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Noob Q: check engine light and strange noise

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New porsche owner here - '97 Boxster.

Drove to the store just now. Pulling into the parking lot, I notice a "blinking" check engine light. Shut off car, shop, return to car. Start motor, "solid" check engine light, and clickety, clackety noise coming from the motor. The noise is coincident with RPM - rev the motor and the clicking increases in frequency. Were it a small block chevy or ford, I'd swear it was it was a spun main bearing making that kind of noise.

Anyway, I decide to limp home. After about two minues, the clicking sound vanished, but the check engine light remained on. I shut it off and started it a few more times, but could never get the clicking noise to return.

Can someone recommend a good code reader that I can use to try and see what's going on with the motor?

Also, I found this below the car a couple of weeks ago:


Unsure if it came from the boxster. I thought I'd post it and see if you more experienced folks could ID it. It is rubber, looks like a vacuum cap or plug, and has the number "11" molded to the inside. Does it belong on the car?

Thanks for any help! I'd like to avoid towing it several hours to a dealer.

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I would also recommend Autozone or a similar auto parts store since it’s free.

If you want your own reader, I purchased a CarChipE/X from Davis to help solve an O2 sensor problem on my 98 Boxster. The cost is slightly more at $150, but it can record several types of data when the car is being driven in addition to reading the codes – speed, rpm, engine temp, O2 sensor values, intake temps, …. It is a small devise, about the size of two matchboxes. You unplug the device from the car and download the data to a PC. The chip came with a serial cable to connect to the PC and also comes with good software for viewing and saving the data.

It also does a great job of keeping track of your car when someone else is driving it – I have two adult children who love to drive the car :(

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