2.0 Boxster Basics
Porsche Boxster (986) FAQ
Disclaimer & Copyright Notice
2.0 Boxster Basics
3.0 The Order Process
4.0 Boxster Configuration
5.0 Boxster Aftermarket Equipment
6.0 Car Care
8.0 Boxster Technical Bulletins
10.0 Recently Asked Questions
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2.1 Porsche 986 Boxster Standard Equipment
Click here to see the Boxster standard equipment list.
Click here to see the Boxster specifications.
In North America, 1997 and 1998 model year Boxsters come with two year, unlimited miles warranties. Starting with the 1999 model year, Boxsters come with four year, 50,000 mile warranties. You may feel that you need additional protection against major problems. This site, http://www.toolworks.com/bilofsky/boxster/contract.html , gives an analysis of some of the extended service contracts offered by various companies. [Thanks to Walt Bilofsky for compiling and analyzing the information.]
PAG claims that the Boxster engine has an "integrated" dry sump, yet there is only one drain plug and no oil reservoir as on 911's. The instrument panel gauge and the dipstick read from the same source. There is an oil pump in each of the camshaft housings for oil return. The biggest difference from the 993 dry sump is the sump is located within the engine block on the Boxster rather than beneath it as in the 993. The sump, by definition, is the bottom of the crankcase where the oil flows to and collects after being pumped over whatever surfaces it was intended to lubricate/cool. The 993, and every 911 before it, uses a scavenge pump to pull out the oil as it flows into the sump and pump it into a holding tank under the right rear fender on all but a couple of early model years. Hence the term "dry sump;" oil is not allowed to sit in the bottom of the crankcase and so the sump remains (conceptually) dry. The main oil pump takes oil from the bottom of this holding tank and pumps it back into the engine's system of oil passages. The advantage of this system is that it prevents oil starvation during hard cornering. With a conventional wet sump system, high cornering loads can cause the pool of oil sitting in the sump to slosh away from the oil pump feed tube. With the dry sump's large vertical storage tank, you'd have to turn the car upside down to keep oil away from the pickup point. In the Boxster and 996, the tank is integrated into the engine block below the crankcase.
There are two techniques for oil to get from the crankcase to the tank below it:
Both techniques are used in the Boxster. There are two oil pumps that take oil from the cylinder heads to the main oil pump. This oil is fed into swirl pots to be centrifuged and defoamed. There are oil collection channels cast into the crankcase to return oil to the oil pump.
The Boxster and the 996 have different bore and stroke because a different crank is used. The engine casing of the 996 in the area of the crank has been beefed up considerably to accommodate significantly increased torque and horsepower. Also, they use a totally different intake and exhaust systems. Although based on the same basic engine design, the 986 and 996 engines are significantly different from each other. The 986 transmissions would not hold up to the power and torque generated by the 996 engine, nor would the 986's rear suspension pieces. You cannot bore the 986 engine block. The LOKASIL liner prevents it. The Porsche Boxster Service Tech Manual, page 1-6 says:
The 1997 and 1998 model years come with a two year, unlimited mileage, bumper to bumper warranty. The 1999 and later model year Boxsters come with a four year 50,000 mile warranty. The 1999 model year cars began being built in May of 1998.
There are several brands of tires that Porsche puts on Boxsters. These are shown in the Boxster Technical Bulletins in the discussion of approved summer tires. Which of these tire brands is put on your car is entirely random and determined by what tires are the next on the rack when your car gets to the point in the build process where it needs tires. You cannot pick which brand goes on your car. For a discussion of the features and tradeoffs of the various tire brands, see http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/max_rd.htm .
When Porsche approves a certain tire (through testing), they label it N0.
When the tire manufacturer makes a revision to that tire and Porsche approves it
again, they label it N1. Hence, N2 and N3. "N" is NOT a measurement of
tire rubber compound. Porsche says,
The Boxster has negative camber on its wheels. This means that the tops of the wheels slant in toward the middle of the car. This negative camber will result in more wear on the inside edges of your tires than on the outside.
For more information on tires in general, see http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/2195/tyre_bible.html .
The climate control in the Boxster can be switched from metric to English units and back by using an undocumented feature. Hold down the air recirculation button and simultaneously press the temperature plus button.
If you push up slightly on the wiper stalk, you will get a single swipe of the wiper across the windshield. Useful when the wiper has mist on it.
The 996 has a variable speed wiper knob in the circular cutout opposite the cigarette lighter. This can be installed in the Boxster with a little work. More information on this feature will be posted here when it becomes available.
You should use 93 octane, using the (RON+MON)/2 method, gasoline in your Boxster. If you can't get 93 octane gasoline, you should use the best gas you can get and at least 90 octane. The engine will compensate although your performance and fuel economy may suffer. Gas from one station may be better than gas at another station because of the cleaning compounds they add to the gas. Chevron and Texaco have good reputations for their additives.
Oxygenated gas is used in some parts of the country. Oxygenated gas will not hurt your car. However, it will result in lower gas mileage.
This web site, http://www.repairfaq.org/~filipg/AUTO/F_Gasoline.html , will tell you more than you'd ever want to know about gasoline.
If you make major changes in altitude, make sure you refill the gas tank. This causes the OBDII computer to reset itself and adapt to the new altitude. Otherwise, the check engine light may come on and you will need a trip to a dealer to reset it.
One owner warns not to run the Boxster too close to empty. It lost power and started backfiring. His follow-up said:
When the car is locked, the access to the gas cap is also locked. There is a manual backup release of the gas cap door that can be found in the door jamb on the passenger side.
Read your owner's manual, as it has a good description about oil. This discussion is to supplement the owner's manual. Porsche is initially filling the Boxster with Mobil 1 oil, and recommends you use Mobil 1 for all refills.
The maintenance schedule on the Boxster recommends changing the oil every 15,000 miles, including the initial oil change. Since the Boxster takes about nine quarts of oil, an oil change is expensive compared to other cars. While changing the oil early won't harm your car, it may be unnecessary and expensive. The feeling is that Porsche is probably pretty conservative about its estimates of oil lifetime. Unless you are particularly harsh on your engine, running it in particularly cold or hot weather, or driving a lot in stop and go traffic, you can probably wait until the 15,000 mile points.
Mobil 1 comes in several different grades. Porsche is initially filling the Boxster with 5W-40, but this grade is not available in the U.S. In the U.S., Mobil 1 comes in four grades: 0W-30, 5W-30, 10W-30, and 15W-50. Porsche does not recommend the 0W-30 weight for any driving conditions. For the other three weights, you should pick a weight based on the following criteria:
Because of the long intervals between oil changes, you should probably pick the oil for the coldest temperatures the car will experience between oil changes. In climates with extreme weather changes, you might consider changing the oil twice a year.
Dealers have been charging in the vicinity of $120 for an oil change, including oil, filter, filter ring, and labor. You can change it yourself for less. See Changing the Engine Oil.
For More Information
Information on Mobil 1 can be found at http://www.mobil.com/mobil1_racing/about/ . Since the interface at this site is a little convoluted, a few of the more interesting pages you might want to visit:
The battery in the Boxster is not a sealed battery. As such the water level in the battery needs to be checked periodically and filled with distilled water. The correct level is achieved when the electrolyte just touches the indicator prongs that stick out horizontally as you peer down into the battery's cells (having first removed the caps).
Problem is, when you are leaning way over the car squinting at those teensy indicators, it is very hard to tell where the level really is. Next time you look in the cells, notice that you can see the plates under the clear liquid. They are visible as parallel lines. But when the electrolyte touches the indicator prong, it will "meniscus up" onto the prong and will distort the lines so they no longer appear parallel. Presumably when the electrolyte drops below the prong (i.e. it is low) the lines would appear parallel. This is extremely easy to see and makes checking whether the level is low an absolute cake walk.
Note that this method would probably not work for telling whether your level is too high, which is also a no-no. It the level were above the prongs, which would be too high a level, the parallel-ness of the lines would still be disturbed.
But if your level is correct now (just touching the prongs), this method should accurately and easily tell you when the level has dropped too low. This method really does make seeing when the level is low much, much easier.
Also, remember to follow all your Owner's Manual precautions when working around batteries because it can be dangerous.
[Thanks to Martin for this information]
If you look inside the oddments compartment between the seats on the Boxster, along the side toward the front of the car is a horizontal plastic rack that will hold eight coins.
There has been a reported problem getting a Tiptronic Transmission dynoed. This may be a problem, even if you don't want to dyno your car. In at least one area, you are required to get an emissions test every two years where the car is run on a similar device. The owner said the traction control was switched off and reported:
Manual Boxsters have been run on a dyno. There were no problems. The ABS idiot light lit up for a while, but went away again. You should turn off traction control. See this site for info on a dyno run: http://grr.xoc.net/boxster/articles/dynotrip.asp .
[www.986faq.com] Copyright © 1997-2009 by Gregory Reddick . All Rights Reserved. 02/20/09 01:28 boxter