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Pelican Technical Article:

Boxster Engine Removal

Time:

10 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Floor jack, furniture cart

Applicable Models:

Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-04)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-04)

Parts Required:

-

Hot Tip:

Remove transmission first so you don't have to remove the chassis support bar

Performance Gain:

Ability to easily perform engine repairs

Complementary Modification:

Swap in a 996 engine
101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster

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.

The Boxster engine is not one of the easiest to perform repairs on. The tight enclosure of the engine compartment makes it pretty difficult to reach in and access a lot of the fuel injection components. There are indeed a lot of things that can be done with the engine in the car (fuel injection work, etc.), but many major operations need better access. In these cases, the only thing to do is to remove the engine: a task that many conceive to be very difficult. The reality is that the removal of the Boxster engine is not a difficult job: if you have the right tools and a little bit of the right knowledge, which I hope to provide here.

The car referenced in this project is my 2000 Boxster which I purchased with a broken engine. The engine was being dropped in preparation to install a brand new 996 3.4L Porsche factory engine in its place (see Pelican Technical Article: Boxster Engine Conversion Project). There were slight variations across the many years of Boxster production, but in general, the procedure for dropping the engine is almost the same for all the 911s. The following procedure checklist outlines what you need to do in order to drop the engine:

Preparation:

Engine Compartment:

  • Detach mass air flow sensor and loosen and remove the snorkel (Figure 1). Disconnect the air/oil separator hose from the intake and the separator if necessary (Pelican Technical Article: Air / Oil Separator).
  • Disconnect the brake booster vacuum line (Figure 2)
  • Unplug the A/C compressor electrical connection
  • Remove A/C compressor mounting bolts (Figure 4)
  • Disconnect electrical junction box (Figure 2)
  • Remove power steering reservoir (Figure 2)
  • Disconnect ground strap cable (Figure 3), remove gas cap and disconnect air injection hoses, and remove secondary air pump (Figure 3).
  • Loosen oil filler neck and coolant hose clamps (Figure 3)

Rear Trunk:

Underneath the car:

If you follow the procedure carefully, and check/double-check to make sure that everything is disconnected, the actual process of lowering the engine is not difficult. Different years will vary in what you need to disconnect, but in general, the procedure outlined above and in the photo series should give a clear indication of the steps that need to be followed. The general rule of thumb is to carefully inspect all the areas and components (lines, vacuum hoses, and electrical connections) that connect the engine with the rest of the car. Cars equipped with Tiptronic transmissions have a few extra lines and hoses to worry about.

With this particular engine drop procedure, the transmission is removed first. You need to make sure that you support the engine with a jack stand after the transmission is removed from the car. It is possible to remove the engine and transmission together. Although I typically find this a bit unwieldy, mating the transmission with the engine installed can be a bit more difficult than when they are both on the ground. Also, if you lower the engine and the transmission separately, you do not need to remove the center chassis support bar, which holds the whole rear suspension alignment together.

When lowering the engine, it is very wise to have an assistant on hand. Not only can this person provide emergency assistance in case something goes wrong, but it's also important to have an extra set of eyes that can watch and see if anything was overlooked during the entire process. Make sure that your assistant is watching the surface where the engine and the rear axle support bar meet to keep tabs on the progress. When the engine case passes the support bar, the engine will become slightly unstable on the jack, so make sure that you have a hand free to steady it.

Keep in mind that you may need to jack up the car higher than you expected in order to remove the engine from underneath the car. It is quite common to lower the engine all the way down to the ground, only to find that you need to raise the car much higher to pull it out from underneath. Use a high-lift jack on the rear axle support bar to raise the chassis higher. If you don't have enough clearance, you may need to remove the rear axle support bar and pull the engine out the back. It also may be useful to remove the rear bumper to gain additional clearance to pull the engine out from underneath. Either way, how much work is needed is a direct function of the equipment that you have on hand. Regardless of how you raise the car, always practice extreme safety: take your tires and wheels and stack them horizontally under the car just in case an emergency arises (the car will drop onto the tires and wheels).

Once you have the engine out of the car, it's really handy to have a furniture cart to place it on. Make sure that you don't crush any of the hoses, lines or fixtures when you place it on the cart, and try not to let the engine rest on the exhaust headers. Use blocks of wood to make sure that the engine case actually rests on the cart.

There are a few things that you might want to consider doing to the engine while it's out of the car. It's a very wise idea to spend a little money now, and do maintenance tasks that can only be performed when the engine is removed. Some of these include:

Replace intake manifold hoses and seals. On older cars these age and become brittle, which can then lead to vacuum leaks (Pelican Technical Article: Throttle Body Replacement / Cleaning Intake & Boots).

Replace the oil cooler seals. Although you can replace these with the engine still in the car, it is recommended that you tackle this job when access is much easier (Pelican Technical Article: Starter Replacement).

Update the intermediate shaft bearing and chain tensioners. The procedure for securing the camshafts and accessing the primary timing chain can be difficult with the engine installed. See Project 14 and Pelican Technical Article: Camshaft Upgrade / Chain Tensioner Replacement.

Replace the clutch and flywheel seal. I recommend that you inspect and replace the clutch disc when you have the engine out of the car. The flywheel seal, which can often leak, should be replaced as well (Pelican Technical Article: Clutch Replacement).

Replace the spark plugs. Although you can access them underneath the car, it's much easier to do so with the engine out (Pelican Technical Article: Replacing Spark Plugs and Coils).

Check the air / oil separator hoses. These are made out of hard plastic, and although I haven't seen too many leak lately, I suspect they will begin to cause vacuum leaks as they get older and brittle (Pelican Technical Article: Air / Oil Separator).

Disconnect the mass air flow sensor from the intake tube (yellow arrow), unplug it, and then place it off to the side in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting dirty.
Figure 1

Disconnect the mass air flow sensor from the intake tube (yellow arrow), unplug it, and then place it off to the side in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting dirty. Disconnect the two hose clamps that hold on the intake tube (orange arrow) and then pull it back and remove it from the car.

This photo shows a variety of important items that need to be disconnected.
Figure 2

This photo shows a variety of important items that need to be disconnected. The red arrow points to the electrical junction box. Snap up the black plastic cover (shown open here, blue arrow), and then disconnect the electrical cable underneath (red arrow). Make sure the battery is disconnected before you do this! The green arrow shows the power steering reservoir, which you need to disconnect and remove in order to maneuver the air conditioning hoses around the engine compartment. Pull off the cap and use a turkey baster or other suction device to siphon out the fluid in the reservoir. The inset photo (orange arrow) shows the thumbwheel on the lower part of the power steering reservoir: twist this counterclockwise to disconnect it and remove it from the engine. Believe it or not, the hose attached to the top of the reservoir doesn't actually connect to anything: it's an overflow hose that dumps excess fluid onto the top of the engine (I spent about two hours one day trying to research where this hose was supposed to plug into). Finally, the yellow arrow shows the power brake vacuum line: it's easiest to just remove the two screws and pull it off of the manifold.

Shown here is the secondary air injection pump.
Figure 3

Shown here is the secondary air injection pump. Disconnect the hose (green arrow), the electrical connection (blue arrow), and the bolts that mount it to its bracket. Remove it from the engine compartment. Also disconnect the engine ground strap (red arrow). It's also a good time to disconnect the oil filler neck (yellow arrow). Loosen the clamp (purple arrow) and you should be able to pull the filler neck out. You can remove it completely by disconnecting it in the rear trunk after you get the transmission out (see Pelican Technical Article: Coolant Tank Replacement).

Removing the air conditioning compressor is one of the more difficult tasks.
Figure 4

Removing the air conditioning compressor is one of the more difficult tasks. Like on earlier Porsches, you leave the compressor in the car when removing the engine. This allows you to avoid emptying the system of A/C fluid, a task that requires specialized equipment. A- The compressor is held on by two bolts in the front, and one hidden in the rear (underneath the manifold). The orange arrow shows the right side compressor bolt. You can access and remove this bolt from the passenger compartment. B- The other bolt can be accessed by using a swivel socket (green arrow) through a gap in-between the intake manifold (inset photo C). D- Take some plastic wrap and lay it down in the back of your passenger compartment, and pull the compressor out of its mounting place on top of the engine. As the engine is lowered, you need to then route the hoses out of their channels and tuck them into the passenger compartment (see Figure 12).

Shown here is the rear trunk with the carpet removed (see Project 33 for instructions on removing the carpet).
Figure 5

Shown here is the rear trunk with the carpet removed (see Project 33 for instructions on removing the carpet). You need to disconnect the engine wire harness from the DME (green arrow) and the chassis harness (red arrows). Also disconnect the engine wire harness ground point from its mounting point on the rear fire wall (blue arrow). Finally, push in the big grommet and stuff the entire wire harness through the big hole in the firewall and place it neatly on top of the engine (purple arrow).

Shown here are the fuel line connections.
Figure 6

Shown here are the fuel line connections. Be sure to wear eye protection and have a small bucket handy when you unplug these. There may be a small amount of fuel still trapped in the system, and it will leak out onto you and your garage floor: be prepared. Disconnect these only when you have really good ventilation and are able to dissipate the fumes. The yellow arrow shows the power steering pressure line, which is lowered with the engine. The blue arrow shows the power steering return line, which is disconnected in the engine, just above the blue arrow (see Figure 9).

This photo shows the engine compartment with the engine removed.
Figure 7

This photo shows the engine compartment with the engine removed. If you are having difficulty getting the car high enough to pull out the engine, then you can remove the chassis support brace shown by the yellow arrows. Be sure to reinstall this support brace if you put the car back down on its wheels at some point thereafter (with or without the engine installed). I would also recommend getting the car's alignment checked when it's back on the road, as this brace is an important rear suspension piece and may affect the alignment settings when removed and then reinstalled.

This photo shows the disconnection of the power steering pressure line (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

This photo shows the disconnection of the power steering pressure line (yellow arrow). You only need to disconnect the pressure line: the return line (green arrow) is disconnected further up inside the engine compartment (see Figure 9). Be very careful not to lose the small pieces that are integral to this connection (inset photo): the only way to replace them is to purchase a new line, which is expensive and difficult to install into the back of the power steering pump. Exercise caution, and remove the pieces carefully from the line and place them in a plastic bag. When I dropped the engine, I simply put a piece of tape over the end of the line, and the tape fell off months later, so I had to spend about 30 minutes scouring the garage floor for the small bits and pieces (which I found luckily). I also found it useful to disconnect the brake booster vacuum line here and remove it from the car (blue). A small plastic circlip near the white connector attaches it to the other line.

This photo shows two items that are a bit difficult to disconnect.
Figure 9

This photo shows two items that are a bit difficult to disconnect. The power steering return line has a rubber hose at this junction that mates into a barb attached to another hose. Remove the clamp and then pull off the hose. Do not cut this hose, as it is expensive and not easy to replace. If you can't get the hose off of the barb (it's very tight in there and you won't have much leverage), you can always disconnect the return line at the connection where you disconnected the supply line (see Photo E). The inset shows the fuel tank vent line connection, which is made underneath the manifold. This is also very difficult to get to: you'll have to reach in there and pull, or disconnect the line further upstream.

Even though it looks a little bit like one, this is not a ground strap.
Figure 10

Even though it looks a little bit like one, this is not a ground strap. It's a safety strap that attaches the engine to the chassis support brace that spans the center of the car. Disconnect it from the engine by removing the bolt shown (yellow arrow). If you have a zip tie handy, you might want to zip it to the support brace so that it doesn't get in the way when lowering the engine.

On the 1999 and earlier cars, the throttle was controlled by an actual cable.
Figure 11

On the 1999 and earlier cars, the throttle was controlled by an actual cable. Remove the outer cover by releasing the tabs (purple arrow) and rotating the cover downwards. Then release the throttle cable that is connected to the main body of the car (green arrow). Finally, remove the two nuts that hold the cover to the chassis (yellow arrow) and disconnect the housing from the body. The housing remains with the engine when you lower it.

As you drop the engine, take the air conditioning hoses out of the plastic channel (green arrow), and carefully route them off to the side.
Figure 12

As you drop the engine, take the air conditioning hoses out of the plastic channel (green arrow), and carefully route them off to the side. Take care when lowering that they don't get crush, scraped or damaged. You certainly don't want to be replacing the air conditioning hoses in your car because they accidentally got damaged during an engine drop. Also watch out for bad things happening, like in the inset photo. Here, one of the engine harness connectors is getting caught on the lip of the passenger compartment access hole as the engine is being lowered. If you don't check for items getting caught on the way down, then you will most likely damage something as the engine drops. Items getting caught happen almost 100% of the time: keep a close eye out for it.

This photo shows the engine about half-way out of the Boxster.
Figure 13

This photo shows the engine about half-way out of the Boxster. The majority of the weight is supported by the floor jack: the jack stands are there for backup and for balancing (green arrows). In general, I don't suggest letting the engine weight rest entirely on the exhaust headers: the resulting force can put a lot of stress on the threads of the bolts that attach the headers to the cylinder head. To get the engine out, put the engine down on a furniture cart, then jacked up the car very high in the air, pulled the engine out, and then lowered the car back down to a workable level. Using this method, we did not have to remove the chassis support brace (yellow arrow).

After all that hard work, you can claim your success here! This photo shows the Boxster engine successfully removed from the car and sitting on the engine cart.
Figure 14

After all that hard work, you can claim your success here! This photo shows the Boxster engine successfully removed from the car and sitting on the engine cart. If you have a low-clearance jack (see Pelican Technical Article: Jacking Up and Lifting the Boxster on Jack Stands), you can place your wooden furniture cart (yellow arrow). In this situation, we chose to simply drop the engine and exhaust together since the exhaust was filled with coolant and oil from this blown up motor. You will find that you have to jack the car up really high to get the engine to clear the rear bumper and/or the chassis support brace when removing it from underneath the car. If you find that you have clearance problems that you cannot overcome easily, then you can remove the chassis support brace (see Figure 7), and you can also remove the intake manifold, working with the engine underneath the car. Removing the rear bumper cover can also gain you a few extra inches of working room as well.

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Comments and Suggestions:
dano Comments: Complete engine swap, now engine cranks but won't start?? Could it be camshaft positioning sensor? How many are there, what else to check. Changed fuel pump relay too. Help on 2001 986 boxster.2.7.
October 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and fuel pressure, volume, quality and engine compression. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
GB Comments: I am in the final stages of this project and the old engine has a additional power wire that is connected to the electrical junction box in figure 2. I am just checking an unmodified factory engine should not have this wire. I attached a photo of the red/yellow wire in question.
August 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That does not look factory to me, Where does it end? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jerry Comments: Will the engine from a tiptronic car bolt right up to a manual trans car?
April 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What year and engine? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Robert Comments: What tools are needed for a cylinder head removal and replacement? Anything special? My coolant light came on and coolant levels have dropped slightly, I suspect that I'm about to experience an intermix issue. I also noticed oil consumption from the engine. Should I expect failure soon?
March 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need a full tool set, with metric sockets, Torx bits, camshaft and crankshaft locking tools, etc. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Roman986 Comments: i have a problem with my Boxster 2.5 1998.While driving runs great but in idle running have rough run.CEL light shine occasionally flashes.Fault codes are P1340,P1319,P1313,P1314,P1315,P0102
March 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like an engine misfire. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
cornontherob Comments: It should be noted that in some earlier engines, the AC compressor cannot be separated from the engine without dissasembly. My 1998 boxster's compressor does not have a harness, but rather two wires that simply feed down behind the pulley of the compresssor, which cannot simply be disconnected, making removal much more complicated, unless i'm missing something and there's an easier way to get to them.
February 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
robert Comments: I'm in the process of getting everything disconnected. The oil dipstick tube has been disconnected from the tank, but will not feed through the hole in the trunk. How do I ensure that it won't get caught when I lower the engine? I noticed that there's somewhat of a junction by the oil filler tube as the dipstick tube descends into the motor. What should I do about this?
February 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: As you lower the engine, work slowly to be sure it isn't snagged or connected. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Wayne99 Comments: My 1998 Boxster has been throwing a miss fire code in cylinder 4 and making a ticking noise that gets louder when I rev the car. I am thinking its a stuck lifter or broken valve. is there anyway that I can just remove the head of the motor, without having to drop the engine? what tools would I need ect?
September 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The engine should come out. It will be much easier for you to work on and see what is wrong. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
C02 Comments: I recently had a misfire at idle and a ton of engine codes, I repaired or replaced the components, car ran ok for a day then had a serious failure on the highway, massive black smoke out the tail pipe, I am in the process of removing the engine and I found that the flex hose that goes from the OAS to the Camshaft housing was just about split in half, wondering if this would cause a misfire? and maybe coupled with a full failure of the AOS cause the smoke?

Thanks
June 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could cause a misfire /rough running. AOS could be the smoke issue, but usually black smoke is fuel. Start with the known broken parts and see how the engine runs after the repairs. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
QTR MLE Comments: I'm about to swap out my 3.2 with a replacement 3.2 for my 2005 Boxster S 6 speed.
I've never done an engine swap on a Boxster and although I'm very mechanical, thinking of maybe getting a shop to do it. Generally how many hours labour to swap out the engine?
May 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Every shop is different. I think the dealer charges 14 hours to R&I an engine with a manual gearbox. Which does not include the suspension alignment. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Mike Comments: I have an automatic, 2001-Boxster S which is missing the engine and tranny. I acquired a salvaged, 2001, donor Boxster S which is a manual car with 26,000 miles on it and the engine and tranny are working fine;

I am mainly concerned about the automatic cars wiring harness working with a manual transmission. The automatic's wiring harness has the engine start block-out switch on the "park" shifter location in the center console, while the manual engine start block-out switch is located on the clutch mechanism.

Is it even possible to reuse the wiring harness/ECU from an automatic car when converting the car to a manual transmission car, or is it necessary to swap the wiring harness/ECU from the donor car, as well?
November 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need the DME and wiring harness that match the engine you are installing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
cal Comments: I followed the procedures and found only two items to add.
the first is that the fuel lines are behind the emergency break line on the drivers side. move the fuel lines before dropping the engine. the other item is the ac lines, i chose to remove the AC compressor with the engine, these lines are also on the wrong side of the emergence break on the passenger side.
September 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up and sharing your experience
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Brendan Comments: I am busy replacing the cylinder heads on the 2003 boxster s 3.2l, and would like to find out about the torque settings for this engine. It will be appreciated. Thanks
July 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bill Comments: This is one of the most informative engine sites I have ever looked at. Your detail and use of colored arrows and photos leave little for the basic car guy to mess up. I am looking at a 2002 Boxster with a none running engine and only 50k miles. Is it possible that the timing chain has let go and keeping the engine from starting. The price on the car is very low and even with a rebuilt 2.7 Ltr, it would still be a great buy.
April 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, that is a possibility. If the chain had failed, it will show up in engine compression testing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tiger89 Comments: I'm having a 3.4L built to replace my 2.5L. Who flashed your ECU? What clutch did you install?
September 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pretty sure a factory clutch went into the subject vehicle. The ECU can be sent out or performed locally if you have a shop nearby with the capabilities. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799, they might be able to help if you need to send the ECU out to be programmed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Corwes Comments: The AC compressor is attached by 3 bolts and not 2. I removed 2 bolts without a problem and still could not remove the compressor, eventually I found a third bolt hidden underneath the manifold. Other than that, this article was extremely helpful, thanks.
August 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Correct, thanks for catching that. There are two front bolts and one you have to remove through the intake, a rear bolt. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brian F Comments: The question is: i have a 2001 S with 99XXX miles and the oil is mixing with the coolant, Guessing a blown head gasket or cracked sleeve. How difficult is it to change the head gasket myself? I'm Experienced but don't usually get into dismantling motors Or is it best to buy a rebuilt/used motor and swap it out?
August 27, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are a bunch of special tools required to replace the cylinder head, mostly pertaining to engine timing. If you have not torn one of these apart before I would go for a used engine swap. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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