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'03 986S with AC problem

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Car had never given me any AC issues until just now. Got back in the car after a day of errands and nothing.  More specifically, none of the fans come on in the cabin, I don't hear the AC compressor cut in (but I could be wrong), I can work the  AC controls and all the right things happen -- display changes temp with a push of buttons, fan shows more/fewer bars, snowflake button switched display from/to auto.


Anyone want to suggest a diagnostic procedure, or offer advice from their own history? AC had been working fine until just now


FYI the car has 102k miles and is stock. Not sure if I imagined it, but the key seemed stiff when I was turning off the car


Thanks, Carlos

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I checked the fuse you recommend as well as two others that the paper in the fuse panel referred to as connected to the heating or air conditioing system. All checked out with a continuity tester 


But as I was power cycling the car the fans came on momentarily. I then discovered that if I turned the key back a fraction from the run position the fans came on and I could hit the snowflake button and the compressor would kick in and start cooling the cabin. 


i feel  points to my ignition switch as the culprit. Do you agree? I know these are a problem areas on these cars. 









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You were right. With the luxury of a dry day I checked again. When I start the car with the key in a normal run position I found that in addition to the AC not working the wipers were not working either  When I nudged the key slightly counter-clockwise with the engine running I then had both wipers and AC working again


i'll order thr electronic half of the ignition switch tomorrow. FYI! The key feels a little stir when I go turn the engine off - do you think I may need the mechanical half of the switch?


thanks again



Edited by cbonilla
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  • Admin

Well, if you can still find the switch that will likely fix it - but that switch will wear out again.

If you replace the whole lock/switch assembly with the 2004 (and newer version) you won't likely ever need worry about it again.

There are DIY instruction for both types in the 996 and 986 DIY Tutorials.

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I appreciate the advice, but 13 years of service seems to me a good bet that the new switch will outlast the boxster. If not I will happily put in a second


I've attached a screen capture from Pelican. This is the right part, no?


Thanks for all  your help. Glad that It was such a cheap fix, hope the new parts get here before the switch gets any worse


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Well Porsche of Rockville didn't carry the part, they only carried the entire assembly (which I assume is the improved part), but it was $270 so Pelican it is

Thanks for your help. The wait for delivery gives me time to practice my yoga in anticipation of crawling under the dash



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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes I did replace the switch and it did fix all the issues. The OEM part from pelican was made in Spain and cost $30. I know I could have bought one cheaper but I went for OEM.  Who knows, the vendor may have made OEM floor mats


here are my take away from doing the job


Don’t even think of starting this without having a tiny screwdriver. I had difficulty finding one (even tried cutting one down) and got lucky in a hardware store where a customer heard my plight and offered to loan me one that he had magically in his glove box!

In case you’re wondering, the screws holding the electronics of the switch come out in a downwards direction. Yes, the blob of sealant you see (barely) is the head of the screw.

I did mine both from above and below the dash. Just couldn’t work it otherwise
If you try to remove the vent on the dash the first snag you encounter is taking the knob off the light switch. There is a tiny almost invisible metal tab just below the lip of the knob. I finally figured it out when I saw this post and picture (about 3 pics down):

DIY Head Light Switch Remove and Replace - 6SpeedOnline - Porsche Forum and Luxury Car Resource

The torx screw that is only accessible when you have the knob off is the same size torx as the other two

When re-installing the switch, attach it to the harness first. The pressure from the harness will keep it from falling out as you try to tighten the set screws

If you remove the snap in cover to the left of the ignition switch, note that it has a top and putting it in upside down will result in a poor fit and not follow the dash contours

If you do go in from the dash, let me know if you were able to reinsert the Phillips screw that holds the “L” shaped duct in the dash. For all the vaunted German engineering, it would have been nice to have some guide posts to help line it up. I finally despaired of ever getting the screw in and just friction fit it to the lower duct and the dash vent

Start to finish (with a hardware store trip in there) was 2.5 hours


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