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Porsche 986

Porsche 986 Published: 7th Mar 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Porsche 986
Porsche 986
Porsche 986
Porsche 986
Porsche 986
Porsche 986
Porsche 986
Porsche 986
Porsche 986
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A great car in standard form, yet it can be made so much better with carefully selected mods

It’s become a cliché to badge Boxsters as poor person’s 911 – despite having at least 200bhp on tap! Yet, unlike previous entry models such, as the 924, Boxster is a proper Porsche in every respect and an affordable one, too for road and mild motorsport use or simply a weekend track day toy but without compromising the model’s fantastic day-to-day usability or durability. The pauper Porsche has gained a firm following; specialist support is excellent and it includes numerous breakers supplying good used spares – plus there’s also some great enthusiast forums offering help and advice, such as wwww.boxa.net.

We’re indebted to Boxster experts, Cotswold Porsche Specialists (01242 620180 cotswoldporschespecialists. co.uk) for help and advice with the article.

Before you start

As a rule, this section concerns relevant owners but if you’re teetering on the edge of buying a Boxster, stop and think what model to go for. Without question, unless you see a bargain or just want to personalise there’s little point in going for the base 2.5 even though it packs a creditable 204bhp and is not as slow as some sports suggest. Having said all that, Boxster S not only has an additional 16bhp but comes with a better chassis and six-speeds, either manual and auto; it’s the better base to start with.

In the same vein, later 2.7 Boxsters match the earlier S for pace (if not gears) and that later sportier sportster further had its engine up gunned to 2.7-litres for a rousing 252bhp.

Logic dictates, you’d be hard pushed to improve the factory’s effort with a hotch-potch of tuning tweaks, not for the time, money and effort it will involve so consider trading up to a better Boxster if you already spar with one as it will be money well spent.

Cotswold Porsche Specialist concurs, adding the 3.2s and latterly the 987 3.4S are best starting points given their higher power as it costs a lot to get a 2.7 to the performance level of a 3.2, yet the values of each on the used car market are similar. Similarly, if you can find an MO30 option car, great! This will have the sports chassis – a really nice improvement over standard.

Despite the earliest cars now almost 12 years old, significant rust shouldn’t be an issue unless badly pranged in the past although you may find corrosion around the door catches on early cars.

Major concerns major on engine and transmission however; pre 2000 cars have serious power unit issues which includes porous blocks (2.5) and slipped cylinder sleeves that will lunch the unit.

You can buy dedicated engine rebuild kits or alternatively seek out a second-hand unit which typically cost between £1300-£2700 depending upon type and condition; serviceable cylinder heads (which commonly crack) for a few hundred or so. Porsche specialist Hartech offers a range of Boxster overhaul prices; a base rebuild starts from £2640 if taken out of the car; Nikasil cylinder plating from £720 each and a basic cylinder head fettle at a reasonable £180.

The notorious Intermediate (IMS) shaft can fail and will wreck the engine if left to fester. Radiators don’t last long is reprogrammed, or swapped, there’s good scope although post 2001 engines, featuring different variable valve timing control, can provide problems.

Forced induction (such as super and turbocharging) is probably the only way to get big numbers from the M96 engine. Kits exist. Other than this, you can go large with impunity and this even includes certain 911 powerplants. The 3.4/3.6 engine has a stock 300/320BHP. Pelican Parts gives mostof the advice you need, but there are tales of V8-power, by way of either a typical US power unit, Audi’s V8 (it mates to the similar transmission) or using Porsche’s own 928’s V8! Be warned, all are highly involved to fit and chiefly for lunatics and masochists alike…

 

Handling the power

Boxsters employ five and six-speed manuals or an also excellent PDK twin clutch auto; converting to former is not easy, certainly costly and, to be frank, not worth envisaging unless it’s playing up.

Trading up from five to six speeds is doable but consult experts concerning clutch and any ECU issues.

Design 911 sells lightened flywheels which are said to yield better throttle response at around £550. Uprated transmissions (especially clutches) are worthwhile as 50bhp power gains can cause problems advises TMS Motorsport. By nature clutches lead a hard life; Design 911 sells LUK clutch and flywheel replacements that can be half the price of Porsche items, or a performance upgrade for £520. It’s worthwhile replacing any remotely suspect engine mounts (causing a ‘shunting’ when changing gear), expressly if you intend to do brutal stop/ start competition, such as autotesting.

Unless you intend a fair amount of track work, a well set up standard Boxster is good enough for many owner even in standard trim – and a better handler than the 911, some claim. Let’s face it, Porsche know about these things and as a result, a hotchpotch of aftermarket mods will probably make your Boxster fall in the first round. In contrast, the factory MO30 kit is very good and good value, too we’re told.

A precise geometry check and reset by Boxster experts is said to transform the drive of the majority of average cars out there so has to be the starting point before adding any dedicated damper and handling alterations.

Such as, Demon Tweaks, who sells Eibach springs (standard ones are prone to cracking anyway) from £259 and full kits (Bilstein) at £1507 with special track day ones (from KW Clubsport) for £600 more. Strut braces also available with a detachable type from elehantracing.com (£340) enabling you to still put luggage in the trunk. Power Flex manufactures uprated ‘poly bushes’ for the anti-roll bars and track control arms; all worth fitting as these are common wear points, as the rear ‘coffin arm’ bushes.

Likewise even stock brakes should be up to the job (solid not vented discs on 2.5 and earliest 2.7s, by the way). DC Performance recommends EBC YellowStuff pads as an inexpensive service upgrade; EBC also has a range of well proven standard or upgrade discs – the aftermarket is full of cheap and inferior product, so beware.

Pre-2001 models benefit from larger, later 17inch wheels which further allow the brakes from 996 Carreras to be fitted. You can also opt for a Brembo brake kit at £2800 for its six-pot system or a crazy £3700 for the eight-pot alternative. Autofarm has developed its own kits from the likes of Alcon and Brembo, the latter sold as front or rear kits at over £3300 per axle!

Finally, don’t spoil it all by penny pinching on the tyres (you’ll probably find them on cheap buy Boxsters). Instead, opt for good quality N-rated rubber; CPS recommends Michelin PS 4S or Toyos for rack junkies. Yes, it will cost up to £600, more if you throw in geometry recheck, but the transformation trumps any other ‘improvement’.

 



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