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.

Read the rest of the story

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. 

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
9/13/19 10:25 a.m.

After driving our Boxster S project car, I'm hooked; damn the potential hazards!

bcp2011 Reader
9/13/19 11:04 a.m.

I found these quotes rather amazing (and amusing...)

"Replace the water pump every 40,000 miles. The plastic impeller can come apart and clog up the capillaries in the head, causing hot spots. Aftermarket pumps are terrible—use only the factory piece. Use genuine Porsche pumps only."

"We worked with Flat Six Innovations to develop a ceramic hybrid bearing with a billet bearing support and flange. It’s an open bearing, so engine oil lubricates it. When buying a used car, replace the IMS bearing immediately and again every four years or 50,000 miles."

And to think Porsche sold these engines for 10 years with the same design... frown

nderwater UltimaDork
9/13/19 11:12 a.m.

In reply to the above comments :

I own a 987.1 Boxster, and have driven a variety of 986, 987, 981 and 718 Boxsters and Cayman trim levels on the street and on track.  I've also owned NA and NB Miatas, and have tracked NCs and NDs. 

It's my feeling that Miatas--any generation--are the better buy for 90% of enthusiasts than a 986 or 987. Stock Porsche 981 and 718 models are a big enough step up from stock Miatas to be worth a real premium, but the Miata aftermarket is strong enough to keep modified cars competitive for most owners who aren't looking for a PDK-like shifting experience.

Hasbro SuperDork
9/13/19 9:07 p.m.

The comments are as good as the article, thanks from the Boxster newb. My 99 has 152,000 miles but I don't know much of it's history.

8valve Reader
10/14/19 1:18 p.m.
AnthonyGS said:

I’ve met Charles and Jake both.  Yes they can come across as gloom and doom, but their hearts are in the right place. 

I think the part where they said "..of the blocks that we receive..." is the part people are missing.  These guys are only getting the motors with issues.  Their view is skewed by that fact.

The general message coming thru to me is...  use as street car.

MrFancypants New Reader
10/14/19 1:28 p.m.

What's the going rate for a minimum acceptable quality replacement engine or rebuild should the worst happen?

AnthonyGS Dork
10/14/19 10:49 p.m.

In reply to MrFancypants :

Factory shortblocks with the revised large IMS bearing are $7k....   honestly you can't rebuild one of these for less and by the time you do headwork and replace all timing components, I'd expect to be at 11-12k.  Of course that's for a totally fresh engine that should go 150k.  I may actually do this in late 2020 or 2021 for my Boxster S.  I'd get a 3.4L shortblock and have some headwork done.  Hopefully I'd get closer to the 300hp of the 996.

bmxr New Reader
11/8/19 12:12 p.m.

Talked me right out of a Cayman!

AnthonyGS Dork
11/8/19 6:31 p.m.
bmxr said:

Talked me right out of a Cayman!

Why the Cayman has a different IMSB than the early M96 engines?  The Cayman is the sports car bargain of the decade right now.  

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