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Need break in tips for new Boxster

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I'm not a Porshe owner yet but that will change next April when I get my MY05 987. So I'm new to this and sorta like a virgin contemplating her upcoming wedding night - kinda excited and kinda scared!

So here goes - what is the most commonly used break in on a new engine? Different people seem to have very different ideas. Any and all info appreciated.

Secondly, how do I drive this car for max enjoyment yet reasonable reliability? Do I baby it and watch the revs all the time or can you drive it to it's potential every time you take it out? I know this is a vague question but want lots of opinions.

It will be a daily driver 40 miles round trip to work every day at 50 mph on the freeway- I do very little city driving.



Edmonton Canada

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My S has been a daily driver for 2.5 years, ordered new in 2002.

I did a 2000 mile break-in, and finished the 2000 miles on the way to my first day at the track (driver's Education). During the break-in, I kept the revs mostly between 2000 and 4000 RPM.

Every morning, I start the car I do a mini-break-in. I keep the revs mostly 2000-4000 RPM until the temperature gauge shows the engine is warming up. Since I have only a few traffic lights, my tires are fully warm when the engine is warm. At this point, I drive the car any way i want to.

I watch the revs - watch them spin! I (almost) redline before every upshift unless I am accelerating slowly in traffic. If I want to have 'power on tap' I have no concern about keeping the engine at 5000 RPM for minutes at a time.

At 40,000+ miles, my engine feels strong and I don't feel that she has been abused. I try to avoid letting the RPMs get too low on the freeway, and find that my mileage is best cruising at around 2800 RPM - although my best top down mileage ever was cruising at around 4500 RPM in 6th gear.

I believe the basic advice 'drive it like you stole it' is a great way to enjoy a Boxster. I only temper that with a decision to wait until after the engine is warm. Fortunately for me, I hit the country road section of my commute about 6 blocks after the engine warms up.


ps. Gratuitous advice - Join PCA now and sign up for driver's Ed for Late Summer/Fall. You will probably need to register in the Winter or Spring to reserve weekend track time. I suggest a few months into the ownership experience so that you have 'the feel' for your car on the street before taking her to a track - but you don't want to wait until April to think about it or you will miss the whole track season. If the idea of driving Mont Tremblant sounds even a little tempting, you will LOVE the experience.

Edited by adsach
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I quess that's where my confusion is coming from. I've always believed in following the manufacturers recomendations- afterall they built the car. I gather that Porsche Canada rec. a 1800 mile breakin. Revs under 4200, varying revs and vehicle speed, no hard braking etc. Yet when I go to forums on the net the 1000 mile comes up all the time. Because I do a lot of driving living out in the country I try to get at least 100,000 miles on our vehicles and preferably more with frequent and complete maintenance. I've also seen references that it's OK to rev up to the redline occasionally during breakin so I quess I'm wondering what the consensus is among Porsche owners.


Thanks for the advice- Will join PCA soon and the local chapter. Nearest Race track is 200 miles away but the local club runs autocross events on a runway at Army base all summer long and it might be a good way to learn from people that know way more than I do.


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Yet when I go to forums on the net the 1000 mile comes up all the time. 


Porsche engines are 'factory broken in' meaning that they already have been duty cycled.

Breaking in means smoothening (or grinding out of) pistons, bearings, camshaft, etc. to run with minimum resistance. They have all been manufactered within certain tolerances, but they need to 'settle in' inside the egine. Most of this occurs within the first few hours of running the engine. By manufacturers already doing part of this in the factory, they avoid most user problems.

The 1,000 mile, commonly referred to, translates to about 30 hours of operating the engine for most of us. This is a large enough margin.

During these first hours, the engine can locally overheat and deform, rather than form a smooth interior. These deformations can impact engine life and reliability. Typical causes for local overheat: over-revving the engine when it is cold (no oil yet), over-revving upon down-shift (insufficient oil), under-revving (hard braking), constant RPM cruising in first few hours (you'll get uneven hp response curve), high rpm (hard acceleration or speeding in lower gear). As the engine settles in, local resistance (and local heat) risks become smaller and smaller.

To us it means treat the engine like a baby during the first 1,000 miles. No hard acceleration, especially when cold, no hard down-shift, no hard braking (with engine engaged), no constant and no high rpm cruising (change gears and/or speed all the time), no long idling. Other than than you can pretty much drive the car as you would drive any other car (but try to avoid the hard acceleration for at least the first 100 or 200 miles). Also, try to avoid short trips - it takes the engine about 20 minutes to heat up thoroughly.

All other gear on the car is also new and needs to settle in. Steering, suspension, clutch, transmission, etc. Being easy on the car during the first 1,000 miles avoids future problems on these items as well.

1,000 miles is just an easy number to remember. Most critical are the first few hundred miles.

In the old days, you had to run the first few hundred miles with an organic oil and then drain the oil to remove the sediments (grinds), and replace it with a synthetic oil. By the manufacturer 'breaking in' the engine they avoid this step for you as a customer. If you do get a remanufactured engine, I would still do this step.

Edited by HenryV
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HEDDOK - I agree.

I edited my previous post from 1000 miles to 2000 miles, this was the recommendation on page 14 of my owners manual and I followed it as well as possible. I resisted the urge to red line with only 2-3 exceptions.

My book says 2000 miles/3000km.

Some folks claim their books say 1000 miles.

Some europeans have claimed their books say 2000 km.

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Thanks to all for the advice!

The reason for all the questions are twofold. This is going to be my very first Porshe and I really want to do things right from the start. All the test drives I took at the dealership where in a 04 986 and the sales guy told me to keep the revs below 4200. After driving SUV's all my life (and owning a 1988 Jag) the boxster had to be the most fun I've ever had behind the wheel even with the rpm restriction. The urge to floor it will be there but the desire to get the best possible reliabilty will hopefully overcome it.

Secondly, During breakin I will be driving 30 miles a day at a constant 55 mph so I guess I should speed up and slow down as much as possible without ticking off the freeway psychopaths that inhabit our roads. Should I change gears every few minutes to vary the RPM's??? Like 3 min in 3rd then a few in 4th etc etc?


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shirt answer:

4200 RPM looks to be about 103MPH.

long answer:

The gearing and final drive in the 987 is supposed to be different than the 986. The November Porsche Panorama has a transmission diagram for the 987S on Page 19, that shows a 6-speed with top speeds in each gear of


In my 02 owners manual, the 986S diagrams show top speeds of


These numbers are so close that I am not trusting these diagrams in PANO, especially since they have the 6-speed diagram labelled as a 5-speed manual. :oops:

Either that, or there is no new transmission, just new shift linkage.

My best guess is, about the same as the 986S: 4200 RPM will be 103MPH.

What your speedometer will say:

My observed speedometer readings are


Given the chronically optimistic speedometers on past German cars, 4200 RPM on a 987S will yield a speedometer reading of about 107MPH.

Edited by adsach
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HEDDOK - The first time you punch it at 5000RPM in 2nd gear, it will feel way better than it did cruising up to 100MPH in 6th gear.

Prior to the Boxster, I took my 94 Nissan Sentra (previous car) up to redline in 5th, and tried to upshift into a non-existant 6th gear.

The first time I made that 5th gear redline shift to 6th in the Boxster was a very satisfying moment :D

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Ad sach

This is agony.... first I have to wait 5 months for the car to be built and shipped here and THEN I have to putz around at 3-4000 rpm for 2000 miles!!! Yikes.

I'm currently driving my winter car, a 2004 Murano, and it's a great ride but I'm making vroom vroom noises while I'm doing it and my kid says "you thinking about the porsche Dad?"

Thanks for the info


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Guest Sir.Rhosisoftheliver

Just follow what Porsche states in the manual..... I think they've got it figured out by now. You could always take a trip down to Regina,SK and show off your new ride. That trip will help speed up the break in time. Good to see a fellow Canadian on the forum, congrads on the purchase.

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This is agony.... first I have to wait 5 months for the car to be built and shipped here and THEN I have to putz around at 3-4000 rpm for 2000 miles!!! Yikes. 


Yep - that's pretty much what I went through on my custom ordered car.

2000 miles gives you time to play with the windows, wind screen, a real good wax job, the right wheel brush to clean your wheels, tire pressures, choosing between 9-3 and 10-2 driving position, heel-toe downshifts, etc.

BTW what options are you ordering? (and you better say heated seats!)

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Ad Sach

I figure when the car gets here in late April I will have to drive 4-5 hours after work each night doing exactly that.... playing with all the buttons and knobs. Great thread on heel and toe shifting which I'll have to learn.

The 987 S I ordered is Seal grey with Sea Blue full leather. My budget is a little tight so just a sport steering wheel, Sport Chrono package and windstop. I live in CANADA so heated seats are an absolute must. My wife and I go to the Rocky Mountains a lot (a nice 4 hour drive) and even in the summer the heater is running first thing in the morning.

BTW if any of you americans come up to Alberta drive the highway from Banff to Jasper. Inredible scenary and a great twisty mountain road!

Take care


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