Published in the December 2016 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”

If you’re looking for the most bang-for-your-buck in a used Porsche then look no further than the 2004 Boxster (986) or Carrera (996).

These two vehicles are prime examples of undervalued platforms, mainly due to one very real issue inherent to the engines in these vehicles: the IMS bearing.

We have written about the issue in some of our previous Tech Articles, but more importantly we’ve also covered the solution which, after installed, makes these engines very reliable and enjoyable.

So, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

Why do I say that they are such great buys?

The 2004 model year for both, the Boxster and the Carrera share the same engine block design and architecture.  It was the last of it’s run, before Porsche introduced the 987/997 engines, so they are the best of their lot with all of the factory improvements to that date.  Aside from the IMS issue, these engines have no other real problems, but because of the IMS problem, widely spread via the Internet, these cars have ben dramatically devalued, making them ripe for the picking.

So, the recommendation is find one of these gems by doing some Internet research in your area.  You’ll see that with a little patience you will find 2004 Carreras right around $20,000 and Boxsters for $5,000 - $8,000 less.

Obviously, the “S” versions will cost a bit more but they also offer more horse power, bigger brakes and some other goodies as well.

There’s no big price differential between manual or Tiptronic transmissions, so it’s up to your preference.  Obviously, all of the Boxsters will be convertibles and some will be available with the optional hard top.  About 60% of the Carreras (in South Florida) are convertibles so you have that option as well.

You can find really good examples that have been well taken care of, but have been let go by their previous owners mostly because of fear of the IMS.  As you may or may not know, when the IMS bearing fails, the engine is unfixable.

With a bit of TLC and an extra $3,000 - $4,000 or so you can have an excellent example that will bring you many happy road-miles which generally become what we call permagrin.

And once you take care of the IMS by installing the highly recommended Direct Oil Feed system, the rest is just cosmetic and maintenance. 

If the leather is a little worn and or scratched, there are products such as or that allow you to DIY with great results.

Then work on the exterior.  Generally a good washing/claying/polishing/waxing removes oxidants from the paint and well as swirl marks and spider webs and the wax seals it with a high gloss finish.

After you’re finished you will have increased the value of you “new” vehicle by more than what you invested, something similar to redoing the kitchen and bathrooms in your house.  You will get more back than what you put in.

For more information on the 2004 cars, the IMS, the DOF and more, please visit my website:   www

Happy Porsche’ing,

Ⓒ2016 Technolab /