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Was I a fool to buy this car?


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Sorry, but I need to know: I've had my 2003 for 2 months, 37000 miles and is spotless. Runs great, looks great, Porsche serviced with no documented probs. I"m 2nd owner.

So I come here daily and read the terrifying stories of dropped valves, cracked blocks, astronomic service etc and I am wondering if I shouldn't just dump it and buy back my Miata.

Is it because people primarily post problems here? Or is it because this thing is going to break?

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you answered your own question. people seldom come to forums to tell you their car is running great. if you are not technically savvy or a good DIY'r then this data will look overwhelming.

I see the same question on my Saab and Vw posts from new owners. They all want to know why everyone is complaining and there are so many problems. If you take the time to study the comments there are only a few (but major) big concerns and the small ones are consist and easy DIYr, like all cars.

If you bought a car you cannot maintain then that is your own fault, but this car will most likly turn out to be not much more or less reliable then any other car you will own assuming you know the previous history and you do the right things...

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My 04 is running great, no problems! I haven't started many threads lately about it, though ;) Even the worst, most pessimistic estimates are that 80% of Boxsters have no major engine problems, and the % is probably much higher. And even then, most of the issues were with early model years and failed within the warranty period. I think it's moreso the severity and cost that worries people so much as the (not to mention the randomness and unpredictability to gnaw on your nerves). I mean, nobody's posting here "oh my god, what if the AOS goes out??"

Frankly, if you can drive this car for 2 months and then think about selling it for a miata... you don't deserve it! :P

I see the same question on my Saab and Vw posts from new owners. They all want to know why everyone is complaining and there are so many problems. If you take the time to study the comments there are only a few (but major) big concerns and the small ones are consist and easy DIYr, like all cars.
VWs don't usually cost $15k to repair if a seal lets go, though... Edited by grover
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My 04 is running great, no problems! I haven't started many threads lately about it, though ;)

Well, besides the CD player on the fritz, but odds and ends are going to break on a 4+ year old car and Porsches are no exception. Frankly, if you can drive this car for 2 months and then think about selling it for a miata... you don't deserve it! :P

I see the same question on my Saab and Vw posts from new owners. They all want to know why everyone is complaining and there are so many problems. If you take the time to study the comments there are only a few (but major) big concerns and the small ones are consist and easy DIYr, like all cars.
VWs don't usually cost $15k to repair if a seal lets go, though...

The cost of the repair doesn't matter in this discussion or my response in my opinion. Each car and each vehicle should have a sliding scale of the economics of the buyer. I am on the lower end of income for a newer Porsche owner but as a solid DIY'r I'm willing to take that chance.

A $1000 engine repair is just as devistating for the average Vw owner as a $5000 repair for a newer porsche owner.

I agree with your comment about the Miata comment but I'll take it a step further. If you do decide to buy a Porsche, you need to do your research and understand it's not a cheap car to own especially if someone is not a DIY'r. Those who bought such w/o research may deserve the surprises they may receive.

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A $1000 engine repair is just as devistating for the average Vw owner as a $5000 repair for a newer porsche owner.
We're talking 986s, though- they're not exclusive cars anymore, they're squarely in the price range of anyone with more than a fast food job. You can buy a 99 or 00 for less than it costs for a dealer engine replacement, and that's pretty damned devastating to most Boxster owners. It's equivalent to a $15k repair on a Toyota Yaris.

I'd hope anyone buying a Porsche does so with the understanding that parts are 3x more expensive than for a mainstream car and a trip to the dealer's repair bay is going to set you back $1000 before they even turn the car off, but the engine failures that do occur go way above and beyond the basic Porsche tax.

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you answered your own question. people seldom come to forums to tell you their car is running great. if you are not technically savvy or a good DIY'r then this data will look overwhelming.

I see the same question on my Saab and Vw posts from new owners. They all want to know why everyone is complaining and there are so many problems. If you take the time to study the comments there are only a few (but major) big concerns and the small ones are consist and easy DIYr, like all cars.

If you bought a car you cannot maintain then that is your own fault, but this car will most likly turn out to be not much more or less reliable then any other car you will own assuming you know the previous history and you do the right things...

Actually just the opposite, I do have some technical abilities and am not unfamiliar with high performance vehicles and some pretty big tractors, but do not see this car as a DIYer for me. Thanks for the confirmation of what i hope are the exceptions and not the rule, because I've waited 30 years to own a Porsche and I'm not disappointed.

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My 04 is running great, no problems! I haven't started many threads lately about it, though ;) Even the worst, most pessimistic estimates are that 80% of Boxsters have no major engine problems, and the % is probably much higher. And even then, most of the issues were with early model years and failed within the warranty period. I think it's moreso the severity and cost that worries people so much as the (not to mention the randomness and unpredictability to gnaw on your nerves). I mean, nobody's posting here "oh my god, what if the AOS goes out??"

Frankly, if you can drive this car for 2 months and then think about selling it for a miata... you don't deserve it! :P

I see the same question on my Saab and Vw posts from new owners. They all want to know why everyone is complaining and there are so many problems. If you take the time to study the comments there are only a few (but major) big concerns and the small ones are consist and easy DIYr, like all cars.
VWs don't usually cost $15k to repair if a seal lets go, though...

No, not selling it. I bought it with eyes wide open and money put away with forethought and resolution that this is worth keeping. Thanks. The Miata was fun, but this is a car.

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TriGuy -

I have a 2004 986S that has been driven exclusively (after break-in) on the track for 19,000 miles.

A track car has a hard life - some people say one track mile is equivalent to 6 street miles. I'm not so sure about that, but the idea of a ratio helps illustrate the wear-and-tear a track car gets.

I know for certain it spends more time at 4000 to 7000 RPMs than it does under 4000 RPM. And the number of times I have red-lined it, would make a Porsche warranty guy go into spasms.

At Sebring International Raceway, it is under under at least 1.5 lateral Gs 17 times a circuit. (I know from my data acquisition system.) Never had oil starvation problems. ( I did overwhelm the AOS because the Gs, but a replacement with Porsche Motorsports AOS solved that.)

Knock wood - I have never had a serious issue. My engine oil analysis guy says the internal wear I am experiencing is ideal.

Transmission, clutch - all original, and it shifts like new.

I just rebuilt my brake calipers, figuring the bore seals were shot - nope - they were fine.

It runs at the same temp in January at Sebring as it does in August. I've never added a drop of coolant - hasn't needed it.

In the last few years, I can only think of four things that have "broken":

* upgrade to the Porsche Motorsports AOS mentioned above (attributable to track use)

* the parking brake switch in the console that triggers the top failed

* a roll spring came out of my brake caliper (attributable to track use)

* and the horn failed in the first 1000 miles, and fixed under warranty

I take care of it with an accelerated maintenace schedule versus what it would get as a street car, and it continues to run great.

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My 04 is running great, no problems! I haven't started many threads lately about it, though ;)

Well, besides the CD player on the fritz, but odds and ends are going to break on a 4+ year old car and Porsches are no exception. Frankly, if you can drive this car for 2 months and then think about selling it for a miata... you don't deserve it! :P

I see the same question on my Saab and Vw posts from new owners. They all want to know why everyone is complaining and there are so many problems. If you take the time to study the comments there are only a few (but major) big concerns and the small ones are consist and easy DIYr, like all cars.
VWs don't usually cost $15k to repair if a seal lets go, though...

The cost of the repair doesn't matter in this discussion or my response in my opinion. Each car and each vehicle should have a sliding scale of the economics of the buyer. I am on the lower end of income for a newer Porsche owner but as a solid DIY'r I'm willing to take that chance.

A $1000 engine repair is just as devistating for the average Vw owner as a $5000 repair for a newer porsche owner.

I agree with your comment about the Miata comment but I'll take it a step further. If you do decide to buy a Porsche, you need to do your research and understand it's not a cheap car to own especially if someone is not a DIY'r. Those who bought such w/o research may deserve the surprises they may receive.

Yep. I'm prepared to maintain this car. Ironically I'm not a materialistic person and do not obsess over 'things', so think I can handle this.

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A $1000 engine repair is just as devistating for the average Vw owner as a $5000 repair for a newer porsche owner.
We're talking 986s, though- they're not exclusive cars anymore, they're squarely in the price range of anyone with more than a fast food job. You can buy a 99 or 00 for less than it costs for a dealer engine replacement, and that's pretty damned devastating to most Boxster owners. It's equivalent to a $15k repair on a Toyota Yaris.

I'd hope anyone buying a Porsche does so with the understanding that parts are 3x more expensive than for a mainstream car and a trip to the dealer's repair bay is going to set you back $1000 before they even turn the car off, but the engine failures that do occur go way above and beyond the basic Porsche tax.

You're right, for the age and miles, the cost was very reasonable. Even more so when compared to what some pay for behemoth pick ups.

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TriGuy -

I have a 2004 986S that has been driven exclusively (after break-in) on the track for 19,000 miles.

A track car has a hard life - some people say one track mile is equivalent to 6 street miles. I'm not so sure about that, but the idea of a ratio helps illustrate the wear-and-tear a track car gets.

I know for certain it spends more time at 4000 to 7000 RPMs than it does under 4000 RPM. And the number of times I have red-lined it, would make a Porsche warranty guy go into spasms.

At Sebring International Raceway, it is under under at least 1.5 lateral Gs 17 times a circuit. (I know from my data acquisition system.) Never had oil starvation problems. ( I did overwhelm the AOS because the Gs, but a replacement with Porsche Motorsports AOS solved that.)

Knock wood - I have never had a serious issue. My engine oil analysis guy says the internal wear I am experiencing is ideal.

Transmission, clutch - all original, and it shifts like new.

I just rebuilt my brake calipers, figuring the bore seals were shot - nope - they were fine.

It runs at the same temp in January at Sebring as it does in August. I've never added a drop of coolant - hasn't needed it.

In the last few years, I can only think of four things that have "broken":

* upgrade to the Porsche Motorsports AOS mentioned above (attributable to track use)

* the parking brake switch in the console that triggers the top failed

* a roll spring came out of my brake caliper (attributable to track use)

* and the horn failed in the first 1000 miles, and fixed under warranty

I take care of it with an accelerated maintenace schedule versus what it would get as a street car, and it continues to run great.

Thanks, that sounds pretty convincing.

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A $1000 engine repair is just as devistating for the average Vw owner as a $5000 repair for a newer porsche owner.
We're talking 986s, though- they're not exclusive cars anymore, they're squarely in the price range of anyone with more than a fast food job. You can buy a 99 or 00 for less than it costs for a dealer engine replacement, and that's pretty damned devastating to most Boxster owners. It's equivalent to a $15k repair on a Toyota Yaris.

I'd hope anyone buying a Porsche does so with the understanding that parts are 3x more expensive than for a mainstream car and a trip to the dealer's repair bay is going to set you back $1000 before they even turn the car off, but the engine failures that do occur go way above and beyond the basic Porsche tax.

True but I can also buy a BMW 850 for $11,000 and it freak'n tune up will set you back a few bucks. What you can afford street value doesn't change the fact the car is expensive to maintain. Sensibility and research come into when you know you are buying something that was at one time bought and owned by a guy who was better off then 75% in the country.

Regardless the same questions are asked on all websites. All makes models have one major concern or two that is across the platform of given models with few exceptions of almost perfect cars. These fixes can hurt a Vw who is living within his means just as much as a Porsche owner who is not...

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Sorry, but I need to know: I've had my 2003 for 2 months, 37000 miles and is spotless. Runs great, looks great, Porsche serviced with no documented probs. I"m 2nd owner.

So I come here daily and read the terrifying stories of dropped valves, cracked blocks, astronomic service etc and I am wondering if I shouldn't just dump it and buy back my Miata.

Is it because people primarily post problems here? Or is it because this thing is going to break?

2003, 6 years, 139,000 miles...never had an issue with the engine or performance. Regular maintenance. Best car I've ever owned...

Bill B)

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Sorry, but I need to know: I've had my 2003 for 2 months, 37000 miles and is spotless. Runs great, looks great, Porsche serviced with no documented probs. I"m 2nd owner.

So I come here daily and read the terrifying stories of dropped valves, cracked blocks, astronomic service etc and I am wondering if I shouldn't just dump it and buy back my Miata.

Is it because people primarily post problems here? Or is it because this thing is going to break?

2003, 6 years, 139,000 miles...never had an issue with the engine or performance. Regular maintenance. Best car I've ever owned...

Bill B)

Must admit, the fun and exhileration of driving a Porsche far outweighs the cost of maintenance...even though I have spent a good £2000 in teh past 12 months, for 93K on the clock, not too bad...absolutely love it!

BTW, Porsche say do not rev above 5000 or may cause engine problems...

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BTW, Porsche say do not rev above 5000 or may cause engine problems...
If that's true, the why did they put the redline at 7000?

...I exceed 5000rpm every day. Shoot, probably on average once a minute B)

Edited by grover
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BTW, Porsche say do not rev above 5000 or may cause engine problems...
If that's true, the why did they put the redline at 7000?

...I exceed 5000rpm every day. Shoot, probably on average once a minute B)

If so, why does the tip shift at revs higher than 5K. Now to get back to the original Post. Yes, the Porsche is costlier to repair, but there is nothing for nothing. I put on at least 15K of hard miles a year on my 98 Tip Boxster and only use it 8 months a year. Come Spring I'm like a little kid waiting for the nice weather. With all the worrying people do about their engines and such why is the Boxster still rated one of the most trouble free cars? Enjoy it or get rid of it along with all those unnecessary anxieties. You might drop dead tomorrow.

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It's best to start a savings account called Porsche Maintenance Fund because just paying for new tires once a year isn't cheap. However, I haven't found these cars any harder to work on than any other cars, and while the parts cost more, the quality control is higher.

There's 103k miles on my 996, and it has the original alternator, power steering pump, a/c compressor, etc. This is the first car of any brand that I've ever owned that's show that kind of quality. The quality control on parts for my 66 Mustang was so bad, that I went through three power steering pumps in less than a year. Lord knows how many alternators I went through on my 87 Mustang back in high school and college. I know it was at least four in the 8 years I owned it, and at least one of those was bad off the shelf and had to be exchanged again.

As for the electronics, sensors, etc. they seem to have their problems, but no more than I'd expect from any 10-year-old car. I think 90% of the time problems seem to be electrical or sensor-related, and swapping sensors is easy. The investment in a diagnostic scanner like a Durametric will pay for itself with one use versus the labor hours you'd have to pay a mechanic to replace your MAF.

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Sorry, but I need to know: I've had my 2003 for 2 months, 37000 miles and is spotless. Runs great, looks great, Porsche serviced with no documented probs. I"m 2nd owner.

So I come here daily and read the terrifying stories of dropped valves, cracked blocks, astronomic service etc and I am wondering if I shouldn't just dump it and buy back my Miata.

Is it because people primarily post problems here? Or is it because this thing is going to break?

Despite what you read these cars are pretty bullet proof.

They do have their own little issues but you need to be very unlucky to get a lemon.

If you drive the car always fearing what could happen you will never enjoy the car - just go out there drive it and have fun, If a problem develops most of the issues can be answered here or other similar forums as there are some very experienced people that log on to these forums- most will try to help and despite fears that the Porsche is not a DIY car remember it is just a car and most jobs are within the capacity of a reasonable home DIYr or mechanic.

OPCs will always tell you to leave it to them and they will put the fear of God into you if you tell them you have done something yourself - but its just a car, brakes and disks are as easy as any other car, so is a service - a doddle.

Get yourself a Durametric as this will provide you with any fault codes the onboard computer has detected - then post the codes here to have someone tell you what the code means.

You will hear of MAF issues - this is simply two screws and an electrical connector to swap it out for a new part.

Dont worry about potential issues - wait to see if they become real.

I am now on my second Boxster - the first one a 97 2.5 i had for 5 years and never ever let me down, no dramatics - only needed to change a MAF - once

The second and current car a 2002 3.2 - had to swap a rear bearing - that was DIY and an easy job, a few niggly little faults and the air oil seperator decided to let go when i went to Germany to take it on the Nurburgring, so i didnt get on the track and had to leave it in Germany with Porsch for repair - however if the car was at home the AOS is a easy DIY.

I think you are worrying far too much

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I'm a worrier. I was seemingly born that way. In the six months of ownership, my 986S has done nothing to alleviate that worry:

Dead battery replaced

MAF replaced

AOS replaced

Ignition cylinder replaced

Expansion tank replaced

Rear trunk cable replaced

The car passed Porsche inspection before I parted with cash for it. Of the six months of ownership, it has spent three weeks with Porsche.

I check for oil leaks every day.

I drive it listening for the sound of a failed IMS.

I love it to death, more than any other car I've driven apart from a BMW 2002tii, but sometimes I think it's the wrong car for me. :huh:

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I'm a worrier. I was seemingly born that way. In the six months of ownership, my 986S has done nothing to alleviate that worry:

Dead battery replaced

MAF replaced

AOS replaced

Ignition cylinder replaced

Expansion tank replaced

Rear trunk cable replaced

The car passed Porsche inspection before I parted with cash for it. Of the six months of ownership, it has spent three weeks with Porsche.

I check for oil leaks every day.

I drive it listening for the sound of a failed IMS.

I love it to death, more than any other car I've driven apart from a BMW 2002tii, but sometimes I think it's the wrong car for me. :huh:

Wow! :o That's quite a six months...first off, congrats on the car. I'm sure it's the right car for you...hopefully the majority of repairs are behind you. You've done more in six months than I've done in six years. The Boxster really is a terrific car.

Why do you check for oil leaks each day? :huh:

All the best,

Bill B)

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I'm a worrier. I was seemingly born that way. In the six months of ownership, my 986S has done nothing to alleviate that worry:

Dead battery replaced

MAF replaced

AOS replaced

Ignition cylinder replaced

Expansion tank replaced

Rear trunk cable replaced

The car passed Porsche inspection before I parted with cash for it. Of the six months of ownership, it has spent three weeks with Porsche.

I check for oil leaks every day.

I drive it listening for the sound of a failed IMS.

I love it to death, more than any other car I've driven apart from a BMW 2002tii, but sometimes I think it's the wrong car for me. :huh:

Again hopefully you did some research before buying, but most dont...

1. NOt really the builders problem

2. common failure item 101

3. common failure item 101

4. common failure item 101

5. not so common but more concerns be listed

6. easy fix

That's about par stuff for a used car and nothing expensive unless you felt compelled to take it back to the Porsche stealer who should have given you a simple warranty anyways.

I see nothing unacceptable here, let the buyer beware.

I have a rule of buying used cars. All used cars need $1000-3000 in the first year...or chances are the owner would have not been selling it.

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It is an awesome car!

My 01 986S(Kathy baby) she sure is an WORRIER. When I was doing a couple of 3000miles back2back trips to Cali, made me realize how great this roadster truly is !

I grew up on Porsches. I also like to think I can fix just about anything on these cars.

At 61.000 on the clock Kathy has been flawless.

original MAF,AOS,BATTERTY,TANK,,,,,,, EVERYTHING.

Owning her for app 5yrs, only thing I 've done is a couple of oil change(every 8000)

When she behaves well like that of course all my attention shifts toward the all sorts of modification which makes me a very happy guy :lol:

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Sorry, but I need to know: I've had my 2003 for 2 months, 37000 miles and is spotless. Runs great, looks great, Porsche serviced with no documented probs. I"m 2nd owner.

So I come here daily and read the terrifying stories of dropped valves, cracked blocks, astronomic service etc and I am wondering if I shouldn't just dump it and buy back my Miata.

Is it because people primarily post problems here? Or is it because this thing is going to break?

2003, 6 years, 139,000 miles...never had an issue with the engine or performance. Regular maintenance. Best car I've ever owned...

Bill B)

DING DING DING DING That is the correct answer I needed to hear!!! Thanks :P :P :P :P It is certainly the best car I've ever owned!

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  • 4 months later...

Don't be frightened by the folks who lost an engine and need to validate their loss by telling you that your car will suffer the same fate. Porsche is an expensive car to buy and to maintain. If you can't afford to maintain it or fix it if something does fail, don't buy it. Otherwise, there is no reason to lose any sleep worrying that something might go wrong.

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A $1000 engine repair is just as devistating for the average Vw owner as a $5000 repair for a newer porsche owner.
We're talking 986s, though- they're not exclusive cars anymore, they're squarely in the price range of anyone with more than a fast food job. You can buy a 99 or 00 for less than it costs for a dealer engine replacement, and that's pretty damned devastating to most Boxster owners. It's equivalent to a $15k repair on a Toyota Yaris.

I'd hope anyone buying a Porsche does so with the understanding that parts are 3x more expensive than for a mainstream car and a trip to the dealer's repair bay is going to set you back $1000 before they even turn the car off, but the engine failures that do occur go way above and beyond the basic Porsche tax.

Amen to that, Brother Grover. See my thread about my IMS failure after two months- I'm facing a bill equivalent to the price I paid for my '01 S to get a Porsche rebuilt engine installed. It's a second car for me, so I have the option of waiting and saving for the repair, but I feel for anyone in my position who has all their eggs in the 986 basket! If the worst case does happen, there are options out there- Renntech is a great place to get info from experienced and sympathetic Porsche owners.

:)

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