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Attn. ToolPants: Boxster on fire, popping, etc.


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We just bought a 2002 Boxster. 3 hours later, on the way home, travelling at highway speeds, 75 mph or so, the car begins losing acceleration and smoothness. The temp gauge remains normal but the check engine light keeps flashing. We slow to a crawl, with lots of shakes and popping and sputtering, and gradually make it - at 15 to 25, and once up to 70 mph - to a service center about 1/4 mile up the road. The engine sputters to a close-down. We top up the 1/2 empty tank, try re-starting, and there are more sputters and coughs and shudders. Then there's a pop, like a backfire. Smoke comes out both sde vents and from under the car, then a ball of flame blows from under the car. We frantically push away from the pumps. The fire disappears but steam is still curling around the rear of the car and trough the side vents. A small amout of coolant dribbles from the car but soon stops. Needless to say, we towed the remaining 136 miles home. Eight hours later we try starting the car at home, on phone advice from the mechanic of our other non-Porsche vehicles. It starts but sputters, idles low, doesn't respond to acceleration, then shuts off with a low pop, leaving smoke again curling out the side vent. HELP!!! I spoke with a Ferrari/Aston M/Porsche mechanic today and he thinks it's the catalytic converters. I'm to call again tomorrow to see if he has room for me. Could it after all be the catalytic converters gone out in flames on this otherwise fabulous car? Thanks in advance....

Edited by bandy1r
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I am sooo sorry to hear your bad news.. I will ask around my porsche mechanic, if he has any idea.

Only story I heard from others similar to what happen to you. Cigarette filter from front of the car and enters in to MAF, then cause air filter to burn, chock the engine. Eventually caught up fire. Hope this is not your case... :oops:

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I had similar symptoms with my 2000 a few months ago. (Minus the ball of fire.) Definitely do not drive the car.

If you are having the same problem I had, it is a failed Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. The failure caused my engine to run too rich and it was sending unburned fuel to the catalytic converter. The temperature gauge didn't rise because it wasn't causing the engine to overheat; the back of the car was getting very hot because the converter was overheating.

The MAF is about $250 U.S. and it will probably be about two hours of labor to diagnose and correct the problem. There may have been some damage to the air intake as a result of the backfire. All together, it should be less than $500 U.S. at a good independent Porsche shop. The dealer may be a bit more.

Of course you may have a totally different problem, but it sounds eerily similar to mine.

Good luck.

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We top up the 1/2 empty tank, try re-starting, and there are more sputters and coughs and shudders. Then there's a pop, like a backfire. Smoke comes out both sde vents and from under the car, then a ball of flame blows from under the car. We frantically push away from the pumps.

As someone that has had two engine failures and been stranded three times in my Boxster, I deeply sympathizes with your plight.

However, if it ever takes a mind to burning itself again, let it go!

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Get it towed (flatbed by someone who knows how to flatbed a Porsche) and don't drive it. Page 231 Owner's Manual

Blinking CEL said stop right now. Page 79 Owner's Manual

You have serious troubles and you need a serious Porsche mechanic.

Maybe spend some time reading any warranty you got with the car as a car lasting 3 hours sounds kind of suspicious.

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Get it towed (flatbed by someone who knows how to flatbed a Porsche) and don't drive it. Page 231 Owner's Manual

Blinking CEL said stop right now. Page 79 Owner's Manual

You have serious troubles and you need a serious Porsche mechanic.

Maybe spend some time reading any warranty you got with the car as a car lasting 3 hours sounds kind of suspicious.

Thanks, Mikefocke. We did have it properly flatbedded. As for warranties....bought it AS-IS. A serious Porsche shop gave an over-the-phone suggestion that it's a catalytic converter problem. Anyway, we look forward to getting this car running again and truly enjoying it. Thanks again.

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Get it towed (flatbed by someone who knows how to flatbed a Porsche) and don't drive it. Page 231 Owner's Manual

Blinking CEL said stop right now. Page 79 Owner's Manual

You have serious troubles and you need a serious Porsche mechanic.

Maybe spend some time reading any warranty you got with the car as a car lasting 3 hours sounds kind of suspicious.

Thanks, Mikefocke. We did have it properly flatbedded. As for warranties....bought it AS-IS. A serious Porsche shop gave an over-the-phone suggestion that it's a catalytic converter problem. Anyway, we look forward to getting this car running again and truly enjoying it. Thanks again.

If its AS-IS, you still have the standard 30 days after the purchase that covers mechanical issues.

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yea wow, after 3 hours, i would have them pay for some of it couse it didnt even last you few hours

SOME of it?! how about ALL of it? or they can refund his money. i don't know if i'd even want the car anymore.

if it is the cats, the warranty should take care of a lot of it. probably just parts and he would have to pay the labor, which the seller of the car should pay.

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