Porsche Boxster Repairs

Resolved Out-of-Warranty Issues

Problem: Windows would roll down about 3 inches while driving
Dealer: My garage
Date: June-2006
The convertible top micro-switch was being tripped when driving over bumps. The switch inaccurately sensed that the convertible top latch was open. Replacing the micro-switch did not fix the problem. The micro-switch had to be modified to add extra padding (a piece of electrical tape) around switch button, making sure the top latch fully engaged the switch when it was closed.

Problem: Large amounts of white smoke out of the exhaust after hard, high engine speed acceleration followed by immediate closed throttle.
Dealer: My garage
Date: Aug-2005
Engine oil level over filled. This caused the Closed Crankcase Ventilation system to deposit engine oil mist into the intake manifold when there were high levels of vacuum (closed throttle at high engine speeds). Solution: lower oil level, clean out intake manifold.

Problem: Ignition switch will not return to the Run position from the Start position, resulting in no accessory power.
Dealer: My garage
Date: June-2004
Ordered a replacement for electrical portion of ignition switch from Autohaus, part number 4A0 905 849.

Problem: Convertible top not closing properly
Dealer: Carlton’s Garage
Date: Jan-2004
The top seams would not line-up properly with the rails above the side windows, just as it was before. I tightened the tension cables for the top, located at the sides of the compartment below the back window. Also adjusted a small arm (held in place by two torx screws) located near the side window frame, accessible when the top is 70% open. Problem resolved.

Resolved Warranty Issues

Problem: Abnormal wear of the convertible top fabric
Dealer: Beechmont Porsche
Date: Jun-03
The top was experiencing abnormal wear in the fabric at the outer edges of where the wear window fold occurs. Top replaced under warranty.
Problem: Convertible top not closing properly
Dealer: Beechmont Porsche
Date: Jan-00
The top would not close properly above the drivers window. This problem occurred the first time I closed the top on the day I brought the car home.

Problem: Storage compartment metal strip
Dealer: Beechmont Porsche
Date: Jan-00
The metal strip in the storage compartment below the convertible top fell out.

Problem: Calibration Update (Vehicle Speed Correction)
Dealer: Beechmont Porsche
Date: Jan-00
The indicated vehicle speed is approximately 5% higher than the actual vehicle speed. The odometer reading was approximately 5% higher than the actual miles traveled. Porsche released a new calibration that corrected the problem. Click here for more info on the problem from my fuel economy page.

Note: The correct speedometer reading for 2.5L engine is 42 miles/hour in 3rd gear at 3000 rpm.

Problem: Drivers window would roll-down on it’s own after parking the car
Dealer: Tom Wood Porsche
Date: Jun-00
Several time, I returned to my car to find the drivers window rolled down about 6 inches. The motor for the window was replaced and the problem has been resolved.Problem: Replaced seal on fuel filler cap
Dealer: Tom Wood Porsche
Date: Jun-00
As part of a campaign from Porsche, the seal on the fuel filler cap was replaced during a warranty visit. I did not notice a problem with the filler cap.

Porsche 986 Boxster Idle Problem:

Engine surges and starts to die when returning to idle
Dealers: Beechmont Porsche, Tom Wood Porsche
Service Dates: 1/00, 6/00, 7/00, 5/01
Status: Still not fixed
Link to PCA Question/Answer for similar problem

Idle Problem Update:

After 4 trips to 2 different dealers, the problem is still unresolved. Due to the extremely poor treatment I received at Tom Wood Porsche in Indianapolis, I decided to work exclusively with Beechmont Porsche in Cincinnati, OH.In June of 2000, I learned of a “DME upgrade” for the engine control software/calibration that would solve the problem. After 2 trips to Tom Wood, they finally tried to perform the update, realized that they didn’t know how to do a full DME recalibration, and called the regional service representative.

They were told by the regional service representative that it wasn’t new software, but rather a reinstallation of the same old software. It was previously believed that the initial software installation at the factory was incomplete and that reprogramming would correct the problem. This is no longer believed to be the case. According the the regional service rep, the “DME upgrade” didn’t solve the problem on the last 3 cars with which he had been involved. I’m still waiting to have this problem resolved.

The vehicle was since taken to Beechmont Porsche in Cincinnati, OH and extensive testing was performed and a factory representative was involved. The conclusion was that a new calibration needed to be developed for the engine computer. I have since been informed that a new calibration will not be made available and that there is no way to resolve this problem.

Idle Problem Description:

Click here for an MPEG movie showing the problem. (290 Kb)
The engine speed will droop well below the intended 800 RPM after depressing the clutch when returning to idle. The speed will droop as low as 600 RPM, at which point the engine starts to stumble and die before recovering and overshooting to 1000 RPM and then returning to the standard 800 RPM idle speed. This problem happens almost every time the car returns to idle, to varying degrees, when the air conditioner is activated by the climate control system.

Idle Problem Duplication:

The problem occurs under many different driving conditions but can be consistently duplicated using the following procedure:

  1. Coolant temperature 170 degrees F or above.
  2. Ambient temperature of approximately 80 degrees F or above
  3. Air conditioner turned ON to lowest setting
  4. Drive in second gear at about 2000 RPM
  5. Lift foot from throttle and allow engine to motor (coast) down to about 1200 RPM.
  6. Depress the clutch when engine speed reaches approximately 1200 RPM
  7. Idle speed will drop to as low as 600 RPM, the engine will shake, stutter, and start to die
  8. Engine will then recover by overshooting to 1000 RPM and then returning to 800 RPM (normal idle speed)

Picture From Step 7: Engine speed drops to 600 RPM and starts to shutter and die after depressing the clutch while driving. (Engine speed of just below 700 RPM shown in the picture – it was hard to capture 600 RPM with the digital camera.)

Idle Problem Duplication – Secondary situation when the problem occurs:

1. Make a sharp turn to either the left or the right with the clutch pedal depressed.

2. The power steering apparently adds excessive load to the engine, and engine speed droops to about 600 RPM, starts to die, then over-compensates to 1000 RPM, and recovers to the desired speed of 800 RPM.

Graph of Idle Problem:

Porsche has identified this problem to be engine computer calibration related. Here is a list of other possible causes I was told were ruled out by Porsche:

1. Idle Air Bypass Valve Hysteresis (Sticking)

2. Mass Air Flow Sensor – Inaccurate at low engine speed transient conditions

3. Intake Manifold Pressure Sensor, Intake Manifold Temperature Sensor, or Throttle Position Sensor in-range failure/out-of-specification – could effect air flow prediction calculation (not likely, Mass Air Flow Sensor should perform this measurement)

4. Higher than expected accessory load from the air conditioner, etc.

5. Intake manifold air leak (not likely, would result in higher idle speeds, not lower)

6. Software expecting low accessory loads and/or gain is too slow to react at higher accessory loads. (not likely, problem would be much more wide-spread?)

7. Fuel injection quantity too low or Oxygen Sensor incorrectly reading Air/Fuel ratio (not likely a fuel system problem, most likely air-control related)

Dealer Experiences:

Beechmont Porsche – Cincinnati, OH: 2 visits – A rating

  • Provided a Rental Car free of charge
  • Technically competent
  • Researched factory service updates to find relevance to my problems
  • Very friendly, good service
  • The Dealership placed a follow-up / survey call to determine my satisfaction.

Tom Wood – Indianapolis, IN: 2 visits – D rating

  • Charged me for the rental car
  • Technician knew next to nothing about the Porsche Electronic Service Tool
  • Did not fix all of my problems after the first visit but told me that they did
  • Did not fully investigate my complaints that they did not understand how to resolve
  • The service manager did not call me back after my second visit to let me know what he had found from the factory service representative in order to solve my problem.
  • The Dealership placed only one follow-up / survey phone call — but they left a message and never called back. They did not call me after my first visit at all. I was never able to give them my opinion of their service.

Related Links:

Instructions for Replacing Air Filter

Instructions for Replacing Cabin Filter

Instructions for Headlight Removal

Instructions on how to replace Rear Main Seal (RMS) on a Porsche M96 engine

Written by on 2006-Nov-12, Last updated on: 2012-May-24 in: |


  • Sarah says:

    Thanks! The car is working again – just needed the new beru coil, but only thing is now the ignition / engine light is still on. Any ideas on how to fix that? Also either the roof light or boot light is always on. Maybe its just a faulty fuse?

    • Carlton Bale says:

      You will need to clear the fault code with a code reader. It may eventually go inactive on its own, but I’d go ahead and read the code and then clear them.

      As for the other lights, they are most likely from microswitches that are not being properly depressed. The switch where the top latches to the windshield is particularly trouble-prone.

      • Sarah says:

        Thanks! The fault code did go inactive on its own.
        One more question and I’m done. Promise. The Porsche (1999 boxter) has water in front boot area, and also behind the drivers seat. Its been raining a bit lately and car was outside for a few days, but it is more than just a bit damp, its really quite wet.. in front boot – it was a puddle! Behind drivers seat is quite damp… Any ideas what this might be?

  • Sheri says:

    Hi, I need some input I love my 2000 Porsche Boxster but not sure what to do. I noticed I had some oil spots in my driveway so I brought it to the local import repair shop to be checked out before my extended warrenty expires and he told me I have a leak from my valve gasket seal, o-ring seal and oil net. Since I am a girl do you think he is feeding me a line? So I asked him how much to repair it and he said he does not fix leaks! I only have a few small oil spots and the car runs fine. Thoughts?

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Oil leaks won’t cause any performance issues. The repair will mostly be labor taking the covers on and off to replace the gaskets. The gaskets themselves are relatively inexpensive. The rear main crankshaft seal is notorious for failure on these engines. They are a bit more labor intensive. Hopefully you don’t have that issue.

      As far as the mechanic not fixing leaks, that’s idiotic. They should fix whatever they are paid to fix that is broken. Find a different mechanic.

  • Sheri says:

    Thank you, Carlton. Do you know of any good mechanics in the area (zip 08753)?

  • ken says:

    I have a 1999 boxster. It periodically will not start and, at times, stall while driving. The car will turn over but no gas seems to be getting in. Recently, it has had new plugs and an oil change. The worst incident was when I accelerated at a green light and all the lights on the panel went on and the car died in the middle of intersection. Fortunately I had enough inertia to coast to side of road. I have taken it to one mechanic and I went out and bought a fuel pump relay but this did not correct it. What on earth is going on?

  • Jon says:

    1998 Boxster with triptronic
    Had the tranny rebuilt. It will upshift fine. Downshifts properly sometimes but most of the time it does not downshift till I come to a complete stop. If I switch to manual it would downshift properly. Sometimes it will downshift properly. Sometimes when I am coming to a stop I can see the shifting go from 5 to 4 then back to 5. Some reason it shifts back up. Any suggestions??

  • james says:

    anyone’s porky being suffering from:
    >poor/rough idling
    >stalls at traffic lights
    >engine management light on
    >engine management light flashes

    I’ve done lots of research on this and I’ve talked to more mechanics then a I care to remember – hallelujah – PRAISE THE LORD -I’VE FIXED THE PROBLEM…

    I changed the following – because porsche mechanics said it would be either:
    >coil pack issues – REPLACED – still rough
    >MAS – air flow meter – REPLACED – still rough
    >Oil breather pipe and circuit – REPLACED – still rough
    >Service – REPLACED – still rough

    The answer was – THE BATTERY……
    I changed the battery as it went dead a few times and i thought starting in the winter seemed a little difficult so I replaced the battery for £84….

    IT NOW RUNS LIKE AN ANGEL… if you have rough idling on a porsche boxter – try the battery first. When they tested the old battery they said it was fine – but it wasn’t..

    Pleased to say it all works fine and no lights on the dash.. hope this helps anyone else out there in porky land..

  • William says:

    I have a 02 porsche boxster automatic 2.7, the car cranks (turn) but don’t start, I replaced the battery and check the starter (fine) the problem continue. Anybody have an idea that what could be the problem.

  • Carlos Menjivar says:

    Hi, I just bought a 2000 Boxster and for two weeks, it was running beautifully. Last Friday, I took it to the car wash and the following morning it starting with a rough idle. The transmission is tentronic. I did not receive the cars owner manual with the car so I do not know what to do.

    Please help-help with any advice

  • Sarah says:

    Hi there,
    I have a 1999 Boxter Porsche, and it has just started making a loud whiring noise and feels a bit jumpy. About a week ago I topped up the oil with a 1 litre bottle, as the light came on after I put fuel in a few weeks before. Could I have put too much in? Its hard to read the dip-stick – Seems to cover all of the red.
    It seemed to be a bit rough lately, thats why I though I should top up the oil – I know it also needs a service, but it costs so much I don’t think I can afford it right now.
    I’m too scared to drive it now, if the engine blows up or something mad. Any ideas of what it might be?

    • cgbale says:

      If there is a check engine light, have it checked to see if that gives an indication as to the problem. If it was over-filled with oil, it will be easy for a mechanic to remove the rubber air intake hose to see if there is engine oil on the throttle assembly.

  • eddie says:

    Several problems…2001 Porsche booster S…
    CEL on.
    Few oil spots on driveway each day.
    High idle. When warm, it jumps to 1200 then down to 800rpm and does so over and over.
    Seeks from riverside (left side) front end- any movement of the car when warm or after 30 minutes of driving causes squeaking. When going over bumps at a tangent there is also a clonk tak tak sound from that same side. When parked, I can reproduce the squeak by pressing or sitting on the front left fender. I had same exact problem with my previous boxster as well, but totalled it before I found the problem.
    If anyone can help me with information on any of those issues, I’m forever humbled and grateful. Please gents, and ladies. I need you.

    • I had a really annoying squeak (creaking) from the front suspension on both sides of my boxster. I discovered that it came from the bottom swivel on the lower control arm. I cured the noise by making a tiny hole in the rubber boot covering the swivel and spraying a little wd40 inside. I learned of this trick from a video on you tube, type in “Why does my porsche boxster’s front suspension squeak, creak.

  • Ken says:

    I have a 2000 Porsche Boxster S. This problem just started. There is no thortlle response for the first third of pedal movement, (and thus, the lack of power, as it seems as though there is now only 2/3 of thortlle left).

    • Carlton Bale says:

      I think this would be described to a mechanic as hesitation. It’s most likely a bad mass air flow sensor causing under-fueling. This is somewhat common. It could also be oxygen sensors, but not as likely.

  • Doug says:

    I replaced the engine in this car, after which I drove it and it ran excellent. the ignition switch failed and I had the mechanic replace it. In his wisdom the intake manifold was removed (not sure why). after which the car will start and idle perfectly. However, when you accelerate it, stopped or driving, it will not rev over 2000 rpm and will backfire, sputter when you do attempt more. I have had it checked (by another mechanic) and he advises the engine looses all vacuum pressure when accelerated. the engine is a 2.5l in a 99 Porsche Boxster

    • Doug says:

      I have recently diagnosed the problem as a mass air flow sensor. it was taken out, cleaned and re-installed.now the car drives very well.

  • Jose V. says:

    So my girlfriends 98 boxster started to do the idle issue not long ago. We took off the idle valve and took it apart. There is a pin that holds the two parts from spinning off. After spinning off the two halfs we cleaned them with maf cleaner. Dried it with compressed air and reassemble it. Idle is now rock steady at ~800 rpm I hope it helps someone, we where ready to buy a new one…

  • carl says:

    2004 boxster stalls at 179 degrees. restart rpm goes to 1000 rpm? Today it would not restart had to wait an hour until the engine cooled. the exhaust tone gets a bit deeper as well. however, the engine temp does not exceed about 185? Can this be a purge solenoid or another sensor?

  • Cal says:

    I have an 03 base boxster and replaced the aos and drove the car about 50 miles and let it set,started it and still let out small amount of smoke and it smelled rich,other then that no codes and runs fine. Have any idea

  • Eddie. says:

    Hi. I have a 1997 Boxster right Hand drive. But, I have had water coming under Drivers seat. Cant find Drainage To see if Blocked, Nothing in the Drivers Manual, Which is not very Good. Any Help would be Helpful

  • justin says:

    My 2001 porsche boxter ran out of fuel is there a reset switch or amlnythimg special b u have to do to get it to start

  • niki says:

    hello.my Boxster s 2001 has a very low battery it still go’s low on me, in just one night!..
    My alternator works great! The car will run . I can tell there is an electrical drain on it, when I remove the positive cable while still on charge the chargers gauge moves higher, when cable is re-connected it drags it down a little.This drain is not something small, it is a very powerful drag like leaving headlights on.I don’t understand the test, because if you connect between the positive battery, and the positive battery cable with a voltmeter you will get 12.6, and that is what I get.Alternator works great, igition is not a problem, no lights left on

    • Carlton Bale says:

      niki, I’m not sure what could be causing your problem. I’m experiencing a similar electrical issue, but only with the key switch on. The lights on the dash lights will flicker, the starter will sometimes not engage. It could be that it’s a bad alternator, or it could be something related to the vehicle control module going bad. Let me know if you figure out your issue and I’ll do the same.

    • Dan says:

      I had similar issue. It may be related to old coolant. If it changes pH it can complete a circuit. Your water pump and radiator may be disintegrating if this is true. I killed 3 batteries in 5 years before my water pump failed and dumped all the coolant. No low batteries since then.

  • Paul says:

    Carlton, got a question for you! I have a 99 Boxster 2.5 with 86K miles on it. My CEL popped on with the codes P1124 and P1126. No rough idle. No smoke. No stalling. Perfect acceleration, perfect shifting. Runs like when I bought it, which is awesome!! Nothing to indicate anything is wrong. I tried taking off the oil cap (thinking AOS) and was told that if the RPM’s dropped then that was ok. It dropped maybe to 750-700 (from a normal 800 range). Cannot hear any hissing or anything. I am totally perplexed at this. Thoughts on the matter?

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Paul, those two fault codes are indicating that both exhaust oxygen sensors are reading out of specification. It could be that both are bad, but it’s more likely it’s something in the intake causing an issue that both sensors are detecting. The most likely cause is the intake mass air flow sensor. It could also be an air intake leak anywhere in the intake manifold (or air oil separator.) Less likely causes are the fuel system (fuel pump) not delivering enough fuel. I’d start with the mass air flow sensor, and be sure to use the genuine Porsche version as there are different versions that require different software versions in the computer; the Bosch aftermarket version is not compatible with all vehicles.

      Here’s a forum post that’s related: http://rennlist.com/forums/boxster-and-boxster-s-986-forum/867915-1999-boxster-p1126-and-p1124.html

      • Greg Seay says:


        Ran across this thread below, which sounds almost exactly like the problem my 2000 Boxster S is having. A local Porsche speed shop tried unsuccessfully to install a Bosch aftermarket mass airflow sensor, along with all new O2 sensors. Surprise, surprise, the new Bosch MAF didn’t solve the uneven idle. But an older, faulty MAF installed as a control, cured the rough idle but threw trouble codes that were problematic for passing emissions.

        Now, I have a new, overly-pricey Porsche OEM MAF sensor, a cleaned-up throttle body, both of which cleared the “check-engine” light but still left the car with that annoying up-and-down idle. I’m at wits end. Is the problem the replacement parts, the engine-management software, the service shop, or all three? Thanks. Greg

        Carlton Bale
        2015-July-13 at 9:51 pm
        Paul, those two fault codes are indicating that both exhaust oxygen sensors are reading out of specification. It could be that both are bad, but it’s more likely it’s something in the intake causing an issue that both sensors are detecting. The most likely cause is the intake mass air flow sensor. It could also be an air intake leak anywhere in the intake manifold (or air oil separator.) Less likely causes are the fuel system (fuel pump) not delivering enough fuel. I’d start with the mass air flow sensor, and be sure to use the genuine Porsche version as there are different versions that require different software versions in the computer; the Bosch aftermarket version is not compatible with all vehicles.
        Here’s a forum post that’s related: http://rennlist.com/forums/boxster-and-boxster-s-986-forum/867915-1999-boxster-p1126-and-p1124.html

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