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New to me 2001 Boxster S

Old 06-24-2019, 09:54 PM
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Default New to me 2001 Boxster S


I've just come into a 2001 Boxster S that was driven like a Civic for the past 4 years. Cosmetically it's seen better days for sure. I was hoping you can help me diagnose some of the issues it has.
  1. When driving uphill if I accelerate a plume of white smoke comes out the back end. I checked oil levels and they are normal and don't see any oil pooling anywhere.
  2. There is a clunk in the front suspension but after taking off the front wheels I can't seem to notice any play in the control arms, sway bars, or tie rod ends.
  3. With a spirited acceleration on flat ground there is a noticeable clunk coming from right behind the cabin (maybe engine mounts?)
  4. Finally the darn ashtray wont close
I've searched this and other forums for solutions but am still coming up short. Are there any secrets that I'm missing?

Thank you

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Old 06-24-2019, 10:30 PM
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Congrats on the purchase!

What is the mileage on the vehicle, and any service history?

I think for the smoke, it's possible that it's the air-oil seperator (aka AOS,) but that definitely needs to be diagnosed properly.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:42 PM
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You sure you are seeing *smoke* and not water vapor? Smoke lingers/holds together even in a breeze while water vapor dissipates even in still air.

You sure the oil is of the right type? Fresh? And the level is truly not too high?

The plume of smoke could be an AOS. (Air/Oil Separator) But the one AOS failure (out of 3 total) my Boxster had in which it emitted a plume of smoke when pulling away from a stop light in just a few minutes run time had the engine smoking something fierce all the time and the engine was even running rough. IOWs, it was clear in nearly no time what the source of the smoke plume was.

If the AOS is not at fault - and I'm not sure it is at fault -- the smoking can be worn rings/cylinders -- which may or may not trigger a CEL and one or more misfire error codes -- or possibly worn valve stem seals/guides. Worn guides can make a bit of racket but worn seals are quiet.

Pull the plugs. If one or more show signs of carbon build up that's a sign of excessive oil in the cylinders and that's not a good sign.

A *properly done* compression test and depending upon the results of this a leak down test may be called for.

For the clunk, check the brake pads are all held securely by the retaining spring.

For the clunk, you may not be exerting nearly the same amount of force the components experience when subjected to the forces that the car subjects them to when you are driving the car. I've watched techs check for loose/worn components and they grunt when they give a tug. They also use -- but they know what they are doing -- a pry lever(a stout piece of wood or a metal pry bar -- with something to protect the body and parts being pried.

Also, check for loose under body panels under the front of the car. Long shot but the car is "new" and unknown to you check the condensers and radiators are secure. Check there is nothing loose in the front trunk.

Would not hurt to check the engine and transmission mounts. My experience is an engine mount can fail and it may not be that obvious.

Check all the braces and such at the back fo the car are secure. Check the half shaft CV boots. If they are ripped/torn/etc the noise could be from a worn/bad CV bearing. Normally these are long wearing/durable but if the boots are compromised that changes things.

While you haven't mentioned it let me caution you to check the front and rear body water drains for debris and possibly water puddling. The debris must be removed -- gently!.-- so the wash/rain water can drain right to the ground promptly. Check the door bottoms for moisture. If find some likely the door membranes are bad. These must be replaced.

You want to avoid water in the cabin with these cars.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Canadian_Driver View Post
When driving uphill if I accelerate a plume of white smoke comes out the back end. I checked oil levels and they are normal and don't see any oil pooling anywhere.
Normally a plume of smoke is AOS, but, yeah, make sure it's oil smoke and not sweet-smelling. Macster points out that continual smoke is not normally an AOS symptom, but AOS problems seem to manifest in many ways. My symptom was a steady drip of oil during operation. You didn't mention mileage, but they last for 80k to 100k. The AOS is a fiddly but doable driveway fix, and I'd absolutely do that before looking for cylinder wear problems.
Originally Posted by Canadian_Driver View Post
Finally the darn ashtray wont close
Get a new ashtray.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:36 PM
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i'm willing to bet the clunk on acceleration is the engine mount (there's only one)
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