Depreciation Station: 2005-'12 Porsche Boxster

[Editor's Note: This story ran in our September 2017 issue. Some information may be different.]

The original Boxster became a value buy several years ago, and now the second-generation cars are following suit. Today examples can be found in the teens, making it an inexpensive sports car that combines open-top motoring with excellent handling, all from one of the most iconic brands in the business.

With that deal comes a few caveats, however, and they all center on something called the intermediate shaft bearing. It links the crankshaft to the camshafts, and Porsche used a sealed IMS bearing from 1997 through 2008. A sealed bearing sounds like a great thing, except for the fact that it doesn’t last forever-and when it fails, it takes the rest of the engine along with it.

LN Engineering offers IMS bearing upgrades for these engines, and if you’re working on a 2005 example, the bearing is easy to replace. The 2006–’08 engines feature an improved IMS bearing from the factory, but upgrading it requires disassembling the engine. If there’s a bright side to all of this, these are the cars that you’ll find priced so attractively.

Porsche gave the Boxster a new engine for 2009. It featured direct injection, meaning more power plus better economy. This new engine also completely did away with the intermediate shaft and its associated problems. Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK transmission also became available this year. It might only feature two pedals–go and stop–but the PDK provided lightning-fast shifts in both automatic and manual mode. These improvements come with a price, though, as these later cars now start around $25,000.

With both the early and late Boxster, buyers can choose between the standard model or the higher-spec Boxster S. The latter is going to provide more displacement and, as a result, more performance.

Care & Feeding

Vertex Auto specializes in Porsches, and our tips come from Gilbert Mesa, the company’s head of R&D.

We really like the options on the S trim. The Boxster S is a bang-for-your-buck deal–especially if you can get yourself a rare paint-to-sample car. With regards to which year is better, they’re all equally fun and exciting.

The first thing we recommend is having the oil changed. Plain and simple, you can tell a lot about your new car from the oil coming out of the engine. You can also take that extra step and have the oil tested by a third-party lab to see if there are any signs of things that shouldn’t be in the engine.

The one area we would improve is the air/oil separator and the PCV system. The most important issue we’ve been dealing with the last couple of years is hydro-lock from the PCV system. If engine oil accumulates and pools in the intake manifold due to a weak air/oil separator, it can cause catastrophic failure in the engine. Be it the M96 (1996–2005) or M97 (2006–’08) engine, this problem is as prevalent as the IMS.

Keep the cooling fans optimally working. Clean around the fan, not just the area in front of the radiator. Also, try to clean out the intake manifolds–keep them clean and clear of oil puddles.


LN Engineering
(815) 472-2939

Porsche Club of America
(410) 381-0911

Vertex Auto
(866) 668-0660

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