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Tiptronic multifunction switch failed

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Let me preface with mentioning that I am not a mechanic ..


The vehicle history I'm referencing was my fathers 2004 Boxster. He was elderly and drove the car infrequently such that the original mileage up to today is 11,500 mi.


When my dad passed away he kindly left the vehicle to me. Shortly after receiving it, timed exactly with the first time I engaged the Tiptronic shifting, the dreaded flashing 4 occurred. On visiting a local Porsche mechanic/garage, and with OBD analysis, he reported the multifunction switch had failed and will require replacement. Coincidentally at this visit he inquired if the vehicle was not driven for extended periods - which it was.


At the same time I requested the service records of the vehicle at the Porsche dealership. Within the records I found a service item that was replacement of the multifunction switch when the odo was sitting at 9,500 mi. The order was dated 22 months ago.


To the point of this post - I believe the action of multifunction switch is to swivel to varied positions that set the next gear. That the mechanic had inquired about the usage characteristics, i.e. sitting unused for extended periods, leads me to sense that the switch is 'stuck' in one position. If this may be the case, would it not be possible to remove the unit and apply the factory lubricant and re-install .. or is the lack of movement catastrophic and requires replacement?


Thanks! ..

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First of all, welcome to RennTech :welcomeani:

The multi-functional switch is not designed to be serviced, so taking apart is questionable.  Secondly, we store Tip equipped cars for select customers, sometimes for more than a year, and have not encountered the type of issue you describe, so I don't feel leaving one sit in one position for prolonged time frames is necessary involved.


I would also note that we see more problems with this switch from moisture or oil leakage.  It is not uncommon to find one of these units with accumulated transmission fluid inside them, and cars that live in high humidity environments (I note that you live in Hawaii, you lucky dog!) tend to be more problematic than those from dryer areas.


Lastly, we have had absolutely no luck with aftermarket replacement switches, they simply do not hold up.  Stay with a factory replacement.

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I purchased my car with 30k miles on it, and it had only been driven about 100 miles in the previous year prior to my purchase. After me driving it for one day I attempted manual shifting and got the D/4 flashing lights, the Tip went into a limp mode only allowing shifting up to 3rd gear. Went to the dealer that performed the PPI and got the same diagnosis as you got, and they cleared the code, drove the car home. I did a LOT of reading on anything relating to the symptoms and diagnosis and fault.


The battery was found to be low on voltage during the PPI, so on day 2 of my ownership I installed a new battery. Problem solved.


I found many posts relating to weird things happening due to slightly low voltage.


As Hanz and Franz used to say, "Hear me now, and believe me later!".

Edited by ttocs
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Thanks for the replies ..


I had not thought the code (believe it was 708) could be cleared from the processor, and this action was not suggested by the mechanic. That voltage would be an issue is entirely plausible give there is the wiring interface to the unit. I ensure the battery is totally disconnected when the vehicle sits for an extended period, but that doesn't ensure optimum capacity when connected.


That there is susceptibility to malfunction due to humidity is not ringing encouragement given being located in Honolulu. I haven't heard any comments of similar from other Porsche owners in the area. They driving is more frequent and/or regular, so perhaps the combination of infrequency and ambient humidity are a factor. There is not a possible contributor be any fluids. The transmission is dry and all the engine seals are okay. The engine oil is in such good condition you could even use some on your salad - well, maybe not that good! ..


It is true, there are a myriad of associated issues with this components. An easy remedy is not anticipated, but replacing a multifunction switch that is virtually new would be a disheartening outcome ..


Thanks ...

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I had read that when the Tip goes into any of the limp modes, only a PIWIS can clear it. There may be another way but I never checked since a Porsche dealer is only a couple miles from me.


The battery my car had when purchased was reading just under 12 volts. I couldn't believe that the small voltage discrepancy could cause a problem, but since it was one of the things on the PPI list needing immediate attention I swapped it out. For clarity, the actual timeline for my events was: Saturday fault and limp mode (I was horrified!!), Sunday all sorts of suggested reset attempts by reading posts on this and another forum, Monday new battery and drive to Porsche. After Porsche cleared the fault, they test drove it trying to re-create the problem and couldn't. Porsche did not charge me because the PPI didn't show a problem like this occurring and they felt obligated to help. I was very appreciative. After I got home I was timid about using the manual mode so I experimented a couple times by driving around my neighborhood so I wouldn't be far from home, but the problem has not happened again.


FWIW my local Porsche dealer is a sister to the Audi dealership, and while I've dealt with the Audi dealer many times as a previous customer, I've not purchased a car from Porsche yet - only service and parts. People say negative things about dealerships, but I gotta say that I've only been treated like a king every time I've been in the Porsche dealer.

Edited by ttocs
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I wouldn't suspect a bad switch yet. Maybe an improperly assembled switch or something in the wiring from the previous replacement process. Durametric will clear tiptronic codes and give you a solid read on the fault. As others have said sometimes just clearing the codes and making sure the battery is good will make it all better. 

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The info in your responses is elevating my expectation that a hardly used switch would fail in itself. It would be close to tragic having to invest in another replacement, which would be the 3rd in the vehicle.

There are a number of procedures from which to choose and execute here. I have today ordered myself a Durametric to probe this issue, and any other potential issues. I consider the cost at half as I can use it for my Cayenne as well, which has a vapor sensor issue.

Many thanks for the leg up ..

.. and ttocs - I'm pretty sure it's not against the rules to give a shout out for your dealer there in IL

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  • 3 years later...

I know this thread is nearly 4 years old but Runway33, you have never confirmed whether ttocs suggestion of a new battery resolved the issue.

I too had the Tiptronic multi function switch of my 2004 Boxster replaced just over 2 years ago, and everything was fine.

Until now that is - flashing D, drives OK for a while, then limp mode. Code readout is P1744 multi function switch. I'm over it!

My battery voltage is a touch under 12V, but engine cranking at startup is very strong with no hint of hesitation.


So if you both are still around, could I pose the questions before I invest in a needless new battery:

1. Runway33, did you have any joy?

2. ttocs, did the new battery permanently solve your problem?

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  • 2 weeks later...

[A small correction to my previous post - the code readout should be P0706].

Thanks for your confirmation ttocs that the new battery permanently resolved your issue.

Unfortunately, that didn't work for me.

I was still finding it difficult to comprehend that a new multifunction switch would be the fix, having replaced it 2 years ago as mentioned.


So, I have made a slight positioning adjustment to the gear shifter cable, (accessed under the centre console) resulting in a solid D light now when shifter is moved to D position.

It's a bit of a job to remove the console, but there are some good YouTube videos detailing the process.


I took a 250km drive today, and the transmission worked perfectly, with no blinking dashboard lights.

So here's hoping .......


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  • 1 year later...

Thank you all for your contributions. Without your inputs and feedbacks, we would be very difficult for someone like me to continue to enjoy these types of vehicles.


Recently (dec. 2021), I took my 2006 Porsche Cayman S (in excellent condition-chipped, custom exhaust system, modified air intake, lowered, KN air, etc etc.), to a so call German Car Repair Shop in Orlando, Florida. He kept the car for 3 days. I dropped by on the second day and noticed that he had completed replacing the water pump and was spraying something underneath the engine. The next day he informed me that the car is ready (charged me $1500, I got soaked but I was ok with it and paid him), lessoned learned-never to trust anyone with my car especially when you have never dealt with that person in the past. He was insisting that I should leave the car with him so that he could replace the engine oil and install new brakes. That was not going to happen.


When I picked up my car, the car had all kinds of issues (codes galore including issues with transmission). When I asked him what he had done, his reply was nothing except the water pump. The car inside was stinking - he had the engine cover off, engine running and fumes from whatever he was spraying on the engine. The car had the same symptoms as you all have discussed above. I limped home very disappointed. I should have taken my car to a Porsche Dealer.


Since, I replaced all of the oxygen sensors, all of the ignition coils and spark plugs, and also replaced rotors, sensors and pads (myself- total cost of $400 in parts-my labor). The engine runs better than ever now but I still have issues with the triptronic transmission. I will try some of the suggestions you all made above before I consider replacing the multi-function sensor.


Thank you all.

Rock N Crock

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