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This car is going to put me in the poor house


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OK, so I have to vent. I have had this vehicle in my physical possession for exactly 3 weeks.

I took a bit of a risk buying this car sight unseen, but with a service history and PPI by the local Porsche dealer, I thought I was going to be OK. Boy was I wrong :blush:.

The PPI passed with flying colors. Only comments were that an aftermarket head unit was fitted and the front brakes would need replaced soon, and it would need rotors as well as pads. No big deal on the brakes, and the aftermarket head unit gave me hands free calls and bluetooth audio - awesome!

Once I (finally) get the car 3 weeks later, the first thing I find is that the passenger seat won't adjust if you are sitting in it. It doesn't move smoothly on the tracks even when not sitting in it. Probably damaged or misalighed tracks. Hmmm, no mention of that on the PPI.

Lock the car for the first time and the horn beeps! I wonder why? I know the radio is aftermarket and if it has not been installed correctly it can cause this error. No mention of of this in the PPI either. What else did they miss?

I drove the car for 2 weeks on my commute and had a few "spirited" runs both in a straight line and through the local canyon. Wow! Fantastic. Put the seat adjustment and horn beep to the back of my mind.

Then, early last week, I floor it. Revs to ~5k and the car stumbles, the check engine light flashes and I get "drive to service" on the dash. CE light went off as soon as I got off the gas. So quickly in fact that I thought it was the PSM light. Pulled the codes from the Durametric. Excessive misfires and Misfires on cylinders 4 and 6. I had never experience a car with misfires before, so it was an eye opener. I realize this has been happening mildly all along at WOT and high revs. I had put the momentary stumble down to either lack of traction or some AWD jiggery pokery. So, PPI missed that one too. In their defense, I would never have picked up on it had I test drove the car personally, but then again, I'm not a factory trained Porsche Tech.

The next day, driving in to work, the passenger seat starts rattling something fierce. Can't figure out where it's coming from, but it's driving me bananas. WTF is going on with this car!!!!

Then on Thursday last week, the dreaded "air bag failure" message comes up and the air bag light is illuminated. Crap, not another thing!

Now, I can only assume the misfires are coil/plug related. I can get to those myself. I had just hoped I might get more than 2 weeks of ownership before it was required.

The air bag light is probably the seat belt receptacle (how that is not a safety recall, I'll never understand). If it is, I can get in there with the resistor fix" for that too. Again, not quite on my plan of activities with my "new" car.

Then today, the pièce de résistance I can't open the drivers door with the outside handle. The handle pulls out a little, the window drops, but it does not unlatch. I can open it with the inside handle, but not the outside handle. Is this is a common issue, or am I just "lucky"?

OK, I'll climb off my soapbox now....

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My personal advice is never buy a car sight unseen and always take a PPI with a huge grain of salt.  A PPI is nowhere near a comprehensive test and can vary from shop to shop as far as what they check and how thorough they are.  If the car was misfiring that should have been stored in the computer and any halfway reputable Porsche shop would scan the computer as part of the PPI and let you know if there are codes.  The bottom line is there are a number of problematic things that can get past a PPI but are an issue.  All the issues you mentioned seem pretty minor.  The seat for example might just need a new motor or drive cable.  Really no big deal.  You won't know for sure until you look more closely and you didn't state much about the car like year or mileage, but that likely could just be plugs and coil packs.  No big deal and should be expected depending on the mileage and when they were last done on your car.

 

Sellers are dishonest in general so never buy a car sight unseen.  When I bought my TT I had a PPI and drove it myself before making the purchase.  However it still had a gearbox that needed work (the previous owner didn't use the OEM gear oil), the engine blower fan was shorted (lots of fun tracking that one down), and it had an aftermarket flash that wouldn't get past emissions (another fun one to track down).  The 996 TT is an awesome car and the best value there is out there right now in my opinion, but if you own a car like this some money is going to have to be spent keeping it in top shape and that should be expected.

Edited by Silver_TT
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OK, so I have to vent.  I have had this vehicle in my physical possession for exactly 3 weeks. 

I took a bit of a risk buying this car sight unseen, but with a service history and PPI by the local Porsche dealer, I thought I was going to be OK.  Boy was I wrong :blush:. 

The PPI passed with flying colors.  Only comments were that an aftermarket head unit was fitted and the front brakes would need replaced soon, and it would need rotors as well as pads.  No big deal on the brakes, and the aftermarket head unit gave me hands free calls and bluetooth audio  - awesome!

 

Once I (finally) get the car 3 weeks later, the first thing I find is that the passenger seat won't adjust if you are sitting in it.  It doesn't move smoothly on the tracks even when not sitting in it.  Probably damaged or misalighed tracks.   Hmmm, no mention of that on the PPI. 

 

Lock the car for the first time and the horn beeps!  I wonder why?  I know the radio is aftermarket and if it has not been installed correctly it can cause this error.  No mention of of this in the PPI either.   What else did they miss?

 

I drove the car for 2 weeks on my commute and had a few "spirited" runs both in a straight line and through the local canyon.  Wow!  Fantastic.  Put the seat adjustment and horn beep to the back of my mind.

 

Then, early last week, I floor it.  Revs to ~5k and the car stumbles, the check engine light flashes and I get "drive to service" on the dash.  CE light went off as soon as I got off the gas.  So quickly in fact that I thought it was the PSM light.  Pulled the codes from the Durametric.  Excessive misfires and Misfires on cylinders 4 and 6.   I had never experience a car with misfires before, so it was an eye opener.  I realize this has been happening mildly all along at WOT and high revs.  I had put the momentary stumble down to either lack of traction or some AWD jiggery pokery.  So, PPI missed that one too.  In their defense, I would never have picked up on it had I test drove the car personally, but then again, I'm not a factory trained Porsche Tech.

 

The next day, driving in to work, the passenger seat starts rattling something fierce.  Can't figure out where it's coming from, but it's driving me bananas.  WTF is going on with this car!!!!

 

Then on Thursday last week, the dreaded "air bag failure" message comes up and the air bag light is illuminated.  Crap, not another thing!

 

Now, I can only assume the misfires are coil/plug related.  I can get to those myself.  I had just hoped I might get more than 2 weeks of ownership before it was required.

 

The air bag light is probably the seat belt receptacle (how that is not a safety recall, I'll never understand).  If it is, I can get in there with the resistor fix" for that too.  Again, not quite on my plan of activities with my "new" car.

 

Then today, the pièce de résistance I can't open the drivers door with the outside handle.  The handle pulls out a little, the window drops, but it does not unlatch.  I can open it with the inside handle, but not the outside handle.  Is this is a common issue, or am I just "lucky"?

 

OK, I'll climb off my soapbox now....

 

Most of this stuff is not all the uncommon.

 

You did not say how many miles are on the car, but the coils age on these things, then crack, and can suddenly fail with no warning.  It happens, even on the best maintained cars, nothing unusual here.

 

Your problems with the seats can easily be related to your air bag coding; again, not unusual.

 

Door handle wear related failures are another common issue on the 986/996 cars.  A quick search should give you some idea of what is involved if you want to fix this yourself.

 

Even the best PPI won't always catch little things that are close to failure, but have not totally crapped out yet.  Coils can let go at any time, door latch assemblies can fail with the next pull.  We actually had a car throw a code as we were backing it out after a complete PPI.  Turned out to be something small, cheap, and easy to fix, but these things happen with "pre owned" cars.  PPI's are designed to catch the big stuff (wrong engine in the car, clutch or trans moments from crapping out, hidden chassis damage, etc.), as well as give the buyer some negotiation leverage based upon the car's condition.  But they can't always tell you about what has not happened yet.  It is also not unusual for a seller to not want to spend money fixing small but annoying issues before a sale, hoping the car won't act up until after it is sold.

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Hey I am also in the bay area. If you need help send me a PM. I personally think the PPI is a waste of money but better than nothing if you can't test everything yourself.

 

I have some spare coils and also done door latch work on previous 996.

Edited by 987_RDC
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I personally think the PPI is a waste of money but better than nothing if you can't test everything yourself.

 

Don't necessarily agree with that, we have caught some real duds being passed off as "pristine".  A couple of my personal favorites was a beautiful C4 with a 2.7L Boxster engine in it, and an early Boxster that had severely cracked engine bulk heads (major structural members, hidden under new paint) from running 19" wheels on the car.  Both sellers were asking top dollar for the cars.

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My personal experience after doing this a few times is to get a PPI but preferably done by your own mechanic or someone that you trust (not by the seller's mechanic) with solid experience working on Porsche.  This can often be difficult though as many times cars are located out-of-state, etc in places you have no connections.  It's important to get a car up on a lift.  There are things that are much easier to identify when the car is up in the air.  I would also recommend driving the car as much as possible, much more than just a test drive.  I would try to drive the thing as much as is possible without the seller yelling about racking up miles.  The biggest thing you can do is log some miles/time on the car.  Usually when something is not right I can tell after driving the car long enough.  But even that said, it's still a good idea to see the car up on the rack.  Much easier to look for leaks, etc....which can be expensive to fix on the TT.  They are worth every last cent though.  Hell of a car.

Edited by Silver_TT
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Depends on one's level of comfort with reviewing the car. I bring scanner tools to check rev and DME.

 

What did the 2.7L person say? That's pretty bad....

 

The owner of the C4 sheepishly took it away, only to have his next potential victim call me to set up a PPI a week later.  Needless to say, that never happened.  The owner of the Boxster with the cracked bulkheads protested loudly, said we did not know what we were talking about, and threatened to sue us, which never happened as we had taken photos of the damage, just incase.  Word got around and he ended up shipping the car to another area of the country to sell it.

 

There are a lot of nightmares lurking under shiny paint out there, we recently had a Boxster in that showed all the signs of a failing IMS.  Later heard they traded the car in at a local dealership that had it sitting front and center on their used car lot the next day.  A good PPI is your last chance to prevent a major financial loss.

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Thanks everyone.  My post was a therapeutic rant more than anything else.  Jeff (as usual) hit it on the head.  I'm still a little miffed about the PPI.  I specifically called the dealership and spoke to the tech who did the work explaining exactly what I wanted out of the whole thing. c'est la vie.

 

Other than the seat rails and the horn beep, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the car now that I would have picked up on during a personal test drive.  In this particular case, the sight unseen purchase is not even relevant.  I'm not upset at the dealer either.  I have been in contact with them and the owner is being very supportive.   All of the things that are wrong are simply bad timing - for me!  They could all just have easily happened while the car was being test driven by some other potential buyer.  Would I buy a car sight unseen again?  For the right car at the right price (which for me, this car was)?  Absolutely!

 

It's an '02 with 28,800 miles on the clock, and I still absolutely love it!   The door handle and seat belt receptacle are ticking time bombs on all 996's - not just TT's.  The misfire?  I had expected to need to do the coil/plug replacement at some point, I was just hoping I wouldn't have to do it so soon :eek:

 

I'm really nervous when it comes to trim R&R.  I can't handle random rattles and if I were to attempt a fix on the door, I'm sure I'd mess something up.  Thanks for the offer 987_RDC, but this time I'm going to let the dealer handle it - get it "handle it", hahahahahaha :jump:

Again, I was really bummed last night and just needed to vent!.  :cheers:

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https://admin.porschedealer.com/reports/build_sheets/index.php

 

here is a link to your cars build sheet.. see what the original cost was vs what u paid ,, possibly that might cheer u up and make any repair bills easier to handle - good luck sorting out the car had mine 6 months and still  figuring it all out...PPI is only as good as the mechanic doing it...

Edited by 997heaven
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https://admin.porschedealer.com/reports/build_sheets/index.php

 

here is a link to your cars build sheet.. see what the original cost was vs what u paid ,, possibly that might cheer u up and make any repair bills easier to handle - good luck sorting out the car had mine 6 months and still  figuring it all out...PPI is only as good as the mechanic doing it...

 

Thanks!  $126,750 + taxes probably needed a $135,000 check to purchase originally.  The Aero Kit alone is a whopping $7,500!  Ouch!!!!

 

I'm going to go outside my comfort zone and look at the door handle myself.   Based on diagrams and pictures of 996/986 handles on eBay, and the way the handle feels when I pull it, I think I might know what is broken.  If I'm correct, it's an easy fix.  I just have to get to it!

 

I cleared the airbag light with my Durametric and it has not come back yet.  I'm sure it will eventually but I'll deal with it then.

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