed 6 owners (!).

That seemed off to me so I checked the Vin manually and it just bounced around a group of dealers a few times, so 2 owners. First owner did services at a Porsche dealer, but service records trail off from there

Also has options I want (namely PSM, TC has saved me on some sketchy roads):
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?#list ing=266805562

Last edited by selaliadobor; 05-28-2020 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:28 PM   #6
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Found another Boxster in the same price range

Unfortunately it's at one of those "buy here pay here" type dealers, which I feel is a bad sign in and of itself, but then CarGurus shows it had 6(!) owners listed and fleet use?

Now usually that would make me run away incredibly quickly... but digging deeper it was just bounced around a lot. Carfax shows regular services at a Porsche dealer for a while, then it shows up at a few different used car dealers, but with the same mileage each time.

Not a great sign because it might mean people take one look and run, but not as worrying as the whole 6 owners thing

The one thing that might get me to look at it in person is it has PSM... I know that's blasphemy for some people, but I drive a lot, and often on some sketchy roads, and the piece of mind would be great.


There's also another car that feels like the most sensible choice here, and I might just suck it up and shell out more for it :

https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?zip=0 6501&trimNames=S%20RWD&trimNames=S&showNegotiable=true&sortDir=ASC&sourceContext=carGurusHomePageModel&distance=100&sortType=PRICE&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity=d408#listing= 271281296

12k, 60k miles, 2002. Has all the options I want, IMS bearing was done (!), glass window... feels like the last owner took some real care of it...

If I could get that for 10k out the door I'd snap it up, does that sound like a realistic offer, or are they likely to laugh me out of their showroom?

^second one was already sold

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Old 05-28-2020, 06:52 AM   #7
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Good score on the 2001 986S, here is the video I did of removing the cam covers, as others have said its more than just a typical valve cover.


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Old 05-28-2020, 07:16 AM   #8
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The pictures that you shared show a very unloved Boxster. IMHO -Unless you can get it really cheap, I would keep looking.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:51 AM   #9
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--Double post

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Old 05-28-2020, 01:06 PM   #10
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I agree.....RUN away from that one.....keep searching and enjoy "the hunt".
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:14 PM   #11
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Me too... run far and fast. You can do much, much better for $8k.
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:51 PM   #12
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Not worth a quarter of what his asking!
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Old 05-30-2020, 01:55 PM   #13
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Update, I got a Boxster S!

It's from a member of the Porsche Facebook group, IMS was taken care of, in much better condition than the one I linked, and I'm really excited to get it



Funny story though, went to checkout the Boxster I linked above at the sleazy dealer just to try it in person...

Walk in there and there's a bottle of anti-freeze with the cap missing 5ft from the car, and it's on a battery tender...

Now this is where I should have pretended I was lost and left, but I drove an hour to be there, so least I can do is say hi.

Over all the car feels rough from the moment it rolls forward. Shifter is incredibly sloppy, weird smell coming from engine, suspension clonking, brake pads are shot....

I made it about a mile before I felt I had seen enough of the hazard on wheels


But suddenly I notice a little blinking red light next to the temperature gauge...

And the gauge seems to have creeped a little to the right juuuust a little...

A few seconds later and the temp gauge is all the way in the red. I immediately stop the car, maybe 500 yards from the "dealer".

The best part is, when the temperature finally does come back down enough for me to limp it back across the street, I can't even start it... turns out it was on a battery tender because the battery can't even start the car anymore.

"The fan must have been off or something!" says the dealer.

I asked "are you really trying to get 8k from someone for this" and could see the defeat in his eyes : D suddenly he's not a saleman, he's a guy trying to con people who's caught "well yeah, maybe we might get someone" he mumbles. I actually made a terrible mistake and offered him 3k for it, on the off chance it's just a water pump issue, since the oil still looked good.

Fortunately he saved me from that mistake and asked for 6k, which I promptly walked away from.

Definitely an interesting first drive in a Boxster
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Old 06-04-2020, 04:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by selaliadobor View Post
Update, I got a Boxster S!
Congrats! This one looks 100 times better than the other. Enjoy and best of luck with it!

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