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/ Forum / 987 Discussion Group (Cayman/Boxster) / 987 Cayman and Boxster Chat 987 Cayman and Boxster Buying Guide

987 Cayman and Boxster Buying Guide

10:46 AM 07-01-2015
K-Man S
This is something that is likely long overdue, a centralized place to put information for would-be 987 buyers. There is a wealth of knowledge and information buried in our forums over time, so much so that it is likely daunting for any new member to come in and try to absorb it all in a short amount of time. To that end, we can make it easier for our members to gain knowledge about the 987 quickly and easily by creating a Buying Guide for the 987 platform. This message topic is being posted as a Buying Guide and in Wiki format which means we can edit/update over time to keep the Buying Guide focused and on-track.

(The process I initially envision is that our members will find a particular topic thread or post that contains information they believe all would-be 987 buyers should know before buying a 987. That information can be copied into this Wiki topic to become part of the official Buying Guide. Over time, some members may wish to craft new information or assemble information from other sources and compile it into this topic thread. If anyone wishes to contribute and has questions on how to do so, please let me know and I or another moderator will assist you.)

To get the ball rolling I'm starting with a cut and paste from a recent post by sixisenuff with a few small edits:

1. IMS bearing - From 2006 forward the IMS bearing is virtually a non-factor in the 987 platform (2005 Boxsters are still subject to a higher rate of failure). Porsche installed a modified IMS bearing that virtually eliminated the problem. Reports of IMS bearing failures on 2006+ cars have been almost non-existent on this website. While there may be a small percentage that do fail, the frequency of failures is by far much lower than prior to 2006. So much has been made of IMS failures (class action lawsuit, etc.) that some vendors have created hype for their IMS repair kits and will attempt to sell them to anyone with an IMS, regardless of year/make/model. If you are fearful of an IMS problem in a 2006-2008 987 then have it checked out, but likely you will not have a problem. That isn't so much a track day thing. Seems to affect the odd car that has been stored a lot and not revved much or had oil changed much. Automatics seem more vulnerable than sticks because they typically don't get the revs on a regular basis, but we don't have scientific data only occasional word of mouth postings.

2. Vapor-Oil Separator (VOS) aka Air-Oil Separator (AOS)- Two names for the same thing. This does the same work as a PCV valve on a more pedestrian car. The vacuum and pressure created inside the Porsche engine design plus the closer proximity of oil pan to the engine intake, created a need for a bigger capacity thing to do this work. Unfortunately, the stock one on the first generation cars is prone to failure or just getting overwhelmed during track days and autocross events. It can fill up with too much oil and then leak (gush?) oil into the intake tract during high vacuum situations (like when you're in a low gear at high RPMs and using engine braking to slow the car as you would in these sorts of situation). One instance of this can cause up to half a quart of oil loss, a big plume of ugly smoke coming out the back of the car and a black flag from corner workers. The cure is a GT3 or Cayman Motorsport VOS. The Cayman Motorsport one is easier to install but costs more. I think Suncoast carries them as a regular item. They are otherwise rather difficult to source. The first person on this forum had to go the Germany to find his.

3. Engine Sump - It's shallow and oil sloshes away from the oil pickup. One thing that helps a lot is a deep sump kit. You can buy these from Mantis or other site sponsors. You get a ring of aluminum with bolt holes in it. You attach the bottom of the sump to one side and the bottom of the engine to the other side. You also get a CNC machined piece that extends the length of the oil intake to the new bottom of your new sump. Gives you more room to slosh. Typically after install a car requires 10 quarts of oil for a change with new filter. If you go to track days or even sincere autocross, you need this.

4. More Engine Sump - Another issue with these engines is that they do not return the oil that's been used by the engine very efficiently to the sump. The right side cylinder head is especially vulnerable. Oil goes through the bearings and comes out up by the head. The exit for that oil is at the back of the right side head and it only uses gravity to return the oil to the sump. In a long hard turn at high RPMS, a LOT of oil is pumped and can't get back to the sump. The result can be low oil level in the sump. Another bad result is that the oil that collects in the head gets churned into a froth by the valves racing up and down like a blender. When the oil does come back to the sump, it's often infused with air bubbles. Pumping air into the oil system means you're not pumping oil, which is what bearings desperately need to stay healthy. Most of the engine failures in Caymans have been track day or just after track day failures. The connecting rod bearing farthest from the oil pump, #6, has the longest path and seems to be the first one to go...usually. Also, from the sound of the many posts about this, it seems that the problem happens over time...many short "no oil incidents" take a little bit off the bearing. As bearing clearance increases, the ability of the bearing to hold oil decreases. That makes the effective no-oil time longer because the bearing runs dry just a bit sooner on a bearing with increased clearance. Increased bearing clearance also causes hammering when the bearing hits bottom and top dead centers. All these things start to stack up and you get a failure eventually. If you are buying a car that has seen a lot of track time but has not had any engine sump work done you will want to have the engine internals checked thoroughly or at least a good engine oil analysis done to see if there is bearing material in the oil. Day to day driving typically doesn't stress the engine enough to cause this problem, however, there have been some engine oil related failures on cars that did not see track time as well.

To mitigate this problem, some members have sent to Germany for a "TPP Oil-Safe Kit" and had it installed. It is a double oil pump. One side replaces the original pump. The other side is routed to the right side cylinder head cover in a spot near the front of the engine where it can suck out the used oil and return it to the sump quickly. This stops the churning and the low oil condition in the sump....on the right side. The left side has its gravity fed oil channel in the front. That seems to work a bit better but you would still be a little vulnerable on right hand turns. LN Engineering now makes a kit that covers both cylinder heads...3 pumps.

You can help yourself as far as engine longevity goes, with a few good practices: A. If you're cornering hard on a track, shift up a gear. Pretend your red-line is 6,500 instead of 7,000. That really helps. B. Fresh oil before an event and change it within a few hundred miles after the event. C. Don't overfill, but do keep the oil topped up throughout the weekend. Don't run low oil levels. D. Watch for excessive smoke. If you see it, do not continue the track event until you have had the VOS checked out. Upgrading the VOS is a very good idea for any car seeing track time, for a street only car much less so.

5. Power Steering - Because of the unfortunate placement of the power steering pump, it's prone to overheating to the point where its plastic reservoir can melt and warp and then leak. When you lose that fluid, the overheating gets worse and you blow the power steering pump. A power steering cooler will fix this. There are several ways to do it. The articles section has some info and so does the forum. An under drive pulley (smaller diameter drive pulley that turns all your accessories slower...old NASCAR trick) will give you a bit more power and a bit less heat in your power steering. Change the drive belt to the next size smaller that Gates makes...1" smaller? I did that and the idler pulley ended up in exactly the same position as stock....perfect! There is one early version of the RSS brand of aftermarket under drive pulley that should be avoided. Don't buy a used RSS under drive pulley if you don't confirm that it is not that one. They had spokes for light weight. They broke a lot and the design was replaced in '07 or '08 but there may be some old ones floating around the system. Beware. No other types have had any problems to our knowledge.

Now, you can go ahead and buy that Gen1 Cayman or Boxster with both eyes open. There is a fairly big jump in price for an '09 or newer 987. The reasons are:
1. Direct Injection engine on the newer cars has more torque and power.
2. Both the S and Base Gen 2 cars have 5 oil pumps. This thing will just about run upside-down.
3. Ventilation is better in the engine box and the power steering has overheating thing has been attended to.
4. The suspension on Gen 2 cars is generally considered to offer a little more comfort without handling trade-off.
5. There is no Intermediate Shafticon on these engines, so it follows that there is no intermediate shaft bearing to worry over.
6. Electronics inside the car are updated. You get hands-free phone and better navigation etc.

I would add the shifter cables to this list. The end of the cable that attaches to the left side of the transmission is prone to failure, usually the cable itself snaps off where it attaches to the plastic end piece that attaches to the shifting mechanism. The failure usually happens when a shift has just been made and the driver finds himself in the previous gear and a floppy shift lever. Replacing the broken cable requires a set of two if going the OEM route, as Porsche only sells them as a pair. Alternatives are Numeric cables which are guaranteed for life and will probably outlast the car, or replacement ends which require removing the stock cables to install, but cost less than the Numeric cables. I don't have any numbers for how many calbes break, but a number of subscribers to this forum have reported this failure.'

I also would add the water pump, it really is a maintenance item, and should be replaced at 40-50,000 miles, 60,000 a the outside. Both metal and plastic impeller pumps are available but the consensus wisdom is to go with the OEM plastic impeller, because if the bearing fails the metal impeller will eat into the aluminum block and cause severe damage, while the plastic will simply eat itself up with no harm to the block. If the prospective car has 50,000+ miles on it, and no record of the WP having been replaced, it should be included in the things to definitely do immediately.

Additional information is provided below for those who are either shopping for their first used car (as I was) or the first used Porsche 987. It is less about the mechanics pertaining to what to look for and more about what I learned during my process.

1. Do your research and determine what you want: I did my research to the nines (no pun intended) and got through the whole IMS issue, RMS deal, bore scoring diagnosis, AOS, water pumps, blah blah, etc. I got to know how to pick out the option indicators from pictures of the car and dash and determined, finally, what I wanted. I looked into mods I would want to do and future maintenance. There were some long days of verifying trim levels and picking out falsely advertised ringers, but had I not spent the time or received good feedback from P9 members and message boards, I could have easily walked into a car that I did not intend to get. I used the following online resources: Cayman Register, Planet-9 987 buyers guide, Rennlist and PCA.org. Calling shops and dealers to ask questions never hurts and I had generally good experiences when I cold called places about certain issues regarding certain cars. It helped me rule out what I was willing to compromise on and what had to be a part of the deal.

Bi-xenons and manual transmission were a must. No compromise no matter what. SC was also a requirement. PASM was an option, as I would have changed to R suspension when it was time. No loud colors, no paint/bodywork, and the sports steering wheel and sports seats were highly desired but not a deal breaker. Wheels could at most be blacked out, but I want (and got) a smartly, lightly modified car that screams stock Porsche. Mods I would take are slight interior mods (R components) or an exhaust. Other than that, it had to be stock. Key thing is to not waiver or attempt to justify something just because you want to get your flat six. Stick to it, it pays off. My only regret is no XM but that is a retro fit that can easily be accomplished, and yes, I love TalkSport for soccer.

2. Trust your gut when you look at an ad or speak to an owner: Badabing and EddieLV probably pointed out the most easily missed but obvious thing and that is look at the ad. Comprehensive, well written and methodical probably indicate solid ownership. The 24K gem in AZ was case-in-point as was the car I ultimately purchased. Conversely, two lines of going fast with an exhaust, probably not. I thought I had found the car optioned the exact way I wanted at an auto broker. I called him and just got a bad feeling. I backed out after almost committing. It just didnít feel right. Another owner only talked about flipping cars and not holding on to anything too long. Thanks but no thanks. One of my parameters, after these experiences, was I was only going to buy from a private seller or a Porsche dealership. See rule one.

3. Be ready to go: After several misfires, I finally grew up and knew exactly what I wanted and from who I wanted to buy it from. However, good deals disappear as quickly as a F18 off the deck. No other way to say it, but if you see it, like it and get a good feel, you better shoot. If you feel like the car you are looking at is beyond where it should be priced, offer the lower price but donít be smug. I had two sellers call me back with nice cars that ultimately agreed to my original price. While they may have been forced to sell, I was never smug in my offer nor did I deliberately low ball them. Being nice and generally pleasant goes a long way.

4. Money spent up front is money saved in the end: I debated on the borescope but after some good back and forth with Eddie, and knowing how I would feel down the road, I decided to go for the full inspection. I found a great, great example that probably didnít need it, but it reinforced every positive impression and indicator of Porsche enthusiasm and car love I had with regards to the owner and the vehicle. Spend it, but ensure you are not getting ripped off. I got an excellent return on the PPI and bore scoping. Great car mechanically confirmed. The service rep did pull a fast one and say I had messed up cup holders, but I didn't catch the joke at the time :eek:

5. Communicate: Once you seal the deal, all you have to do is talk. Keep the seller informed and stick to what timelines you set (this should apply to no matter what you do in life). That said, the buying experience and transactional process was super easy. Get ahead of your paperwork. Every time I heard something or processed paperwork or had a question, I got on e-mail or the phone with the seller and any other party involved (PPI, bank, etc). If you foresee a problem, let the seller know. One of the reasons I got a good deal was because others had just flaked around or made hollow promises or simply just disappeared; the seller was fed up and rightfully so. I am not going into details but I did not pay the advertised price.

6. Be patient: It will happen when it is supposed to and in the most unexpected way. I literally got the car I wanted for a good price after a random e-mail to a seller I had previously contacted while having a beer and watching the NH returns. It was a bit on the higher side, but given mileage, care and very tasteful mods that I loved, I was happy to do it. Literally, I even got the ubiquitous ďPORSCHEĒ door decals that I would have added myself. Everything about this car was what I wanted. Minus XM =D It will happen and there are great examples that pop. PCA, Panjo, Autotrader, Cars, and Craigslist were my online digs. KBB I checked every now and then and I avoided Carmax and auto brokers like a syphilis infected ladyman.

*For manual cars, it is worthwhile to see if the clutch pedal sensor has been replaced. It is a cheap fix if/when needed, but the car will not start if it goes out and is an easy way to be stranded. A warning sign that it could be intermittent starting problems when having the clutch fully depressed, turning the key, and not hearing anything. If the "depress clutch pedal" is illuminated, then you have a sensor that is bad or on its way out. This is not a starter issue.

*987/997's have rubberized paint on many interior parts: common spots of wear are notably the surrounding piece of the drivers side map pocket, the ring around the ignition, the interior panel where in the seatbelts are mounted, and in cars without a painted center console (which is 90%+ of cars). This material tends to soften in hotter climates and wear worse, and lighter colors like greys/sand beige will show greater wear because the underside is black. Replacing these pieces if showing a high amount of wear is really expensive, and re-conditioning them is time consuming. Window switches and rubberized climate controls in the gen.1 cars will be more visible to spot and are also high-wear items. It is easy to overlook these when getting into a 987 for the first time, Many people will downplay things like this, but these are the items you will touch and see every time you drive the car! You don't want to be tearing your new 987 apart to fix things like this, so better off buying a car with less wear on these pieces.

*For Boxsters, be mindful that the top closes smoothly and that the windows drop and shut when top up folding is complete. Also look around the edges of the trim of the top when up, to make sure the seams fall into place correctly.

*Check the oil cap for dreaded "white sludge"...unlikely a headgasket problem, and usually a sign of a car that's just sat too much.

*Make sure the seller has used at least 5w-40...anything thinner (0w-40, 0w-30) will cause a lumpy idle, valve noise, and possible oil check lights under hard cornering even in cooler weather...ask me why I know this :eek:

*Check the cupholders...between 3 boxsters, I replaced 4 sets. They are expensive. And no...I wasn't hauling around big gulps. They are inherently bad design we get to live with...a small sacrifice to drive a great car.

*For manual transmissions, check to see the if or the llast time the clutch/shifter cables were replaced. This is an expensive job. These can snap as early as 15-20k or last the life of the car...it doesn't to hurt to ask.

*Spark plugs/coil packs are a chore to change. While it may be something you do once or twice for the life of these cars, it will save you nice chunk of change if its recently been done.

*If shopping for a 987.2 2010 or newer model, some really nice and uncommon options to find which are really nice for Boxsters, are the ventilated seats and the heated steering wheel, both of which I had in my first Boxster. Ventilation on and AC full blast, windows up, you could cruise on the highway in the middle of 110* Texas summer and NOT sweat. If shopping for a car, it may seem at first that the cooled seats are 'wimpy' or don't work.... test this out with the AC focused towards your feet with a warmed up car....your lower back and rear end will get cool fast. The heated steering wheel was a really nice option and even more uncommon than the cooled seats. A really nice perk if you drive year round and like crisp top-down drives in the fall.

*In ALL generations of Boxsters, you will get vibrations or rattles with the wind deflector so don't be alarmed. Sometimes pieces of double sided tape or felt can be used to reduce it. Make sure that the deflector is in fact there and scratch-free...they are a few hundred dollars to replace.

*Take a peek under the front bumper and look for any damage. These cars aren't super low, but low enough to get messed up pretty easily.

*These cars, unlike the 986, do not have a spare

*Check to make sure the tool kit is intact. It may seem silly to worry about, but there are weird items in there that you ACTUALLY may need. One example is the headlight wrench...you CANNOT change a headlight bulb on these cars without Porsche's $18 tool. You can look up instructions on how to do that pop-lock-90degree swing maneuver somewhere else on here:)

*On all 987's, check the front mounted radiators for any damage. They have very little protection, but seem to be tough as nails. On the 987.2 Boxsters, if the previous owner never checked, there is probably a nice nest of cigarette butts, leaves, pebbles, and other crap in the bumper pockets by the radiators. Thankfully the front bumper spars easily unclip and are flexible, you can vacuum out with a shop vac.

*Take a look at tire wear. My rears would usually last 10-15k miles max. Fronts around 20k. Also look up the brand/make of tire and likewise with aftermarket wheels if it has them. If the car has a new set of Pilots, for example, that's $1000 back in your pocket. If the previous owner installed new but crappy tires, you may look at that as being as good as having bald tires. Low performance/Cheap tires on these cars is immediately an indicator of a budget-minded owner, which means you should start to dig into the maintenance history.

*Lastly, oil leaks are not an issue with these cars...but it does not hurt to check. With all 911's/Boxsters/Caymans, your headers/exhaust/heat exchangers sit nested below your prospective purchase's engine. Even MINOR leaks can drip onto the hot exhaust and cause decent amounts of smoke, in the 987's case it would be from the right side of the car by the fan. Make sure your test drive lasts a good 30 minutes to get everything warmed up...your nose will find a problem in this case before your eyes probably do.

*An interesting point to note, is that there are several unique engine sets used in the 987.1 and 987.2 series. The base 2.7 987.1's essentially used revised versions of the 986 engines and were upgraded over time as pointed out, and the 'S' models used revised versions of the 996 engine and were also upgraded over time. With the 987.2 series, as others pointed out, MAJOR changes were made to both Base and non-S cars to improve almost every aspect. No IMS, more oil pumps, ect. Something interesting to note, is that the 'S', Spyder, and R models all got DFI and basically the new 911 motor with Siemens management. The base 2.9 cars, however, were a hybrid of new and old platforms and are the 'last' and most robust variant of the non-DFI cars, and is the only non-DFI engine Porsche produced for the Boxster/Cayman series without the IMS. The 2.9 shares certain parts with its 2.7 predecessor (like certain engine pulleys, Bosch engine management, and other random items) but has the same exhaust system for example as the 987.2 3.4 cars. The exhaust between 987.1 and 987.2s is SLIGHTLY different in length.

Hope this helps-Rittmeister
11:24 AM 07-01-2015
Excellent post.

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11:34 AM 07-01-2015
I'm not sure if this is the proper place but would love to see and/or hear opinion as to the differences between gen 1 and gen 2 specifically in regards to base 2.7L and 2.9L engines. Also would not mind conjecture as to why the 2.7L has been used twice in the base car in two separate gens and the 2.9L was discontinued altogether.

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12:17 PM 07-01-2015
It should also be noted and part of this guide that gen 2 987.2 cars have the SAME brakes, transmission and water pump regardless if it is a base Cayman/Boxster or "S"

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01:19 PM 07-01-2015
Poorsche x
Lots of good info.:cheers: I did a lot of internet searching to find that, before buying my '08.
02:56 PM 07-01-2015

Do you think the issues with the shift cables and water pump warrants a mention?

Not CS specific, but a potential issue none-the-less...

04:56 PM 07-01-2015
...and a helluva lot more 987.1's produced than 987.2's

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01:27 PM 07-03-2015
K-Man S
Originally Posted by carreraken

Do you think the issues with the shift cables and water pump warrants a mention?

Not CS specific, but a potential issue none-the-less...

Yes, absolutely, that's why I made this a WIKI topic which means YOU or any registered member can EDIT the first topic and continue to add to the list of items, refine and edit the list over time, etc. In other words you don't have to rely on me to add something and you don't have to add something as a reply, you can edit the master topic message.

Thanks in advance for anything you or anyone might add next!
08:16 AM 07-06-2015
Thanks for the great post, good to see some genuine information to offset all of the negative internet chatter about the 987's. I have an 07BS and wouldn't trade it for anything (well maybe a Ferrari California :)
11:04 PM 07-11-2015
Great post...exactly what I was looking for.
02:21 AM 07-12-2015
Originally Posted by PHLonomenal
It should also be noted and part of this guide that gen 2 987.2 cars have the SAME brakes, transmission and water pump regardless if it is a base Cayman/Boxster or "S"
Aren't there different gear ratios in the base and S gearboxes?
06:48 AM 07-12-2015
Originally Posted by Walter
Aren't there different gear ratios in the base and S gearboxes?
That I don't know unfortunately

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07:57 AM 07-23-2015
Great post. I am looking this year and not sure if I want a older CS or newer C, but this is nice to read and think about things a bit more.
08:34 AM 10-15-2015
Thanks for this. I'm finally getting serious about a Cayman and this is awesome information!!
11:12 AM 11-24-2015
[QUOTE=PHLonomenal;963488]It should also be noted and part of this guide that gen 2 987.2 cars have the SAME brakes, transmission and water pump regardless if it is a base Cayman/Boxster or "S"

Gen 2 cars have the same diameter brakes, but the S disks are 4mm thicker to cope with increased loads. I haven't found any data on gear ratios, but Gen 1 cars had different ratios between base and S, and I would expect Gen 2 cars to be similar.

I can't comment on water pumps.

05:25 PM 12-21-2015
Hi hopefully this helps clear this up regarding the question re: 2.9 and 2.7 engine use
The 987.2 2009+ Cayman used an all new engine (9A1) which was the 2.9 replacing the M97 (2.7) when the 981 Cayman arrived it also uses the 9A1 engine however capacity was reduced back to 2.7.
It is not the same 2.7 engine used in the gen 1 987 Cayman
07:56 PM 12-21-2015
Originally Posted by Walter
Aren't there different gear ratios in the base and S gearboxes?
Yes, they are different.
08:41 PM 12-21-2015
Some specs from porsche:
09:30 AM 12-22-2015
For real world driving, I like to push a small engine rather than hold back a big engine, so I went shopping for the base car over the S version.

For me, the biggest difference between the 2.9 987 and the 2.7 981 is "go-cart feel" vs "luxury feel".

The new 981 has higher doors for safety and you sit down lower in the car, it reminds me of the New Camero or Jaguar's new convertible 2 seat sports car. No matter how tall you are, you only see the guys head sticking out of the top of the car. This new trend gives a new luxury ride and a safer ride, but it doesn't have that wild feel that a go-cart, motorcycle, or jet-ski has.

With my 2.9 987 I feel more exposed with less car around me, and less car between me and the road. It feels more dangerous... or in my mind more fun. Its not about the physical measurements... big cars can drive like small cars, and small cars can drive like big cars, its something magical about the sensation of speed, not the actual speed or the raw sum of the parts in an engineers drawing.

Lots of articles came out and praised the 981 for being technically better, more luxurious, and a improvement over the out going model because its faster and more capable. My point is the 987 has one thing that engineers can't measure... it has more feel and its more fun to drive.

You want "better" get the 981, you want "more feel" I suggest you try a 987

Photos below - best illustrate modern trend in making cars safer, yet more isolated from the joys of motoring. In my 987 you can see my shoulders, in the 981 you can see me chin.
02:34 PM 01-06-2016
Here's the Porsche build sheets link, change the VIN to the car you're looking at: https://admin.porschedealer.com/repo...AB2A82CS780221

I keep adding this to various threads that pertain to shopping for P-cars since I found it essential when I was shopping for mine (for 8 months...).

Enjoy the ride!!

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