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'09-'12 Boxster S High Mileage Concerns?

So after 30 years of air-cooled bliss, I've decided my next car will be a 987.2 S model.

I've been looking now for a few months and have found a number of cars with 15-45k miles in the $28-35k asking price range and then some nice looking cars with 75-100+k for $5-7k cheaper.

This will be a daily driver which I plan to "Sharkify" and then keep and enjoy the car for many years. My basic thinking was, find a lower mile car that has been well cared for which would be the better basis for a tweaked motor and so that I'd know the maintenance and care for the lion-share of the car's life.

But I don't want to pay the kind of premium for low miles that owners seem to be asking and I'd like to hear from 987.2 owners who know what these cars are like to maintain. Other than deferred maintenance like tires, lack of records, or things that pop up from a PPI/DME check, is there really any reason to not embrace a 75k+ mile car in otherwise good shape?

Thanks,
John Mackay
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Current: '04 R32 now for sale
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Previous: '86 Carrera coupe, '72 911E w/ 2.7 RS+, '73 914 2.0, and '70 911T targa

Last edited by DCPorscheFreak; 12-02-2018 at 09:36 AM..
Old 12-02-2018, 09:28 AM
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When you say daily driver, what kind of annual miles are you talking? You say own for many years as well...so just wondering.
That aside, if it isnít a track car but will enjoy spirited runs every now and again, no reason to not consider a higher mile car. I bought my 987.1 with 89,000. It was a DD, but now only sees about 3k a year and some track days. Change the oil and keep up on other basic maintenance and they just keep going.
Old 12-02-2018, 12:18 PM
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Tony:
I don't really have to commute anymore, so DD = only about 5,000+/- miles a year.

Coming from air-cooled cars, I'm used to issues like valve adjustments, weak valve guides, head studs pulling, and other mechanical issues that I hope Boxster/Cayman owners aren't experiencing.

My ownership outlook is for 5-10 years, so the car would have well over 100k during my tenure. My last 911 had 146k and needed a top-end at the very least.

I know these are completely different engines, but I just wanted to get some higher-mileage feedback from actual owners/techs who know 987's.

Thanks,
John
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Previous: '86 Carrera coupe, '72 911E w/ 2.7 RS+, '73 914 2.0, and '70 911T targa
Old 12-02-2018, 12:42 PM
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The biggest issue with all the water cooled cars is cooling temperature. The water pumps are a wear item and need to be serviced periodically. The coolant tanks can crack. If temps get high, stop the car. The heads will crack and then you get coolant / oil mix and that's fatal for the engine.
If you get a higher mile car, have those items checked. A DIY task is to pull off the front bumper cover and clean between the AC condenser and the radiators. A lot of gunk builds up in there and you cannot see it from the outside. The other thing is to check your cooling fans a couple of times a season. Turn on AC and listen if the cooling fans come on. I had to replace on a previous 986 car. This is a common issue with 986/987/996/997's.
The coil paks are also a wear item and they should be replaced about 75-85k to make sure they work effectively.
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:21 PM
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Thanks Tony. Very helpful info which I hadn't run across anywhere else yet on the web. Depending on where prices are next spring, I'll hopefully find an '09-'12 987.2 S to enjoy.
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Old 12-03-2018, 01:02 PM
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I have a 2007 Cayman with 141,000 miles and drive it everyday. Obvious things like brakes, suspension, headlight and taillight bulbs needed replacing. Starter bendix was sticking so I replaced that. Water pump was done around 100,000 due to leaking. Other than tires car has had no ďmajorĒ issues
Old 12-07-2018, 10:31 AM
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Thanks EuroShark. Actually looking at a car tomorrow that has ~ 61k on it. Owner says it probably needs brakes.

What should I expect to pay for a break job on a 2010 Boxster S? (assuming rotors and pads all around from a respectable non-dealer shop)

I plan to hold $3-5k for repairs after purchase just 'cause...
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:51 PM
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My 2007 Cayman S needed clutch kit, flywheel and a couple of while we are there items, at 60K miles.
From my discussion with repair shop, that is about average miles.
Old 12-08-2018, 06:19 PM
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Thanks; very timely as I test-drove my first 987.2 yesterday, a manual 2010 w/ 61k. Here's what I found:

- clutch didn't engage until the last couple of milimeters and felt a bit slippy, not crisply engaging, even compared to my 100k mile R32. Cable adj or clutch? What's the damage for clutch pkg?

- brake light was on; the car stopped fine but another $2-3k there?

- Pilot Sports had 10k+ on them according to the O and looked sketchy, especially in back. Another $1000 depending on the rubber

- Sport Plus button was FANTASTIC; the car really comes alive. It was fun and responsive w/out it, but w/ it everything is sharper. Can only imagine the performance with Sharkwerks RS350 mods and another 40-50 hp.
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Current: '04 R32 now for sale
Coming: 2010 Boxster S
Previous: '86 Carrera coupe, '72 911E w/ 2.7 RS+, '73 914 2.0, and '70 911T targa
Old 12-09-2018, 06:19 AM
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Re: clutch, there is no cable or adjustment. If it's worn, then time to replace. Trans has to come off for that, so allow at least 4 hrs labor plus parts. Allow 2k for that work.

The brake light doesn't necessarily mean the pads are worn. Could be the sensor line has grounded out. These can be checked and replaced if necessary. The pad wear is easy to see with a flashlight. Look for wear grooves along the drilled rotor. If they're not evident, flick your fingernail at the top of the rotor. If there is a lip there, then replace the rotors too. If you do need pads and rotors, it is an easy job to DIY and order parts right here at Pelican. You'll need an impact driver for the two screws holding the rotor to the hub. There is also a cotter pin on the pin that keeps the pads in place.
If you put Pilot Sports back on, and they are the N2's, then you'll need $1k to $1200 for that, depending on size. The 18's are a bit less than the 19's. For street use only, the Supersports are just fine too and a bit less.
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:02 AM
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Thanks Tony that's really helpful information.

I guess the biggest test-drive take-away for me was just how "heavy" the Boxster felt compared to my heavier (3,400 lbs) VW R32. Everything about the Boxster felt heavier and a bit less sensitive which really surprised me.

I was expecting a lighter, more nimble feel to the Boxster at just over 3,000 lbs with a 10:1 lbs/hp ratio and yet was largely disappointed by the overall feel of the ride.
I've owned 3 911s ('70 T, '72 E/RS, '86 3.2) that had only 1/3-2/3's the power of the Boxster but weighed considerably less, and a 914 2.0 which had extremely nimble handling despite it's relatively anemic power compared to a Boxster or any of the 911s except the T.

While the power of the 3.4 S was indeed pleasing--especially in Sport mode, the steering feedback and overall feel of the ride was an overall disappointment. The steering, clutch and go pedal were all heavy and a bit numb compared to any of my air-cooled cars, and it felt far less nimble than even my HEAVIER, F/AWD R32. When I drive, I use the entire rev band and often blip the throttle on downshifts which is actually easy in the R.

In contrast, I found the Boxster's throttle pedal heavy and difficult to blip and align with the clutch. The gear shift was solid and accurate (unlike my air-cooled cars), but I was really taken aback by the heavier feeling of the steering and the pedals. The Boxster felt rock-solid and nicely singular in body--no creaks or flex, but, it also felt really heavy and not at all nimble. Perhaps it was the tire choice (worn Pilots) or just my first time in one, but I was expecting a much more nimble and connected feel in the Boxster than I got.

Returning to my R32 with its lighter controls and more nimble feel has me now second-guessing my Boxster strategy.

Am I crazy? Have any other old-vs-new Porsche owners experienced similar results? I will definitely have to drive some more Boxsters before I decide.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:23 AM
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I guess its all relative, not having driven an R32 I don't know your benchmark for "light". I have a 98 base with 234k that I would not regard as heavy feeling in any way.
Good luck.
Old 12-11-2018, 06:22 PM
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I know the steering in my 89 was very light and direct. In my 2009 Cayman S it was different - not saying it was bad, just different. I think the 2009 cars may have been the first version of electronic power steering, which was a problem for some purists. I would say my Cayman was extremely nimble. I have never driven an R32, so can't comment on how it would compare.

If you had brake light on, old tires, needs a clutch, needs brakes, sounds like PO is putting off maintenance? Doesn't sound like a well looked after car. (I'd check tire pressures, too) Maybe not the best example to see how great Boxsters really are.

(My next Pcar is going to be a 981 Boxster)
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:39 AM
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Thanks Vince. So you've owned older 911's of the same vintage as I have. Did you initially find the controls of the 987.2 "heavier", and not as light?

Expecting P-car owners to know what an R32 feels like is like asking Ferrari owners if they find their 3xx cars to handle differently from a sporty Fiat.

One question that has come to light since last Saturday's test-drive is, is there any harm in driving all the time in Sport mode? With the button on?

Not sure why Porsche even added a button unless you're not meant to be in that mode 100% of the time. Mad Max only hit the nitro when he absolutely needed it, but that's b/c he only had so much nitrous in the tank. Why turn the Sport button off?

Bottom line is, I'm going to have drive some more 987.2's before I can decide.

Thanks all.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:29 AM
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Do the 09' boxster's have any internal issues like chain rails problem's etc...Thanks
Old 12-31-2018, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCPorscheFreak View Post
Thanks Vince. So you've owned older 911's of the same vintage as I have. Did you initially find the controls of the 987.2 "heavier", and not as light?

Expecting P-car owners to know what an R32 feels like is like asking Ferrari owners if they find their 3xx cars to handle differently from a sporty Fiat.

One question that has come to light since last Saturday's test-drive is, is there any harm in driving all the time in Sport mode? With the button on?

Not sure why Porsche even added a button unless you're not meant to be in that mode 100% of the time. Mad Max only hit the nitro when he absolutely needed it, but that's b/c he only had so much nitrous in the tank. Why turn the Sport button off?

Bottom line is, I'm going to have drive some more 987.2's before I can decide.

Thanks all.
we recently picked up a 2010 Boxster S, and also have a 2008 Cayman and an air-cooled SC. the throttle response on the 987s is nowhere near as crisp as the 911, and it does indeed make rev-matching far more challenging and less rewarding.

our son also has a tuned GTI (Stage II tune, performance suspension, etc.). the biggest difference in terms of handling is that you can feel the weight shifting around in the GTI, whereas in the 987s the weight pretty stays centered throughout. I could see how from an "ass feel" perspective the VW would feel more nimble and responsive, but objectively there really is no comparison.

re: mileage, our experience with the entire water-cooled Porsche line (we also have a Cayenne) is frighteningly consistent: water pumps and ignition coils fail at 60k miles, and steering system and suspension components begin to fail around 80k miles and are almost certainly toast by 100k miles. this was also true with the 944 we had several years ago, and even true with our BMWs. apparently German engineering is universally precise.

good luck with the search, some of the most fun about looking for cars is the looking
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:07 AM
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S cars eat clutches much faster than non-S cars. Brakes are a lot cheaper if you donít have the parking brake pads changed. If you can find an Indy who is good and allows you to bring your own parts youíll spend a lot less on a brake job. I second the water pump failures anywhere from 60-95k. Not a big job have done both front and back. As far as suspension goes the rear is harder due to having to remove a lot of interior pieces when talking about the struts. Plugs and coils are common (doing them for a second time on my 2.7). About 2 hours book time and $200 for parts. Only problem Iíve run into engine wise on either cayman. Clips can be PITA otherwise the job is easy.
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:50 AM
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Thanks ES, very helpful. Lots of Porsche specialty shops here in the DC metro area so lucky there.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:38 PM
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fwiw, I went from a 914 to a 911SC to a 986 Boxster back to a 914.

The Boxster was a fantastic car.. but it did not have the lightness of the older cars. While its limits are higher, it wasn't as much fun to drive to me. The rear never felt loose.. no lift oversteer rotation like an early 911 or 914 will give you. My dad has a 981 Cayman S. Almost no options (PDK and Exhaust) and driving it is like a video game to me. Remarkable quick.. acceleration and handling and braking are fantastic. But to this old koot, it lacks a little soul. And I say this even after pulling down an AX FTD with his car. Fast - Yes... but yeah.. it doesn't have the "charm" of the old cars.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:09 AM
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Thanks Racer. I had a '74 914 2.0 that was stock; handled great, but was not "fast" by my standards. Progressed to a '72 E coupe that I rebuilt to RS+ specs--that car was "fast" and still felt light and nimble. My '86 3.2 Carerra was not as lithe, only had 200hp, and even though it had a/c, was ineffective as a daily driver here in DC in the summer.

I have considered looking for a faux 914-6 or track 911 and trying to re-streetify it, but the $ numbers don't make any sense and I still don't have a car that I can jump in in July and drive w/ a suit and tie on.

I am prepared for some trade-offs but am trying to mitigate them by only looking at 2009-2012 S cars, and by EVOsit flashing and IPD plenum modifying it with perhaps a sport exhaust (SoulPerformance?), too, for > 100hp/liter and a better hp/weight ratio.

But who knows, in a few years, I may decide I'd rather sweat and grin, than coolly yawn.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:29 AM
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