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How To: Purchase a budget 986 Boxster

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So, this is a personal guide to buying a cheap Boxster.   I'll probably do this in parts, as I intend to go into a bit of depth.

Obviously no guarantees or responsibility on my part for any issues you come across, this is meant as a guide only, and not as some sort of service or professional guidance.

 

My Background

Bought one, loved it, broke the bank for it.  I bought mine for under £3k as a project, and I wasn't scared of doing a bit of work - it was almost the whole point.  She was on Autotrader with a small "garage" about 30  miles away, but having done a drive by on Google Maps, it wasn't possible to find the garage.  I went for a drive by in the car, and found that she was sat looking mouldy in the corner of a hand car wash.  There were a lot of cars around, but they were all packed together more like a breaker's yard, and none of the cars had any visible sign that they were for sale.  Upon viewing, they had to get a jump pack out and didn't even know where the engine was, never mind the battery.  The interior was mouldy, the battery was screwed, but the roof worked and I saw potential.  I knew what I was getting into, but there was a lot more to deal with under the skin.

3hwKQwh.jpg

 

 

Know your limits

The most important thing with any used car, but especially Porsche, is to know your limits.  These are:

 

1. Your financial limit
Don't under any circumstances buy a Boxster if it costs only what you can afford.  The common advice is to allow a budget of £2,000 to get things attended to, but I'd say this should be more like £3k if you buy a £3k or less Boxster, and want all the annoyances resolved.  It may cost less, but you need to be prepared to spend more to get things fixed.  Even budget discs and pads could cost over £300 fitted, so don't spend your last penny on a purchase if it's all you can afford.   These cars were very expensive toys when new, and they are a sum of their parts - don't expect a £3k car that once cost £38k to have cheap service parts.  The oil capacity, for example, is twice that of a standard 4 cylinder hatchback, at near 9 litres for most engines.

2. Your mechanical limit
Boxsters can be easy to work on, but not necessarily as they get older.  Many of the parts are a combination of aluminium housings, with carbon steel fixings, and so you can end up in situations where things don't unbolt like they should.  This can end up with you at a mechanical impasse, and a 'simple' ARB Drop Link swap can turn into a full strut/hub removal, with cutting tools involved.  There's no predictable pattern as to what might get seized on these.  You may well find that a Boxster is much cheaper to maintain if you are willing to learn and attempt the basics (oil changes, brake parts, filters etc.), but if you're a disabled fella with limited mobility, be prepared to weigh up any potential faults with the labour costs accounted for in the section above.

3. Your Driving Skills
The Boxster is a mid-engined, rear driven car...and a well balanced on at that.  It's near the pinnacle of driving perfection due to the well balanced nature of its build.  When new.   Over time, and especially with a budget Boxster, you will find that things become unsettled - the car may drift or twitch, depending on any issues/alignment/damage.  Do you live in an area where you expect to see a lot of ice?  Is it a weekend car only?  Can you afford 3 points on your license?  All of these questions need to be weighed up against your personality to determine what spec or engine you want, if even a Boxster at all?  I bought mine intentionally for the security of having traction control, and it's got me out of trouble plenty of times when I wasn't even pushing hard.   Some think driver aids 'ruin' the experience, but they can be invaluable if you want an all-year cruiser without the need for constant restrain and concentration.

 

Things to look out for

Cars with faults can fall into three main categories:  

- Those where the seller knows about the issue, but attempts to play down the significance
- Those where the seller knows about the issue, but has attempted to hide them
- Has not yet noticed, or is oblivous to the issues

I'll try and cover some of the common things I've experienced, and hopefully clear up any of the above scenarios.

 

Pre-Visit Checks

You can do a number of pre-visit checks for free.  These are invaluable for sorting the decent from the weak, and can help to anticipate future issues:

1. MOT History (https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk)

 You can check the MOT History for any vehicle for free via the above site.   You only need to enter the VRM (Number plate) and Make of the car to get a visible full history.  This will only go back as far as computerised MOT History allows, which is after the vehicle is around 3 years old and after 2006.

Look out for repeated advisories, especially from recent MOTs.   A persistent history of tyre wear, especially abnormal, may indicate a history of accident damage.  You can also spot any other issues to look out for, and to raise with the seller for a status - some sellers may have corrected any advisories post-MOT, so it's always worth asking and not assuming.  

2. Sales and general history (http://www.ukvehicle.com/)

You need to register to use the site, but it is worth it.  This site provides some MOT history, but also provides any details of for sale adverts it has scraped from Gumtree, eBay, Pistonheads etc.  It's not definitive, but can help.  A car which looks to have been for sale recently with a different location in photos may be being sold on quickly due to underlying issues, or even a scam.

3. Vehicle Enquiry Service (https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk)

This page will offer the latest information on whether the vehicle is taxed and MOT'd, but also gives a snapshot of other info, like engine capacity (always worth checking you're not off to view a "2.7S"), and export status.  It also lends a few clues as to whether she'll have been off the road for a long time - if it's now December, and the tax ran out in April, it raises eyebrows perhaps.

4.  Paid-for identity checks

It's always worth paying for a check on a car before proceeding.  Sites like https://www.mycarcheck.com offer checks for only £1.99, which include whether or not a car has been previously written off.  You can upgrade a £1.99 check to a 'gold' check if you decide you want to later on, it costs another £7.99 or so.  There's never an excuse not to do a check for less than £2!

 

 

Identification and Basic History

You should always ask to see the V5 Registration Certificate as part of a viewing.  Check the nominated VIN against the body.   The VIN is a 'Vehicle Identification Number', and is assigned to a manufacturer based on ISO 3833 - the first two letters, for example, indicate the country of origin (i.e. Porsche are German, so have 'WP' as the first two characters of all VINs).  The main point of interest here will be the sticker under the bonnet (seen right picture, VIN is at the top and starts WP0ZZZ):

IMG_4242-1024x682.jpg449587d1275941942-option-code-sticker-re

 

As you can see from the sticker, it's from a '993'.  You can also see 'L3AZ', which is Ocean Blue Metallic, signifying the body colour.   The codes below it are option codes, which are things which detail what the car came from the factory with (options and wheel choices, equipment etc.).  You can decode most of these here.

You'll also find the VIN on the window cutout below on the scuttle, and also near the door latch on the driver's side.

765765_orig.jpg?11278737_orig.jpg?111

 

It's quite obvious that all four locations should match the same VIN - if they don't, be prepared to walk away.  No excuses.

 

Granted, the bonnet could have been replaced for an innocent reason, but it also could have been accident damage.   Unlike a front engined shopping car, the boxster has a 'tub' at the front which isn't so forgiving to a frontal impact.

s-l1000.jpg

 

If the buyer gives a genuine reason, you will need to weigh this against the evidence - it's likely to have an effect on resale, whether by value or general complication.

 

Checking the option codes against what you can see in photos is valuable - you can't always see if the heated seat buttons (just forward of the arm rest/cubby) are actually buttons or blanks.   This can sometimes be serendipity - i.e. finding the car is a higher spec than the seller has advertised/knows, or an honesty filter - checking if the car has had lots of things retrofitted/removed.   A car which has a completely different interior colour than that on the build codes could flag up a lot of questions as to why - has it been damaged, stolen recovered or vandalised previously? 

 

 

(to be continued....)

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Specification

There are a myriad of combinations out there, involving colours, mileages, conditions and prices.  What, and spec too?  However is one to cope...

 

Door Cards

The door card is generally described as the interior panel that covers the inner of the door.  It can be read - much like palms or tea leaves, just without the made up nonsense (depending on your beliefs).  For example:

iem7fl.jpga3jx4k.jpgGenuine-Porsche-986-Boxster-Left-Hand-Si

Notice the difference?

The first door has no speaker - this doesn't mean it has no sound system, but more that it doesn't have an upgraded sound option.  The most common one was the 'premium sound' package, which I believe added door speakers, an amp and possibly a 6-CD changer - depending on the model year.  The third one has the speaker, but it may take an eagle eye to notice the other thing - extended leather.  If you look carefully at the door handle, you'll see a double-row of stitching; this is a sure fire sign of an extended leather interior.   There was also something called the 'Sport Design' pack, which may make some of the door items appear silver-coloured, although again I think it's down to model year as to what what coloured and what else what included in the pack.

 

There's no clear winner here - the purists would say the lower-spec Boxster saves weight, but others would say high spec = rarer = more value and enjoyment.   Road vs Track, perhaps.

 

Centre Console

The centre console can also change, depending on spec:

18920d1415298613-interior-heater-fan-blo4uv0cd4.jpg

 

Try not to get Carbon blinded - these are two different specs.  Neither one is great than the other, perhaps.

The picture to the left shows a 986 with Auxiliary Heating (no A/C, manual hot/cold knobs), but it has the option Traction Control (as seen by the button on the upper right).  The picture to the right shows Climate Control (A/C button is below the 'auto' button to the left of the display), no TC/PSM button, but it has a variable wiper speed control.  Forgive the photos, as the left is a UK car (RHD), and the right is a on UK car (LHD), but you'll notice there is a cigarette lighter and another knob on the opposite side.  

Variable wiper speed generally only came specc'd on the 996, until the 986 3.2S came out (by which point I beleive it was standard), but it can also be retrofitted.  I'm not aware of any 2.5/2.7 that should have this as standard.

260063d1204925595-climate-control-lcd-di

It's quite common to find the climate screen has broken, as above, so remember to check this all works.  Check eBay for the cost of replacement, if required.  They're easy to replace, with literally a couple of screws to pop one out.

 

 

The sport design pack may also mean you get some silver action here too..

 

1490422750378368292.jpg

 

Which leads us onto the next part - the lower centre console.

 

Lower Centre Console

You could be forgiven for thinking that a 986 without the lower console is low-spec - but it's not.  The information I've seen suggests this was a less-is-more option from Porsche, and could be 'deleted'.

996_csole11229972319.jpg2cf8x9w.jpg

 

You'll have less space to put things, but you'll find you have far more leg room with the delete kit.   And no, you can't just buy one with a lower console and whip it out - it's not quite that simple.  The kit includes the carpeted area, and a blanking cap for the section forward of the gear gaiter.  They're out there second hand, but they're not that common.  

If you are lucky enough to get a Boxster with PCM, you might find that the climate unit is relocated down here.  This is quite a common 'mod' for when owners install double DIN (double sized) aftermarket radios, too.

s-l640.jpg

 

 

Heated Seats

The Boxster's heated seat buttons are kept in the same place that the 996's rear window buttons are kept.   If they aren't fitted, they are just blanks:

photo-43.jpgIMG_02941331771329.jpg

 

The left photo has the blanks, with the ashtray, the right photo (looking from passenger side) shows the ashtray delete with heated seats.

 

With one press, the button should show a red light (hot).  A second press shows an amber light (warm).  These should get warm quite quickly and if they don't work/look like this, then they could be aftermarket/DIY heated seats.

 

 

Seats

The Boxster came with two types of seat - the 'normal' seats, confusingly labelled by traders some times as "sports seats", and the actual "Sports seats". 

Notice the 'wings' on the seats to the right.

2001boxsterseats.jpgsprtseats1086585872.jpg

 

"Sport" seats tend to be more desirable, and thus can command a higher price second-hand.  The seats may also have embossed Porsche crests on the headrest area:

2190_IMG_1095.JPG

I believe these cost something like £500 extra to have done at the time, so aren't massively common.  You can find them on both types of seat and can, again, add value to the seats.

Just to confuse things, you can also get a sort of leather/alcantara style seat:

img_111273.jpg

 

Steering Wheel

Two types of wheel were also available - the standard copy-and-paste four spoke from almost every 90's Porsche:

(shown here with the tiptronic controls for the auto)

111518465.jpg

 

Or the 'Sport' 3-spoke wheel that came also as part of the "Sport Design" package.

16376d1342447349-porsche-boxster-2000-in

 

 

Again, both are compatible and can be interchanged, but second hand steering wheels with airbags can be hard/expensive to source.

 

Edited by cj225
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Stalking

Not the creepy kind, but the one that's just at your fingertips.   Easy to overlook when viewing a Boxster, but perhaps important nonetheless....

The Full Shebang

996cs4.jpg

Indicators, Washers, Cruise and Computer.  On a RHD car, you'll just about the the extras poking out behind the wheel (left pic).  The left stalk is the computer stalk, which gives you trip information (MPG, Range, Avg Speed) plus outside temperature.  The right stalk is for Cruise Control.   Reverse these, if you're from one of those crazy countries where you drive on the left side of the car (right pic).

mirror_image2.jpg608345-1000-0.jpg?rev=2

Cruise is a bit rarer, especially so on early cars.  The 2.5 (to my knowledge) is the only engine in the Boxster range which has a cable controlled throttle - old school technology.  The 2.7 and 3.2 have fly-by-wire, which essentially means that the pedal has a sensor to calculate how much you're pressing it, and the computer then decides to operate the throttle by use of an electric motor.  There's no direct physical link between the pedal and the throttle.

Why is this important?  Well, it just means that the 2.5 had a more complicated setup.  Plenty of people (especially across the pond) have retrofitted standard cruise to a 2.5, and I believe some folk out there did get the option to have it from factory, so if you're looking for an early model with something a bit 'rarer', look out for cruise.

Computer only

The more common setup you will see will be a computer stalk, but no cruise.  You should be able to see a big stalk sticking out on the left side of the shroud (on RHD cars), so it can be something to eagerly look out for on advert photos.  I could only find a LHD photo, but you get the jist.

interior_003.jpg

 

If this works, you'll be able to see a range of information under the central speedo screen, like these:

slC567V.jpg7pbCMIW.jpg

 

Storage and Accessories

Cup Holders

An early Boxster also could have some additional bits-and-bobs, including cupholders.  These may be found hanging around under the seats, or in the door pockets (see first pic) - don't throw them away - they are genuine items! 

These clip into the mounting holes you'll see around the air vents (pic two) to turn into a cupholder (pic three)

G9865521840001C.jpg99655222805-blktext-rh-dash-air-vent-blaclippyCUPPY.jpg

 

Engine Cover Storage

There were also a variety of storage options for the engine cover - the most common will be the storage box.

Within this, there are two options - the left picture shows extra storage trays at each end, which are replaced by speaker grilles if the car has the optional rear speakers (right).  Some people have done a DIY version of this, but an OE job (or a tidy retrofit) will have the correct mesh, as per the right pic.

ghZIh5J.jpgCMh9UAy.jpg

 

The central section should be a slide-shutter, unless the Boxster has the optional Bose upgrade.  If fitted, this is a subwoofer, but should also be complimented by Bose emblems on the door speakers (below, right).  You can recognise the Bose shelf by the bulging central section where the subwoofer is:

23op0nU.jpgpost-3924-0-83362200-1373622109.jpg

 

 

Wind Deflector

The Wind Deflector kit was supplied with two plastic honeycomb grill inserts, and a central acrylic windbreaker screen:

guRX6RK.jpgwYFCTHV.jpg

 

It's not uncommon for these to go missing, as they are fragile and rattle a bit (without modification), so watch out for these being missing - they're not always the cheapest things to replace!

23hZlSL.jpg

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I just wrote an entire essay on tools, bumpers etc, but it's just disappeared from the editor.  FML...

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Under the Front Lid...

A few different options can be seen just from looking under the front lid.  I quite commonly see 986's for sale that are missing a bit of kit, so it's important to know what you can, or should, see here. 

The Bare Minimum

rvqTXJq.jpg

Above is the bare minimum you should see - a spare wheel with cover.  Hopefully there's a tool kit lurking beneath, but we'll get to that.

 

CD Changer and Amplifier

QGc9Hrg.jpg

A fully spec'd Boxster with CD Changer and Amplifier (Premium Sound) should have both these items mounted to the bulkhead, behind the spare wheel.  The CD Changer can be see in the upper right of the picture.   Note the tool kit in the roll-bag at the base of the spare wheel.

 

What you should have....

The full under-frunk kit is as follows:

NJDI5PO.jpg

 

You should have a spare wheel (centre top) with black cover (right).  Inside the wheel you should fine a polystyrene insert with the aluminium scissor jack and crank arm (left).   The discs on the insert are the washer and retaining nut for these.  You can check if these are present by peeling back the cover.

 

Tool Kit

s-l225.jpg

The tool kit should contain the following:

> 1 x Towing Eye
> 1 x Double Ended Spanner (10mm one end,13mm other)
> 1 x Reversible Screwdriver and handle
> 1 x threaded bar for mounting wheel
> 1 x locking wheel nut key
> 1 x Headlight Removal Tool (999.571.076.02, about £10 + vat if missing)
> 1 x Wheel socket bar with 1 x leverage bar

 

The full kit is PN 996.721.115.00 and retails for about £215 + vat.

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Amber Nectar

One of the most popular mods (and points of contention for some) is the de-ambering process.  The standard kit was as follows:

jAujCDp.jpg4EfuJ6x.jpgLitronic_headlights.jpg

 

Photo 1:  Amber Halogen Lights..........These were standard fit on all pre-facelift 986 and 996 models. 
Photo 2:  Clear Halogen Lights............These were standard fit on all facelift 986 models, and somewhere along the lines on the 996 too, until the odd looking facelift got involed.
Photo 3:  Litronic Lights.......................These were available on pretty much all 986 models, and are basically Xenon lights.  If you look closely you can see the main beam lense is different, and has a smaller inner 'globe' (projector).  In addition to this, you can see the headlight washers where the corner blanks are for the other lights - you shouldn't really ever see Litronics without the headlight washers, or it could be seen as an MOT failure

 

Litronic lights can be desirable, as they were an expensive extra which provides the clear front look many desire, but they also provide a better light output.  As with any Xenon bulbs, the light is more white and intense, which can help with night driving.  The drawback of this is that the system can be more expensive to maintain, with replacement units costing more, not least the additional cost of branded Xenon bulbs being around 10 times the cost of their halogen equivalents.

 

Side Repeators

Differences can also be seen with the side repeator, which is amber on all pre-facelifts as standard, but clear on facelift (2003 ->) Boxsters

MOYJVVh.png

(Note the litronics on the boxster to the left, with the headlight washer and projector globe).

  You can get aftermarket clear side repeators, which are often noticeable by their excessively clear appearance.   The genuine items tend to have a bit of a cloud/smoked lens

94828Bd.jpg

 

Rear Lights

The Boxster mainly came with the amber rears, like so:

396ipE9.jpg



However, all facelift (2003 > ) Boxsters (and all 3.2S too, I think) came with clear rears, as well as the fronts...

xr9LYT9.jpg

 

There were also the '550' rear lights, available on the limited editions:

eYOemG1.png

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It's not what inside that matters...

When it comes to styling, there were a number of factory fitted variations to keep each car looking somewhat personal.  These were ever-changing, and encompassed by the aforementioned facelift that occurred around 2002/03.  Don't let that fool you, however, as Porsche constantly changed the specification and options on an almost annual basis.

The concept car was a sort of strange looking thing, when compared to what we now recognise as the 986.  It retained many of the styling cues into production, but lost some of the more 'quirky' features.  The differences are subtle, but nearly every aspect of the car is different on the production line.

porsche_boxster_92_1-490x302.jpgporsche_boxster_concept_2.jpg

 

The 'launch' boxster mimicked this colour scheme, with the opinion of many now being that an Artic Silver 2.5 with Boxster Red leather interior is going to be the most desirable when the 986 reaches the hallowed "classic" status (in terms of value/desirability).  So try to keep a set of Ambers in the loft, just in case...

Porsche-Boxster-2006.jpg4MQsCCG.jpg

The Boxster to the left is an early 2.5; the one to the right is a face-lifted 2.7.  If you look closely, you'll see the subtle difference between the facelift and the pre-facelift.  

- More prominent lower grille area, with body-coloured fins, and a larger step on the lower corners
- More prominent, shallower rear quarter grilles, also body coloured
- Clear lenses, as mentioned earlier

 

Things are also different at the rear:

yoQfMvA.jpg18a2Dtq.gif

 

If you look closely, you'll notice the retractable spoiler is much 'longer' on the facelift, becoming more ironing-board shaped than the thing rectangular spoiler top on the pre-facelift.   The facelift bumper not only has a cutout for the larger spoiler, but it is also reshaped.  There is an additional diffuser on the lower, and a more prominent skirt.

It can be popular to 'upgrade' an early model to the facelift exterior, but be sure to check that this isn't due to accident damage.

The 3.2S can be easily recognised from the front via the additional radiator grille located in the centre of the bumper:

VTBGhtE.jpg

 

Bodykits

It's not my area of speciality, but I'll do my best.  The Boxster came with various external upgrades from the factory, depending how deep your pockets were.  This included several iterations of the 'Aerokit':

16971d1360173802-another-front-bumper-qu16972d1360173821-another-front-bumper-qu

The Aerokit basically provided an extended 'bib' look to the front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser and a spoiler.  I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that a genuine Aerokit would also have a different bootlid, which is longer to blank off the defunct retractable spoiler.

There are many different bodykits out there, and lots of Fibreglass (GRP) copies of the factory kits.  The original kits should be made of PU plastic, which is much softer than GRP, so a genuine bumper should be easy to identify from a light tap of the knuckles - GRP tends to sound like wood when rapped, in my experience, whist PU has a more rubbery consistency, so muffles the sound much more.  If in doubt, just ask on the forums.

 

Exhausts

We'll keep this simple and talk about the visuals.  The 2.5/2.7 exhaust should be a single piece oval, with a central separator; the 3.2S has a twin pipe

9dR1gu4.jpg7wqe0jy.jpg

Things changed a little post-2000 at some point, with how the exhaust was build, but stick with the basics of the appearance for now.  The exhaust, as standard, are mostly stainless steel, and last well, but can be a little over-silenced.  Porsche also offered the Porsche Sport Exhaust, known on here as a PSE.

This is quite a striking exhaust, and worth good money even when used.

SPvVqu8.jpg

 

Hood

An upgrade to a glass rear screen is a popular improvement, as it offers several benefits:

1 - Comes with a rear demister, which plugs into the hard top connector port
2 - No worried about doing the 'roof chop' (google it) when it's cold and you want to drop the top
3 - No worried about the screen going milky, obscuring rear vision

 

You can see the difference below - from a distance, you'll see that the plastic screen is much larger, but it also has more of a green/blue tinge to it.  The glass screen also has a thicker bead around the window area, and you can just about see the heater elements if you look hard enough.

boxster_roof5_orig.jpg

 

A glass rear screen, new and fitted, would be at least £500, so bear this in mind against the purchase price if one is or isn't fitted, and you plan to upgrade to one.

I had a glass rear screen, and the only drawback I found was that it was slightly less accessible to get to the engine compartment, due to the lack of flex you get from the rigid glass.

 

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Wheels

There were a variety of wheels available during the Boxster's production run, and again I'm not 100% au fait with these, but I'll try and do my best.

The standard, smaller size on the earlier models were the 16" M395 option 'Boxster' Wheel

Porsche_Boxter_2.jpg33bd44cce7_640.jpg

 

Next up, were two options of 17" wheel - the "Boxster" (M394) and the "Carrera-style" (M396)

67294.JPGm396-1.jpg

 

18 inch "Carrera" (M411), 18 inch 'Turbo Look' (M413), with M414 'High Gloss'  (which were sort of Chrome), and the M415

67300.JPGVXGTgHC.jpg500983d1294018617-can-i-lose-the-chrome-QZxdEyQ.jpg

 

 

There was an abundance of wheel options, many of which are beyond my info and googling, but a selection of multispokes (Sport Classics) were also found on the options list, especially for the 'S'

 

 

 

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Colours

We can pretend that the paint colour doesn't matter, but we all know deep down that it does.  The 986 came in a variety of shades, from the common to the outright rare.  You can find the paint code under the bonnet, as per the first post.  I've attempted to find one of each shade, but I'm at the mercy of the owners here (and google).

 

I don't know if all these colours were available in the UK, but are certainly the worldwide options for the Boxster 986.  Many will look very similar on photos, and I expect the differences are subtle, possibly in the flake.

 

Artic Silver Metallic (1997 >)

h7EjjkR.jpg

 

Arena Red Metallic (1997 - 2000)

2AItqTh.jpg

 

Atlas Grey Metallic (for final year only, I believe)

hhLheDP.jpg

 


Black (1997 >)
Black Metallic (1997 > 2001)
Basalt Black Metallic (2002 onwards)

(one picture, as they will all look the same on a photo!)

Az02LfV.jpg

 

Carrera White (2002 onwards)
Glacier White (1999-2000)

Biarritz White (2000-2001)

Jx8De5W.jpg


Blue Turquoise Metallic (1997-1998)

oTo1ydo.jpg


Carmon Red Metallic (last year of production)

DamMBWx.jpg


Cobalt Blue Metallic (1997 >)

aqahF80.jpg

 

Dark Blue (1997 >).  Photo is a guesstimate.

laOzazC.jpg

 

Forest Green Metallic (1997 >)

GbckNF6.jpg

 

GT Silver Metallic (550 Anniversary only)

O4yv9pQ.jpg
 

Guards Red (1997 >)
0lfnlY3.jpg


Iris Blue Metallic (1999-2000)
SzolUE8.jpg


Lapis Blue Metallic (2000 onwards)
12FSNcH.jpg

Meridian Metallic (2000 onwards)
ofQ1qYs.jpg


Midnight Blue Metallic (1999 onwards)
fuvLP8z.jpg


Oak Green Metallic (1997-1998)

So rare I couldn't find an accurate photo of one, but here's a 911
L8sS8Wu.jpg

Ocean Blue Metallic (1997-2000)
dOoHxeZ.jpg


Ocean Jade Metallic (1997-1999)
ymBU87O.jpg


Orient Red Metallic (2000-2003)
Q7puTGQ.jpg


Pastel Yellow (1997-1999)
16Rk4v9.jpg


Polar Silver
tS3nyu3.jpg


Rainforest Green Metallic (2000-2003)
QIl74Cn.jpg


Riviera Blue
XIymmH2.jpg


Seal Grey Metallic (2001 onwards)
lJpdDr5.jpg


Slate Grey Metallic (1997 onwards)
5q4gWUc.jpg


Speed Yellow (1997 onwards)
CVT6nTq.jpg


Viola Metallic (1997-2001)
ckKyaih.jpg


Violet Blue Metallic (1997-1998)
Too rare for a Boxster image, but here's a 968

9elSILb.jpg


Wimbledon Green Metallic (1997-2001)
sppjBID.jpg


Zanzibar Red (2001-2003)
exFUvet.jpg


Zenith Blue (1997-2000)
macLYOe.jpg

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What to look out for before viewing

There have been many examples of people posting up ads for cars they are interested in, but have failed to see the stand out warning signs, so I thought I'd go over them here.

Remember, buying a Porsche can be expensive if done wrong - don't think of it like any other car.

 

This information is just my personal opinion, designed to bring your attention/curiosity to thing - always use your own judgement before discounting a car

 

Bodywork

It's always worth being weary of any wrapped or painted cars - they can be done for genuine reasons, but a wrap or cheap paint job could also be hiding some horrors.  On personal opinion, I'd suggest that a wrap devalues a car, and surely would make resale more challenging. 

You would have to weigh other damage against some researched costs - both doors, front wings and bumpers are easy to change, and the going rate on eBay (for Douglas Valley, for example) would be around £100 for a wing, £200 for a bumper, and £100 per door.   Double check the availability of parts before committing to such an idea, as some colours are rare (and thus parts might be difficult to source).  Some colours also age differently, and might be more of a challenge to match (silver, for example, can be a nightmare).

Any damage to the rear wings isn't necessarily so easily resolved, and could involve a localised repair.   Some forum members have paid £500+ for a rear wing repair before now.

A good sign of a well cared for car would be a nicely cleaned bodywork in photos - you can read this well from photos if you know what to look for.  Granted, you're not always going to get photos of a car in an ad when it's wet or raining, but it's useful if it does:

Mine was sat at a carwash for months, and they washed it at sale, but it still had tell tale signs of untreated paintwork:

9AsD84T.jpg
Z7FkZTQ.jpg

 

Hopefully you can see, but you get areas of the paintwork where moisture/water "clings".  it almost looks like wet plastic.  It also looks like road grime has already 'stuck' to the doors, and the reflections are dull.  This isn't a good sign, as it suggests that the surface is unprotected.   It's not necessarily a walk-away moment, but it took me months to get the colour to return to the correct shade, with a lot of work with compounds and an orbital buffer.

To compare, this is the same paintwork after months of work, but not having been washed for around 6 weeks.

ksFspud.jpg

 

Notice how the paint has the 'wet look'?  Ironic isn't it.  Although the beading isn't brilliant, it's as good as you'd expect to see from an unwashed car that has been rained on.  Not all of the water drops will be equally sized, but you'd want conformity in the shape (as round as possible).  Round water drops indicate a level of hydrophobia from the bodywork.  Yes, that's how much you can read into a wet car photo.

That same bodywork, on the same day, with a quick wash with Autosmart Autowash (shampoo) came out like this, with no additional wax or products:

qHpucmS.jpg

Again, not every owner is a detailer, and not every car wash knows much more than a bucket and sponge, so don't hold it against the owner - just use it as a yardstick for what you might have to do to bring the paint up to a decent standard (in appearance and protection).

 

Tyres & Wheels

Don't be too put off if the car isn't running Goodyears or Pirellis - they can be outperformed by a variety of brands, like Falken, Kumho and Vredestein.  I would personally be put off, and concerned, if I saw a car had Three-A or Accelera tyres - they are the epitome of ditch finders, and suggest a thrifty approach to maintenance.  There could well be better examples out there, so tread carefully (no pun intended).

You ideally want to see matching tyres on each axle, but not necessarily all four corners.  The front and rear wheels are different sizes, and the rears can wear out quicker than the fronts, with availability of tyres not always there to ensure all corners match.  Having odd tyres on an axle can be a symptom of unexpected punctures on a motorway, for example, but it may affect the handling, so you'd have to budget for cost to correct.

Also, check for signs of heavy kerbing.  Heavily kerbed wheels can be innocent parking scars, but they could also suggest a bit of a knock.  The suspension components can be expensive, with an alignment costing £100 on it's own, so the last thing you want is to walk into £500+ worth of trouble because the car handles badly, or eats tyres.

I would additionally say to steer clear of any 'multi-fit' non-standard wheels.  These can be recognised by multiple bolt holes, and are unlikely to be staggered (perhaps even completely bodged fitment.

Watch out for the wheel bolts - they corrode quite badly on the boxster, especially the alloy collars, and will start to go rusty.  These can be used to judge whether you might need to think about new wheel bolts.

2PdTbZs.jpgJJbyNgK.jpg

 

Edited by cj225
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Just now, John Thomson said:

Excellent post....many thanks.

Just printed off my cars full mot history to add to my service history file.

John

No problems, glad to help.  It's all just subjective, but I've bought quite a few cars in my time and and happy to both share my learnt experiences, and also 'upload' my BoXa knowledge whilst it's still up there!   I'll be adding more as I go along.

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What to look out for before viewing (continued)

Interior

One of the key things I look out for on photos is, again, the cleanliness.  Granted, people lead busy lives and so they don't always get time to clean the car - unfortunately, rather than excuse this point, it just adds weight to it.  I tend to think that people display the respect they have for their possession in the manner in which they keep them.

If it is dirty, and you love to clean (not everyone will), it can make things fun.   I personally quite like rejuvenating things, but this was more an optimistic view of how I bought mine.

kDrBYKv.jpgDP9uQaF.jpg

 

Does this mean it's a no go?  Not at all.  With simple household products (mostly fairy liquid on a sponge, then a vacuum) you can work some magic on these areas.  Taking my photos above, I spent a couple of hours that weekend and got some decent results.   Eventually I replaced the worn gaiter for a ~£6 one (marked as being for a Boxster) from eBay.

UcOKZEl.pngBvCg5QT.png

 

So, is it the end of the world?  No, but know your limits.  If you have a dicky hip and arthritic hands, then perhaps you should think about how much you'd want to get into.   Granted, you could take her down to the local valeter and have them clean the carpets, but bear in mind they are unlikely to be Porsche savvy!  Would I want a young kid with a wet vac near the Alarm ECU (under pass seat)?  Nerrrpp.

The whole point of this, however, is not only to get yourself adjusted to the size of the task in hand, but also to give you a potential hint as to how the car has been used before you turn up.  

 

Air Fresheners

Nothing wrong with loving the smell of Vanilla in the cabin, or a bubblegum fresh aroma to mask the smell of leather, should it not be your thing.  Be wary of the air freshener, though - it may not be your friend!

g986_91346217416.jpg

One of the most common Boxster issues would be water entry, causing a wet carpet.  This can give issues with the Alarm ECU being water damaged (as above, not a cheap repair and will prevent the car from starting in most cases), or condensation issues.  So what does this have to do with an air freshener?

Well, long term water ingress will soak into the foam under the carpet, and it'll start to pong.  This smell could be just standing water, but it may also be a mix of bacteria and other nasties.   Either way, it would prompt you to think about why it's there - especially in a trader's yard, as they normally don't have that kind of thing in them.   If I saw a trade car at a cheap price, with an air freshener, I'd most definitely be planning to check the carpets.

Is it a huge issue?  Possibly, but maybe not.  It's quite common, and a £10 trombone cleaner from Amazon can help to unblock the drain holes, potentially fixing the issue.  Alternatively, it could be an old soggy cabin filter, but we'll cover this stuff later on.  If all else fails, I bought a used replacement carpet for about £40 from another Boxster being broken for spares on eBay, which made it much easier to sort the job (again, covered later on).

 

You can read an awful lot from an interior, so if you're after a low mileage example, make sure the interior reflects it.  This is a Porsche, not a Citroen, so expect a well cared for and seldom used example to reflect this on the seats and steering wheel.

Another top tip - and this isn't foolproof - but you can possibly tell if the remote locking isn't working by paying attention to the centre console on photos:

9AoYCBv.png

If the car is opened by the key in the door, only the driver's door will unlock.   This will also show as an illuminated central locking button.  Once the driver's door is closed, a second press will extinguish the light and unlock all the doors (which may be the case if all the doors are unlocked and open in the photos).  So it's not definitive, but again it may arouse suspicion if it is present.

Alternatively, a constantly red lid button can also suggest an alarm system fault - this could be as simple as a £20 door locking module change, or a damaged Alarm ECU.

 

Use the specification guide to judge the expected options that the car may have against the information provided.

 

Here are some examples of what I'd judge based on the above info.  It's subjective whether it's good or bad, but use it as an example of how much you can judge using the aforementioned information:

d7LEwaC.jpg

dK5M8tu.jpg

bBfkC2G.jpg

haLxxxk.jpg

N2eNkXb.jpg

 

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@Araf Sticky this one?

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What to look out for before viewing (continued)

Modifications

Some are good, some are bad....maybe all are good - it depends what camp you are in.  If you're after some originality, though, you may want to think carefully about how fettled the potential new chariot will be.

First and foremost, you might want to check insurance - the last thing you want is for your insurer to make things harder for you, should the worst happen.  Don't necessarily be put off a modified Boxster if it fits right in all other areas, just judge how much it may cost to 'undo' some of the work.

 

Wraps and Paint Jobs

2001-Porsche-boxster-s-487-8549982_6.jpg

First of all, are they hiding anything - secondly, what about repairs?  The last thing you would want is to find that you can't match up the same vinyl wrap after a ding.  Additionally, where paint jobs are concerned, you need to be confident of the job that's been done.  Again, it could be hiding faults, but more importantly you don't want to find it starts peeling off one day when you're giving her a good wash.   I wouldn't expect a non-standard finish to add any value, and it's more likely to reduce it - unless you attract a specific buyer who finds the finish desirable.

Check the post above to ensure they did actually make on in that colour - we'll cover the "In person" stuff later.

 

Wheels

There are always going to be a variety of wheels that fit the Boxster, even from factory, but there are some considerations to be made around these.

244434d1199678673-kahn-design-rs-c-2pc-w

- Are the wheels the correct size (Porsche wheels are 'staggered', in such that the wheels are the rear are wider than those at the front).
- Do they foul on the bodywork or cause ride issues?
- Are the tyres an unusual or expensive size? (factoring in additional costs to maintain)
- Are they readily available new or used

All of these things should be considered, as you wouldn't want to be left with a 3-wheeled Boxster should you get a puncture (and the tyre size is uncommon, and thus unavailable), or left with an odd wheel (should one become damaged beyond repair, and a replacement cannot be sourced).

Generally, Porsche wheels as a set would cost anywhere from £200 upwards, depending on tyres and condition, but I'd expect to pay anywhere north of £400 for a set of 17" Carrera style wheels with useable tyres.

 

Wheels really will come down to your personal tastes - there are plenty of forum members who run non-standard wheels, including aftermarket and OE types.

 

Additional thought should be budgeted towards refurbishment and/or the availability of centre caps, as they can go walkabouts.   Remember, as discussed earlier, that wheel damage may indicate accident damage, or indications that the components behind the wheel may have taken some undesigned force (i.e. hitting a stone or kerb at speed).

 

Steering Wheels

Although an aftermarket wheel may look good (or better), but remain fully aware of the implications.  You must tell your insurance, as they would prefer to know if you are removing and disabling the airbag safety systems on the car.   It may also affect the steering lock.

Pic5.jpg

 

It's common, and quite effective, to get steering wheels re-trimmed as the leather fades (or through personal choice), so sometimes a wheel can be factory fitted, but appear none-standard.

Used/replacement standard wheels can cost around £200 (even in the 4 spoke style) without an airbag, so again you might need to budget for replacement.

 

Bodystyling Modifications

Again, each to their own on this one.  You may choose a specific Boxster because it has a bodykit, rather than despite it.   

prs80_eurocarmag_ZZ.jpg

The principle here is similar to wheels - check for any existing damage, and consider the impact of impact!  Standard PU bumpers tend to be just that - bumpers.  They are more forgiving if a Pheasant decides to end it all by jumping in front of you - a GRP bodykit, not so much.

There's also the impact on insurance, and potential that a bodykit was fitted as a cheaper option when the car previously met a hedge.  Keep an open mind, but also consider that there may be issues under the skin.   I've had cars before that had bodykits attached with self-tapping screws (which are often peirced straight into bodywork, which then attracts and accelerates rust) and also bonding substances (grip fill, even!) which again could have damaged the bodywork.  Additionally, a car may have been resprayed after the kit was put on, meaning if you decided to remove those sideskirts, you could find a tide mark (or other blatant signs that it used to be there!).

A bodykit can be a mixed bag - some are done very tastefully (replica Aerokit, for example) and others can be bodged onto previously accident damaged cars, so take it all on board before you commit to purchase.

 

Interior Modifications

Our own Loz knows a bit about this one!  You can get cars which may have had thousands spent re-trimming none-standard leather into a range of styles and colours.  Alternatively, you could have a max power style gear knob, or other painted/trimmed items.  Always consider whether it's likely to be an issue in future (whether personally, or come MOT time) and research how much it would cost to reverse.

2007PorscheBoxster_BlackBrightRedLeather

Some members have retrofitted 996 (911) clocks into the dash, which is a well received modification - bear in mind that it's not likely to be the Boxster's original mileage shown, and more like 996 + miles since it went in.  This could be an issue when confirming or validating the true mileage.

kombi996.jpg$_1.JPG$_35.JPG

(996 clocks left, with oil/battery gauges, factory facelift 986S dials middle, factory pre-facelift non-'S' dials right)

 

Exhausts

Again, quite a common area to change, as the standard exhaust can be quite subtle - with the PSE quite pricey too!

HmX3NNH.jpg

 

Not generally a major issue, but take into account whether you're going to love a loud exhaust, or find it tiresome.   There are a variety of exhaust that can be found on eBay, but some tend to 'drone'.  This generally is a spot in the rev range (normally 2k-3k rpm) where the exhaust will produce a constant deep hum.  It may be great on a Sunday around the country lanes and tunnels, but on a trip down the M1 you might find it becomes simply unbearable.

If you see a boxster which states, or looks to have a loud exhaust, and you prefer the understated look/sound, then budget for replacement.  Not hard to fit generally, but you'll need to budget an estimated minimum of £300-£400 to cover the cost of a standard used exhaust, u-pipes, hangar and bracket, clamps gaskets and fitting, should they not be available with the sale.

Edited by cj225

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Additional Value

Sometimes you can get a car that's out of budget, back into budget by proxy.  What do I mean by this?  Well, essentially offsetting the purchase cost against planned costs, or recoverable costs.  I'll give some specifics...

 

Hardtop

You may want one, or plan to buy one.   You could decide that it's not something you'll ever need, as you plan to garage the car and only use it on summer weekends.  All fair game.

post-47939-1253276795.jpg

Will it add any rigidity or performance benefit?  No.  Is the standard roof good enough to negate the need?  Yes.   If you live in the type of area that some scrote might decide to use a knife on the roof, then it'll pay for itself I'm sure.  Either way, a hard top can be worth £300+ (depending on condition, demand and colour, perhaps more like £700+) whether you plan to buy or sell, so a Boxster that is £200 above budget, but comes with a hard-top, may turn out to be a much better deal - if you can be bothered with the faff.

A badly handled and fitted hard top can mark the paint, so that's something to bear in mind.  The value can also be significantly less if it has had a half-bothered paint job.

Glass Rear Screen

NnhqTqv.jpg

Again, if you are planning on this upgrade in future, consider whether one out (or in) budget already has one.  These can cost £500 upwards even second hand and fitted, so you might want to consider this in your budget, especially when paying more for a car that already has one.

Speedster Humps

Who doesn't want a hump on the back of their Boxster?  How about two?  

631814d1336714722-fs-986-speedster-humps

They were an official accessory, but there's always going to be some aftermarket copies out there.  The value and appeal of these varies once again, but it's worth doing the research to see if you can gain some of the purchase price back (or save the cost of buying), should you find a Boxster than comes with them.

 

Aero Kit

986silver_2lr.gif

As mentioned earlier, the Aerokit was an extra on the Boxster.  Because of this, I'd expect that a genuine Aerokitted boxster would be worth a fair amount more than one that is not, due to the fact that it would easily fetch another £1000-£2000 in parts alone as a breaker.   Genuine Aerokit front bumpers can sell even in tatty condition for north of £500, so the possible additional skirts, rear bumper, bootlid and spoiler can easily pay for themselves.   If you think you'll get swayed by that look eventually, you might need to consider the value of buying a Boxster that comes with this spec as standard - but bear in mind that there are GRP copies out here.

 

Once again, judge all of this based on the current value of the parts by checking eBay, and weigh this against your own personal tastes/plans.

 

If you're planning on buying a budget Boxster, always keep one eye on what you could recover if you sold it in parts.

Edited by cj225

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@Araf, can you shoehorn this one into the colours post (it's alphabetical) - my source info was missing the 550 GT Silver

GT Silver Metallic (550 Anniversary Only)

O4yv9pQ.jpg

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What were the differences?

The 986 went through a multitude of changes in its 8 to 9 year production cycle, including an MCA around 2002 (Industry term for 'Mid-Cycle Action', which essentially tries to rejuvenate a model that has been on sale for a while).   Engines came, and went, spec too.  Here's the jist:

Engines

big_thumb_d0ede38a4af5264141770453fe73ed

The Boxster came with M96 VarioCam engines, which are arranged in a flat-6 design.  The Boxster apparently was named as an amalgamation of 'Roadster' and 'Boxer' (the engine configuration).  The Flat-6 is part of the character of the 986, and also represented the beginning of the first production water-cooled engines that Porsche provided.

By now, you might have been swayed by the "bloke at the end of the bar" telling you that "they have this RMS problem that makes the engines blow up", or something similar and fictional.  It's worth doing further research into this (there are some lengthly topics on the forum) before you worry too much about what the RMS (Rear Main Seal) is, and why/when the IMS (Intermediate Main Shaft) bearing might cause problems.

Only briefly in 1999 might you have been able to see all three engines for sale in the showroom, but the summary is:

There are many quoted engine power figures, partially due to the natural variance of 'no two Porsche engines are the same', so these are estimates:

 

2.5 Engine - Approx. 201 bhp - In production from launch (1997) until 1999

2.7 Engine - Approx. 223 bhp - In production from 1999 until 2002

3.2 Engine - Approx 250 bhp - In production from 1999 until 2002

 

Post facelift

2.7 Engine - Approx. 228 bhp - In production from 2003 until 2004

3.2 Engine - Approx 260 bhp - In production from 2003 until 2004

3.2 Engine - Approx 266 bhp - Only for the 550 Anniversary, around 2004

 

All the engines are very similar in architecture, but the 2.5 is the only one (to my knowledge) that had a cable operated throttle, rather than fly-by-wire on the 2.7 and 3.2.

Due to European Emissions laws, Cars manufactured prior to 2000MY should have snuck through before Euro 3 emissions came into force, meaning they only had pre-catalyst lamba probes (2 in total), and also do not require type-approved catalytic converters.  It is also suggested that it was around this time that Porsche started manufacturing the M96 with a single-row IMS bearing (and Euro 3 Emissions, meaning 4 Lambda probes and more expensive Catalysers), which lends much weight to a bargain-boxster sweet spot of around 1999-2000 for the pick of the litter :lol:  I'll brace for impact from the 2001-onwards registered owners now!

 

Gearboxes (or 'Transaxles', if you want to be politically correct)

boxsterstrans-1.gif?564

The Boxster came with the Tiptronic automatic (noticeable by the buttons on the steering wheel), a 5 speed manual, or 6 speed manual (only available on the 'S').

G86/00 - 5 Speed Manual fitted to the 2.5
G86/01 - 5 Speed Manual fitted to the 2.7 (Not sure what the amendment was, ratios appear to be the same)

Both of these were Audi-sourced FWD gearboxes, mated to the transaxle with different ratios


G86/20 - 6 Speed Manual fitted to the 3.2

This was a Getrag sourced gearbox, with stronger internals for the increased torque output of the 3.2

A86/00 - Tiptronic Gearbox 1997-1999
A86/05 - TipTronic 2000 onwards

 

When is an 'S' not an 'S'?

$_1.JPG

This seems like a good place to clear something up.  Generally, you'll hear different versions of what Boxsters were available.  These are generally referred to as:

- the 2.5
- the 2.7
- the 'S' (3.2)
- the 'Annie' (550 Anniversary)

You may come across some confusion when buying though, as there is a red herring.

 

What Herring is this that you speak of?

Knightni.jpg

Well, the earlier 2.5/2.7 was available with a Tiptronic automatic gearbox, which was confusingly named the 'Tiptronic S'.   Inevitably, you will find that the word 'Tiptronic' goes walkabouts, and you end up with someone trying to sell their Boxster as a "2.5 S" or "2.7 S".   A previous owner might even have found an 'S' to stick on the back.

To skip the pedantry, it's best to remember that the only Boxster 'S' was the 3.2.  This is due to standard trim variations and, also, the engine.  

Edited by cj225

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Great post!

Really enjoyed it and covers some very valid information for potential buyers ?

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28 minutes ago, Lonewolfgjp said:

Great post!

Really enjoyed it and covers some very valid information for potential buyers ?

 

Thanks - still plenty to go.

 

Worth also adding that "UKVehicle" (as mentioned in the first post) has now become "Carzana" as of today 

https://cazana.com/uk

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Ok, so I have a bit of time to cover the next section:

 

Separating Fiction from Reality:  Common issues and costs

So the most common thing I've seen on adverts, not just Boxsters, is the "there's a problem, but don't worry - it's a cheap fix".  If it was a cheap fix, it would be fixed, surely?  Would you want to buy a Porsche if the owner won't even fix the cheap stuff?

If you're not mechanically minded, and don't know your dipstick from your oil cap, then you might be swayed by this - keep your eyes open, though.  If you're mechanically minded, and think you can snip up a bargain, then fair play.  I'll cover a few common issues.

 

Don't be Fobbed off
(budget for around £200 per broken key fob)

I once bought a Rover cabriolet for £120 because it wouldn't start.  5 mins later, I had resynchronised the remote fob, and sold it on for 5 times the price, so I've been there.  That's not likely to happen on a Boxster though.  Here's one I saw earlier:

2L5TfEv.jpg

 

Sounds genuine, right?  Key fobs break, and maybe you do need to get it sent off.   But if that's the case (no pun intended) why wouldn't you spent that £50 extra - it's going to make you more than £50 back on top of a £7k asking price, surely?  "But eBay is full of these services, surely it works?" I hear you say..

bidmxIU.jpg

 

Yes, this is true - but there is more than one mode of failure.

Mode 1:  Genuine Desyncronisation (sleep)

When a Porka is left unused, after around day 5, the alarm system will go into a power-saving hibernation mode.  The car won't be actively looking for a remote signal, so the remote won't work.  As soon as you unlock the car with the key, it should then 'wake up' and start working again.  Some members have reported having to press a button as they turn the key in the door or ignition, but generally you should find that after a short drive, things work as per norm.  If they/it doesn't, then it's possibly borked.

 

Mode 2:  Fob issues

OK, so fobs do eventually run out of juice, so you'd have to check and see if the battery genuinely does need changing.  There is a small red light on the key fob which should illuminate when pressed.   If it doesn't, maybe it's batteries, maybe it's not.  The PCB (Circuit Board) could be damaged, as the buttons do become unsoldered, which is possibly where the eBay service might work for you.

Definitely check that there is a circuit board inside the fob, and it's not just an empty case though!

 

Mode 3:  They all do that, sir (no, really!)

Ok, so here's the not-so-beautiful synopsis - Porsche do love a good bit of designed obsolescence.   It is widely accepted that the 996/986 (maybe others!) have a limited use on the fobs.  I read somewhere that it's 10,000 presses, somewhere else that it's x number of presses without the car responding, and somewhere else that it's just pot luck.   Either way, don't be put off by a non-working remote locking system - it's unfortunately common.  The key may well look like it works, and you can get an auto locksmith (like I did) to confirm it's working and sending out a signal, but the car just doesn't want to know.   No keys can be reprogrammed without the original barcode, which you (almost definitely) won't have.

 

If it's important to you....

Given a second chance, if someone said that the remote locking didn't work, I'd mentally set aside £200 to have it fixed.  You may get lucky and resolve it for less, you may not be lucky and, if you try the eBay fix first, you might end up shelling out more.  Keyblades are extra too (see below).  

Only some Independents or an Official Porsche Centre (OPC) can reprogram remotes, as they require unlock codes from Germany.  You should expect to pay around £130 or so for a fob, plus half an hour's labour - leaving you to pay around £200 all-in.   Shop around, it varies.

 

What if I need a key blade too?

An OPC/Independent have told me before that they need to order a blade from Germany, at a cost of around £90.   I didn't bother, and used keysinthepost.com.  You can send them a photo of your existing key blade, and they'll post you out a spare copy for less than £30 (at time of writing).   

   

My key fob case is ruined - do I need to buy a new fob?

No, you don't need to.  You can get decent new copies for less than £5 from eBay (I ordered item number 131510070806).   These look the part, and work well, but the fit/finish is (if you're pedantic) every so slightly off.  You wouldn't notice unless you studied the gap lines, mind.  I used my old key body with the new blade, and thus had myself an emergency key.

 

What about a used eBay key?

Don't waste your money - they are useless except for scavenging the buttons/case.

 

What other things could this be linked to?

The Control Unit which controls the Alarm and Central Locking lives under the left seat (passenger side on RHD cars).  This wouldn't be an issue if the Boxster didn't have a few leaking issues (which we'll cover).  These can cause the Alarm Unit to become water damaged, and thus stop working.  This, in extreme cases, would cause the car to not start at all, and things can get really expensive.  

Remember the tip from before?  Check the central locking button

9AoYCBv.png

 

The alarm system can indicate faults via this red light, so check it, then make sure it works.  The button should only really work with all the doors closed, and it should lock and unlock all the doors, plus the frunk/trunk levers (on cable types at least) and fuel flap.

Check the carpet is also dry behind the seat - tilt the seat forwards, then pull the carpet up from behind the seat.  If the foam is wet, it could indicate further (and very expensive damage).

 

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No One Likes a Roofless Buyer
(see what I did there?)

When buying, or planning to buy, any sort of cabrio/convertible, the immediate issue becomes the roof.   Everyone will lose their minds worrying about it.  

It's not really a problem area on the Boxster, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't be vigilant.   Always check the roof operates normally and fully.

 

What should happen

You should check the roof operation without the engine on when viewing.   Why?  Because it will help rule out a few things, and also allow you to listen for any noises.

With the ignition on, handbrake on and engine not running, unclip the front of the hood.   Both front windows should immediately drop a couple of inches.  

If they don't:  Possible Microswitch failure

If the weather is cold, and the Boxster you're viewing has a plastic rear screen, you'll need to do the roof chop.  This is essentially a term used to describe manually folding in the middle of the screen to prevent any damage as it folds with the roof.   The seller should be aware of this, unless you're buying at a clueless dealer.

When ready, press the roof button (located next to the radio).

$_1.JPG

If nothing happens:  Check the handbrake is on (including the light on the dash - unless modified, the roof won't work unless the car knows the handbrake is on.   Additionally, check the roof latch is clear of the windscreen frame and retry.

 

The roof on the 986 is fully electric, and it isn't quite the same as the one on a Phantom Drophead - it will whine a little.  The roof should go down reasonably smoothly, with no unusual clunks or knocks.    A light should illuminate - 'P' on the diagram below:

dashboardlights009_zps012bfd3c.jpg

 

If it struggles: it's possible the battery is weak or unsuitable, or the roof may be out of alignment
If there are odd noises: It may suggest wear or damage to the mechanism.  It could require alignment or further parts, so budget for a few hundred pounds minimum.  

 

As the roof lowers, the roof bin (cover) should raise.  When the roof is tucked away, the bin should then lower.  Keep the button held until the light on the dash extinguishes.  

If it doesn't:  Again, possibly a microswitch.

 

It's a good idea at this point to check that the rear bin cover sits nicely flush with the surrounding bodywork

KisnIsP.jpg

 

If the edges (near the thinner sections the meet the roll hoops) don't quite sit right, there is adjustment for this - each side should have a black plastic block (marked with a '+') that can be slide towards the front or rear to adjust how it seats.

 

Saggy Flaps

No one likes saggy flaps.  Luckily, if the roof hangs over the side of the trim, as per below, this can be adjusted via a 'belt' (like the pants type) inside the roof.  Others have replaced these straps using their manly sewing skills and some elastic strapping.

 

993725d1448195435-soft-top-adjustment-so

 

 

 

You can use the 'roof down' position to examine the roll hoops and wind deflectors (if fitted) for any damage, otherwise they're quite difficult to get a look at.

 

I'd advise checking the roof goes up and down without any unusual signs/symptoms.  You might need to turn the engine on after the first couple of cycles, as it may drain the battery quite a bit - just make sure the exhaust/talkative seller don't drown out any noises you might be listening for.

 

With the roof half way up

You can check some bits with the roof in 'service mode'.  This is essentially how you access the engine, but it's also useful for having a quick check of the roof.  There's a few guides on this in the How To section, including this video by Vroomba...

 

 

The roof parts on each side will comprise the following parts:

Pic1.jpg2qum1s4.jpg

 

Part 'H' in the picture above is a small rubber bushing - mine didn't have these fitted, god knows why, and it caused all sorts of little rattles.  You can see it fitted in the picture below.  These costs around £5 each -  a lot for a little bit of rubber, but not a lot for a Porsche little bit of rubber.

rfyalub.jpg

 

It's also worth checking the weakest link whilst you're there.  These are the other end of the bushes above..

2o1iUwf.jpgboxster%20roof3.jpg

 

These plastic parts, not necessarily red in colour, are designed to snap if the roof becomes obstructed.  They screw onto the end of the tierods (above), and have a ball-joint type end which attaches to the roof frame (above, but with white plastic).  If these snap, they can look like this:

IMG_4336.jpg

 

It's not unusual for people to tire of this, and instead of simply fixing the issue, they fit stronger ends, and bad things can happen...

zjxT0zY.jpgboxster%20roof1.jpg

 

This can also happen as a rarity, but it's always worth checking for signs of a bodged repair or damage in this area too.

 

Don't be a Drain...

Lastly, have a quick check of the drain holes.  This is me cleaning them with a trombone cleaner.  Check the black foam/plastic isn't split, and the hole (where the rod is going into, left pic) doesn't look blocked.  There are also drain holes on the upper sill where the cover sits (again, with the rod going in the hole).

iKLOUFG.jpg nhbvCXX.jpg

 

To be continued....

 

 

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