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Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster Published: 28th Oct 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
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Do you drive this great classic or are thinking of buying one? Here’s how to ensure that you get the best out of your car for years to come

Rather unfairly dubbed a “poor person’s 911”, yet unlike previous entry models, the Boxster is a proper Porsche in every way and an affordable one, too with prices at less than £3000 if you fancy a challenge. Boxster isn’t as dear as a 911 to keep, but certain aspects of home ownership – such as engine access – are rather off-putting. The good news, however, is that specialist support is excellent and includes numerous breakers supplying good used spares – plus there’s also some great forums offering help and advice. Here’s how to box clever!

1.Engine output

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Even 2.5 kicks out 200+bhp. Uprated head and cams are available if costly, easier gains can be had by a sports exhaust (worth up to 30bhp) along with a better induction kit forcing more cold in before an ECU rechip that increases power and torque a further 6-10 per cent (from Quantum) depending upon engine (265 to 389bhp for example: 2.7); chipping should be done as the final tuning exercise.

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This is where you may come unstuck as early engines can be notoriously unreliable and can render some cars scrap (see anon). Porsche replaced many under warranty although while certain faults make them ticking time bombs, experts say that if the unit was going to fail it would have done so by now! Oils leaks common; caring owners change the 5W40 lube before 18,500 scheduled service pit stops.

2. BOttom end (1)

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One good way of upping power is to fit a larger engine from faster, later models – up to 3.4-litres although the 3.2 seems to be best liked. Experts say so long as the DME (Digital Motors Electronics – i.e.: the ‘brain’) is reprogrammed, or swapped, there’s good scope although post 2001 engines featuring different variable valve timing control can provide bigger problems. Other than this you can go large with impunity and this even includes certain 911 power units.

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Biggest problems with pre 2000 cars were engine block issues which includes porous blocks (2.5) and slipped cylinder sleeves that will lunch the unit, the later fault worsened if the engine isn’t allowed to warm up properly. 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.

3.Bottom end (2)

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911 units slot in pretty easily says Pelican Parts and gives advice, 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 – but all are highly involved! 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.

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Hydraulic tappets usually rattle from cold, but should smooth out within a few seconds. Failed Intermediate shafts (IMS) and bearings fail often and usually with terminal results – the first signs are groaning noises and/or traces of swarf in the oil. Most M96 (Boxster and 996 Carrera) engines leak a little lube, but too much lube seepage usually signifies a failure of either the rear main bearing seal or (more likely) the seal on the shaft below; all costly to rectify; autos are least affected in this respect it’s claimed by the ever helpful 986forum.com.

4.Transmission

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Boxsters use five and six-speed manuals or a PDK twin clutch auto and converting later to former is different, costly and not worth envisaging unless it’s playing up. Trading up to the later six speed is doable but consult experts concerning clutch and any ECU issues. Design 911 sells lightened flywheels for better throttle response at around £550. Uprated transmissions (especially clutches) are worthwhile as 50bhp power gains can cause problems says TMS Motorsport.

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Tiptronic auto gives little trouble if serviced right (but mega dear if it does). Weak synchromesh on manuals isn’t unknown. Clutches lead a hard life, too; Design 911 sells LUK clutch and flywheel replacements that can be half the price of Porsche items, or a performance upgrade for £520. You can take the transmission out without dropping the engine so a clutch change is a potential DIY job. Shot engine mounts lead to ‘shunting’ and difficulty when changing gear.

5. Suspension

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A better handler than the 911 many claim, so a well set up standard Boxster is good enough for many. Uprated dampers and springs are a logical step particularly if the originals are now knackered; Demon Tweaks, sells Eibach springs 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 new detachable type from elehantracing. com (£340) enabling you to still put luggage in the trunk!

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Power flex has uprated ‘poly bushes’ for the anti-roll bars and track control arms; all worth fitting as these are common wear points. Check road springs for breaks regularly. CV joints aren’t problematic but splitting boots are, more so on six-speed models says chat sites like 986fourum.com and iwantporsche.net. A precise geometry check and reset by Boxster experts is said to transform the drive of many average cars, careless jacking damages suspension arms, springs and wishbones so watch it.

6. Brakes

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Pre 2001 cars benefit from larger 17inch wheels which allow brakes from 996 Carrera to be fitted. You can also opt for a Brembo brake kit at £2830 for its six-pot system or a crazy £3689 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 £3360 per axle! Autofarm also sells a kit utilising Boxster brakes for early 911s.

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Seizing rear callipers aren’t unknown due to irregular use and where the car is washed and put away leaving the brakes soaked. DC Performance recommends EBC YellowStuff pads as an inexpensive upgrade; EBC has a range of standard or upgrade discs for Boxsters – the aftermarket is full of cheap inferior ones so beware. Callipers have a pair of bleed nipples on each; do one wheel at a time.

7. Body and chassis

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Orange indicators adorned pre ’03 models which then changed to clear types and this look is most sought after it seems.New parts to retrofit an earlier car cost in excess of £1500 so look at Porsche breaker instead. There’s a huge array of Boxster custom parts to suit all tastes, such as mesh grills (£130-£215), ‘GT3’ front bumpers (£476), aero side sills (£475-£887), all from the Midlands-based Porscheshop. co.uk. Classic additions.com has just launched a clip on wind deflector for £168.

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Even though the earliest cars are now 20 years old, Boxsters shouldn’t rust (unless some poor body repair work has been carried out in the past) except that you can find corrosion around the door catches on early cars; later models wore a plastic gasket between the alloy catch and the body. Front end accidents usually damage the radiators (one in each wheelarch). Tatty early car can be given later looks for £1893 (2003) and £2742 for a 2004-on model; Porscheshop.co.uk.

8. Electrics & trim

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Bespoking Boxsters is easy with a wealth of trim bits on sale starting from £16 for new dial surrounds (Porscheshop.co.uk.), although this swells to £400 if you want something better! Sports (airbag) steering wheels typically cost around £1200-£1500 while tatty gear lever surrounds can be replaced for £52-£99. Costlier are carbon fibre trim replacements where a centre console alone comes to over £600! In view of the hassles a flat battery causes, fit a quality one – before winter sets in!

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Power hood repairs expensive, early manual ones can stick half way, fit helper straps. Clean drain holes on regular basis or water can collect and soak trim and worse still electronics. Doors can not close properly and flat batteries can be a pain if there’s not enough ‘juice’ to open the bonnet – see forums for ways around this. Airbag light on is usually due to seat belt sensors and too many keys hanging on fob wears out the ignition switch! Rear console hinge repair kits cheap at £29.95.

And another thing…

Those needing more from air Boxster would do well to seek out this book –101 Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. If you think the Boxster really is the poor relation to the 91, you can fool your friends and neighbours with a new replica kit that turns one into a Type 991. The GTB kit costs £5300 from anudimension.com (0121 647 3751) and a tempting rebody if you already have a beat up Boxster that’s too good to throw in the towel with just yet – or you pay £20K and have the kit maker do it all for you…



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