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Differences between '02, '03 and '04 996's?

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What are the differences between the '02, '03 and '04 996's? I'm sure there were at least some minor improvements during this period, and I'm interested in knowing what these are.

Is there anyway to tell one year's car from the next?


Edited by b-man
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I had a '02 and now a '04 Carrera, and there are very few noticeable differences (aside from the 10th digit of the vin!), but as always I'm sure Porsche made many unnoticed refinements. Seeing one in a parking lot, though, you'd be hard pressed to notice the difference visually.

The radio is now digital, and I think the Bose system sounds a little better overall (they added "audiopilot"), and the bass is not overly thumpy like the '02. The overall ride quality, and amount of rattles, seems much improved, but who knows if that's really the case. If you get sport exhaust, there's now a dash switch (new in '03). A lot of very small refinements, like the armrest covers now have little bumpers to rest on--I imagine to address a rattling issue. My son noticed there's a florescent emergency handle in the trunk now, and the trunk clicks close with much less effort now. This time I got Pilot Sports (which weren't available in '02), which I like a lot better than the Contis.

On the negative side (aside from the '03 price increase--'04 prices stayed flat), the seatbelt chime stays on as long as the car is moving, until you put the belt on, whereas in my '02, it went out after 10 seconds or so. Dealer said it can't be changed...

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Porsche publishes a booklet every year with the detailed changes to each model. These are called Technical Information Books.

For 2002 they offered this as a CD and then in 2003 they went back to paper books. These usually run from $10 to $30 each. I have not seen the MY04 book yet so you will likely have to rely on the technical press releases.

Most notable (to me) for MY03 is: MOST bus system for radio, PCM2, etc.

Most notable for MY04 (to me) are: the return of the LSD option, cab tops can now be raised or lowered while moving, and cabs come standard with a hardtop, and an optional thicker steering wheel.

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Russ, I have an old 1997 Boxster so what do I know.  I saw on one of the boards that you can turn off the seatbelt chime with the OBC stalk.  Jeff

I tried that--it would work on my '02 to turn the chime off earlier. Now it just gets rid of the message in the display, but the chime continues.

If anybody knows of a hack, please let us know!

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