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Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
5/12/16 1:38 p.m.

The now highly appropriate plate arrived in the mail today. SWMBO just sent me a pic of it.

noddaz GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/12/16 2:06 p.m.
Possibly the strangest thing about the interior is bits of foam keep falling out of the heater vents and both at face level and under the dash

I know! I know! Be right back...

Sounds like what has happened to my 1986 VW GTi and my 1997 Jetta GT. Seems that VAG has some sort of foam on the blend/heater doors in the heater box. Over time the foam degrades and falls off the doors. And then blows out the various vents. The bad part about this is when the foam falls of the doors, it leaves large holes in the doors which lets too much fresh air mix with your heated or cooled air. This is assuming of course that your Porsche is built in a similar fashion to my VWs...

Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/12/16 2:34 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: The now highly appropriate plate arrived in the mail today.

I bought my car the day before you bought yours. You have your berkeleying vanity plate already, but I still don't have my berkeleying title! Grumble, grumble, grrr.......

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
5/12/16 3:12 p.m.
noddaz wrote:
Possibly the strangest thing about the interior is bits of foam keep falling out of the heater vents and both at face level and under the dash
I know! I know! Be right back... Sounds like what has happened to my 1986 VW GTi and my 1997 Jetta GT. Seems that VAG has some sort of foam on the blend/heater doors in the heater box. Over time the foam degrades and falls off the doors. And then blows out the various vents. The bad part about this is when the foam falls of the doors, it leaves large holes in the doors which lets too much fresh air mix with your heated or cooled air. This is assuming of course that your Porsche is built in a similar fashion to my VWs...

Yup, there are whole threads on it over on the 986 forum. It's a winter project when it's off the road to avoid salt.

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
5/12/16 3:12 p.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote:
Adrian_Thompson wrote: The now highly appropriate plate arrived in the mail today.
I bought my car the day before you bought yours. You have your berkeleying vanity plate already, but I still don't have my berkeleying title! Grumble, grumble, grrr.......

Yup, but look on the bright side, you haven't crashed yours yet.......Mustang meme time?

mazdeuce UltimaDork
5/12/16 3:40 p.m.

New Porshce!
Great deal and you love it!
Smushed the car on a tree.
It's getting fixed!

This whole thing is quite an emotional roller coaster.

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
5/12/16 3:53 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Automatic. This whole thing is quite an emotional roller coaster.

I'm amazed at how much I'm liking the auto, or was until I smushed it

mazdeuce UltimaDork
5/12/16 4:02 p.m.

I feel the same way about the auto in the R63. I would choose it over a manual in the right car.

chandlerGTi UberDork
5/12/16 7:07 p.m.

It works in this car, I liked ours.

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Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
7/26/16 11:06 a.m.

Overdue update. I changed the trans and oil fluid a few weeks ago at 77,657 miles. I used the recommended 0W40 (Mobil One full synth) and Pentosin ATF-1 which according to Pelican Parts is the correct spec for Porsche auto trans without paying through the sun-no-shine-hole for the Porsche logo being on the bottle.

The engine oil was OK on miles, but had been there for a few years so I wanted to change it. The auto fluid I could find no evidence of it having been changed and in 'D' the trans always seemed to set off in 2nd and be slow to up or down E36 M3 although everything worked fine when in manual mode (remember this is a regular auto, not a PDK) That seems to be a common issue with old dirty fluid in these cars and changing it seems to fix a lot of ills.

OF course, one of the joys of this being a mid engined car with no (normal) access from above, is that this job is a pain in the ass. It took something like six hours all in, which is longer than it takes me to change the alternator on an SVT Contour which internet lore states is an almost impossible two day exercise.

The bits. And BTW I love me new roll about Harbor Freight tool box. It now has all my metric stuff in it while everything else is in my original non movable Craftsman box back in the garage.

First jacking the car up. It turns out the jack points are pretty mangled. This is the one of the one on the right hand side. Pretty buggered up isn't it?

This is the one on the left, or more accurately this is where the left hand side one is meant to be. Totally missing!! How the hell can the jacking point be completely gone!! You need to have the car level, not just one end jacked up as it needs to be level for filling the trans as will be seen later.

So once in the air step one is to remove the under tray, this allows you to reach the trans to drain the fluid. The trouble is to remove the under tray you need to remove eight nuts to lower the two aluminium chassis braces that then allow you to remove the under tray! You also need to undo the rear sway bar so it can be lowered enough to remove the trans oil pan.

The old trans fluid while not sparkling looked cleaner than I imagined it would after (what I assumed to be) 16 years and pushing 80k miles. Here is it coming out.

With the fluid drained I could remove the pan. All nice and clean in there.

This is the old filter. It doesn't look horrible in there either. At this point I was a bit worried, it all seems better than I expected so I was wondering about the poor shift quality in 'D' Note. These are the same size, strange forshortening effect witht he camera makes the old one look smaller.

Anyway while letting every last drop of fluid drip down I also changed the engine oil, this prompted the first of three trips to the auto parts store. In my collection of oil filter wrenches I assumed I had one that would fit. Nope. Off to get one. Inevitably the POS stamped cheap, E36 M3ty steel with non-existent tolerances just slid on the filter. Back to get one of the wrap around ones which I’ve always found useless as there is never enough room for them, but this time I had success. So change the oil and fill it up no issue..

Back to the trans. Swap out the trans filter for the new one and pop it in place. then time for a refill with fresh fluid. There is no fill plug on the top or the side of the trans you need instead to fill from the bottom with a pump. This is what the pan looks like (pinched from Pelican) See that yellow tower, it’s what you fill through. You pump in fluid until there’s enough in to flow out. That’s the correct level.

Of course I didn’t have a hex large enough to fit the plug so that was the third trip to the parts store to get one.

The process is you put it all back together (after a good cleaning, new filter, gasket etc. and torque up the cover in the correct order to 8 ft/lb’s which is about the torque a sparrow farting at the end of a ratchet produces) then pump fluid up into it until it spills out. They you put the plug back in and run the engine until an infra-red thermometer tells you the bottom of the pan is between 85-100 °F. Then you shut it off, remove the plug, top up, replace the plug then rinse and repeat until no more can go in which was four rounds for me. One thing, it really seems to me that more fluid came out than went in, so I wonder if there had been too much fluid in there and/or I didn’t manage to really fill it up.

After that refit the under-tray, replace the aluminium braces and the 8 nuts then drop her to the ground and test drive time.

Regardless, wow, what a night and day difference in shift quality, it engages 1st more often, the shifts don’t’ hang up and are sooner and smoother than before. Considering the that a) the fluid that came out didn’t appear to be that berkeleyed up and b) doing this only changes at best 1/3 of the fluid in there It’s an amazing difference. I think I’ll make this an annual thing for a while until I’m sure it’s all fresh fluid in there.

All done!

Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/16 12:15 p.m.

Good job! I learned some stuff here.

Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/26/16 1:00 p.m.

Cool thread, first time I see it.

A couple of things I learned when doing auto transmission fluid changes:

  • I always get three times the needed fluid and do three fluid chenges with a short drive in between. I make sure the transmission goes through all the gears. This usually gets all new fluid everywhere as the tc holds a lot.

  • I have a paint measuring container from Home Depot that I dump the fluid in and usually measure how much came out. It helps to know whether you were in the ballpark when refilling.

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/8/16 1:52 p.m.

Not much has happened as I've been completely out of action with my back. Back surgery 3 weeks ago has left me a completely different person. I'm out of pain for the first time in over 6 months and can move so, so much better. Stunned to find we've put almost 5K miles on the Boxster since getting it considering I haven't driven for a month and it was in the body shop for 4 weeks.

So the weekend I got originally it failed to start. Looked like a dead battery so I replaced that, but since then things have been getting weak so I've kept it on a battery tender, but last week the alternator died so I needed to fix that. Reading online and in the 101 Boxster projects book indicates that you need access from the top side of the engine, as well as through the front from the passenger area. I'll tell you now there is no need to go through the top, the whole operation can be done through the front access. The only think you need to go through the top for is to undo one earth strap, but I see no need to do that. It was worthwhile going through the top as the engine was filthy covered in dust and It gave me a chance to swap the air filter.

Pics. Putting the soft top in the service position is easy. Open part way, pop off a couple of top cables from their ball sockets and hold the hood out of the way with a bungee. This is the cable, one each side.

Then remove the glove box/carpet and the rear carpet.

Finally remove the engine cover to reveal the filthy engine. This represents 12 years and 20-25K miles of grime I assume since the brand new engine was fitted by Porsche.

YEah, the air filter is past it's best

OK, inside, move both seats forward, remove the rear carpet/matt with 4 plastic push pins then something like 8 bolts to remove the cover. Dead easy, faster and easier than I was expecting to tell the truth.

To remove the alternator there are just two bolts. The lower right (left if your in the car looking back at the front of the engine) just comes out. The other is the lower left (right looking at the front of it) is also an idler pulley. Undo that about 4-5mm then wack on the end with a drift and a metal hammer. The reason for this is that there is a bucking in the alternator rear housing that get's pulled into the mount as you tighten it up to help locate it. This has to be pushed back into the alternator to allow it to be removed. This was the toughest part as it was a bit stuck, but not too bad. Then carefully rotate the alternator CCW as you look at it, pull it forward and remove the connects.

Part way out. As you can see, lots of room actually to reach stuff.

I'd called Jeff (Gearheadotaku on here) works at the local Porsche dealer so I texted him and there was a new accessory belt and air filter waiting for my credit card at the dealer when I stopped there after picking up rebuilt alternator from a local re-builder.

It went back together like a dream and was running soon. https://www.youtube.com/embed/pPG484iUKNw

Then I filled a garden weed sprayer with hot hot water and simple green and spent 30 mins cleaning up the engine before putting the covers back on. Nice and easy and made a massive difference.

Then a thorough cleaning of the trim and carpet bits and put it all back together. All in all easier than I expected, access really isn't as bad as people lead you to believe and it was quicker than an SVT Contour alternator swap that I can do in 3 1/2 hours start to finish despite internet lore saying it's a full day job with a lift that I never had.

Karacticus GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/9/16 6:33 a.m.

How much worse would this be on a Cayman, or would there really be any significant difference?

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/9/16 9:32 a.m.

In reply to Karacticus:

Probably the same or even easier. The cayman doesn't have the soft top and rear panel, it just has the whole rear hatch so there's less obstruction from above, although it does have the 'flying buttress' from the side. Inside it will be exactly the same, the part open soft top being replaced by the solid roof.

Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/9/16 11:39 a.m.
Karacticus wrote: How much worse would this be on a Cayman, or would there really be any significant difference?

The Cayman rear hatch has a service position that allows it to open much further than normal to assist with maintenance.

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Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/9/16 8:47 p.m.

In reply to Woody:

Which wheels are those? Are they 996 or stock cayman? Diameter, width?

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
4/12/17 1:14 p.m.

This isn’t really a build thread, more a running and maintaining thread, but it’s not the only one on here so I don’t feel too guilty. So here is a post winter hibernation catch up. At 81,309 miles I just changed the oil and another approx. 1/3 of the trans fluid. That gave me a fright due to a brain fart. I drained the engine and trans fluid on a Sunday before realizing a) I didn't have another engine oil filter and b) I didn't have enough of the Porsche/Audi spec witches brew ATF (Esso LT 71141, or Pentosin ATF-1) so things sat with the drain plugs out while I got the bits then went back to the car the following Sunday. I had moved the drain pan out of the way assuming that everything was thoroughly empty after 3 days. Nope. On the Friday I noticed an oil slick under the car which I thought was really weird.

So on Sunday I filled everything up. I noticed that it didn't take much trans fluid but went through the fill process. Fill it until it comes out the filler 'tower' in the pan. Run it until the pan reads 85-100F then top off. I also did some other work (more in a moment) and went for a drive. Bummer. The trans was slipping like mad. It would flare up to about 3K rpm, pause then slam forward. Oh Bork. Then I grabbed a beer and thought it through. It had been left to drain for so long I think the trans filter had slowly drip dripped out its contents. Once I'd let it get fully up to temp then left it overnight I went through the fill, warm, fill, warm, fill process a couple of times. Put a E36 M3 load more fluid in and everything is fine again. Phew. Dumb ass moment recovered from.

Also over the winter I got a new set of Dunlop Direzza DZ102’s in the stock 205/55R16 Front and 225/50R16 Rear sizes. They seemed to be the best compromise of performance and price for a three season DD and (hopefully) occasional autocross car that sees wet weather. Even better I went to check on the price in Feb and found there was a Dunlop $50 give back so the whole set only cost $285. Bargain. Even, even better than that I have a friend that can mount and balance them for free, just $4 to Costco to dispose of the old tires. Happy camper.

While in there I pulled the brakes off, they were badly glazed when I got it so I pulled the pads to check. The pads had plenty of thickness left, but were definitely glazed. I put some 300 grit paper down on the work bench then carefully de-glazed them using a circular motion and two full cans of brake clean. The rotors got the same treatment. One thing I noticed. The front pads are PAGID while the rears are something else. Not only do the front dust like a MoFo but they had these pits in the surface. At first I was about to bin them, but I showed them to someone I know who’s the brake development Engineer on Mustang, Shelby and the GT, he said they were fine. Once I’d flushed the fluid with new DOT4 (the old stuff was pleasantly clean considering other deferred or skipped maintenance) the brakes feel awesome now. Sold pedal, no free play or sponginess. Coupled with the tires it’s a whole new car.

A front Pagid (top) with a rear (bottom) Note the pitting. This is after de-glazing obviously.

Fronts left and rears right all cleaned up.

Other stuff. Several times over the winter I liberally applied ‘Leather Honey’ to the seats and let it soak in for a couple of weeks then buff with a soft cloth. Another cheap win, they feel nice and soft now and hopefully the bolster wear won’t get any worse now they are less stiff and prone to fold.

Final thing, I pulled the damn driver’s side air vent where the up/down rod had come off allowing the horizontal flaps to flap all over the place. I managed to put it back together after about 10 attempts using a combination of vice, hooks, pliers and luck.

Hmm, I need to get an after pic as well.

All in all nothing major but surprisingly at least 30 hours of work on and off.

I’ve been looking for a good used 03-04 soft top with a glass rear window to replace my tatty scuffed top with cracked and faded rear window. When they changed to the glass window they added another crossbeam in the top mechanism, but the whole things drops in place of the old one. The thing is after looking since last September and calling all the Boxster breakers and being in touch with a couple of people who break cars on the forums zip zero nadda. Nothing doing. So I just ordered a replacement top with glass window from Autotopsdirect.com. They make one with a glass window for the earlier cars. As a result the window is slightly smaller than stock, but I think that’s fine given the upside. It should be here this weekend, but with family in town it may be next weekend before I get a chance to fit it. Now that will be a post worth making on here the how to on fitting. I have my 101 Boxster projects book at the ready for that one.

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
4/12/17 1:27 p.m.

Oh yeah, one other dumb ass thing. Once I ordered the tires I put the car up on jackstands in the garage and pulled the wheels off. I know it was going to be on the stands for about a month so I carefully measured so the garage door cleared the rear bumberettes by about 1/4" then jacked it up. The observant here will know where this is going. As I jacked it up from the front first it rotated around the rear tires. I then jacked up the rear and it leveled off, but still about 3/8" further back. So when I went to close the door it now caught on the bumberettes. Bummer. No biggie you say, just pop the wheels back on and re-position it. Well that would be easy, if I'd closed the garage door before making the 2 hour round trip to drop the wheels and tires off on my friend to fitting. No wheels and tires and I need to move the car. I ended up with me and my neighbor with our two jacks on the center line of the car with 2x6's spanning the width to the jacking points. Of course with the underside not being flat there were bits of 2x4 needed at each end to contact the jack points with the 2x6 cross beam. We then had to ever so, ever so carefully nudge the car forward without the whole thing falling down. We managed it and earned out whisky that night!

nderwater UltimaDork
4/12/17 1:49 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: Oh yeah, one other dumb ass thing...

lmao. I've know that feeling well.

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
1/29/18 8:01 a.m.

Balls.  I was just thinking how awesome the drag and past photo feature was when it didn't work.  Then I reloaded the page and los the post I just spent 20 mins writing.  Bugger, well here goes again in smaller chunks.


So, it's been a long long time since updating this thread.  The last year has been relatively uneventful with mainly just an oil change and another 1/3 drain and re-fil of the auto trans.  I say relatively as there was one significant hiccup.

Early June my wife and I were going to a family graduation in Chicago, we decided to take the Boxster and go back roads rather than drive I94 across the state.   We had an Intentionally late start planning on having lunch with some friends.  She works in a gun store out on US12 so her husband was going to meet us there and have lunch as a family.  Cruising down there all was good.  About five miles out I smelled a bit of coolant, but the temp gauge was rock steady so I thought I'd check when we got there.  About 1/4 mile out the smell gets worse and the temp starts rising rapidly so I pop it in neutral and shut off the engine.  It couldn't have been timed better as I literally rolled into the parking lot and came to a perfect halt without ever touching the brake pedal and no need to push.  Perfect for a breakdown.  As soon as we stopped lots of steam came up and large pool of coolant was pouring from the back of the car, further rear than I expected.  Well nothing we can do until it cools a bit so we jump in his car and go to pick up some deli and a couple of gallons of distilled water.  

After lunch and cooling I look around, but can't see a source for the water, especially as it was so far back.  So with one person pouring the distilled water in the header tank I was lying on the ground with a flashlight having a look.  Pretty soon I could see water coming from something on the side of the trans, but I could actually touch it because there was an under tray and braces in the way.  Carefully wiggling a phone in there and several unsuccessful attempts at getting a pick I finally got lucky and saw this.

Game over, it's a broken as yet unidentified part I don't have and can't even reach to try and bypass let alone replace without the car up in the air.  At this point we do the only sensible thing.  Call off the trip.  Then two of us go back to their house with their Jeep to grab their trailer while the wives stay at the shop working / BSing.  

An hour later we're back, load up the disgraced car and head back to their house.  The wife is still working so we kill time and frustration by shooting up some evil cans in the back (they live on 8 acres).  I swear I heard a couple of tomato soup cans talking about ISIS, but I made sure they'd never finish cooking up their evil schemes by literally pumping them full of lead (or whatever the environmentally safe stuff they make .22's out of these days. 

So we finish of the day by them driving us another hour back home so we obviously got the take out and supplied the beer.  Thanks Alan and Annie for the help.  Breaking it off at this point so I don't loose the whole story again.

BTW, drag and drop seems to have stopped working at least temporarily and I had to go back to embedding the pic.

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
1/29/18 8:14 a.m.

With the down time while towing and waiting i hit up Google for parts diagrams and also was texting Jeff (Gearheadotaku  here on GRM) who works at the local Porsche dealer, we identified it as a vacuum valve in the cooling system that circulates coolant through a separate cooler for the auto trans fluid.  Now, other than this I've found the Boxster incredibly well thought out and easy to work on, but this is certainly one of those pieces that makes you go WTF Kraus, what the hell were you and your fellow German Engineers thinking on this one.  A berkeleying stupid little two piece plastic body with a plastic plate that closes off a hole operated by a dinky vacuum diaphragm.  It's part 12 in the diagram below. 

So the part was ordered and either the next of following weekend Jeff came over to kindly lend a hand and we replaced it in less than two hours.  Even bleeding the cooling system was far easier than internet lore would have you believe.  Just get the rear up on Jack stands and follow the procedure in the 101 projects book.  The only down side was putting the car up to start work.  I put the front on ramps and the rear on jackstands.  Unfortunately by huge metal ramps (bought for my old Econoline so super heavy duty) have removable ramp parts so once up in the air you can remove the ramp and they are just on solid bases under the wheels.  Well the tab on one side had got bent so it popped out and dropped the bumper on the the wheel pad tearing the underside of my (less than a year old) new bumper.  bugger.  Oh well, this is the beater Boxster.

This is the offending valve and it's replacement.

The car was perfect after that, I even saw 13.7mph up North on some deserted roads later in the summer.  Many thousands more topdown miles were had.  That takes us up through the late fall when the car got put away for the winter and the Volvo came back out.  I'll update this last weekends work next.  Meeting first.

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
1/29/18 12:48 p.m.

So the car has been in the Garage since late October timeframe. The winter project list is to replace the header tank (not vital, but it's cloudy) and replace the soft top. The original top has the usual cloudy cracked plastic window issue. I searched for months at all the online Boxster breakers as well as 986Forum and Pelican Parts for a 2002 up complete top and frame as in 02 the Boxster got a glass rear window. Buying the complete top and frame is an easy swap, it's swapping the fabric on the frame that's hard. I looked for month early last year and was on call back with a couple of breakers. In the end I ordered a new top from AutoTopsDirect.com who have a good reputation on the forums and offer different materials for the top and the window. I went for 'Porsche Boxster, 1997-2002 Top, German A5 Acoustic, Glass Window, Black' which is their top of the line top material with obviously a glass roof. I had planned on fighting it over the memorial day weekend but life happened. The book says at least 16 hours to do the job and I didn't want to rush, so I dropped the idea for the rest of the summer. This weekend we had lovely weather in Michigan so it was time to start work.

I’m just following the instructions in Wayne Dempsey founder of Pelican Parts.  They are pretty comprehensive (but not perfect) and easy to follow.  There are dozen’s of how to threads out there so I won’t bore people with step by step.  The book says 16 hours and it only took me about three hours to get where I am.  I never expected it be close to half way done in time once the old top was off, but only 20% of the way seems strange.  We will see.  Here’s a couple of pics.

You need to carefully remove these Aluminium plates to re-use.  One got slightly bent in the corner but I straightened it out.  There was also a small plastic clip I snapped, but you are warned they break easily and are only $10 a side to replace.  I'm going to have a good look at the weather seals and see if I want to replace those as well.

Here I am laying out and numbering parts


And all off

So while I was working outside in the sun I was listening to the Cammed and Tubbed Podcast.  If you haven’t’ listened they are a couple of young guys talking cars, mainly Porsche’s, Audi’s etc.  They are part of the Hooniverse universe and also involved with Radwood etc.  They mentioned posting a 5 star review on Apple Podcasts for a free sticker.  They also said for those who don’t use Apple, post some kind of comment about them, one evened joked about sidewalk chalk.  Well, hell I’m working in the garage where the kids (now grandkid I guess) old chalk is still kept and I’m a (sticker) whore so here goes.  Let’s see if they come through ;)

Please note that this build/maintaince thread is now taking offers for corporate sponsorship.  You pimp it, I'll whore it wink



MazdaFace HalfDork
1/29/18 4:18 p.m.

love this thread. So here's a question: Knowing what you know about the slushbox and how it performs, given the choice of a do-over would you go for this one or the same car with a 5/6 speed?

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
1/30/18 6:48 a.m.

In reply to MazdaFace :

Interesting question and good job of keeping me honest.  Offer me two of the exact same car, one manual the other auto and all things being equal I'll take the manual.  At the end of the day this is still an old school auto, not a modern one that can pretend to act like an automated manual.  There is still noticeable torque converter slip etc. I still don't regret the car in any way though.  It's great when sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, yet still fun when not in traffic.

If we were talking about a later 987 with PDK Vs Manual I'd actively seek out the PDK over the manual, no question.

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