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Q: MY03 2.7L, want to install some items

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I wanted to take care of 3 DIY projects while I have the time:

1) 996 cluster install

the reason I want this is to get the battery and oil gauges that are on the 996 cluster. If I install this into the boxster a) will the cluster be a simple plug/play upgrade (no new wiring harness) and B) will I get those gauges to work?

then I'll finish off with the OBC hack.

2) 996 bumper?

I'm a big fan of the 996 turbo bumper look, but I have read conflicting posts on whether the 996 bumper can be installed on the 986. One says yes, one says no. I'd do this mostly so I can install the 3rd radiator. Can I install a 996 bumper without having to also change the side panels and headlights?

3) big red brake install

I can get a complete set of 996 red brakes, rotors calipers and pads (probably slightly used). Will these work on a 986? Or should I just get a set of boxster S red brake calipers and change out the calipers on my car? I don't want to just get a cosmetic upgrade...are the red calipers actually better than my stock calipers? And do I need to get the boxster S rotors if I have the boxster S calipers?

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A 2002 or newer bumper cover from a 996 or from a 2001 or newer 996 Turbo will not work unless you replace the fenders and headlights. Search as this has been covered before.

Putting in a 996 cluster for the 2 extra gauges has also been covered. There are several Boxster owners who have a 996 instrument cluster. These are on 1997-2000 Boxsters. The cluster changed in 2001 and changed again in 2003/4. I was going to be one of them with my 1997 but the used 1999 996 cluster I bought off ebay had a defective LCD display when I plugged it into my Boxster, so I never finished the project.

I do not know anyone who has put a 996 cluster in a 2003/4 Boxster. With 2003/4 you have to deal with MOST, the fiber optic system. If you were to try a 996 cluster in your Boxster then I think the only one that will work properly in a 2003/4 Boxster is a 2003/4 996 cluster, and it must be from a 996 C2.

I will let someone cover the brakes as I never understood the need for bigger brakes on a street car. 996 brakes are the same as the S and neither is a straight exact swap on the base Boxster.

This is a 2000 2.7 with a 996 cluster we saw at a recent tech session.


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thanks. I saw that some folks had installed bumpers from the 996, but the search engine is for some reason restricted to four or more letters per word. As a result, I had to search for "bumpers" and that came up with a lot of false positives.

My boxster has the MOST bus. I have a seller with a 2k4 C2 instrument cluster, I think I'll buy it and let you guys know how it works.

I'm interested in some low-level course racing, so the upgraded brakes were up at the top of my list. Since I'm coming close to 20k miles, I thought that instead of just a brake pad replacement, a complete overhaul of the brake system might be a good idea. Not good news to hear that there is more than a cosmetic difference with the 996 brakes.

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ah, found them.

Just so other people know, the 996 cluster install can be found in the DIY section in the "oil pressure gauge?" thread. Very instructive, I just wish I had a part number for a 2003/4 996 instrument cluster, or knew if the upgrade was even possible on a MOST-bus auto (curses!). I guess there's only one way to see.

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Sounds like you found it, but just in case. http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?s...st=0entry7231 http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=304&st=0

If you have a part number for a 996 cluster we can look it up. The parts list for 996 shows some clusters as the same for 2002 up. I did not see a part number just for a 2003-4. Little bit suprised.

As you know, a 2003/4 does not have a user radio code as it is in the instrument cluster. I thought you would need a cluster from a MOST 996 so that you could code the instrument cluster or your radio would not work. Maybe there is a way to code a 2002 cluster to work on a 2003/4.

A few months ago I asked Peter if we wanted to do a 996 cluster swap on a 2003-4 Boxster would it have to come from a MOST 996 car and he thought maybe so because of the radio code issue. But he has never done it because at the dealership they replace a defective cluster with the same type cluster that was removed. And like I said, according to the parts list, I do not see a specific 2003-4 cluster, just 2002 up. So you will have to be the guinea pig.

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Unless you want the look then no need to change even if you want to track the car. The stock brakes are more than adequate for the track. The most you have to do is change the pads. 20K is nothing on the brakes if you have never tracked the car. You might need rotors and pads but the calipers should be fine.

If you want red calipers then you can paint your existing ones. If you want holed in your rotors you can get rotors with holes that are same as the stock 986.

You cannot just swap the calipers. You have to do the rotors, calipers and pads.

996 brakes are the same as 986S brakes. You cannot directly swap 986 brakes with 986S/996 brakes. The fronts will swap but the rears will not. There is a difference in how the e-brake is mounted or something. I forget exactly what the difference is.

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good. it's not broke, so I guess I'll just let it be.

as for the cluster, I'm asking about the one I'm looking at, trying to see if it was taken off a MOST-bus 996 (2k3/2k4). If it was, I have to assume that the cluster stores the radio codes and I'd have to get that code flashed into there with a PST2 or whatever the heck they're using these days.

Since I have to drop by the dealership, mabye I'll see if I can get a cluster at a competitive price from them...or at least find the part number for the clusters that use the MOST-bus.

I agree, it's odd that they don't have a separate part number for 2003/2004...unless the 996 had the M-bus back in 2k2?

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I have 02S. I only had brake fade once on stock 1.5 yr old brake fluid. I think the brakes are terrific and adequate for my track needs.

Some folks think the S brakes need upgrading. I think it depends a lot on the driver.

My advice would be to upgrade the brake fluid (I use ATE blue for the color change when replacing the fluid). If you experience brake fade on the track, and you feel this may become an issue, THEN I would consider a brake upgrade to the 996/S brakes on the front only.

16" wheels will no longer be an option after a 996/S brake upgrade.

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I visited TPC today to get some sway bars put on (I had some store credit lying around) and talked to one of the guys there about some of this stuff. He advised that I just get different brake pads - that would be the better upgrade.

I've got a 996 fiber optic instrument cluster, and once my other OBC stuff comes in next week, I'll install everything at once. Should work.

And as for the bumper, I've decided it's an idiotic upgrade. I'm not going to rice out the appearance of the boxster - it looks fine as it is. Third radiator is apparently not worth the upgrade for now. Still not very certain which year 996 parts will work with my 986. I understand that the 996 turbo parts won't work w/o a headlight change, but why wouldn't a standard 996 bumper from 2002+? Doesn't my 2k3 boxster use the same headlights as the 2k3 carerra?

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I call the droopy headlights the turbo style since they first came out in 2001 on the turbo, and then the 996 got them in 2002 during the facelift. That is why a 2002 and newer 996 bumper cover will not work on a Boxster unless you also replace the fenders and use the turbo style lights. A 1999-2001 996 bumper cover will work as-is on a Boxster.

What is the part number on the 996 cluster, and is it for a car with the OBC option? Is it new or used? I spoke to Peter and someone with a PST2 will have to code the new cluster with your VIN so it will be recognized by the radio. And of course you will have to have the trip computer turned on with the PST2.

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I'll get you the parts number. The guys at LA porsche dismantlers found the part for me. it's not a savannah beige colored face, but whatever.

I was going to go into the service folks after christmas to get the OBC hack done anyways. I'll make sure to remind them to put the VIN number of my car in there.

If I get the TFT face, will I get the 2002+ OBC or will I get the 2k1 style, just with better looking graphics?

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Don't know what a TFT face is.

In 2002 on the 996 and Boxster Porsche introduced a cluster with a dot matrix center display for cars with the OBC option. If the car does not have the option then it is a LCD display just like a 2001, or just like your 2003 without the OBC option. If you use a non OBC 996 cluster and retrofit the OBC then what you will see will look like a 2001 Boxster with the OBC option. There is nothing wrong with this as you will have all the OBC functions of a 2001 with the OBC option. This sort of explains it. http://www.brackenrig.net/OBC_Hack.htm With the part number from your 996 cluster I can look it up and determine if it has the dot matrix display from the part number list as it will show 659 after the part number as 659 is the option code for the OBC. If it does not have 659 after the part number then it is the standard cluster which, as I said, will look like a 2001 once you do the retrofit.

The pic is a 2003 Boxster S I did the retrofit on 2 years ago with the non OBC cluster. You can see the 212 miles remaining in the gas tank is a LCD display, rather than a dot matrix display you see in your owners manual.


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All you need is the 996 insrument cluster. The 996 surround and cap are optional. And note, the 996 surround with not work with a Boxster cap.

LA Porsche dismantlers is expensive. I see some things on their site I can buy new for less.

You can trim the Boxster surround to fit the 996 cluster. That is what was done in the prior picture of the 2000 2.7. That is what I was going to do with my car since I have Boxster red leather and a 996 red leather cap is very expensive.

Here I was measuring where I needed to cut my Boxster surround using the removed front of the 996 cluster as a pattern. Then I thought I sould make sure the ebay 996 cluster worked before I cut my Boxster surround. When I plugged in the 996 cluster it had the defective middle display. So that was the end of the project until I find another 996 cluster.



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