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So many "common problems"


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I understand that I may get some nasty replies, but I just have to vent. I have loved Porsche my whole life and bought my first a year ago. It's a MY 99 996 cabrio with 85,000 miles. Not a concourse car, but in pretty good shape. To get to the point, it has had a lot of "common problems". Every time you turn around, I'm replacing something; water pump, battery, alternator, ignition switch, IMS bearing, engine mounts, numerous oil leaks. Now my check engine light is on again. What's going on? I'm starting to look at 993's and newer 996's. Is there a year that doesn't have so many "common problems", or is this just a Porsche thing? Sorry if I have offended all the other Porsche lovers, but I have had plenty of other cars with high mileage that did not give me half as much grief. I think I just need someone to say "Mike, that's it, now just enjoy this wonderful machine", or something like that. Thank you for letting me vent!!

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Well, the same story here! I've been long term BMW owner, and I loved my 3 coupe. But last year I bought 1999 911 - my childhood dream. I'm the happiest person now, when I've just sold it and bought BMW 330Ci. It's not that fast, but much more comfortable and practical. And no issues at all. I've spent a fortune fixing the Porsche in less than an year. Numerous problems with it turned me from Porsche lover to hater actually. One of the best kept secrets in the world, that you can discover only if you own a Porsche is that it is totaly unreliable.

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I empathize with your frustration - mine was with a '97 M3 a number of years ago (seemed like a good idea at the time - it wasn't).

A couple of things to keep in mind:

1. It is a 13 year old car - 'common' problems are going to happen

2. Porsche learned a lot through the evolution of the 996 and on to the 997. Yours is the first generation water cooled car and it's generally accepted that Porsche worked out a bunch of issues throughout the life of the series.

So, you could decide that you've hit most of the issues and it should be clear sailing for while - or you might be wondering what's next - and there's so many things that can break on an older car ;-)

If you decide to sell it, you could move to a newer 996 ('02+) or even a older 997 as they are becoming more generally affordable as well - and reduce (but not remove) the risk of major maintenance.

If you decide to keep it, remind yourself that the market had already factored in the maintenance in the price of your car - and you're probably still 'ahead' by 50~60K over a maintenance free new 997.

Edited by prackus
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strange how my previous post just disappeared so here it is again.

Mikez, did you know that you are not allowed to bring up bad engineering/quality/customer services but only allowed to adore your Porsche and keep telling everyone it is the best car ever built? this is a joke of coures. This car is a Gillette razor where once you bought relatively inexpensive (compare to Ferrary or Lambos) handle you have to fork out fortune on blades (parts and service).

Whatever people claim Porsche is learning I seriously doubt since I have a third modification of Cayenne in addition to 996 and it has scored cilinder walls at 20k miles (never tracked, properly serviced etc). This is on top of almost CHF4000 repair bill for cracked coolant pipes, pump, compressor which was after 12 months of driving...

996 had its share of problems too and eraly on and no interest from Porche to do anything about it. How many of you replaced transmitters on keys? Yes it is tiny item but it is $1000 of extra in 10 year life of car (each of mine stop working after 2 years and after that it is Euro120+ PIWIS). Do they learn? Why bother.

Edited by SA321
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  • Moderators

All manufacture’s build a dud from time to time, and the original price range or make does not matter. Regardless of the make, from time to time we see one car that simply breaks everything, sometimes twice, while others of the same vintage seem to have no problems at all. “Fecal matter occurs……”

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997 hardly makes any difference :(

My link

I beg to differ there my friend. I have had many BMW's and Mercedes as well as Porsches. I'm on my fourth Porsche now.

My first one I had for three years. A 99 C2 coupe. I drove the hell out of it.. The only thing I ever had to do was the water pump, ignition switch and spark plug tubes.

My second one was a lemon.. My fault though.. I knew the car had problems when I bought it. That one is on me. i knew better..

My third was a 997 2006 C2S. Awesome car! Never one single issue.

My current car is a 997 Turbo. My daily driver. Awesome car.

Repleaced the clutch accumulator under warranty. That's it.

The 997 is a much better car than the 996. As I'm sure the 998 (or whatever it's called) will be better than the 997.

My porsches have been by far less of a PITA than my previous BMW's or Mercedes. That being said if you buy a German sports car buy a warranty. That way you won't have to go on these forums and bash the manufacurer of said car..

My friend has a Cayenne, a Boxster and a 997 C4S. Again no real issues to speak of.

I agree that some of these cars have problems. But a lot more don't. At least that's my experience..

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I think the key to a good car is proper maintenance. There are a few problems that have nothing to do with that though for the 996, but I bet most of the problems are a result of lacking/time between maintenance. Same for about any car but Porsches seem to have things that are critical to have things done at certain intervals. Some models moreso than others. Good example is 944 timing belt.

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as an FYI tophillipj there is no such thing as buy Warranty in Europe and unlike the US manufacturers warranty is only 2 years not 4. I tried to buy extended warranty on Cayenne for my 3rd year and it took dealer a month to find out how it coud be done. One year warranty was then offered at Euro 2000 plus I had to book an appointment 2 months in advance to have car checked before warranty could be extended (obviously pay extra for checks with no guarantee warranty will be extended)...and no, there arent better dealers. the other two I went to could not even understant what I was talking about.

to people like dryslick13 I can tell that my cayenne with scorred cilinders had 4 oil changes by the time it got to 20k miles, it was not tracked, it was driven at low RPM for first 3k miles. maybe one can explain how lack of maiantance contributed to cracked coolant pipes and bad pump? or cracked pressure plate in 996 clutch? or all electrical gremlins on both 996 and cayenne?

Edited by SA321
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FWIW, I know this is a 996 discussion but since the Cayenne was brought up, mine has been great. It has just over 82,000 miles on it. I did buy an extended warranty from my Porsche dealer when my factory warranty expired, and so far I have wasted my money. I haven't used the extended warranty once. Many, many people bash the Cayenne for being unreliable, having too many problems, etc. This simply hasn't been the case for me with the Cayenne or with our 996.

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SA321 sounds like you should buy another brand of car from your past experiences. Lot of others have had the same vehicles without any major issues. You might have just had really bad luck. If you were having cooling issues that would result in scored cylinders. Other cause would be improper breakin. Sounds like you don't like Porsches. Kind of a bad place to be lurking and posting IMO ;)

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Sorry, but water pumps, alternators, ignition switches, etc, while annoying, are parts that need replacing on most 10+ year old cars. The problem as I see it is that these cars look so good for so long, that people forget that they're old cars. Maybe I'm numb to little things like that as boat owner. I've had to change the starter on my boat, 6 of the 7 seasons I've had it. That little job costs $1500 a pop because the engine has to be removed to make the change. This is due to a bad design.

Incidentally, I don't mean to step on your venting. Vent away!

IMS/RMS is another issue that I'll ignore here as it's been beaten to death everywhere.

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Mikez996...

I too have a (bought used) 99 Carrera that is starting to show it's age. I think that buying a used car is a "crap shoot". It is not that it is

the first year for the 996. Everything I am having to replace is normal. The biggest problem with any used car is it's previous owners and the

maintenance performed.

Most guys that are driving the "inexpensive to buy" 996 don't have monster paying jobs and can't just take the car to the dealership when things go south on the p-car. So it is frustrating. Aside from the IMS/RMS design flaws, the 996 is no different from owning another car.

My advice to any prospective first time Porsche buyer is get a 1 owner if possible and make sure they took the car to the dealership as scheduled.

I always liked Volvos. Had friends and co-workers that swore by them. I bought one years ago without caring if the previous owners took car of the car and ended up with a huge nightmare. I think the last owner went as far as only putting gas in it.

I finally donated the car to a "childrens home".

The next Volvo (I presently have) was bought used and after getting to know the owner, I knew the car was cared for and we love it. No problems.

Edited by Rapewta
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The fact that a twelve year old 996 can look so good not only sets reliability expectations high... it can cause people to buy too quickly without doing adequate research, searching--and even worse: not waiting for a proper PPI.

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Porsche is different than other cars 10 years old in terms of reliability,and quite honestly Porsches and quality doesn't really go together. This is going to ruffle some feathers, but Porsches have a lot less headaches than a Ferrari, but a whole lot more than a Corvette (C5+).... Had a vette for a long time (car was 11 years old when I sold it) and it gave me very little problems. They also didn't seem to ***** and moan every 5 minutes, and you could actually get in it and drive without worry (I know its crazy talk). All of that said, I still bought another Porsche instead of a new ZO6, so I guess the P-car experience is still worth it, especially when there are 6 other vettes in the parking lot compared to your 1 Porsche.

I honestly think Porsche is Germany revenge for WWII, dangle the beautiful car in front of your face with all of the hopes and dreams worthy of your life savings, and then hit you were it hurts once you own them, lol.

I'm probably going to have to part with mine in a few months, but bet your money I will have another one when I stop traveling (Hopefully, can upgrade to a turbo (big hoping for maybe 2011 Turbo S, lol)

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Sad fact is that there are always good years and bad years for any given make and model. The ole addage "never buy a first production year" applies here for sure, especially as it was Porsche's first attempt at a h2o 911. As they used to say when buying a Porche, buy the latest model year you can afford. I say used because things have definitely changed with the brand over the years. I worked for PCNA when they were located here in Reno and there was a big shift in the company to lower the cost of production right around the time they left here and moved to Atlanta which happened to be around the time when the 996 came out. They started emmuating the Japanese lean methods of Kaizen and looked to find ways to produce the cars cheaper. Unfortuatey some people are correct when they say the 911 hasn't been the same since the 993. Not that it was the best car they've ever made but up to that point the quality was the same for all variants of 911's produced. They all had dry sump motors and were pretty much all based off the same platform...then the 996 came out and changed all of that. Porsche now had tiers within the 911 line and still do and its getting worse. The basic 996 did away with a true dry sump motor and went with what Porsche called a "integrated dry sump" which is not a dry sump engine...they did this to lower the cost of building their most sold 911's and to maximize their profits by tricking the buyers into thinking nothing had really changed except a water jacket (tier 1 entry level 911 with cost cutting enhancements). So in the 996 line the only cars to get what has been deemed one of Porsche's finest motors was to buy the Turbo or the GT3, true dry sump motors based from their racing program (top tier highest quality, no expense spared). Same for Boxsters and Caymans, entry level Porsche's with integrated dry sump motors and warnings in the owners manual about cornering too hard can lead to oil starvation....huh? In a Porsche? Even Corvettes have dry sumps now... And so this holds true today, but getting even worse... 997 first and second gens both have cheaper integrated dry sump motors not derived from their racing cars. The 997 Turbo (gen 1) used the same motor from the 996 Turbo with some improvements and the GT cars (2. 3. And 3 RS gens 1 and 2) used the same motors... But now with the 2nd gen 997 Turbo it no longer has a dry sump motor either, they've figured out how to cheapen it up also. Funny thing...the brand new GT2RS which is the most powerful street car they've made to date, didn't use the new 2nd gen DFI Turbo motor, instead they went back to the tried and true racing motor from the 996 Turbo, same one used in the gen 1 997 Turbo. So now in order to buy the true no expense spared, high quality Porshe's you have to buy the limted GT3, GT3RS, GT3RS 4.0, or the GT 2RS... all the rest have been somewhat compromised by old scool Porshe standards.

So to summarize... Just dont assume because it has a Porsche badge on the hood that they are all the same and that they all share the same quality...this stopped being true with the end of the 993 cars. Hence why their values have remained high. Just look at the resale values of the cars from then on...normal 996's are dirt cheap, 996 Turbos are holding value a little better (best bang for buck going right now) and 996 GT3 is holding okay too. Now you have to pay Porsche a premium to get their highest quality 911 where you used to just have to buy a 911 to get the high quality. Not so anymore...

I just hope Porsche doesn't get like Ferrari were they could care less about their product quality because they know sheople are going to buy them anyway... It worried me that Porsche has had RMS issues since the 996 and that it continues to be a problem up into the cars today and that includes the GT3's cars... Even Toyota would have fixed that problem within a year or two.

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