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Considering a 986...so many newbie questions - Sorry!

 
Old 06-11-2019, 07:21 PM
  #16  
TimboAA
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I thought all were built in Finland but that's a neat piece of info. I'm not sure if it will make much difference to me personally in the end. Maybe those early 97s will be sought after once it reaches antique status. So I shouldn't really sweat the differences between the 2.5 and 2.7? Is one engine better than the other? I thought I read somewhere that those have the dual row IMS which preferred?? I could be wrong here.

Also...why so many in silver?!
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:14 AM
  #17  
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I think "better" is subjective. I would say most of the folks on the board would steer you in the direction of what makes the most sense to you and what you like best. I wouldn't sweat the IMS details. If you are going to buy one, either find one that's already been done, or be prepared to replace it. I bought mine with 128,000KMs on the odometer without the IMS done, but eventually replaced it when my transmission rear main seal and oil cooler were leaking. If it weren't for the oil leak, I probably never would have replaced the IMS, and would have just driven my Boxster to the ground. When it was replaced, the original one was just fine. Everyone will have a different story and opinion. I'd happily buy another Porsche without the IMS done. Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:35 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by TimboAA View Post
First of all, thank you. And second of all, sorry! I've got so many questions that are now just matter of opinion but I'm looking for some guidance. Please correct any of my thought process if I'm wrong as it's my first post on this forum.

Backstory: Blah blah...I want one. I've been lusting after a Porsche since I was a kid of driving age. I seriously considered a Boxster 10-11 years ago and bought a 2008 Mazda Miata MX-5 instead. Great car, fun, etc. A few years go by...get married, sell the car and get a 4 door with back seats, have kids, etc. I'm now just about at the point where I can have a roadster again, however, it'll be a second car. I want the wind in my hair before it's all gone. The sunroof in my current car just doesn't cut it.
  • In my area of New England, I see 986s all day in the $7500-14000+ range. Call it $10k as the most common price I see.
  • Mileage is often around 65-85k miles. Some are lower, some are 100k miles plus.
  • I understand maintenance history is important. Some times I even see cars with the IMS bearing already done with a clutch.
  • '99+ base models came with the 2.7L correct? Is that the preferred engine? Or the 2.5L in the earlier models? Is performance noticeable between the two?
  • Only Boxster S came with the 6-speed. Do I want the S over the base? I don't know!!
  • Right now I'm at internet shopping phase....Does anyone want to take me for a spin in their car? I'll buy you a beer! Hardly anything on Turo out here.
  • I don't mind turning a wrench here and there, but would rather a shop do the clutch/IMS/rear main seal, etc.
Where I'm having trouble deciding is:
  • What years should or engines should I focus on?
  • Boxster or Boxster S - (they'll all be a manual)
  • What mileage range should I narrow in on? Average (65-85k miles)? 100k+ with impeccable service? Low mileage 30-45k miles?)
    • I hear lower mileage cars could be a concern due to lack of use and while they'll look good on paper, may have more issues ????
  • PPI....how the heck does that work? Do I bring the car to a shop? Does the private owner/dealer bring it to the shop? Does the shop go to the car?
  • I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
Thanks again for your help. It is appreciated!
Newer is better. While not a "986" per se a 2008 MY car would be better than any previous year all other things being equal.

My 2002 2.7l engine went 317K miles with no engine issues -- other than a VarioCam solenoid/actuator had to be replaced at around 260K miles -- and on its original IMSB.

For the question of base vs. S you have to test drive both examples and decide what you like best. I bought a base. I didn't even test drive an S because the price premium ( around $7K ) was just too much for me. After not much time my car had to go in for something -- minor -- and I got an S loaner. While a nice car I did not (fortunately) regret my decision to buy a base. It only reinforced in my mind the price premium just wasn't worth it. But you have to make this call for you.

Porsche figures "average" annual mileage is 6K to 9K miles a year. But a 2000 with 9K miles per year average would have around 170K miles. Cars differ, but at 172K miles my Boxster's fuel pump quit. At around 200K miles the water pump got noisy (wore out). The coolant tank leaked at maybe 220K miles. AOSs every 80K to 100K miles.

On general principle I'd probably avoid real low miles cars. I bought a low miles 2003 Porsche Turbo in 2009 and it manifested a lot of issues -- transmission leak, RMS leak, front diff axle flange seal leaks, hydraulic spoiler leaks, water pump leak, radiator leaks, even the rear view mirror leaked -- I think were due to the fact the car covered on average just 1600 miles per year the 1st 6 years.

Generally the car is brought to the place doing the PPI. But some sellers can balk at this.

Your job is to get real good at evaluating a used Boxster so you only need PPI one car, the car you end up buying. This requires a thorough 15 mile long road test first as a passenger then as the driver. The route should give the seller then you the opportunity to experience the car as you intend to use it, within reason. The engine should run about an hour. This gives the engine controller time to run through the readiness checks and turn the CEL on if a problem is found. This hour's engine run time gets all the fluids hot and leaks are much more likely to manifest leak sign when fluids are hot.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:25 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Macster View Post
This requires a thorough 15 mile long road test first as a passenger then as the driver. The route should give the seller then you the opportunity to experience the car as you intend to use it, within reason. The engine should run about an hour. This gives the engine controller time to run through the readiness checks and turn the CEL on if a problem is found. This hour's engine run time gets all the fluids hot and leaks are much more likely to manifest leak sign when fluids are hot.
Mac gives this advice all the time, and it's the best advice. You don't have experience with Boxsters, so a lot of detail on what to look when evaluating one probably isn't going to help you. Drive the car and let it talk to you.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:29 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Shawn Stanford View Post
Mac gives this advice all the time, and it's the best advice. You don't have experience with Boxsters, so a lot of detail on what to look when evaluating one probably isn't going to help you. Drive the car and let it talk to you.
I will say, that is good advice and I appreciate that. Sounds like I should set a side a day and line up a few to check out and make it very clear to everyone the stage I'm in so they're not hungry for a bite on the immediate sale. Short of all the bits I normally look at for a used car, including looking for leaks, are there any Boxster specific things I should keep an eye out for? Like particular noises or common wear/rust areas to check out? For example, the car I just sold was notorious for rust on the front shock towers. I hear these cars are generally pretty good when it comes to rust.

From what I'm noticing, I don't see them flying off the dealer lots or owner's garages within the first 24 hours. I've been watching the online listings for a few months now and I have seen two go that I would have checked out. Both were right around $10k base models with the IMS and clutch already taken care of being sold by a place that sells and services foreign cars.
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:07 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by TimboAA View Post
including looking for leaks, are there any Boxster specific things I should keep an eye out for? Like particular noises or common wear/rust areas to check out?
My experience, which is pretty common I think, is that these things are essentially bulletproof. Except for a couple of rare and catastrophic problems (IMS being the most famous), they just run and run. As I've been saying, stuff wears out, but it's pretty easy to replace.

For instance, the air/oil separator (AOS) goes south in every Boxster. The symptom is usually a cloud of white smoke on startup, or sometimes during operation. But when the AOS in my daughter's '01 went, it produced a stream of oil during operation. If you don't know what you're looking at, it can seem like the end of the world. Even if you do know what you're looking at, a mechanic will want at least $500 to replace it. I did it in an afternoon for $75.

My daughter's car was seeping a lot of oil from the sides of the motor. I traced it to spark plug tubes, which I replaced for about $35.

The point being that even things that look really bad are probably just some reasonably priced parts and an afternoon in the garage.

For example, the car I just sold was notorious for rust on the front shock towers. I hear these cars are generally pretty good when it comes to rust.
My '99 is a northeast car with over 180k on it. It doesn't have a spot of rust. I honestly can't think of a 'notorious' problem with 986 Boxsters, except for the IMS and RMS, which are (IMHO) both overblown. I'd do a Google search.

I purchased both my Boxsters off Craigslist sellers, and I'm happy with the results. It is a buyer's market in early cars, so take your time. Feel free to post pictures and ask questions about what you see and hear during your search, and we can probably help you out.

Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:36 PM
  #22  
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I'm with Shawn on this one 100%. A lot of these "known problems" really are a sign of these cars having aged gracefully, and requiring some form of maintenance and parts replacement

If we are being honest with ourselves, all cars out there need some kind of service and maintenance, and over time, "problems" will manifest themselves. I have yet to see any real catastrophic failure on any Porsche. The only ones that I've encountered by association were those who were driving their cars like hooligans, and eventually the engine blows.

I inherited a 2006 Toyota Corolla and drive it for a year. By the end of the year, the required maintenance and parts required to keep it running properly ended up costing double the cost of replacing my IMS. I ended up trading it in for a new Corolla iM. I couldn't even sell it for $400!
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:25 PM
  #23  
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I just bought my first Porsche, a '98 Boxster in May 2019. It had 58,000 miles on it. Since I was a little kid I've dreamed of owning a Porsche. Albeit, in my dream it was a 911 Turbo. So when this baby came up for sale locally, then dropped to around $10K I couldn't resist. Honestly, all rational thinking went out the window. For everything else I purchase, I research it until I'm comfortable enough to make a very informed decision. That being said, I bought mine not knowing about the IMS issue (this probably would have deterred me from buying a Porsche, at least this one) or some of the other little nuances. I saw a very good video on YouTube where the IMS is explained. I believe the pre '00 have not had the issues with the IMS like the post '00 have had. I will see if I can find the link. So far I have had mine in for an oil change and road test. They cleared the Airbag warning light (both the driver and passenger seat belt buckles had been replaced), and took it for a test drive. (After 500 miles of ownership I have had it stall x3 while slowing down for a turn. Each occurrence was after it had sat all night). While slowing down and downshifting, depress the clutch and it stalls, all the warning lights light up like a Christmas tree, let off the clutch, and it starts up again. The local shop that works on imports ($165/hour) couldn't find a code, nor did it happen for them the next day. They said it could be an ignition switch? We'll see. I'm about 500 miles from hitting 60,000 miles now and the check engine light just came on. I'm hoping it is something that comes on as you approach a mileage milestone to get you in for scheduled maintenance. I will say it has been a blast to drive! After purchasing mine I heard the mantra "a Boxster is inexpensive to purchase, but expensive to maintain."

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Old 06-16-2019, 08:40 PM
  #24  
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IMS explained:
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ZzzTime View Post
After 500 miles of ownership I have had it stall x3 while slowing down for a turn. Each occurrence was after it had sat all night). While slowing down and downshifting, depress the clutch and it stalls, all the warning lights light up like a Christmas tree, let off the clutch, and it starts up again. ů and the check engine light just came on. I'm hoping it is something that comes on as you approach a mileage milestone to get you in for scheduled maintenance.
Hmm... Pull the codes, I think you'll find something vacuum or intake related, and I feel like these two things are somehow symptoms of the same problem.

FWIW: I've been driving with an vacuum system CEL for months. »\_(ツ)_/»»
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:30 PM
  #26  
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Thanks Shawn. I'll look into it. I can have the local shop check it again (if you return within 4 weeks they do not charge you for another diagnostic test). For future checks however, what scanning tool do you recommend? Is it possible to find one that is compatible with both Porsche, other imports, as well as domestic cars? Thanks again!
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:58 PM
  #27  
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Most, (and take this with a grain of salt) use DuraMetric

I have one myself, and the tool in itself paid off upon its initial use. Some other owners on the forum will go the distance and buy a PIWIS, which is the Porsche factory diagnostic tool, but there are also Chinese knock offs, which I have no experience with.

There are also other tools on the market such as Snap-On etc, but those are tools for professional mechanics. I found Durametric to be the most cost effective, but people will have varying experience with it. You can also use a generic Bluetooth OBD-II scanner, but it will be limited in terms of what you want to get out of it. Since owning the Durametric, I haven't really scoured the market for what else is out there, so I hope others can chime in on this.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:36 PM
  #28  
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Thanks bcrdukes!
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:46 PM
  #29  
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I'm planning on getting a Durametric.
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Old 06-22-2019, 12:24 AM
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Got a chance to connect with MrAllegro on here. A great stand up guy and I appreciated all of the information he shared. We also went for a ride in his yellow Boxster S that was absolutely immaculate. After swapping car stories over a beer and sifting through the classifieds I've got some direction to go in. Pending a free and clear schedule plus some sort of bribing with my wife, I hope to make a circuit of checking out a few cars tomorrow. We shall see if it pans out.

Let's just say riding in his car didn't help me with the bug.
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