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Questions from a prospective Boxster owner

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‘lo all,

It has been sixteen years since my last Porsche (a garnett rose metallic 944 with black fuchs…how I miss thee) due in large part to a small thing. My daughter.

The time has come that I feel the burning desire to once again regain my place in Porsche ownership, on the chariot of choice this time around is the Boxster. Model year 1999 through 2001 (Boxster or Boxster S, whichever is available at the price I’m willing to pay at the time I’m willing to pay it).

I’ve scoured the web, and run multiple searches but I still have a few lingering questions that I was wondering if I may obtain answers for.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated, so thanks in advance. Alright, in no particular order:

1) Are there any glaring common ailments with any of the ’99 though naught one cars? RMS? MAF? When kicking tyres what should I look primarily to?

2) I see the Boxster uses Lokasil cylinder liners from KS Aluminium Technologie AG, which are silicon enriched aluminum alloy. My question is: are there any known problems with this? I’m thinking back to the Nikasil horrors of BMW & Jag’s mid 90s debacle with high sulphur fuel. In theory these techniques should be for our benefit, but it seems that Lokasil was testbedded on the boxster… so I am curious, any adverse determinations?

3) How is the top for wear? I’ve never owned a cabriolet, and I’m not keen on seeing “new top!” “top just replaced!” in many of the ads I’m reading. As I understand it these are manufactured by the same company that does merc’s tops so I trust them to be of good quality, but if they are short lived items my question is: Can a DIYer replace/repair tops? How pricey is this luxury? What about the electric motors and such? I hate electrics in autos and prefer as many manual items as possible so if the electrics fail is there a manual back-up for top operation?

4) What is the Porsche recommended service interval for the Boxster? When does it occur (time and mileage) and what is involved with said service? I see a lot of sub 60k mile cars on the market, I’m guessing these are being unloaded to avoid a major service cost.

5) How hard is it to do general maintenance to the Boxster? Can I get to the plugs easily? Airfilter? Oil change? Clutch?

6) My daughter is still young, and lightweight, and I have a natural detestation towards airbags. Can a DIYer install the passenger side airbag immobilizer? How much does this part(s) cost? Can the airbag be deactivated without the use of a special seat?

7) This vehicle will be driven a helluva lot more than the ones I’m seeing on the market (I’ve put 80k miles on my audi in the past four years, and that time was split with another two vehicles) and my priority after the fact of smile factor is cost of ownership. Will a standard Boxster be that much more affordable to maintain than the S? Or is the cost irrelevant between the two/three engines?

8) Is there a way to disable ABS by way of a switch?

9) I figured out how to adjust the reach of the steering wheel, does it have a tilt?

10) Are the interiors generally worse for wear? Or are the examples I’m seeing simply been beaten upon?

11) Aside from the obvious (it’s a Porsche, it has a soul lacking in other cars) why should I get a used Boxster over a new Miata or lightly used S2k.

Again, thanks to any and all who read and/or reply. Any links are appreciated as well (I’ve been to the common ones such as 986faq).

Sorry for any duplicative questions :)

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I can only answer a few of the questions, but here goes

reading it would seem that the RMS is the most common "large" problem, but it's hit or miss some never work, some never fail, seems completely random

the top, the canvas wears very, very well, it's the plastic window on the 99-02's that can be problematic, not only is plastic harder to clean than glass but it's prone to scratching, the way it folds can lead to creases which will lead to cracks which mean you'll need to either repair it or replace it, lucky for us 2 companies have started selling glass windowed tops that fit the older frame and barring a few manufacturing problems from initial runs they should be very good

minor services are at 15, 45, 75, and 105k miles, they're basically fluids and filters

major services are 30, 60, 90, and 120k with the polyrib being done at 60k & 120k typically

all of the typical stuff can be done if you have the tools and patience, not as easy as a front engine car but not horrible either, the bentley manual has been pretty good for me, I don't know that I'd try the clutch without a lift though (personally)

I don't think you can turn off the ABS, but I have an 02 with PSM so perhaps that's why I can't

the interiors of the cars I looked at were immaculate, but I was buying a 1 owner garage queen off a lease, I'd think that if the person cares about the car the interior should be fine... if they don't take care of the interior what does that say about the rest of the car?

as for why to buy one? it's damned fun! around a corner it's perfect, the sound and feeling of the engine behind you is like nothing else... it's addictive, did I say fun yet?

having driven both the '06 S2000 and the '02 Boxster in the same day, I picked the 4 year older car for more money because well... it's just a better car (except in an autocross) If you like your Audi I'd guess you'll like the Boxster better too, German cars are just "different"

here's a great thread about "why" to buy one at rennlist too


whatever you decide, good luck :)

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Thanks for the reply!

major services are 30, 60, 90, and 120k with the polyrib being done at 60k & 120k typically

The belt can be accessed from the passenger compartment right? In theory this looks super simple for a DIYer.... though is it?

Also, I've been searching for engine access threads and it seems that the tonneaucover can be lifted to give access to the top of the engine, however, does this provide decent access to replace plugs/filters/general maint?

whatever you decide, good luck

I'm quite certain I've decided :D


Edited by Silly_me
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yup, the polyrib looks easy to get to from the passenger compartment, I was just looking at it last night in my bentley book and it appears pretty straight forward to change it

the top of the engine is pretty easy to get to once you've done it once, but there's not much more than the air filter and intake manifold along with the power steering filler under there, most everything is found under the car, plugs and oil filter are down there, the pollen filter is in the forward compartment next to the battery just under the windsheild

having just spent $450 on my 15k service I'm wishing I'd done it myself, although the piece of mind from them telling my my RMS was ok is almost worth it

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All services can be done yourself...very easy to do. Just make sure you have basic hand tools and as much info with you as to what you are planning to do. Get the Bentley book or print out "how to" info from this site and others. Working on this "exotic" Porsche has been easier than working on my Vettes' and Z-28s' from the late '90s. The only thing you can't "professionally" do is look over the car for common problems as a competant Porsche Master Tech can. But if the car feels right...you won't have any problems and you will save yourself thousands in costs and learn A LOT about the car! Good Luck!

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