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Old 06-15-2020, 08:25 AM   #1
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Boxster 986 particles in oil filter

Just done an oil service on my 986 2000 2.7 at about 121k miles and found no metallic bits in the filter but lots of these tiny green plastic particles of various sizes. Am guessing they are from the chain guides? There were none at all in the previous oil change. Can anyone advise me please?







The photo of these particles is zoomed in by cropping they generally are 1-2mm in size

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Old 06-15-2020, 08:32 AM   #2
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Not positive but I think the chain guide material is brown or a tannish color.
Those particles look to be the color of the seals in the Variocam plungers.
Do a search here on the forum. There are a few threads on those types of particles found in oil filters.
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Old 06-15-2020, 08:43 AM   #3
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http://986forum.com/forums/performance-technical-chat/77949-green-rubber-2.html
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:05 PM   #4
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You need to have your vario cam units tested .
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Old 06-15-2020, 04:27 PM   #5
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You need to have your vario cam units tested .
what came of your green rubber Gabe?
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:44 AM   #6
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Thanks, yes did a search and it is very interesting to hear it may be the variocam chain adjustors seals breaking up. It seems the new parts cost and labour is very expensive to solve this. I was wondering if good used parts might work and the potential risks of driving the car? Looks as if I need to do more research...
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:48 AM   #7
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Yes true I need to do some checking about costs and parts and review the viability of this issue in the long term - as putting in up to £6k worth of repairs on a £2-3k Boxster in UK is daft!
I have checked and to use good used actuators would be OK so that reduces the cost.

The question really is can it be driven with the rubber seals broken? On the basis that it drove fine before the oil change (and the particles were found) and starts after I reckon it can be driven...Has anyone who had this issue any experience about driving theirs please?

Last edited by DaveBBOXSTER; 06-16-2020 at 11:56 PM. Reason: update
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Old 06-16-2020, 11:59 PM   #8
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Would the variocam units need testing on a proper system? I only have a cheap code reader BUT it does read live data BUT not sure where to look and how to test or check
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:55 AM   #9
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Would the variocam units need testing on a proper system? I only have a cheap code reader BUT it does read live data BUT not sure where to look and how to test or check
I have a 5 chain-engine, with a different cam-actuating system. On that one, a simple thing you can test is the coil for continuity with an Ohm-meter. I`m just rebuilding the heads and got a used actuator from eBay, so you may find a good one there too. I don`t know about the 2.7 actuator, but the 2.5 has no such part that could produce the debris you found in the filter, at least not in such amount. It`s hard to tell though based on the picture. Maybe once you remove the faulty unit from your car and inspect it, you`ll be able to tell what to look for on a used one before you buy it.
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Old 06-18-2020, 01:12 AM   #10
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I have a 5 chain-engine, with a different cam-actuating system. On that one, a simple thing you can test is the coil for continuity with an Ohm-meter. I`m just rebuilding the heads and got a used actuator from eBay, so you may find a good one there too. I don`t know about the 2.7 actuator, but the 2.5 has no such part that could produce the debris you found in the filter, at least not in such amount. It`s hard to tell though based on the picture. Maybe once you remove the faulty unit from your car and inspect it, you`ll be able to tell what to look for on a used one before you buy it.
Yes, mine is a 2.7 x5 chain 2000 car. Apparently the variocam actuator has these green seals hidden inside the body of it (so visually telling if one was as bad could be hard).
The weird thing is, before the oil change (and some of this was found in the filter) the car ran good and it starts and is not erratic and I dare say it will still run. From what I have read the variocam is operated by an electrical solenoid triggered by the DME or ECU and therefor will still cut in even though the seals are worn away and I am hopeful the particles have been collected (partly) in the filter? There are no warning lights and I wonder if it is OK to run the engine and see? I have been advise to flush the engine, check filter and if particles still there to have it taken out + opened up...My opinion is the bits are rubber, soft, pliable and won't damage much as they are tiny too (although I was told the intake screen of oil pump could get blocked?).
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Last edited by DaveBBOXSTER; 06-18-2020 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 06-18-2020, 12:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DaveBBOXSTER View Post
Yes, mine is a 2.7 x5 chain 2000 car. Apparently the variocam actuator has these green seals hidden inside the body of it (so visually telling if one was as bad could be hard).
The weird thing is, before the oil change (and some of this was found in the filter) the car ran good and it starts and is not erratic and I dare say it will still run. From what I have read the variocam is operated by an electrical solenoid triggered by the DME or ECU and therefor will still cut in even though the seals are worn away and I am hopeful the particles have been collected (partly) in the filter? There are no warning lights and I wonder if it is OK to run the engine and see? I have been advise to flush the engine, check filter and if particles still there to have it taken out + opened up...My opinion is the bits are rubber, soft, pliable and won't damage much as they are tiny too (although I was told the intake screen of oil pump could get blocked?).
In mine (1999 5 chain) the variocam actuator that broke is a bit different:



They are both operated by oil pressure, the solenoid only opens and closes small oil channels inside the unit and the rest of the job is done by the oil moving the piston. So yours is most likely not operational, because the pressure can`t build up without the O-ring. Maybe you can`t feel the difference because the other bank is still functional, but if you hook up a durametric or similar you should be seeing incorrect cam deviation values at the rpm values when the unit should actuate.

Probably you will have to replace the chain guides at some point, that`s where the little brown chips are coming from, so you need to remove the valve cover anyway. I don`t know how long it takes for them to go completely, but in my car they came off and the parts made the timing jump somehow. If you don`t want to do that soon, it`s a good idea to drop the oil pan and clean the rest of the rubber debris off from the strainer.

Last edited by Homeoboxter; 06-24-2020 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 06-19-2020, 12:58 AM   #12
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Many thanks for that information and the photo - I will study what you said and possibly rethink my plans...Sounds like test of cam deviation is good idea. When yours broke did the engine lights come on?
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Old 06-19-2020, 01:33 AM   #13
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I had exactly the same thing happen to my 2001 2.7 Boxster, same ‘green’ hard rubber pieces in the filter, and like yours my car was running okay (at least I thought it was) and it wasn’t showing any fault codes. Also 2 of my 3 ‘Chain Tensioners’ were shot, and this combined with the ‘Variocam Tensioners’ being shot caused a rattle on start up, but again the car ‘seemed’ to be running fine. After replacing the ‘Variocam Tensioners’ and the 3 cam chain Tensioners, it was like a new car, instant increase in power and absolutely no rattle on start up ‘cold or hot’! I honestly believe that the ‘Variocam Tensioners’ and the ‘chain Tensioners’ are a bigger problem than the IMSB problem, when I pulled my motor to do the ‘Tensioners’ I did the IMSB at the same time (and it was in as new condition no wear at all). And yes the ‘Variocam Tensioners’ are expensive but mine did 150,000ks, before they became a problem, so when I compare that with my daily driver (Subaru Forester) and the cost of repairs on it, I don’t think the cost of fixing the Porsche is that bad. Let’s face it I know which car I’d rather drive.
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Old 06-19-2020, 05:43 AM   #14
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Many thanks for that information and the photo - I will study what you said and possibly rethink my plans...Sounds like test of cam deviation is good idea. When yours broke did the engine lights come on?
You're going to want to address this to avoid bigger problems. I got an "S" cheap because the remnants of those guides blocked the oil pickup and shut down the engine.
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Old 06-19-2020, 09:39 AM   #15
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Many thanks for that information and the photo - I will study what you said and possibly rethink my plans...Sounds like test of cam deviation is good idea. When yours broke did the engine lights come on?
No clue. Never seen this car run
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Old 06-19-2020, 03:30 PM   #16
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Many thanks for that information and the photo - I will study what you said and possibly rethink my plans...Sounds like test of cam deviation is good idea. When yours broke did the engine lights come on?
Its not Camshaft deviation your looking to test if your wanting to see if your Variocam actuators are working.
Its Camshaft advance when the actuator kicks in.
Go up to post #3 in this thread and click on the link. (it says Green Rubber)
Read that entire thread.
There is an explanation of what your looking for in the test and at what RPM.
There is also a brief explanation of Camshaft deviation and what the specs are.
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Old 06-19-2020, 05:12 PM   #17
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Go up to post #3 in this thread and click on the link. (it says Green Rubber)
Read that entire thread.
Lots of useful info in that thread. Regarding the deviation: in the 5 chain engine where the camshaft position sensor monitors the intake camshaft only, and the intake camshaft is the one that`s moved by the actuator, so when the solenoid kicks in the deviation should change as well, shouldn`t it? Maybe this is not true for the 3 chain engines.

Last edited by Homeoboxter; 06-19-2020 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:17 PM   #18
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Lots of useful info in that thread. Regarding the deviation: in the 5 chain engine where the camshaft position sensor monitors the intake camshaft only, and the intake camshaft is the one that`s moved by the actuator, so when the solenoid kicks in the deviation should change as well, shouldn`t it? Maybe this is not true for the 3 chain engines.
Not the way I understand camshaft deviation.
Think of the relationship of the camshaft to the crankshaft.
The cam will be timed to the crank.
Lets say the Cam is off by 3 degrees of advance from that set point.
That would be 3 degrees of positive camshaft deviation.
So actuator kicked in or out you will still have 3 degrees of positive camshaft deviation from its proper timing relationship to the crankshaft.
The movement or advance of the cam when the Variocam actuator kicks in is a design feature of the system.
Deviation is not.
That's my current understanding of it.

Last edited by blue62; 06-19-2020 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:54 AM   #19
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Yes, Thanks blue62 - I never actually realised the "green rubber" statement was a link I could click on and view (thought it was just a statement of what the particles were or are)
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Old 06-20-2020, 01:35 AM   #20
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Liamray, Yes, your points seem spot on and the fairly common start up chain slap, rattle and wear on all these key (interdependent) areas of the timing chain system may well be considered a real issue for cars that are now 20+ years old. The fact that the tensioner cylinders are very expensive and not serviceable too adds to it all + the time and labour to get it all repaired.

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