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Stalled, Check Engine Light Flashed

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I was driving my 2000 Boxster with 32k on it home from work. The car stalled after I had driven about a half mile. I was driving about 35 mph in third gear.

I restarted the car and drove a few more miles - I was about half way up an on ramp to I-95 when the Check Engine Light started to flash. I turned off the car and coasted to a stop. Because I was in an awkward location, I restarted the car to move it to a safer spot. It drove fine and the CEL stayed off. So I decided to drive it home. I didn't have any other problems after the car reached full operating temperature.

Here is some additional information:

1. It was extremely hot and humid. I estimate it was 95 F and 95% humidity. About 10 minutes later, it started raining.

2. I filled the car with gas about two miles from work at about 7:30 am when it was still relatively cool.

3. I know I'm about 2k miles overdue for a spark plug change. (The interval on a 2000 is 30k. It's 60k on later cars, so I thought a few thousand miles wouldn't make a differenc.)

4. The car didn't overheat, and no other warning lights came on.

5. Just before it stalled and just before the CEL came on, the car seemed to hesitate.

I probably won't have much luck finding a Porsche specialist open tomorrow to check the car out. Any thoughts on what is happening? Any advice? It is possible that an auto parts store could check the OBD code? Where is the connector for the code reader?

Thanks in advance.

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You definitely want to have the codes checked. If you CEL came on, then a code would definitely have been logged. The OBD-II connector is underneath the steering wheel to the left - it's a multi-way connector.

I believe Autozone read codes for free. Virtually any OBD-II compliant reader can read the codes. If you get a code starting with P0xxxx (P-Zero) then it's a standard OBD-II code and a description should be in the manual that came with the reader. If you get a code starting with P1xxxx (P-One) then it's a manufacturer specific code (Porsche in this case), and if you post it here someone could tell you what's going on. Either way post your codes here and we'll try and help...

At a guess, it could be a variety of things. Spark plugs is one thing... Temp sensors is another (temp sensors reading warm when the engine is cold and starving the engine of fuel). Could be a host of other things too. Hopefully the codes will shed some light. Could even just be some bad fuel.



Edited by Rom
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I'll try to have the code checked today. The temperature sensor theory makes sense. The car was baking in the sun all day. Of course, you would think Porsche would have accounted for those conditions. But, it could have been an odd combination of conditions.

Edited by KevinH90
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I had the spark plugs changed today. The technician said that the electrodes were in rough shape. I haven't had the light flash since the incident on Monday. The technician who checked the car couldn't pull a code. He said it was because Porsches only hold codes when the light stays on.

I'm hoping that it was the plugs, but I will keep an eye on it.

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Um, all OBD-II systems will hold codes whenever the light comes on (even if it turns off again). In fact, in some situations the light never comes on, but a code is logged. However, some codes only stay in the system for a specific number of cycles (i.e. journeys). You may have exceeded the number of journeys and the code may have reset since the problem did not re-occur.

Always good to own a code scanner (even a basic $60 one) so that you can scan codes as the first sign of an issue. Even though the code reset it could be a part that's just starting to fail.



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I appreciate your responses. To be honest, I don't think I totally understand or have a lot of confidence in the explantations from the two places I contacted in this area. I know that part of the problem is my own lack of knowledge, but usually I can appreciate a logical explanation.

I tried AutoZone first. They had a code scanner, but said it wouldn't work if the light wasn't on when the scanner was in use. I really didn't expect a lot from them, but they were convenient.

The second place was an independent Porsche specialist. He was the person who changed the spark plugs and told me they were in bad shape. He is highly recommended but he seems to specialize in older cars. He had several 911's and 356's sitting around in various states of restoration. It was like a Porsche museum. However, I didn't see him actually hook the car up to an OBD scanner.

I'm going to be taking the car on a 600 mile round trip next week to pick up a hard top. I might just take the car to the Porsche dealership and have them see if they could pull a code.

Any recommendations on OBD scanners?

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I have an Innova 3100C which works just fine to read codes and clear the CEL light. It was about $120. The cheaper Innova readers should work fine too. I got mine from Kragen, but Autozone should have a selection too.

Note that these readers won't let you change Porsche-specific option codes - you'd need a PST2 (or equivalent) to do that!



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