Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar SuperDork
7/9/13 12:56 p.m.

For tech tips on the first-gen Boxster, we turned to Charles Navarro of LN Engineering, a Porsche specialist.

These cars handle really well. I have a stripped-down, base-model ’99 with a 360-horsepower sleeved 3.8-liter engine, and I love driving it. Boxsters are not, however, the kind of car you can just do oil changes on and forget about.

When shopping, buy the newest, lowest-mileage example you can—but budget an extra $3000 to $5000 for some additional preventive maintenance if it hasn’t already been done. These repairs and upgrades, unlike modifications on most cars, actually increase the resale value of the car.

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9/29/13 2:10 p.m.

Convinced me to cross it off of my list.

CharlieFoxtrot New Reader
8/20/14 10:14 p.m.

Amen, brother!

jj HalfDork
7/22/19 10:54 a.m.

I know this is old but are these engines really all doom and gloom like this article sounds?  

I’ve heard of spec boxster racers now getting many hours out of junkyard engines. 

penultimeta HalfDork
7/22/19 11:05 a.m.

Wow. Yeah, no thank you. 

AAZCD HalfDork
7/22/19 11:29 a.m.

There are plenty of 986 Boxsters with well over 150k miles on the original engine going strong. Two 1999s I sold were 150K miles and 175k miles with no engine problems and original IMS bearing. Currently my highest mile one is a '99 with about 145k miles and no engine issues. I have bought two salvage cars that were 2001 models over 100k miles that had a broken rod destroy the engine, but still a good IMS. Like any aging sports car; A well cared for, maintained one can last. A neglected, abused one can be a nightmare in costs.

For a good baseline on Spec Boxster engines, skim through Tom Stone's thread on the 986 Forum. I think he's on junkyard engine #5 and he runs them hard and hot. For the cost of an old 2.5L he considers them an expendable item, like tires.

Javelin MegaDork
7/22/19 11:50 a.m.

My Boxster S has 140k miles on the original engine, though it did have the IMS done as preventative maintenance when the clutch was done at 110k.

AnthonyGS Dork
7/22/19 12:32 p.m.

I’ve met Charles and Jake both.  Yes they can come across as gloom and doom, but their hearts are in the right place.  They know these engines as they have more time and experience repairing them than others.  When you see one apart and how light everything is, it’s an engineering marvel.  It’s like any other high end machine, you have to take care of it.  If you aren’t willing to do that, then you are better off in something else.

They are amazing cars to drive for sure.

A used ND Miata is probably a better choice for most though.  I dream of owning a turbo or supercharged ND myself someday.  

jj HalfDork
7/22/19 1:59 p.m.

I was thinking they weren’t so bad because of all the high mileage ones for sale. That engine thread is interesting also. I find myself in research mode again after selling my last project. 

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