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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

I'm by no means a gearhead, but getting a Porsche has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I'm sure many people here can relate. I've decided that I want to pull the trigger. I'm currently driving '97 Honda Civic, so, needless to say, this will be a significant upgrade.

That said, I'm a pretty frugal person. As a result, I'm really focused on finding the best deal that I can. I've been keeping a lookout the past few weeks to try to get a feel for great deals, and I think I've seen a couple come and go. I'd like to use this thread to kind of "vet" what looks like a good deal, so I know the right questions to ask.

So, here's what I'm looking for:
  • A Boxster convertible (S if I can find a good deal)
  • Spend $15k-$30k (if I find something truly exceptional, I'd be willing to go outside of this range)
  • No older than 2004
  • Well maintained
  • I live outside of Philadelphia and go down to northern VA frequently, so anything within a 100 mile radius of those locations

Here's what I'd like to have (but are not requirements):
  • Guards Red (always wanted a red one)
  • Power seats (seems like this is a common feature)
  • Vented seats (this seems much more uncommon - anyone know which year first started doing these?)
  • Bose (or other upgraded) speakers
  • iPod connectivity (would be nice, but definitely not a requirement, since I can just upgrade this on my own)

What I'd like to do is post questions to all you knowledgeable people about ads I come across to get some opinions.

To start this off, I found a 2008 Boxster with 47k miles for $25k. Based on my research, I think $23.5k-$24k would be a great price. However, the Carfax report is a little concerning - it kind of looks like the first owner drove it for most of its life, then performed no maintenance, then the second owner repaired and flipped it - including changing the oil and filter twice in a 2-month time span? Would I be right be to concerned about this?

Thanks, and I look forward to becoming a part of the community!
 

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It's a little unclear what maintenance records you have access to. They're important. Ask the seller what he has to show you. You want evidence of synthetic oil use only. If so, assuming the less-than-7,000-miles-per-year that the car in question has averaged were at all evenly distributed, then you want evidence of calendar oil changes--in this case trumping miles because 100% synthetic should last quite a bit more than 7,000 miles. "Yearly" is what pretty much everyone agrees to now, however there were some early years for Boxsters wherein Porsche actually said "once every two years" was surprisingly OK. (This recommendation is no longer made by Porsche--at least not here in the U.S.) I would expect (but don't know, so verify), that by 2008, the "once every two years" recommendation on low-mileage cars had already changed to once a year, as it is now. If so, ain't no excuse for less frequent oil changes than yearly.

Though the infamous IMS failure did happen in 2008 Boxsters (leading to total engine failure), the incidence is quite small.

Good luck. Re Q's about 987.1 Boxsters (I think that's what we're talking about??), you've come to the right place. My experience is that by far most P-9 people are very helpful and many know a great deal about these cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's extremely helpful, thanks so much 2015CS. I'll ask the dealer what he has. I did notice that the 2008 has a different maintenance schedule than other year models did. The IMS problem is certainly a risk (which I've heard is mitigated if the bearing has been replaced), but averaged out, it doesn't seem like it should be a huge concern.
 

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Hello and Welcome Dmoogle.

[flamesuit]

Since you are frugal, I suggest you buy a MY 2009 or newer. It eliminates all of of issues (except shifter linkage which spans all generations; semi fragile water pumps span gens too, but that is not nearly as big a problem IMO) with the older models. And like 2015CS said, although the incidence is small, would you even want to risk spending $25,000 on your first PCAR only to find it blows an engine a year or two later that'll cost $25,000 again to fix it?

[/flamesuit]

Spending $30,000 +/- $2,000 grand will get you a nice 987.2 (>= 2009) Boxster, but the mileage might be a little high, but not to worry if it has a decent maintenance history and its PPI is good.

Ventilated seats were an option starting with MY 2009, but I have seen very few with this option. You are in PA. Why vented seats? You see were I live, and I do not need them as the A/C works quite well in these cars. iPod connectivity, Power Seats and Bose were options so you may need to be a little flexible there, but I know these were more common options than vented seats.

BTW, excellent color choice on your first PCAR.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmm, interesting. I'm a statistics guy - from an expected value point of view, the IMS issue doesn't seem like it's really that terrible, and I can live with the risk. That said, it still may be a better value to go with the 2009.

What do you (or anyone else) think about buying a car several states away, and using an interstate automobile shipping service to have the car delivered? Obviously the disadvantage is that I wouldn't be able to inspect the car on my own (plus the price difference). Quick price check looks like it would be about $1k for 1k miles.

One issue I have is that, while I've heard that it makes for a better experience, I don't actually know how to drive a manual. I'm still planning on buying a manual though, and having a friend teach me (I know plenty of people who know how to drive one, but nobody that actually has a manual car for me to practice on!)
 

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Hmmm, interesting. I'm a statistics guy - from an expected value point of view, the IMS issue doesn't seem like it's really that terrible, and I can live with the risk. That said, it still may be a better value to go with the 2009.

What do you (or anyone else) think about buying a car several states away, and using an interstate automobile shipping service to have the car delivered? Obviously the disadvantage is that I wouldn't be able to inspect the car on my own (plus the price difference). Quick price check looks like it would be about $1k for 1k miles.

One issue I have is that, while I've heard that it makes for a better experience, I don't actually know how to drive a manual. I'm still planning on buying a manual though, and having a friend teach me (I know plenty of people who know how to drive one, but nobody that actually has a manual car for me to practice on!)
First, as you apparently know and therefore at the risk of redundancy, it might be stated that the very small risk of catastrophic IMS failure all but disappears were you to get a 2009 (987.2) or newer car.

One common disadvantage in buying an out of state car is that you're less likely to know or get a good referral for a mechanic you can trust to do the PPI (pre-purchase inspection), which many of us consider quite important and worth the money, given that these cars are expensive, many have been tracked, parts and service are costly, etc.

Learning how to drive a stick shift generally involves some extra wear and tear on the clutch, if not the pressure plate and throw-out bearing. Therefore, if there were some way to do the initial basic learning on a far less expensive car (read 'some ol' junker'), you might be saving yourself some considerable expense. Perhaps some P car mavens here on Planet-9 can speak to just how robust (or not) 987 clutch mechanisms are in terms of withstanding the added wear to be expected as someone "gets the hang of it." Of course my suggestion here might not be practical, but if it were, it would be the way I'd go in your shoes.

Also, it's important to clarify that if by MY 2008, the automatic transmission had already switched to PDK (and I think it had), this has remarkably little to do with previous automatics. First, PDK accelerates slightly faster than manual--not slower, as used to be the case with all automatics. Secondly, PDK gets slightly better gas mileage, again in contrast to all early automatic transmissions. Third, PDK allows you to determine the shifting should you choose to do so. Fourth, I've found PDK in sport mode quite intuitive, often getting it right as fast as I might on my own, and finally PDK shifts faster than any human can. At least drive a P car with PDK to see what you think.

I detest old fashioned slush box torque converter automatics and never had any automatic before my PDK 981 CS, which I got to satisfy the wife. I've grown to respect it, I often use the paddles to shift on my own just for fun, I have no big ego thing about not being able to heel and toe, and in the end I find myself OK with no clutch pedal--a big surprise for me.

These are just some thoughts. However you go, good luck to you!
 

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PDK was avaiable 2009+...not a bad gearbox choice for a Porsche newbie who's not proficient with a manaual. Try to take a test drive in a PDK-equipped car. You may be pleasantly surprised.
 

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In that case role the Cayman dice and buy a '06-'08 Boxster. There are some very good deals out there for those years. Boxsters are a bit cheaper than Caymans so my numbers may be off a bit, but you can expect to spend $3,000-$7,000 less by going with a '06-08 versus an '09. Earlier years may also allow for an S at a given price.

Buying states away was never a problem for me. I bought mine in IL and drove it home over a weekend last August. However, I could not buy the car sight unseen, but that's just me. Many people do and most do not have problems. Since you want a manual and cannot drive one, getting yours shipped is a good idea.

Use Google to locate a reputable shop for a PPI. You will almost certainly end up on a PCAR forum like reenlist or P9. I also had a couple friends (thanks Fais and John) look at cars for me just to pass the initial smell test. Neither did and it saved me PPI money. Most on this forum are willing to help a member along those lines. I have a good PPI shop in Indy, Houston and Chicago should you find a car there.

Call them and ask questions about that they will do, how much it will cost and what kind of report you'll get (verbal, written, etc.) before you actually need them to do a PPI. I had one shop quote me a PPI price of $1,000. It was a very detailed PPI and not what I needed.

Also, tell them to stop the PPI if they locate a showstopper (for me it was paint/body work or fluid leaks). It will save you some money as a PPI can run from $150-$350 and it is usually based on how much time is spent on the PPI. Porsche dealerships may also do a PPI, but make sure they have not done work on the car as it's too much of a conflict of interest IMO.

Lastly, do not buy a car from a dealer or private seller who is not willing to work with you on getting a PPI done. By that I mean, dropping the car off so a PPI can be done.

Good luck,

Eddie

...I'm a statistics guy...
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
First, as you apparently know and therefore at the risk of redundancy, it might be stated that the very small risk of catastrophic IMS failure all but disappears were you to get a 2009 (987.2) or newer car.

One common disadvantage in buying an out of state car is that you're less likely to know or get a good referral for a mechanic you can trust to do the PPI (pre-purchase inspection), which many of us consider quite important and worth the money, given that these cars are expensive, many have been tracked, parts and service are costly, etc.

Learning how to drive a stick shift generally involves some extra wear and tear on the clutch, if not the pressure plate and throw-out bearing. Therefore, if there were some way to do the initial basic learning on a far less expensive car (read 'some ol' junker'), you might be saving yourself some considerable expense. Perhaps some P car mavens here on Planet-9 can speak to just how robust (or not) 987 clutch mechanisms are in terms of withstanding the added wear to be expected as someone "gets the hang of it." Of course my suggestion here might not be practical, but if it were, it would be the way I'd go in your shoes.

Also, it's important to clarify that if by MY 2008, the automatic transmission had already switched to PDK (and I think it had), this has remarkably little to do with previous automatics. First, PDK accelerates slightly faster than manual--not slower, as used to be the case with all automatics. Secondly, PDK gets slightly better gas mileage, again in contrast to all early automatic transmissions. Third, PDK allows you to determine the shifting should you choose to do so. Fourth, I've found PDK in sport mode quite intuitive, often getting it right as fast as I might on my own, and finally PDK shifts faster than any human can. At least drive a P car with PDK to see what you think.

I detest old fashioned slush box torque converter automatics and never had any automatic before my PDK 981 CS, which I got to satisfy the wife. I've grown to respect it, I often use the paddles to shift on my own just for fun, I have no big ego thing about not being able to heel and toe, and in the end I find myself OK with no clutch pedal--a big surprise for me.

These are just some thoughts. However you go, good luck to you!
PDK was avaiable 2009+...not a bad gearbox choice for a Porsche newbie who's not proficient with a manaual. Try to take a test drive in a PDK-equipped car. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Actually I did test drive a PDK. It was amazing, but honestly I wasn't sure how much of that was just the fact that I was driving a Porsche vs. the PDK, given that my only real comparison was driving a '97 Civic (and other comparables)! You do bring up a good point regarding the wear and tear though, so if I do go with a manual, I'll see if I can find someone with a beater car that I can practice on. Although, I had heard someone say that the Boxster was remarkably easy to drive for a new manual driver. I am starting to look into newer models though, based on your advice.

As for the PPI, honestly I only really know one mechanic in northern VA, and that would really limit my options. I came across some online services, such as AiM Mobile Inspections, which I was thinking I would use if I happen to go the out-of-state route.

Again, thanks so much for all the advice!

EDIT: Just saw your post, eddie. AiM's price is about $150 for the non-insurance option - I'm guessing this would be a very basic PPI? Are there a couple of "must-checks" that you would highly recommend a PPI perform?
 

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I just replaced the clutch in my CSS - $1707. Porsche clutches are very finicky and not very robust, so learning to drive a clutch on a Porsche could be an expensive lesson.

Just to clear up some mis-information:

The automatic in the Gen 1 987 (2005-2008) is called a Tiptronic. It's not the greatest manual-auto and market prices are lower on Gen 1 automatics vs manuals. PDK did not arrive until Gen 2 (2009-2012) and is an amazing auto trans.

You will certainly reduce the risk of an IMS failure in a 2009 because it did not have an IMS. The Gen 2 engine was completely redesigned and did not have an IMS. The Gen 1s have an updated, larger IMS that does not fail as often as the 2000-2005 version, which was smaller. The smaller version can be removed and replaced with a longer lasting version without tearing the engine apart. The larger version cannot be replaced without tearing the engine completely apart. But its failure rate is not worth worrying about. If you buy a 2005 Boxster, you could have either version of IMS depending on the build date.
 

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Porsche clutches are very finicky and not very robust said:
I can attest to the "not very robust" part. I once tried a "drag strip" start with my 2.7, 6 speed Boxster. Launched at something like 5000 rpm and pulled a quick shift to 2nd at about 7000. Hit the rev limiter almost immediately and looked in the rear view mirror and saw a lot of smoke. Smelt bad too. Never did that again. Clutch is fine though.

Assuming you are not going to do stupid stuff like I did, and treat it gently, I would not worry about the clutch or learning to drive it. This is the easiest stick shift I have ever driven, much smoother engagement than my 2000 Audi TT. Rarely do you need to rev the engine much past 1000 rpm to start in first gear. And...if you stall it (and yes, I have) it restarts as soon as you step on the clutch again, no key needed. That, plus hill holding makes it very forgiving. (edit: not sure that the older gens have these features) You will be proficient in 30 minutes.

I love my Guards Red color choice. It does not show dust like the darker colors. I was just on a 4 day road trip with some other P-car owners and one "accused" me of washing my car! In good humor of course, but I swore it had not been washed in 2 weeks.
 

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OP, good for you for getting a manual. I bet you'll get the hang of it quickly and really enjoy it. My first new car (a looong time ago) was a 4-speed manual special ordered. I had driven a manual maybe half a dozen times before getting that car. Stalled it the first few times starting off. An hour or so later no problem. Go for it!
 

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To the OP: husker boxster makes some important points. By clarifying that 2008 was the last year of Tiptronic automatics, it really means you don't want to consider any 2008 unless it's manual. Tiptronic has been lambasted in many quarters and indeed, as I understand it, was an old-fashioned torque converter automatic that sucked up more gas, impaired acceleration, and pleased few buyers.

We've read different accounts above about the sturdiness (or lack thereof) of Porsche clutches, along with potential costs. Factoring all this into your equation may be helpful. (I remember the day when, as a mechanic's apprentice, we'd put in new clutch/pressure plate/throwout bearing for $150 for many cars. Sigh. In any case, should you go the manual route, I think you'll enjoy having achieved the ability to use the clutch once you get over the initial parts of the learning curve. Frankly, the rev matching heeling & toeing (which you may hear about once you've got the basics down) is, despite all the talk, something that many drivers never really master and probably don't need to for street driving. In any case, have fun--you're on an adventure, and beyond just transportation, fun is the major other achievable item on the list.

My 71-year-old brother reminds me that the excitement he experienced with his first car (a somewhat beat-up old 1949 DeSoto convertible purchased at age 17 for $50) was frankly even greater than that he experienced with his Porsche (a 986 boxster bought new in 2000 and still his DD). I can also confess that the fun I had with my first sports car, a 1963 MGB, was probably as great as the fun I'm having with my vastly superior 981 CS. Everything is relative, but in the end, beyond transportation, fun is the only meaningful obtainable goal. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey folks,

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the advice. I ended up spending a little extra, but getting what I think was a great deal on nearly exactly what I was looking for here: Porsche Boxster Convertible | eBay. I settled with the seller on $33.7K, and am picking the car up on Monday.

I look forward to becoming a more active member of this community!
 
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