Thursday, June 4, 2015

15k: The IMS In The Room: 2000 Porsche Boxster S

Yesterday's Porsche 968 bidding for around $15k prompted a few commenters to point out that you can get some newer/nicer/faster/less-pricky cars for that same amount of money.  The Porsche Boxster S is one that springs to mind, you are getting a car that is 10 years newer, faster, better balance, and more why do they cost about as much?  Find this 2000 Porsche Boxster S offered for $15,900 buy-it-now here on eBay with 3 days to go, located in Jacksonville, FL.

The first thing that many people will bring up when you causally toss out the name Boxster is; IMS failure. It is, for better or worse, a large part of the 986 legacy.  The sheer volume of information is staggering, but in short the early flat-6 watercooled engines had an issue with a grease packed (non pressurized oil fed) intermediate bearing that can fail and cause catastrophic engine damage when it goes...not if it goes, but when.  Porsche was on the receiving pointy end of a class action lawsuit, and Boxster and 911 (966) prices are depressed due to can own and drive a Boxster/996 for years without having the engine blow up.  True story.  Most owners will never experience this issue and it is only because a rebuilt engine costs $15k that it became the big deal that it is today.   Before someone jumps in the comments and says "actually, this car has the Finland assembled IMS and won't have this problem"...just stop and admit that all of the early watercooled flat-6s have been tarred with this brush even though actual failure rates are in the 5% range.  I'll like to take this opportunity to mention that RX-7 owners would give up their left kidney for a 95% chance their engine won't blow up each and every time they key the ignition.

Under this carpeted trunk is a 3.2 liter  flat-6 good for 250 horsepower and 225 ft-lbs of torque mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox.  Sure, you can get a new Nissan Altima with more power, but take a ride in a Boxster S and you'll understand why folks shelled out 50 to 60 large when these things were new.

Take a look at the odometer on this one -- 27k miles.  Wow.  You'll be hard pressed to find any 15 year old cars with so few miles, unless of course the owner was concerned he'd blow up his engine...sorta makes sense now.

 See a better way to have fun in the sun?



    She's right...

    1. Thanks for this. Made my day, Andy.

  2. I helped a buddy recover his Boxster (well, actually his wife's boxster) from the very distant dealership where it had been towed, after a narrowly-avoided $25K catastrophe when the oil breather failed. I had looked forward to the 4-hour drive back, hoping to bask in the glory of the Porsche mystique. Honestly, I was hugely underwhelmed. At road-legal speeds, I found the car darty over paving strips, too stiff over real-world pavement imperfections, and only mildly exploitable without putting my license at risk. I much preferred a Miata, which can be fully enjoyed without attracting too much attention. Your mileage may vary.

  3. It's got tail fins. The new boxters have minimized the tail fins and thus have become acceptable for purchase (after they depreciate some) oh and no IMS issues.

  4. Wailing and gnashing of teeth about being tarred with this brush of engine unreliability.

    -RX-7 Owner

    a.k.a. Tanj!

  5. 5% of Boxters puke their guts out? That's better than Vegas! Look how many BoxterHumans blow their wads in Vegas......better chance with an early Boxter..... Unless.....unless of course...

  6. Generally, you want to purchase a used 986 Boxster with at least 75K miles on it. If the IMS fails, it is usually within the first 50K. Low mileage, old Boxtsers which have not had the IMS fix are more likely to experience failure because they have not been driven, the oil has not been changed as much, and this is thought to bring on the failure more often than cars that have high mileage, and have had the oil changed regularly, which circulates oil and keeps the nearing lubed.

    You can always use it as a negotiating point, as it is roughly $3K to get install the dual-row bearing or other IMS fix, as it involves pulling the engine...then you can generally beat on it and not worry about it.

    The other thing is, 5% means 95% of them are still on the road, and I know of one with 249K miles on it with no issues. You can always blow the motor, buy a used one, do the bearing fix while the motor is out, and then drive happily for not much $.

    Or do what I did, and buy a 1997 E36 M3 sedan with sunroof and Schrick cams etc. and blow the doors off of a Boxster with 4 of your friends inside while enjoying the same handling.


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