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Belt failure - had to limp home. Did I kill my Boxster?


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Last night coming home late down a back country road (typical time for Murphy to show up) my 2001 Boxster (43,000 miles) let out a little bit of an intermittent chirp that lasted for 2 or 3 seconds, a few times. Sounded like a belt slipping, but nothing major, or drastic.

The 3rd or 4th chirp was followed by a thud, and an immediate lighting of the charge light. I knew the belt broke. No power steering - no nothing.

Seeing as how I was about 12 miles from home, I elected to continue, seeing as I was in the middle of nowhere.

I keep an eye on the engine temp, and it climbed, but slowly. About 4 miles from home, it finally got up to redline, and I pulled over, and shut it down for about 5 minutes.

After restarting, I managed to limp it home at 25 to 30 mph, but it was certainly at red-line most of that 4 mile trip.

I got home, shut it all down, and although the engine was running, it didn't sound "right". (obviously overheated) I had some steam coming from the car when I pulled into the drive. I haven't torn into anything yet (doing that after work tonight), but the question is - with driving it at redline for 4 miles or so, how badly could I have messed up the engine? I realize these engines don't like overheating, but how much will they take?

I plan to dump engine oil, full coolant flush regardless of what problems I find. Is there anything else I should do to make sure by baby is healthy, besides start investing in the Porsche Special Tools to rebuild it?

Thanks!

BIll

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Hopefully no issues w/ the overheating but yeah, not a great idea doing so.

Aside from oil change and coolant flush/fill... you need to first find out why it snapped. Assuming belt has been replaced at least once before in your car's 11 years (as part of either the 60k or 6? year maint) it really won't unless there is another problem. So, inspect all the accessories driven by belt from crankshaft (waterpump, alt, pwr steering, a/c) along w/ the two deflecting rollers and tensioned roller. Typically the w/p or a seized roller is issue. Steam could be from w/p or coolant blow off from pressure valve - which side/where on vehicle was it coming from?

Good luck and hopefully nothing wrong as these engines do not take well to hot spots...

Edited by Cassiebox
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I'm sorry to ask this but why didn't you get a tow when you knew the serp belt was broken? That 's a very serious failure. I'm sure a tow truck could have found you.

I hope your engine isn't damaged but it's not likely.

Please let us know the outcome..

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Yes, hindsight being 20/20 I should have, but I didn't. Although, after owning a Boxster, hearing the stories from this forum, and talking to other PCA members in my area, it appears that most Porsche's lately are more at home on the back of a flatbed, than on the track. :-/ Really makes the decision to get a 2013 Boxster tough, when I've had nothing but problems with this one.

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  • Moderators

The basic “rule of thumb” for any make alloy engine is to never allow them to overheat because it causes all sorts of issues such as cylinder head cracking or worse. Does not matter if it is a Honda or a Ferrari, you lose that drive belt and can’t fix it where it stands, call for a tow…………. And all makes of cars break the belts, not just Porsche's.

Edited by JFP in PA
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In all due respect it sounds like your serp belt should have been changed long ago. They don't just "break" when replaced at the proper service intervals..To blame the reliabilty of your Porsche on poor maintenance just doesn't make sense.. And to continue to drive your car when you knew you had a broken belt???? :huh: What did you expect? My Porsches have never stranded me.. To say that "most Porsches lately are more at home on a flat bed" is just plain rediculous..

Edited by phillipj
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I cooked my first Alfa in the '60s by doing just what you did so you aren't the only one.

OTOH, I've owner 2 Boxsters and they were the most reliable cars I've ever had (owned at least 30 cars over 54 years). I define reliable as never stranded me and spent almost no time in the service bay except for routine scheduled maintenance and replacement of parts that wear out on any car (belts, O2 sensors, etc). I was fanatic about maintenance.

  • Upvote 1
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I cooked my first Alfa in the '60s by doing just what you did so you aren't the only one.

OTOH, I've owner 2 Boxsters and they were the most reliable cars I've ever had (owned at least 30 cars over 54 years). I define reliable as never stranded me and spent almost no time in the service bay except for routine scheduled maintenance and replacement of parts that wear out on any car (belts, O2 sensors, etc). I was fanatic about maintenance.

+1

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What's done is done, hindsight is always 20/20.

Carry on with your plans stated above and fingers crossed nothing has been damaged and the heart life of your vehicle hasn't been shortened. Best of luck and let us know how it turns out.

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