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Mystery Battery Drain Solved 2003 Boxster Base

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Just bought a new (to me) 2003 Base Boxster for my wife as she liked my 2003 911 a lot. Sweet ride... I prefer the handling vs my 911 but it doesn't have the same grunt. Both are very nice for different reasons.


On morning she got into it an the battery was dead.  I charged it up and it worked for a day but the next day was dead again. It only seemed to drain after a full night.


Took it to the local Porsche dealer and they indicated that the battery was no good.  It was a cheap Motomaster battery installed by the previous owner and was not even the right size. So how much for a new one from them? $530 installed!!! No thanks. They charged it up and I got a good Interstate battery to replace it. Cost? <$100 as it was a blemished product.  


So next day... dead battery again. Recharged it, drove it for a while and left it for a while. Restarted fine.  Next day... dead again. I was upset as it appeared that the dealer had not properly diagnosed the issue (turns out I was premature in that conclusion). Took it back to the dealer and they agreed to diagnose for 1 hour labour charge ($150).  The put it on a meter to measure draw and were seeing normal draws but decided to leave it on for the day.  After 6 (yes 6) hours the draw suddenly  went really high (4000mah if I remember correctly).  I drained the battery in less than an hour. Turns out it was the alternator. I still don;t understand why an alternator would suddenly create such a high draw after 6 hours but it did.


OK... so how much for a new alternator?  $1,700 for a re-manufactured unit plus 3 hours labour ($450). Ouch and no thanks. Charged the battery and drove it home. Looked up alternator pricing and could get one in the US for $465 (I live in Canada). I found out how to remove it on the Pelican Parts website. It it pretty easy (2 bolts and 2 wire connections) except for physically getting it out of the engine compartment. I spent about an hour trying to manipulate it out. My brother-in-law spent about 5 minutes and finally got it just right and it popped out.


Instead of buying a new one I decided to see if it could be repaired. Took it to a local auto electric shop and they replaced the voltage regulator for $80. I reinstalled it and it works perfectly. For some reason it was much easier to get back in than to take out.


So, if I had had it repaired at the dealer the total cost would have been:

Diagnosis: $150

Battery: $530

Reman Alternator: $1700

ALternator Installation: $450

Total: $2830 + tax!!!


My Cost:

1 Hour diagnosis - $150

Battery $97

Alternator fix: $80

Total: $327 including tax + 3 hours of my time




and I have minimal mechanical skills. Thanks to Pelican Parts and this forum for saving me a bundle as I also learned how to fix my 911 convertible top and turn signals.

Edited by dpullan
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You forgot to add the $150 diagnostic charge in your second total.


This guy posted a DIY on rebuilding the alternator, but he uses the German/English translation of "control circuit" for "voltage regulator".  http://www.renntech.org/forums/tutorials/article/95-diy-change-of-the-generators-circuit-control/  Pelican has the voltage regulator/brushes module for $37.


One of the most difficult to pin down quantities is "level of mechanical skills".  Some people (e.g. my sister) can't even check their tire pressure.  I'm sort of a middling level home mechanic but am not adverse to the old "let's pull the tranny and change the IMSB" ethos.



Edited by Dennis Nicholls
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Same with me. Marks motors in ottawa quoted 4 hours for R&R the alternator & $130 for the regulator.

Site visit to pelican auto parts to buy the $40 regulator and read their how to's, wait for parts to arrive, and a few hours later, I am up and running. I figured I saved about $700.

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