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How much should I do to my Boxster?

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I own one of the first 1997 Boxsters 2.5L sold in America. For sure one of the first sold from Princeton Porsche. I'm the second Owner and I also bought it from Princeton used. I have had the car for 12 years with 90K miles.
Its time for the IMS repair and before I spend any money I wanted to give the car a once over.
Here are some findings so far- most are the usual suspects
Power steering fluid return line leaking at the reservoir.
RMS leaking - but no big deal already knew this was to be replaced.
Air Oil Separator leaking bad not a big deal.
Did a bore-scope and i have oil in the cylinders - looks like valve stem seals, I was having a hard time seeing the cylinder walls with my bore-scope - this is a big deal to drop the engine.

Questions -
Since this is a super early Boxster and does not have a programmable DME( checked the part number), what engine modifications can I do to increase the HP that can be handled by the current ecu? Performance muffler? Exhaust manifolds( have to replace the current ones)?

or should it just remain stock?

Have a few other question but I want to see were this goes!

Boxster before engine removal.jpg


Edited by casharp1
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Exactly how do you know, "I own one of the first 1997 Boxsters 2.5L sold in America."? 


And the only thing that is not programmable on the 1997 is the immobilizer code information, in all other aspects it is programable.  If your immobilizer has to be replaced, you have to get a new DME that is matched to it, rather than just reprogram the DME to accept the new immobilizer as in the later cars.  The aftermarket crowd didn't do much for these cars because the DME is unique to the year, not because it is inaccessible.  Your DME can also be replaced with the DME from a 98-99 car (if it is reprogrammed to your car's specs) to overcome the unique DME and immobilizer issue.


In order to make anything more than marginally detectable on a dyno horsepower, you are going to need to spend a lot of $.  Everything you listed in your post will add little, if any, additional HP, regardless of what the advertisements say.  In many cases, some of these modifications actually lost HP when tested on a dyno.  


Over the years, we have seen people buy a lot of bolt on's, expecting more power, only to be disappointed with the out come.  To get real, measurable improvement's, you are looking at spending well north of $10K.  You would be better off spending some money on driver's education classes at a track, where you will learn how to get the most out of the car.

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I have a very low serial number and Princeton Porsche also confirmed this.


with regard to the DME programming, I guess i have been misunderstanding the conversations regarding the programmability of the DME. This why I came here to ask these questions before I pull the motor. I would love to change the DME to a new model and do an engine swap. The Pelican site says avoid doing an engine swap with the early 1997's

In other words you say to stay stock? things like the plenum upgrades, Fabspeed mufflers and high flow exhuast manifolds are a waste of money?   I'm not trying to turn the car into something it's not, I get it it's a 2.5L base Boxster. I was just curious if anything of these upgrades are worth it, in some cases they are less expensive the OEM parts.

What About De-snorke does this work. I still feel if you Change any of these items you would have to put it on a Dyno.


I'll stick with OEM stock parts. I have taken good car of this car and seeing less and less of them.




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The 97 DME was a kind of "one off", so with very low numbers, there wasn't a whole lot of attempts or interest to modify it.  The immobilizer issue is a real one, as losing the keys, or letting the immobilizer get wet under the seat, a common problem, results in spending a lot of cash just to get back on the road, much less in any better condition because you have to buy both an immobilizer and a matching DME.  That is one of the reasons people moved to the 98-99 DME, which would accept immobilizer only replacements.


Realistically, headers and exhaust will make more noise, but only a very slight power increase, along with the dreaded exhaust drone that haunts many aftermarket systems.  Modified plenums only make very small power increases at the extreme high end of the RPM range, and considering their cost, the benefit for dollar spent is rather small. And aftermarket cold air systems add next to nothing; as the car came from the factory with a cold air system.  As for removing the "snorkel", that simply makes the car sound different, otherwise adds nothing.



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Having owned a 'family' only owned 98 986 base Boxster I can honestly say the best 'upgrades' I have done are the following:


160 deg thermostat (with new water pump OEM only)

Boxster S oil cooler (bigger for more cooling)

Stainless steel braided brake lines

Short shifter (personal preference I like crisp shorter throw)

5W-40 Driven oil (best thing I have done) 125k miles runs like a top

L&N spin on oil adapter w/ NAPA Gold filter and magnetic drain plug 

Hawk HP plus brake pads (we autocross it) stock rotors

Regular fuel filter changes

IMS, new clutch and RMS at 105k


And it got new springs and struts at 100k miles


No Hp gain but allot of peace of mind and smiles because the harder I drive it the better it runs...


Just my $.02




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