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Winter use with the 986...

Old 10-11-2018, 07:20 PM
  #1  
ethanh100
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Default Winter use with the 986...

Hello all,
I am considering getting a higher mileage 986 and have some questions for everyone mainly regarding winter use. I live in western CT, however am a student in Rochester NY and often travel to northern VT for the weekends when I am home. This boxster would be my daily driver, and I would have to be comfortable taking these places. What are your experiences with it in the winter? obviously RWD and low ground clearance isnt the best combination for snow, but I would get good winter tires, maybe even studded. Also, has anyone tried carrying skis on a boxster? I was thinking that maybe they could go on a trunk mounted luggage rack but it may be a bit difficult to have them go over the soft top, I could maybe mount them horizontally, as my longest pair is 178cm, which is pretty much exactly how wide the 986 v1 boxster is. If anyone has experience with this and wants to chime in, or just general thoughts about getting a 986 Boxster, please reply! Thank you!
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:11 PM
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mikefocke
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When I was young, I bought a 914 new and had a ski mount on the back bumper and roll bar. Learned to ski in VT.

No such thing for a Boxster I can recall. Owned two Boxsters. Wonderful cars, mine were reliable.

Now the cars are at least 12 years old. Things go wrong. Porsches aren't cheap to maintain unless you can do it yourself. Price a set of wheels and tires for it. Or an oil change.

As much as I loved mine, I was in a financial position to replace a $10k engine if need be. Or afford $1200 worth of tires. I suggest getting a reliable front wheel drive car with narrow tires. Mount snows and a ski rack. Get out of school. Then get the Porsche when you can afford to.

Free buyers guide, list of good and bad points, model year differences etc in a series of the first few articles link here.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:28 AM
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digs
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For a better winter tire you need the narrowest possible wheel and tire . May be a VW set that may cross over ? As for skies I think You could rig something off the trunk ,only needs get the skies just above the roof . I bet you would do fine in the snow with traction . Sounds like fun !
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Old 10-13-2018, 09:57 PM
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Brian in Tucson
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Save the Boxster for later. Get a higher mileage AWD Subaru and be safer in slick weather. Besides, road salt isn't gonna be good for a Boxster. When I was a college student, back when we heated pizza in the oven, I drove a 64 VW Microbus. I put over sized snows on it (in Michigan) No heat to speak of, but you couldn't get the thing stuck. Bricks and a full gas tank kept the rear end planted.

Boxsters are not first choice for nasty weather, IMHO.
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Old 10-15-2018, 11:53 AM
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Porsche probably offers, at least used to, a Boxster roof rack that could be used to carry one (possibly 2) bicycles, snowboard, surfboard, or skis. I never needed to carry any of these -- I bought a folding bicycle that fit in the front trunk -- and have no details on the roof rack system but a google search should turn up something.

For tires you want a set of *real* winter/snow tires, studded if all the roads you will drive on will be snow/ice covered. Tire Rack probably offers a set of winter snow tires and suitable wheels.

I drove my Boxster a couple of winters in the mid-west and on summer tires. I was stupid for not getting a set of real winter tires. (After a few months the 1st winter I had a 2nd car that I would use for the real bad times though but I still drove the Boxster every chance I got even in the winter.)

With a set of real winter tires on the car I would not have any qualms about driving the car all the time provided snow depth was reasonable. The Boxster ground clearance ain't much so there's that.

The side windows can freeze and fail to drop when the door is opened. The "fix" is to get inside and turn on the key and work the window down button while gently wiggling the window and pushing down to break it free of the ice. Once it goes down then it is free and will lower when the door is opened and raise after the door is closed.

The heater will warm the cabin real quick and with the center vents aimed up the warm air melts any snow/ice on the top and after a while the top is free of any snow/ice and in fact is dry.

You want to be sure the body water drains are kept free of debris and check the door bottoms for dampness. The door membranes can fail over time and let water from the wet side of the door to the dry side and that ain't good.

Another problem is the engine won't get that hot and water build up in the oil will be high. After just a few months (January to March) -- but 4K miles -- my new Boxster had 7% water content in its oil -- that's around 1/2 quart! -- and an oil drain and refill is the only way to get rid of this water.

Have to mention though a Boxster is not an inexpensive car to own. Servicing and repairs can be expensive. There are some things you can do for yourself if you are so inclined but still.

And a high mileage car is one that is going to start to need things addressed. (I drove my 2002 Boxster 317K miles.)

Owning a high mileage Boxster on a college student budget -- unless you have some exceptional budget -- is playing with loaded dice. The odds are against you.
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:12 PM
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Shawn Stanford
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Crikey, it's like you people don't own Boxsters...

Porsche made a Boxster roof rack, it's called the Roof Transport System. They're rare and very expensive. Good luck with that. If it was me, I'd try to figure out a way to mount something on the trunk.

As far as winter use...

A rear drive vehicle in snow tires will outperform an AWD vehicle in all-season tires every day (and twice on Sunday). I owned a Fox body Mustang GT which was ridiculously overpowered and had no electronic traction assist. I bought a set of skinny steel Mustang wheels from a junkyard and put on a set of aggressive snow tires and never had an issue. The thing with snow tires is that skinnier is better. My daughter has an '01 Boxster and I'm in the process of collecting 928/944 'collapsible spares' to have snow tires put on them. These wheels are 15x185 and they're dished to clear the disc brakes on the 928 and 944. They fit just fine over the brakes on the base model 986 Boxster.

Originally Posted by Macster View Post
Owning a high mileage Boxster on a college student budget -- unless you have some exceptional budget -- is playing with loaded dice. The odds are against you.
Macster and I have a difference of opinion on this. I think early Boxsters are a very reasonable car to own - and absolutely the most reasonable Porsche to own - provided you can do your own maintenance. Maintenance on a Boxster isn't rocket science and it doesn't take NASA-level equipment. A decent set of tools, a set of plastic ramps, a Google search for Youtube vids, and Bob's your uncle. Parts can be expensive if you buy OEM, but Porsche made a metric crapton of 986s; there are plenty of used parts out there.
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Shawn Stanford View Post
Crikey, it's like you people don't own Boxsters...

Porsche made a Boxster roof rack, it's called the Roof Transport System. They're rare and very expensive. Good luck with that. If it was me, I'd try to figure out a way to mount something on the trunk.

As far as winter use...

A rear drive vehicle in snow tires will outperform an AWD vehicle in all-season tires every day (and twice on Sunday). I owned a Fox body Mustang GT which was ridiculously overpowered and had no electronic traction assist. I bought a set of skinny steel Mustang wheels from a junkyard and put on a set of aggressive snow tires and never had an issue. The thing with snow tires is that skinnier is better. My daughter has an '01 Boxster and I'm in the process of collecting 928/944 'collapsible spares' to have snow tires put on them. These wheels are 15x185 and they're dished to clear the disc brakes on the 928 and 944. They fit just fine over the brakes on the base model 986 Boxster.

Macster and I have a difference of opinion on this. I think early Boxsters are a very reasonable car to own - and absolutely the most reasonable Porsche to own - provided you can do your own maintenance. Maintenance on a Boxster isn't rocket science and it doesn't take NASA-level equipment. A decent set of tools, a set of plastic ramps, a Google search for Youtube vids, and Bob's your uncle. Parts can be expensive if you buy OEM, but Porsche made a metric crapton of 986s; there are plenty of used parts out there.
Owned a Boxster for 16 years. Just I never had any real reason to investigate any roof rack or luggage rack (rear trunk) systems. I did suggest a search for what's available.

(In a similar vein I never had to become that knowledgeable about winter tires/wheels. One or two times when I toyed with the idea of getting a set of winter wheels/tires I looked up what Tire Rack offered but never bought anything.)

The problem with driving in marginal traction conditions like snow/ice is not the going, it is the turning and stopping. RWD/AWD still only have 2 steering wheels/tires and 4 wheels/tires for braking.

In both types of vehicles tires are the critical component. With proper tires the Boxster will be ok. As I touched upon the only real problem with the Boxster is ground clearance. Deep snow, unplowed roads -- or just driving into and out of drives what have a nice mound of plowed snow across them -- can prove to be a real problem.

As for servicing, I will say my Boxster was more reasonable to service than my Turbo. But the Boxster's servicing is not that straight forward compared to less "exotic" cars.

Engine fluid servicing is from underneath, which is true for other types of vehicles. Ramps work ok for oil/filter servicing but for brakes I used two Porsche scissors jacks to raise one corner and support the other corner -- to keep the car from settling down on the unjacked corner -- which to me reduced the amount of raising I had to do to get the tire off the ground in order to remove the wheel/tire and get at the brake hardware.

Servicing my Boxster was ok when I had a garage and a back up car to use. I could put the Boxster on the ramps or jack up the corners and do what I needed to do. But once I lost the garage -- moved to a place with no garage -- working on a car, even a Boxster, out in the elements lost its fun component real quick.

Were I got get another Boxster/Cayman or even a 911 model and wanted to do my own servicing the first thing I'd get is a portable lift so I could just pull the car into the garage and then lift it up and support it in a safe manner. Phooey on those ramps and scissors jacks.

There are some things one can buy used/from a salvage yard. For instance I bought a set of exhaust manifolds/converters. But things like AOS, water pump, fuel pump, coils, brakes, O2 sensors, MAF, wheel bearings, etc. one probably wants new. While for instance one might get a used water pump I'd never consider installing a used water pump.

The biggest issue I guess I have is a Boxster is not what I would consider a good choice for someone on a student budget unless of course as I mentioned the budget is very (very) generous. But the OP will have to evaluate his situation and make that call.
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Old 10-16-2018, 06:56 PM
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Shawn Stanford
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Originally Posted by Macster View Post
Owned a Boxster for 16 years. Just I never had any real reason to investigate any roof rack or luggage rack (rear trunk) systems. I did suggest a search for what's available.
I wasn't dinging you specifically. None of the posts mentioned the RTS. That surprised the hell out of me.

Originally Posted by Macster View Post
The biggest issue I guess I have is a Boxster is not what I would consider a good choice for someone on a student budget unless of course as I mentioned the budget is very (very) generous. But the OP will have to evaluate his situation and make that call.
My take on it is that there are only a handful of true sportscars out there, and among them the Boxster is as reasonable to maintain as any of them, except for the stupid cost of OEM parts. I guess I wouldn't own a Boxster as my only car if I had to get to a 9-5 job every day, but if you can't have a fun, slightly risky car as a college student, when can you? If it breaks, you have friends to ask for help, including wrenching and rides to class or the bar.

I'm really disappointed in the tendency of Porsche owners to actively discourage people sniffing around Porsches. Frankly, I'm tired of going to PCA meetings and C&Cs with a bunch of stuffy old white guys in their exquisitely maintained 911s and brand new GT3s. They're boring. We as owners need to encourage new people into the marque, especially youngsters who will bring in some energy and modern thinking about how to modify, use, and have fun in these cars.

Do we need to help them to understand that these aren't as simple to wrench as a Fox body Mustang, or as reliable as a Toyota Camry? Absolutely! But I guarantee they already know that. They're looking for excuses to buy. So we need to manage their expectations, to set the stage for successful ownership, and to encourage them to join the family with whatever cheap-***, clapped out, or LS-swapped P-Car they can afford.
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Old 10-17-2018, 08:57 AM
  #9  
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I owned a 987 Boxster in New England for a couple of years....I had dedicated snow tires on it and it wasn't the best in the snow. I managed a Winter with it, but traction wasn't great and the mid-engine balance did not put enough weight on the driving tires, to get some traction down. I'd have trouble driving up a small hill in a parking lot, for instance. A 911 is much better, because of the engine placement over the wheels.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaycote View Post
...traction wasn't great and the mid-engine balance did not put enough weight on the driving tires...
Yeah, this is why I recommended the skinniest wheels/tires you can find that will fit over the brakes.
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Old Yesterday, 02:44 PM
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I say go for it, with a few warnings and caveats that have all been previously mentioned. If you will be traveling irregardless of the weather, then it may not be the best choice. Clearance will be your biggest problem in heavy snow. You will definitely need a good set of true winter tires and I agree with Shawn to get the skinniest that will fit, check out TireRack. I would also load the trunk with some kitty litter, which will provide some weight over the rear wheels and in case you do get stuck you can spread some under the tires to help with traction. Finally I would make sure to have a small shovel and a thermal blanket in the car - just in case. For the skis, there was a Porsche roof rack listed on the post you may want to look into otherwise see if you can install a trailer hitch, you don't need electrical. Yakima and/or Thule make a ski rack that attaches to one.

https://www.moosejaw.com/product/yak...SABEgK8RPD_BwE

Depending upon your budget, you will probably need to do most of the maintenance yourself. With YouTube and Pelican Parts you can find instructions on doing anything that you will need to reapair or maintain.
If you decide that the Boxster won't work and still want something fun to drive , look at an older rally inspired car such as a Subaru STI or a Mitsubishi EVO
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