For the last few weeks, I have been driving the car only once a week, and for only a few miles. I’ve been too busy to do anything else! Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that the car is getting harder and harder to start. This week, it almost didn’t turn over. I decided to check the battery. Sure enough, it was low. After three days on a trickle charge, it is still not fully charged. This is not a good sign. It would appear that I now have an electrical “leak” somewhere, or that the relatively new battery is slowly dying. Perhaps I should start driving the car more so the alternator has time to charge the battery. Yes, that might be helpful.
I’m also still checking for water leaks. So far, there are none, but I also haven’t driven the car long enough to heat it up very much. Maybe next week, I’ll take the car on a long drive.
OK… so after a week of having the engine light staying on anytime I drive, it suddenly decided to turn off. I have never experienced this before. In my experience, the only way to get the engine light off is to take it to the shop and have them do it. With a Porsche, that might cost $1000.
I did talk to the shop guy last week and of course he wanted me to bring my car in. I did not. According to him, even when the water is boiling and the car is overheating, Porsches are designed not to leak steam. In other words, I should never have lost water. The fact that I was down half a gallon is an indication that I have a leak somewhere. I have never seen a leak of any type of fluid coming from the vehicle, so the radiator and associated hoses seems unlikely. With all the steam I get out the tailpipe in the morning when I first warm the car up, a head gasket issue is more likely. I cannot afford any repairs right now, so I guess I’ll keep feeding it water as needed and drive it until it breaks. Actually, a $10. can of “stop leak” sounds like a better solution than a $1000. shop visit any day, except that I don’t know what stop leak would do to my precious engine. With the engine light turning off, I have some hope that things are now alright, but way back in my mind, I still wonder if the car going to explode, likely when I’m miles away from home. I now hesitate to drive it more than a couple miles away from home, and I certainly won’t lend the car out so others can take long trips with it. To me, it has become a little unreliable.
At band practice on Friday, the car turned over slowly, and then it seemed to be running on only five cylinders. The car was shaking side-to-side. No matter, I thought, an injector valve is temporarily stuck or a spark plug has fowled. I can still get this thing home. Well… at the first stoplight, the car died. I was able to revive it just as the light turned green, but I had to keep throttling it to keep the car from stalling. Not good; fortunately, I hit green lights all the way to the last turn light that would take me to my street. It died there too, even though I was trying to keep the car at 2000 RPM. Again, I was able to get it started just as the light turned green, but now I had to rev it to 4000 RPM and higher to keep it going. It was at that point that the engine warning light turned on. The car started to smell of burnt oil. I got it into my garage, looked under the car to see if there was any liquid dripping out; nope. I opened the trunk to see if the radiator was steaming; yup. I let the car cool down overnight. This morning, I took the car around the block a few times and the car ran just fine – no problems at all, though the engine warning light is still on. Whatever happened last night remains a mystery. I did have to put a half gallon of water in the radiator, but with so much steam last night, that is expected. How a car could get so overheated in just 2.5 miles is beyond me.
Alas, now I must once again make an appointment to get the car serviced. I’m out of warranty now, and I don’t really have the money for yet another service call. Even under warranty, these service calls have been costing me $2500. At some point, the cost of service will outpace the initial cost of the car.
Sort of funny: when I put in an email request for service, the sales department called and asked if I simply wanted to trade my old, out of warranty car for a new car. I guess Porsche people don’t keep their cars for long before they get a new one (I’m sure many of them lease their cars). I won’t be one of those people, not because I don’t love the car, but because I am about to become a teacher, and teachers don’t make enough money to drive a Porsche.
So funny; I finally connect via Facebook with a long-time friend of mine in Scotland, and one of the first things he tells me is that he’s just bought a (right-hand drive) Porsche Spider RS60. This now makes three layout engineers I know who own Porsches. We must all be wired-up in some unique way. He also noticed almost immediately that I had one.
The somewhat unique thing that I like about the RS60 Spider is that it only comes with a red interior and that it has the Cayman’s “shark” intakes. Both make the car look better than the standard Boxter. The thing that doesn’t appeal to me so much: this 2008 special edition Boxter only comes in silver with a red roof. Still, the car looks awesome and I’m sure Andrew will have many wonderful years of enjoyment with it.
He also seems to have attracted no shortage of people who want to “borrow” his car… just like me.
Believe it or not, I have yet to take my Porsche on a road trip. With the kids away at camp for the week, we decided it was time (you can read about the weekend trip over at “The New Thing” blog). The car was simply fabulous along highway one, and on the long straight-a-ways as well. The gas mileage was way better than in the city as well (23 vs 16). We’ll definitely have to do this again!
It’s time for the car’s first smog check since I’ve owned it. Surprisingly, it’s not as expensive as I would have thought – taking it to the Porsche dealership. I will likely continue to take it there every other year.
Since I had to go to the dealer anyway, I also signed up for the car’s 40K major service work (though I’m at 37K). I figured that with the two year warranty expiring soon, this would be a good time to get the work done. That work, unlike the smog check, is extremely expensive, but then they’re doing a lot of work on the car: changing all fluids, sparkplugs, tail lights and belts. I couldn’t easily do the work, since it’s mid-engine and most access is from beneath, so I’m (sort of) happy to pay them to do the work.
While I was there, Gunter showed me the new 911s. He was quite proud of them and I must admit that there were several subtle improvements that I liked very much! Will I get a new 911? No, no time soon anyway. I don’t have that kind of cash, I’m generally opposed to buying a new car and the Cayman is still the mid-engine wonder that I originally targeted to be my ideal car. The Turbo S still appeals to me as an upgrade, but it would be a $100K upgrade.
Today, my car hit a wall of traffic — there was a five car pile-up that spread across two of the three lanes of highway 880. I thought that this would be a nightmare for me, since the clutch on this car is extremely heavy and going slow is something this car doesn’t like to do. I was wrong, it was actually OK. Sure, the clutch remained hard, but I discovered that once in gear, this car can purr along at 5MPH with no difficulty and no stalling (thanks to the replacement of all those O2 parts). It also doesn’t jerk around like my Honda — I don’t have to ride the clutch!
Recently, I have discovered that this car has some sort of hill assist on the clutch. Fantastic! It sure came into play this morning, as 880 turns out to be quite hilly — something you simply don’t notice at highway speeds.
For the second day in a row, I didn’t feel like chipping ice off my Honda, so I took the Porsche. I really didn’t think I’d be using it this much in the winter. It’s definitely a weekend/summer car, but you know what, it’s also the best option for cold mornings. My commute the past two days have been warm and stress-free. It’s going to cost me in gas though…
The car has another plus – aggressive drivers don’t bother me. Most won’t even try to be aggressive, and I can leave those who want to be aggressive in the dust. I have so many more “tools” to play with in this car (faster cornering, more zip). It is the great equalizer. I get no respect in the Honda.
As winter approaches, I realize what a special car this is. The climate control is simply spectacular (for both hot and cold weather!), the defrost is quick, and the heated seats are really nice as well. My drive to work is so much more stress-free (than my blue car) thanks to these bits of comfort (plus a simply awesome Bose 10 speaker system pumping out Pink Floyd this morning). It truly is a phenomenal machine.
I was checking out a potential vendor today and my contact couldn’t help but spot my car out the window. Apparently, he has been a Porsche fan his entire life, but can’t afford one. I remember being there only recently (and truth be told, I currently can’t afford my car!). His VP owns an anniversary edition Boxter and has a huge Porsche poster in his office – a true fan! This keeps my contact constantly thinking about Porsche. When he found out that I got mine used, and at a decent price, I think he may have begun calculations in his head about how he could possibly afford one now… with a wife and two young ones at home. My advice – get approval from the wife first!