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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi planet-9!

I am a current s2000 ap1 owner and am looking for my next sports/track car. I usually keep a car for about 3 years and move on to something else. I am a fan of pure sports cars that offer performance and driver feel. My research has led me to the cayman. Considering I am not afraid of high mileage, I am looking for a cayman s for about 3-6k of seasonal driving and 3-5 hpde a year.

My s2k seems to have appreciated into the low 20k dollar price range. I have noticed many early CS falling into the low 20s. From what I can tell an early cayman s offers a lot of performance value at those prices. I have done research into m97 issues including the ims and oil starvation issues. I do not want to buy a $20k cayman just to purchase a $15k motor shortly after. So is this the right time for a cayman s?

Some more details: I will most certainly track this car. Currently I track my s2k with Ohlins coilovers and bfg rivals and not much else. I run intermediate 1 or 2 and have been told I run respectable times for a 240hp/2700lb car. I would not say I am a fast driver, but I am not slow either. Fwtw.

I do all my own work and have a quick jack at home as a lift. I am not afraid of trying any job. Also this is a toy car, I have a daily driver for work and family.

So where is the risk vs reward with a cayman s as a track/street car? How can the risks be mitigated? Are there truly proven reliability mods that help?

Also I know I would be better off with a 987.2. I just dont want to spend that kind of money. The delta between the 2008 and 2009 models is too great.

Thanks for the listen and any responses!
 

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If you can afford a 987.2 and own it 3 years your deprecation will be far less than the 987.1, the problem is your 287.2 S is much more expensive, I bought my 287.2 S CPO 13,000 miles 1.5 years ago for 41,000, with about 20,000 I think if I sold it in the spring I would not lose very much for almost 2-years of use.
 

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I've been enjoying my 2006 987.1 for a year and a half. Got it for $27,000 with low miles and excellent condition. Added another $3K in mods.

It's a joy every day. I have a camping/winter AWD wagon for less than great weather and conditions. The Cayman is just my reward drive to remind me why I go to work every day. Picked up two cases of wine and one of beer, this morning, neatly laid into the frunk. It makes the mundane a special event.

I originally thought that I'd keep it for four years or so, and maybe go 911. Now, I just want to hang on to it. Everything I need, nothing I don't, in a connected, pure environment. Like an S2000, but bigger and more useful (to me). Now, if I had a 3.8 BGB motor....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well the question is, how far down the appreciation scale does a 987.1 have to go? That and will the 987.2 fall as far? I don't think the 987.2 will drop as much or as fast. Last of the flat 6 engines with all of the m97 issues fixed should keep these up.

987.1 cars seem to offer lots of car for reasonable if the owner can tolerate some risk. Questions are, how low can the buy in go to and how much risk? And can the risk be managed?
 

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If you're really worried about the motor issues, pony up for a 2009+.

Manuals are less likely to have bore scoring issues.

IMSB issues affect maybe 3% of 987.1s. I think you have more of a risk driving in traffic than you do having the bearing roach. Mind your oil, spin the engine like a motorcycle, don't track it and over-rev and you should be fine.

When I bought mine, I had to decide if track was going to be an intended use. I decided no. If track, then get the .2 motor.
 

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Hmm. The risk of losing your $20K investment is somewhat high. The reward is...whatever you get for running your car in HPDEs (i.e., other than bragging rights, nothing at all). So there really is no reward.

In its stock form, there are many weak points on the 987.1S for track work. There’s the AOS, the oiling system, the cooling system, the power steering system, brake cooling, and the open differential at the rear.

Your best bet might be to find a 987.1S that’s already been prepped to do track work — but you’ll have to pay more than $20K.

I use my 987.1S the same as you hope to use one: weekend driving, 5 or 6 HPDEs per year, and some autocrossing.

I’ve already been through one engine rebuild on my 987.1. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming. I missed an entire season at the track. But I now have a 987.1 that has the preventive mods to (hopefully) help it last longer this time. That said, though they sound like a great idea in theory, none of these mods are really scientifically proven. If you run it at the track, you have to plan for it to break.

FWIW. I met a guy that uses the Cayman for endurance racing. He and his team do no preventive modding at all — they just find another motor in a junk yard when it’s time. He says they usually get 150-200 track hours out of a motor before needing to swap.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good info thanks. The reality is everything is a risk, including tracking a 987.2. I could pony up that extra cash, and end up putting it in a wall. So the question is, what is the risk factor? No one really knows for sure, but how bad are these m97 3.4 motors? How much in parts to cut the risk factor?

With fresh track oil, r-comps and intermideate speed what is the overall chance of a complete motor failure? 20%? 50%? That would seem awfully high, but how much do the common modifications cut the risk? Motorsports aos, baffled deep pan, cooling mods, etc.

Thanks
 

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I just bought my first Porsche at age 70 after many decades with BMW's.......a 2006 Cayman S with 42,000. I paid just short of $30,000, a bit of a premium, but have complete service history, no overrevs past range 1 and 2, 5,000 mile oil change intervals, and a recent full 40k service. So I'm starting out in a good place. I've done as much homework on the 987.1 flaws as anyone. Will do at least a couple of DE sessions and maybe some additional track time. I've checked crankcase vacuum (5 inches at idle) so no imminent AOS issue most likely. I'm considering having a sump extension installed for good measure for both street and possible track. The guys I've talked to who do track their cars don't seem to feel the need for the third radiator in general; that would likely change in Texas or Arizona. I won't ever need the PS cooling, I don't think.

Bottom line is that I have a pretty fair level of confidence in this car. I could get unlucky, but that happens. In contrast, every performance car has some known problems, e.g. BMW cooling systems, rear subframe on E36 and Z3, etc.

I looked for the best car I could find inside a $30,000 budget although I could afford more. I would have had to go near $40k to get a comparable 987.2 CS. You probably can't go wrong either way.
 

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I own a AP1 ('03) and a 987.1. They're very different cars to say the least. For the street a 987.1 is a sweet spot. It's an amazing street car that has a nice balance of sport and luxury. It's an amazing value for the money. However, if you plan to track your car....do yourself a favor and get a 987.2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes the 987.2 makes sense. However the general rule is, if you track it the less you spend the better. Any car on the track can be destroyed at any moment. I would rather risk 20k than 35k. However it may be the Cayman is just not the right car for an affordable (20-25K) street/track toy. I dont know, the delta between a similar 2008 and 2009 is at least 10k, right? Used 3.4 yard motors seem to go for around 8-10k with anywhere from 40k-100k miles. A risk, sure but most re-sellers will offer a 10k waranty or so.

2006-2008 Cayman S say 25k for a decent mid mileage example. Factor the risk of complete engine failure. Which everyone should be able to agree there is a better chance of it not blowing up than blowing up. Add 10k for a used motor, and roll the dice again or move on. 35k total

or

2009+ Cayman S say 35k for a decent mid mileage example. Little to no engine failure risk. However the 35k was up front and there is still general catastrophic risks.

Not sure...

Two more questions: Does a blown M97 3.4 have any value? Say a spun rod bearing. How difficult is it to change engines in a Cayman? (FYI I have done engine swaps on several front engine vehicles and a Lotus Elise).
 

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Interesting thread. In a similar situation but already bought a clean 2008 Cayman and have stumbled onto DEs. Did an autocross and then a Car Control clinic so far and had a blast. Looking forward to some real track days in the Spring but will be in the Novice group on street tires with fun and learning as the main goals.
So to the OP you are quite a bit more experienced than me but maybe a CS and some oiling mods to keep safe and hope for the best?
I am thinking of a bigger sump, lots of oil changes and keeping a standard AOS as a spare with rpm between 4 to 6K. Is this relying too much on luck?
 

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You can prob spend $4K on parts to prep a 987.1 for track use. But you still need to keep your revs to 6K rpm to prevent rod issues. Suffice it to say you can do DEs with a 987.1, you just have to live with some compromises. I do 4-5 DEs / yr but I drive with street tires and shift at 6K.

Check out post 28 for a list of items to prep a CS. You don't have to do every one of them, but it's close.
http://www.planet-9.com/987-cayman-and-boxster-chat/205562-where-cs-sports-2.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
More good info, thanks. 6k max?? Where does the power fall off on these engines? How low can you rev it without costing any acceleration? What about after typical power mods? This engine seems to respond well to mods; exhaust, plenum, TB, pulley, tune etc. It seems like there is a legitimate 50hp left in the engine without cracking it open. However, do the typical N/A mods shift the power up in the band? Will modding it require higher revs to extract?

The reason I ask because I am used to an engine that is making 120 hp/liter so there are no real mods left on the table. However It will rev to 9k red-line all day and night with no issues.
 

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Not sure most 987.1 owners know that Ryan Clark won BS Tirerack solo National Championships in Sept. More info about Ryan's win was reported in the General Discussions, Porsche tire and wheel section on page 2, Thread title, Sticky; Wheel and Tire setup's that worked, last page. This is a big deal as it shows how much potential the car has for SCCA racing. These are a timed event as opposed to DE's where you are simply following the leader around a course. Sportscar magazine, Nov issue has a big section on this event and on how Ryan won his class (BS) against very stiff competition of Corvettes, BMW M2's and other cars from a selected field of 54 drivers. Attached is his 2006 Cayman S picture. He owned the car for 2 years as he prepped it for this years events. Ryan's motor was not modified in any way, other mods per SCCA rules were Tarett front adjustable sway bar, slightly wider wheels and large tires. So for a value vs performance proposition its an excellant value.
 
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Earlier this year I got an '05 BS with 97k miles on the clock for $19k, and so far have rebuilt the engine/ refurbished the mechanicals for $14k as well as putting in a new MAF sensor and other bits for an extra grand.

While I've now got an '05 car that cost me $34k, what I do have is a car that's got $2,000 miles on what is basically a new motor. I also had ARP rod bolts installed, an X51 oil pan and SS mounts. It handles exactly how I want it to, and with the late model IMS, I'm pretty confident the engine is going to be good for many more miles as well as some autocross events each year.

I got the .1 because of price but also because I knew I was going to be spending money modifying the car anyway. I'm not interested in resale value as I'm not interested in selling the car, I'd rather drive it into the ground (or just rebuild the engine again).
 

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Apex1.0 if you look at threads from a few years ago on this site, you will find all sorts of claims about exhaust and throttle body mods, etc which I have on my car. My buddies at my local PCA autocross event just laugh about those mods because they know they only add a few hp and that's at the top end, 6k to 7k RPM and it falls off very quickly after that, so no additional torque in midrange to help out of the autocross corners. SCCA and PCA put 987.1 into a lower class than 987.2 or 981s. The best way to enjoy the value of this car is to get one with PASM and Sports Chrono, then install a deep oil pan with windage plate and call it good like Ryan Clark did above which he sold just after the Tirerack Solo Nationals for $34k Canadian.
 

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One more item you should address when removing the oil pan is to switch to the 996 swirl pots. Porsche changes these out on the 987.1 to just simple tubes that shot the return oil against the side of the case? Not sure why they did this but anything you can do to get air bubbles out of the oil is a no-brainer. Plus the pots are cheap. People keep talking about the IM$ bearing on these cars as it being an "issue" but can someone point out a documented failure on a Cayman? Oiling issues and rod bolts look to be the weak points that can cost you $$$. Can't really do anything about the rod bots without splitting the case so I'd go with mitigating the oiling, then a cooler and under-drive pulley for the power steering overheating if you're wanting to track your car. After that move onto the performance mods of your choice. Another reason the 987.2's are more money is that there are just a lot fewer of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks to all again.

Bottom line is oiling mods help but it seems the M97.21 is rpm limited. It can only spend so much time at redline or near it. My point on power mods are, I would rather add power without increasing the need to rev out the motor. So if headers and a pulley are good for 20hp, but also add a lot in the midrange, that is better than a plenum and TB that may add only high range power... Not sure exactly.

As far as durability mods, I am not sure what exactly the secret sauce is for effectiveness vs cost. My research has led me to something like this in order simplicity considering my speed at the track will increase as time goes on

Stage 1

The right track oil (topped off but not overfilled). 40-50wt??
Motorsports AOS
Power steering cooler
New Waterpump and low temp t-stat
Underdrive crank pulley

Stage 2

Extended sump and pickup
Improved baffles
Swirl pots
External oil cooler

Stage 3

Pray
 

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Sounds like you have been reading some of the older blogs here and Rennlist regarding blowups. I use Castrol 5W-50 and change the oil at 4500 miles. I also have a magnet in my oil drain plug to see what is going on as well as cutting open the paper filter to see if any metal is present. Many guys use a spin on Corvette filter through a LN base providing a bigger filter and smaller filter holes and about the same relief spring tension for cold startups.

Many of the track blowups occur after about 20 minutes of running, suggesting that oil temp and oil thinning could be part of this issue along with low oil pressure on certain corners of the track. That is the reason for deep sump with a windage tray and race grade engine oil with ZDDP. A recent study of motor oil for race applications studing 50 top brands and oil weight, showed that Mobil 1 0w-40 FS label was #4 in PSI and heat testing. On Amazon/Walmart you can be protected for $36/6 qt of very high quality oil, abet not race oil.

The next step is another oil pump in the head area to get the oil out of the head and down to the sump in high G corners. TTP oil safe kit is the ticket for this dual head oil pump. 996 swirl pots are diffently a plus, but most aftermarket kits windage tray do not have swirl pot holes into the sump and they do not use 996 swirl pots because it takes a lot longer for the oil to transverse the 996 pot vs the 997 one. There are a couple of threads of guys pounding deep dents into their windage trays so the 996 swirl pots to have room to exit on top of the tray.

So, LN/BLT suggests that deeper baffled sump 2.0 qt with a windage tray without holes does about the same job as the 996 pots of reducing the oil/air ratio and gets more oil into the sump. There is always a trade off. My installer says they prefer more oil into the sump vs 996 swirl pots less oil but without air bubbles.

As far as HP graphs go and shift points, all of the ones I have looked at in the past 5 years, show a HP plateau around 6800 rpm. And the HP drops off pretty quickly after that. So if a member suggests his shift point is at 7800, you shifting at 6800 and dropping 800 rpm on upshift, you will be in the HP sweet spot much more often. These dyno pulls were to justify the GT3 throttle bodies, Plenum and exhaust combinations, which showed gains above 5500 rpm. Now, headers and software tune is the rage for midrange torque. Your choice of some or all mods, but know that not much is gained above 6800 rpm due to camshafts, intake manifold, intake ports, injector size etc. of the 3.4 engine.

Your ideas are pretty much on target. Long tube headers with a 200 cell cat is my next purchase to improve mid range torque.
 
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