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Spongebob_Greenpants

How important is PSM in a 986?

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Hi all,

I'm shopping for a topless sports car (previously had an '02 non-S boxster), with the primary emphasis on getting another Boxster.

I've found 2 really great cars - one a 2000 Boxster S (black/black, Nav, awesome rims, in good shape, had it inspected, Nav, etc.) and a 2005 Boxster S (tons of options low miles, good price, also black).

I have a few thoughts on the two cars. The '05 is undeniably nicer, and still has some warranty, etc. But some aspects of the 986 are preferable to me... I find it a bit more comfortable, and while the interior isn't as nice as the newer car in the generic sense, I think I enjoy it more. In the 987 I miss the door lock button being on the dash (which makes no sense, but adds an element of the exotic, perhaps), the heated seats buttons being on the console -vs- by the climate controls like every other car. I miss the cubby hole in the back between the seats - again the 987 having a normally located cubby hole is just less fun. Its a porsche, not a Civic, not everybody is familiar with them, and those idiosyncrasies add to the fun. The 986, Vette, or even S2000, honestly, capture that "exotic" feel inside a bit better than the 987 IMO.

Beyond that, the extra power of the '05 isn't wildly valuable to me as I'm a novice track driver and whichever car I choose will be the first one that I try autocross with (i do plan on giving it a try, I'm a big offroad motorsports fan, and some track driving might be a blast). The price of the cars is very different, with the '05 costing far more, but the '05 is priced more favorably relative to book value and doesn't need new tires, and I drove a few 911's before deciding the Boxster was more fun to me... So lets throw money out of the equation.

I go back and forth and drive myself crazy debating between the simplicity of the 986 and the niceness of the 987. There's something to be said for owning less-nice vehicles. Speaking from my offroad experiences, it can be alot more fun to own a crusty old Wrangler with a lift and some lockers than a brand new vehicle. Ding it on a rock and it adds character, you joke about it over beers and its a fun experience, ding a brand new truck and you feel like you lost something. I don't know if that feeling would translate to track driving, or normal day-to-day wihpping around backroads or not.

But never mind all that. Why I really wanted to post is to ask how 986 owners feel about PSM. The '00 Boxster i mentioned above doesn't have it, my old '02 did. I thought it was a nice addition to the car, and I'm wondering if I'd regret not having it if I purchased the '00. In the rain, or if driving the car very hard, is PSM an arse-saver? Perhaps someone has with/without experience on a 986...

thanks,

Green

Edited by Spongebob_Greenpants

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    You can remove these ads by becoming a Contributing Member.

But never mind all that. Why I really wanted to post is to ask how 986 owners feel about PSM. The '00 Boxster i mentioned above doesn't have it, my old '02 did. I thought it was a nice addition to the car, and I'm wondering if I'd regret not having it if I purchased the '00. In the rain, or if driving the car very hard, is PSM an arse-saver? Perhaps someone has with/without experience on a 986...

thanks,

Green

I wouldn't be without it................

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I am totally and completely in love the PSM on my 2001 2.7. My last mid-engined car (a 91 MR-2), I spun out and totalled getting on the throttle too quick exiting a flyover (it was actually the panic lift that killed me). PSM would have saved my *** there, and although the Boxster has rear suspension that mitigates lift rotation, it's still going to be a problem with any mid- or rear-engined car.

Not only that, but PSM will also keep you from spinning your tires (much) on launch, and help you get the power down better coming out of corners, where it works a lot like a limited slip diff.

In my experience so far (I haven't had my car long), turning the PSM off can be fun and let you hang the tail way out there or exit a stop light in dramatic and smoky fashion, but I'll bet, short of *maybe* on the track, you'll be faster with it. Even on the track, you're generally not going to run more than the 5-7 degrees of slip you get even with PSM on, if you're Doing it Right.

I'd say definitely, definitely, definitely get it. It could save your car, or even your life.

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Hi all, thanks for the input.

That deter.com article was pretty interesting.

Well, its pretty safe to assume that i'm not going to be the great driver that can do better than PSM anytime soon. :) And if, when its off, it only comes back on under a set of circumstances (panic driving or trail-braking, with which i'm not familiar) in which its likely that my non-expert driver self wants it on, it sounds like a good option to have under spirited driving conditions, and its obviously good to have on slick roads, which my part of the country is prone to having.

So PSM it is. I wonder if they've improved the system for the 987 relative to the 986?

thanks again.

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Hey Spoongegreen Bobpants!

Please

Save

Me

or

Porsche

Saved

Me

Rearly do we save it...it saves us!

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Just a little counterpoint to all the pro- PSM comments...

I don't have PSM on my 2001 2.7, and frankly I'm glad I don't. My last mid-engine was an 85 MR-2, with power SFA. So I'm used to it.

Not having PSM forces me to pay more attention when I'm driving, and not get into trouble in the first place. I'm also a motorcyclist, so I definitely drive with the "careful and defensive is better" philosophy. Being male and hence foolish, I think I'd drive more agressively if I had PSM.

Hey, somebody has to disagree! :P

John Wink

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How good a driver are you. If you have a few years of track and autocross experience you will probably enjoy driving with it off or not having it. If you don't have much experience then get it. That said even an experienced driver driver can benefit from PSM in an emergency situation. I'm a little old fashioned, I'd rather not have it.

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PSM is without a doubt better than TC. I've driven both, have TC, but wish I had PSM.

That being said, I prefer to use neither on the track. I drove a friend's 997 Carrera S on the track with it on, and my Boxster (3.4, PSS9, etc...) with it off. I was able to smoke the times I got in his car. It felt like it was being a little overly cautious. I made a few more runs with the PSM off in the 997 and was able to get closer, but still not quite catch the Boxsera. I would have turned off the PSM in the 997 but I didn't want to spin the car into the wall. Had I turned it off, I might have been able to get another second and a half out of it, but that wouldn't have been enough, and I don't have a spare $90k lying around.

The next day in the rain, it was the complete opposite. I had a hard time getting the power to the ground in the Boxsera, but the 997 was stable and fast. If I had the PSM in the Boxsera I might have been able to turn better times. The TC was so obtrusive I had to turn it off to get close to the 997. The PSM in the 997 was certainly there, but a novice may not have been able to tell it was working.

As far as the street is concerned, my driving skill has saved me many times; the TC/ PSM never. Using electronics to make you a better driver is not a good way to go. It would tend to make you worse since the car is correcting your mistakes for you and you don't learn from them. If you spend a lot of time at the track _learning_ how to drive, you'll be better off and won't miss having the fancy electronics.

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Hey, these are more good thoughts. I had a conversation last week with a gent who suggested that i'd be doing myself a favor if i learned to drive at a track without the electronic babysitters. He suggested that they can retard learning and promote a mediocre skillset. I don't doubt that thats a valid statement, but having PSM makes sense to me as you can always turn it off for learning/fun if/when I advance as a driver.

But in general I think its reasonable to assume that I'll start out very not-advanced as a driver and I live up north where the last snowfall was just a few weeks ago...

Its kind of a bummer to decide that PSM is a should-have option, as that is one great looking '00 Boxster S. Oh well.

thanks all. decisions are so much work sometimes!

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FWIW, the Porsche Driving Experience (drivers school) at Barber Motorsports Park disables the " PSM OFF" switch on every one of their cars except for the ones used on the skid pad. The PSM is always ON. This is for all levels of student driver - from novice to race licensed. The instructors say that professional drivers cut less than a second off their lap times with the PSM turned off.

Track record: Car – 1:20.613 – avg. speed – 102.713mph - distance - 2.38 mi.

YMMV,

Bill

Edited by whall

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I have a 98 2.5. The TC is useless. Of course I don't have PSM but wish I did but just for snow. I have no training, don't track, drive medium hard on the roads, and have never lost control. I have never lost traction on any wheel. The handling is just that good. So I'd say the two factors are:

-Weather- PSM is a must if driving in snow or ice.

-Driving Style- You may never hit the limits of PSM in dry weather

That said it can't hurt unless you are a really experienced high speed tracker. Get the car you want. Shopping for a Porsche is very much about romance and love for the machine. PSM could save you but I'd think you'd have to be driving very hard to have it kick in.

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I don't know...I've not "lost it" in my Boxster, but I can make the PSM kick in at will. You can, for instance,

a. Drop the clutch in first, or actually even when shifting to second, if you get on the gas a little first. That'll spin both back wheels and cause the PSM to step in.

b. Floor the gas while turning. When leaving a stop light and turning left, for instance. The back end will rotate a little bit before PSM steps in, but if you turn PSM off, you can spin around in circles, supposing you don't like your tires.

I think letting the PSM step in is a mark of shame, but I'd rather have it there and not need it than need it and not have it. Same reason I keep a jimmy hat in the door pocket. :P

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Well my desires for ideally, a 986 with heated seats, bose, and PSM are a bit challenged this morning. A white '03 Boxster S that is in better condition than any used car I have ever seen arrived at the nearest Porsche dealer for a great price. The paint is showroom, and the interior almost doesn't show any of the wrinkle-lines that leather inevitably shows with age. But no PSM. :(

In the next couple of days I'll pick between that and a great '05 with all the options under the sun (nav, sport chrono plus, PASM). And probably deal with another round of buyers anxiety revolving around just getting an '08 'Vette instead of a Box...

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I drive a 986 2.5 manual. TC doesn't seem to do anything much. Only when I have been driving like an idiot has the back started to come out and even then it's controllable so I'd say not to get anything that is likely to make you push it any further

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I have a 2001 2.7L 5 speed Boxster with no PSM. I also have a Plymouth Neon. As expected, Boxster grips the road better than the Neon, rain or shine. The PSM is far from necessary. The Boxster, even without PSM, is going to handle very well, even in poor weather (assuming you have the right tires for it). I do fine without PSM and haven't felt like I've needed it yet. Overall though, PSM is a good idea and will add a bit of extra control in that unexpected situation when you need it most.

On the very rare occasions that I do lose traction from my rear wheels taking a turn on my Boxster, it is fun. The back end whips out a bit, I correct a bit with the wheel and give it some light throttle and grip comes right back. PSM would probably be a bit safer, but I think it's possible it would take a bit of the spirit out of my car. That lack of spirit and exoticness seems to be your complaint about the 987.

Edited by secretagent214

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I have a 2001 2.7L 5 speed Boxster with no PSM. I also have a Plymouth Neon. As expected, Boxster grips the road better than the Neon, rain or shine. The PSM is far from necessary. The Boxster, even without PSM, is going to handle very well, even in poor weather (assuming you have the right tires for it). I do fine without PSM and haven't felt like I've needed it yet. Overall though, PSM is a good idea and will add a bit of extra control in that unexpected situation when you need it most.

On the very rare occasions that I do lose traction from my rear wheels taking a turn on my Boxster, it is fun. The back end whips out a bit, I correct a bit with the wheel and give it some light throttle and grip comes right back. PSM would probably be a bit safer, but I think it's possible it would take a bit of the spirit out of my car. That lack of spirit and exoticness seems to be your complaint about the 987.

I agree that if you're getting a new car you should get the pcm. I'm now using my 2003 C4S as a daily driver, and after driving a 911SC for years have had some adjustment problems. I'm guessing the mid engine Boxster is like the 4-wheel drive...going smooth in and out of corners, rather than hitting the apex and powering out of turns with max throttle steer. Smoothing it out through the curves is the key. I can't drive the C4 like the SC because the pcm comes on in the corner and scares the pants off me. so I usually turn it off when driving over local mountain roads. but I wouldn't have the car without it and intend to keep it on in wet conditions. I did make the mistake of putting a different brand of new tires on the rear, and should have known better, but I'm dealing with that. good luck....

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