2 ton jack, jack stands, jack pad tool, filter removal tool
986 Boxster (1997-04) 987 Boxster (2005-08)
Oil filter kit, 7-10 Quarts of Motor Oil
Make sure that you have a big enough bucket
Prolonged engine life and reliability
Install synthetic oil
This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
Check out some other sample projects from the book:
One of the most common tasks to perform is replacing your engine oil. Frequent oil changes are perhaps the most important procedure you can do to maintain and prolong the life of your engine. However, with the better oils that are available today, the requirement for frequent changes is diminishing. Even though Porsche now recommends oil change intervals that are much farther apart than in the past, I usually recommend that you keep the changes under the 5,000-mile limit. If you don't drive your car too often, you should change the oil at least once a year to keep things fresh.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you have everything that is required for the job. Nothing is more frustrating than emptying your oil, only to find out that you don't have a replacement filter or enough oil. You will need an oil filter, the special Porsche oil filter removal tool, a roll of paper towels, a very large oil pan or bucket, and between 7-9 quarts of oil. You'll also need an 8 mm hex socket tool to remove the drain plug from the bottom of the engine sump. Start by driving the car around, and let it heat up to operating temperature. You'll want to empty your oil when it's hot, because the heat makes the oil flow a lot easier, and more particles of metal and dirt will come out when the oil is emptied.
Once you get the car parked, place the oil pan bucket underneath the oil sump of the car. At the bottom of the engine sump there is a plug that is used for draining oil. If your Boxster is too low to the ground to fit your oil change pan bucket underneath, then you will have to raise the car off of the ground (see Pelican Technical Article: Jacking up the Boxster). Remove this plug carefully, and make sure you have a very large oil pan: at least a 10-quart capacity - under it, with a drip pan under the bucket in case you underestimate. The oil will be very hot, and will empty out extremely quickly, so be careful not to burn yourself (wear rubber gloves). There will be no time to grab any more buckets or oil pans if you underestimate, so make sure that the one you choose is big enough.
While the oil is draining, it is a good time to remove the oil filter. You want to make sure that you remove the filter with the oil pan still under the car because the oil filter is full of oil, and this oil will have a tendency to drip down out of the filter into the engine and out the drain hole. The Boxster filter is a cartridge-type filter, which is contained within a plastic oil filter housing next to the bottom sump underneath the car. You will typically need the factory oil filter housing removal tool, or a comparable one in order to remove the housing. Remove the plastic housing, and underneath you will see the cartridge filter. Simply pull on it to remove it from the engine: it will be stuck on a pipe pointing down out of the engine. Have plenty of paper towels on hand, as oil will spill from the filter if you're not careful.
While all of your oil is draining, take the drain plug from the engine, and carefully clean it with a paper towel. When the plug is clean, replace it in the car with a new metal gasket. Torque the plug to 50 Nm (37 ft-lb).
Now install the new oil filter. Simply take the filter cartridge and place it on the oil pipe exiting the bottom of the engine. One side of the filter should be slightly beveled to enable you to easily slip the filter onto the pipe. Clean out the inside of the oil filter housing and replace the o-ring with a new one before installing the new oil filter cartridge. Slightly lubricate the o-ring with some fresh motor oil prior to installing it. Now, screw on the filter housing and make it snug tight. Torque it to 25 Nm (19 ft-lb).
Now it's time to fill up your Porsche with motor oil. A lot of people aren't really sure what motor oil to use in their car. Traditionally, the characteristics of motor oil were linked closely to its weight. Heavier-weight oils protect well against heat; lighter-weight oils flow better in cold. In general, if you live in a cold climate, you should use a 10W-40 or similar oil. This oil is a 10-weight oil that behaves and protects against heat like a 40-weight oil. In warmer climates, you should use a 20W-50 oil. This oil doesn't flow as well at the colder climates, but gives an extra edge on the hotter end. I have put a lot more info on motor oils on the 101Projects.com site: check there for more recommendations.
The question of whether to use synthetic or traditional dinosaur oil often comes up among car buffs. Consumer Reports (July 1996) ran an extensive test on the two types of oil, altering amongst many different brands. The testers installed freshly rebuilt engines in 75 taxicabs, and then ran them through the harshest conditions on the streets of New York City. Placing different brands, weights, and formulations in the cars, they racked up 60,000 miles on the engines, tore them down, measured, and inspected the engine components for wear. The oil was changed at 3,000 miles in half of them, and the rest were changed at 6,000 miles. The results: regardless of brand, synthetic or dino, weight, and oil change interval, there were no discernable differences in engine component wear in any of the engines. Their conclusion? Motor oils and the additives blended into them have improved so much over the years that frequent oil changes and expensive synthetics are no longer necessary.
Still, some people swear by synthetic oil. In practice, I don't recommend using synthetic oil if you have an older car with old seals in the engine. There have been many documented cases in which the addition of synthetic oil has caused an otherwise dry car to start leaking. If you own an older Boxster that doesn't have fresh seals in the engine, I would stick to the non-synthetics. However, if synthetic oil was the only type of oil that your engine has seen, I usually recommend sticking with it.
Fill your oil tank from the oil filler hole located in the rear trunk. Add about 5 quarts to the engine, and check the dipstick (1997-04), or the oil level gauge (2005-). Continue to add about a half a quart at a time and keep checking the level (total capacity should be about 9 quarts). Fill it up until it reaches the top mark of the dipstick or gauge - the engine oil level will automatically lower when the oil filter fills up with oil. Make sure that you put the oil filler cap back on the top of the filler hole, otherwise, you will end up with a messy trunk compartment when you drive away. While you're at it, also check the seal in the oil filler cap. A vacuum leak in this cap will cause rough running when you go to start the engine.
If you had the car up on jack stands, lower it down to the ground. Now, start up the engine. The oil pressure light should stay on for about a second or two and then go out. Hop out of the car and look at the engine underneath, then take a quick look underneath the car. Verify that there's no volume of oil seeping out of the engine. Take the car out for a drive and bring it up to operating temperature. Shut the car off and then recheck the oil level (careful, the car will be hot). At this point, I like to top the oil off at the top point on the dipstick. Make sure that you dispose of your old oil at a respectable recycling station.
Begin the oil change process by removing the drain plug underneath the car. The plug should accept an 8mm hex socket tool (inset). I recommend that you replace the small metal gasket underneath the plug each time, as it helps guard against oil leaks.
The filter housing will probably be stuck and difficult to remove from the engine. The best way to get it off is with the Porsche oil filter housing removal tool. Simply slide the tool on and remove the housing from the engine.
Take the filter and push it up onto the oil pipe. There should be one end of the filter that's slightly beveled to ease the installation process. With the filter in place, install the oil filter housing back onto the engine.
Fill your car with oil from the inlet in the front of the rear trunk. The oil filler hole is on the left side, and the oil cap is a light tan in color. If you're quick and skilled with the bottle, you can pour without spilling. However, most people use a funnel to help prevent a mess.
Pull your dipstick and check to make sure you have ample oil in your engine sump (1997-03 only). Wipe down the end of the dipstick prior to inserting it into the engine: this will help you achieve an accurate reading.
Shown here is a full-flow spin-on oil filter adapter, allowing for use of a conventional spin-on oil filter, rather than requiring the use of expensive and inferior replacement cartridge-style filters. Manufactured by LN Engineering, this design makes changing your oil a somewhat simpler task. With the adapter, you no longer have to handle the filter cartridge, worry about contamination of the oil filter housing, or worry about cross threading the cheap plastic filter housing. The spin-on oil filter adapter also helps improve the longevity of your engine by providing full flow filtration, which means 100% of the oil gets filtered without having oil bypass the filter (an improvement over the factory design).
Comments: I see many Porsche owners wanting to use K&N air filters per advertised claims. If you read closely, they usually never discuss filtration properties. 10 years ago I had a motorcycle that I ran a K&N filter in. I always found it strange how the airbox always seemed to have a fine grit in it. One night I researched this symptom only to find that a gauze filter inpregnanted with oil does not filter out silicates 5 micron grit very well. Consequently, I switched back to the original paper filters immediately. In reality, do you think Porsche would try to save $39 on a $50,000 - $140,000 if a K&N filters were better than the OEM paper. In closing, many experts claim more engine wear is caused by dirty/insufficient air filters than long interval oil changes. In my Boxster I use nothing but Mahle oil and air filters specified for 2001 Boxster.
February 20, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: The test on the taxi cabs you mentioned aren't really valid. I own a VW, Audi, BMW, and Porsche repair shop. What we tend to see from conventional oils is they plug the breather system up on German cars which have a very complex breather/PCV system.
Especially on the turbocharged vehicles, using conventional oil can cause the orifices to plug up and cause breather system failure. Also, a lot of these engines run very hot in the German cars, some of the FSI and engines run cruising fuel ratios around 17:1 air fuel ratio. We have had customers come into the shop after having their breather system replaced two years ago, having been using Jiffy Lube oil, and already need the breather replaced again. Now, there are synthetics that are in use that are worse than the best conventional oils, but good synthetics are far superior than conventional oils for German vehicles. With conventional oils, you WILL end up with oil leaks.
So basically it isn't really an engine wear issue, it's a breather system, pcv issue, which is extremely expensive on many of these cars. Breather systems typically last 100,000 miles or close to with good Synthetic oil, while with conventional oils, they typically last only 60 - 80k. I strongly suggest you use synthetic oil in everything. It is much cheaper in the long run. Sludge problems are a very real issue for German cars.
February 20, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
1 While the L&N oil filter adapter offers full filtration, if oil filter becomes clogged, etc., adapter does not allow for bypass oil flow as Porsche engineers intended with original design, thus engine will starve from lack of oil and lead to catastrophic engine damage.
2 In 2002 Porsche published a bulletin stipulating to use Mobil 1 0-40 in all modern Porsches. This is an European spec oil that has higher standards than American API standards. I have 110,000 miles on my 2001 Boxster and Mobil 1 0-40 at 5,000 mile intervals is all I have ever used - car continues to run perfectly and use no oil between oil changes I still average 28 mpg. Recently had original clutch replaced little wear, original water pump replaced bladed beginning to crack, and immediate shaft bearing replaced with an L&N after reading horror stories on internet. When original bearing was inspected after L&N bearing installed, found original was still factory fresh with no lateral play and bearing and traces untouched exhibiting minimum to no wear. My car has been trouble free since acquiring it with 10,000 miles on it.
3 I allow 1 hour drain intervals when changing oil amazing how much oil runs out during this time. Replace with 9.3 quarts. Place filter cartridge inside plastic housing, then gently screw housing onto engine block threads being careful not to cross-thread. In this way, cartridge is centered between housing housing has a metal lip in bottom to seal filter, and stalk coming from engine block. If you jam filter up on stalk, may push it so far up on stalk that filter cartridge does not make proper seal with bottom of plastic housing.
4 Maintenance for 2001 Boxster is 25K for air filter, 60K for spark plugs during last change using Beru, plugs were light grey with no carbon, 60K for fuel filter. Using these intervals, have not had any problems - none!
February 13, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I have a 2003 S model Boxster with only 29000 Klm's on it and it has had Mobil One in it since new .
I will stay with synthetic but does it have to be the same brand . I noticed Castrol's synthetic is quite a bit less money here then Mobil . Any issues of using syn's of the same weight ?
November 12, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can use any synthetic you want. Just be sure it is approved by Porsche and is a full synthetic. Castrol makes a nice oil as well as Mobil. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Hi My name is Alfred and I need the right tool to change the oil in my 2005 porsche boxster can you help me??
August 21, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe this is the tool you need: http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/smart/more_info.cgi ?pn=000-721-920-40-OEM&catalog_description=&Oil%2520Filter%2520Removal%2520Socket%2520Wrench%2520Tool%2520%252D%2520Boxster%252FBoxster%2520S%2520%2528%2531%2539%2539%2537%252D%2530%2538%2529%2520
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can double check that this is the right tool.- Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: I have a boxster s 2005 could I start using k&N air filters or is it better stick with the paper ones ? thx
August 17, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: As long as it is not overoiled it should be OK. If you over oil the filter, damage to the mass air flow sensor can occur. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: How would you reset the service reminder indicator after an oil change for a 08 Boxster S? Is there a special tool required.
July 24, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: The only way to reset the service indicator is using a Porsche scan tool. There is no manual way to perform it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Please note that if you have replaced the stock drain plug with the Pelican magnetic plug, you will need a 10mm hex nut wrench to remove it, rather than the 8mm one indicated in the text.
June 15, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional information. We appreciate the help. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Thanks for posting my enquiry to hopefuly get a reply on how to change the oil and what parts are needed for the oil and filter change on the 13 boxster base model
April 23, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find the right parts for your oil change.
You will need a 10mm Allen bit to remove the oil drain plug, going my memory on size. The oil filter is a cartidge type, serviced from below, you will need a special cartidge socket to remove it. Our parts specialists can get that for you too. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: How do I change the oil on a 2013 boxster 2.7L engine? Is it different from the procedure listed in the article? What tools do I need?
April 19, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't had the pleasure to perform one yet. I would assume the procedure is different. I am posting this in our forum to see if someone in the community can help. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: o1 carrera 4 cabrio , just got it and am uncertain when its last oil change was, i got a filter from the local porsche dealer but im going to have the work done at the infiniti dealership where i work. we use mobil 1 5w30, is this weight ok to use?
January 29, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm pretty sure that is okay for use on your C4. Depending on where you live I would use a little bit heavier weight oil summer, but for the winter months the 5W-30 is fine. - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: Why does the 2008 Boxster have a recommended oil change interval of 12,000 miles while all others are 20,000? I realize both are too long...
January 19, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: The the car companies these days have been under extreme pressure to increase their oil change intervals, to reduce the amount of used oil that needs to be recycled. While this is great for the environment, it has a tendency to sometimes put a lot of stress and pressure on these engines, as they need to be designed to run longer intervals between oil changes. The longer intervals have been theorized causes some of the engine failures that we have seen in the earlier Boxster and 996 engines, so I still recommend that you change your oil every 3000 miles. If you wish to extend little bit more I think it's safe to go up to 5000 miles. I would stick to the shorter interval perfectly on higher mileage cars - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: I have a 05' boxster S w/ 14600 miles - i bought it used with 12k - put 2600 miles on it over the course of a year. I used it once a week- so when i heard the hurricane was coming i moved the car and stored it for 5 weeks- when i started it today it sounded like it had no oil in it- smoking and you could hear the valves ticking- i shut the car off and figured it needed a quart or two due to sitting maybe it drained down - so i have not started it again yet- Should i add some oil while cold before start? OR
Should i run the car for a few mins and then add the oil -
December 3, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: It sounds like your valve lifters and or tensioners lost their pressure. This in fairly common when these engines are not started for a period of time. I would suggest starting the engine and holding the revs at 2500 RPM for a few minuetes. That should reprime the lifters and tensioners. This is assuming the engine had no odd noises the last time you drove it and you have no reason to beleive the oil level is excessivly low. Also it is not uncommon for the engine to smoke on start up after sitting for a peroid of time.
Comments: I just did a oil change on my 1997 boxster and the big foot drain plug i got from Pelican Parts did not fit !!!!!!! are thier any other sizes.
November 4, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I show the drain plug as 18mm thread size for all Boxsters. Please check the size of your original plug and the one you received and let us know.
Denny @pelican parts
Comments: why not use synthetic oil with an older engine? I have a 98 boxster with 29000 miles, would there be any specific oil or additive I should be looking for. ie mobil1 vs mobil1 extended life. I bought the car last year and am not sure what was used. thanks
September 10, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would stay with the synthetic oil in your engine. That was specified by Porsche and should be what is in your engine. Older engines, 20 years or more can see seal issues. Yours is a late model with low miles.
Comments: One more question...at least for now. Is there any chance the oil filter housing for my 06 Boxster, might be the same size as the one on a 328i or possibly the Mini Cooper S? Had to ask but I'm sure I will be buying a 3rd tool for the Porsche. Thankfully I love these cars!
July 28, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: You are correct, they are different for those applications.
Comments: One thing I just don't get! If the cartridge style filters are not as good as the standard metal screw on filters, why does Porsche, BMW and Mini BMW continue to use them? Is there any advantage that I'm not seeing, or conversely is there any disadvantage to the standard metal screw on types?
I now own an 02 Mini S, an 06 Boxster and an 08 328i so it definitely impacts me.
July 28, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes ther is an advantage. Environmental. The insert filters decompose and keep tons of metal waste out of landfills. I agree I perfer a good quality spin on but we are need to do our part to protect the environment.
Comments: Thanks for your site. How do you feel about the fumoto oil drain valve? Would this be considered sacrilege?
July 15, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I prefer a factory or magnetic drain plug. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Did my first oil change on my boxster, love the site, made it a breeze to do and saved me a $100
January 13, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thank You for the positive comments.
Comments: The LN Engineering oil filter adapter seems like a great idea. Just out of curiosity, has anyone experienced the filter being "stuck" onto the adapter and thus, when unscrewing the filter, the adapter is actually being "unscrewed" too, thus ending up with a filter attached to the adapter? Thanks.
December 30, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't heard of that happening before, but if it did, I imagine the solution would be to just put it in a soft-jaw vise and rotate the filter off of it. Pretty simple, I would imagine. - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: I just did an oil change on my 2001 Porsche Boxster S and I put 5 quarts of oil in, as recommended. I turned the key, and the oil level didn't register, either on the dipstick or the electronic oil level indicator in the cluster of gauges. I then read the porsche manual that came w/ my car, and it says to add 9.3 quarts !!! when doing an oil and filter change. So needless to say, I added another 4 quarts, and now the level is fine. Why the LARGE discrepancy in engine oil levels? Anyone else encounter this? Thanks. -Jon
December 17, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: The article says to add 5 quarts of oil, and then keep adding in 1/2 quart increments. Sorry if this is not clear - you're actually not the first person to comment on this. I will change the text to be super-clear. - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: I would like to advise that when removing & installing the drain plug, use a driver hex bit that is the standard blunt end, and NOT the type that has been cut to the shape of a ball at the end. The plug is aluminum and to avoid tearing up the hex socket in it, you need as much engagement with the driver bit as possible. The ball type one might work once or twice, but when it does finally strip the plug socket, it can be very difficult to remove the plug from the car.
December 3, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good tip - in general, the ball-end hex drivers do not grip that well, and should only be used in low-torque applications, or when attaching fasteners. - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: Here is an update on my 01 Boxster 2.7 oil change experience. I'm hoping this will answer some questions. I have to say the Pelican Parts send me the right parts, the first time and FAST. Oil filter wrench / oil plug / crush washer
First, don't waste you time getting an oil filter cartridge and filter wrench from one of the chain parts stores! If the filter is made in China, eg STP, you will have problems fitting it around the oil pipe. Also that type of filter has a larger top and bottom rim reducing the space between the filter housing and the cartridge by a significant amount. That means possible reduction of oil flow through the filter. I went to three different part stores using a total of 8 different filter end wrenches, none of them fitting correctly. Get the Porsche wrench from Pelican Parts and avoid the frustration!
Secondly, I had the same issue of the 8MM hex not fitting in the drain plug. I had to use a t-50 torx to get the plug out, no crush washer there also. Replaced it with new plug and washer, also from Pelican Parts.
And lastly, my Boxster has over 110k miles on it, so I added about 9 quarts of dino oil 10w 40 and I'm good to go.
October 30, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback, I'm going to copy this to the forums to share there! - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: Would anyone please to tell me how much oil need to put into the engine with new oil filter after drined out the old oil.
July 20, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: That info is in the article above - it's about five quarts give or take, with about a 1/2 more quart for the oil level in the filter canister. So count on about six quarts or so when you're changing the oil. - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: So this is only the 4th ever oil change on my 2005 Boxster with 23,900 miles. The first was done by the local dealership when my friend was the lead technician. His directions for an oil change match yours with an 8mm hex socket and a crush washer on the drain plug. The second was done when the rear main seal was replaced. And the third time was done with some mechanical work related to a front-end collision. In the last oil change, they overfilled it, and when I confronted the lead tech, who I know personally, he admitted that he just added the oil and never checked the level. Never again will they touch my car.
When I went to change the oil today, the 8mm hex socket got stuck to the drain plug. I was able to separate them, but it looks like a t-50 torx and not 8mm hex. Plus, there's no crush washer. What's going on? My friend that was the lead technician said he's seen this when an SAE hex socket is used and it damages the plug and then the heat cycling causes it warp into what looks like a torx vs a hex. And where's the crush washer? The entire underside of the car has evidence of oil and dust as if there was a slow leak from the plug, which I did observe when I first got under the car. Any advice?
June 2, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Other than getting a new mechanic (you already figured that one out), I would get that plug off of there by any means possible and replace it. If worse comes to worse, and the plug gets completely stripped, then you'll have to drill it out and/or replace the lower pan, which is a pain, but not too difficult. See the article on that here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/12-ENGINE-deep_sump/12-ENGINE-deep_sump.htm - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: I've purchased an '02 Boxster with 18,000 miles on it and for my first oil change used the Castrol Syntec 5w-40 based on your Boxster Projects book and the LN engineering website. I also noticed you sell the Lubro moly in 5W-40 which i've used in my BMWs for years. Was thinking of using the Lubro Moly in the Boxster too, do you have any preference for the Lubro MolySM rated over the SyntecSL rated?
April 24, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Nope, no preference really. The key is to keep oil change intervals to 5000 miles and below to keep everything running fresh. Particularly important for the intermediate shaft bearing. - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: Is this the same for a Boxster S? Isn't there an oil cooler in the front center and will this drain without doing anything special.
March 18, 2011
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the Boxster S and Boxster are exactly the same in this article. The cooler at the front of the car is not an oil cooler, but a radiator (water cooler). You must come from the air-cooled world where all the coolers up front are oil coolers! :) - Wayne at Pelican Parts
Comments: The LN Engineering oil filter adapter looks like a good idea and I want one but it is not listed in the parts list for this project linkand the search function can't find it. Please add a link to this item so I can buy it.
August 20, 2010
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Rick, we will add that item to the parts list. - Scott at Pelican Parts