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HELP on purchasing a Cayman S :)

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Hi guys,


I’m new to the forum and new to Porsche’s. I’m from West Yorkshire, UK.


I was thinking of getting a Honda S2000 but now kind of looking at the Cayman S. I would like some advice and tips on:-


-          Value? What are they work? Examples? Special/Limited Editions? Desirable most sought after colours?

-          Which Shape/Cayman S to get? Gen 1 / Gen 2 ?

-          What optional extras I should be looking for and what do they do?

-          As well as this any common issues problems these cars have I should be looking for?

-          Are the Engine belts chain or belt driven and how often do they need replacing?

-          How often do these need servicing?


I have about £20k to spend. I love a proper driver’s cars and enjoy high spirited driving so I was thinking maybe the manual option would be the one to go for rather than PDK. Although PDK does probably have superfast gear changes? But manual would probably be more fun and I would have more control over the car?




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Well first of all, welcome! :) 


With a budget of £20k you are on the cusp of a gen2 Cayman, so if I were you I'd look at that as your target, a few less issues with them and slightly more modern feeling cars also.  


Engines are chain rather than belt so don't worry about that.  Gen2 cars are quite long serving periods, 20k I believe but I'd recommend at least an annual oil service dependant on mileage, if you're doing many miles then maybe more regularly. 


Manual vs. PDK really comes down to personal preference, both have their pros and cons

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Options are largely down to personal taste.  Here are the ones I really value and are must-haves in my ongoing hunt for the right Gen 2:


Xenon headlights

Sports seats

Full leather (dash, door cards etc)


Rear Park Assist (though don't think I've ever seen one without this)


My Gen 1 also has:


 Sport Chrono - actually a must - have but can be retrofitted (without the dash clock, which I've never used in 5 years)

PASM - we have two Gen 1s and the other has standard suspension which I prefer as PASM has a slightly synthetic feeling 

Short shifter - makes the shift action a bit stiffer - again, our other car is slightly nicer

Auto dimming mirrors & rain sensing wipers - nice to have but not essential

TPMS - nice to have but few have it

Bose - nice to have (especially after stuffing the subwoofer with wadding!) but not a huge improvement over Sound System Plus in our other car

CD changer - haven't changed the discs in maybe 2 years!

Rear wiper - nice to have but slightly spoils the aesthetics

Heated seats - highly desirable but could live without

Cruise - actually a must - have for me but easily retrofittable

Multi Function Steering Wheel - I do use it but it looks a bit naff and the buttons are not very tactile

Red Seat Belts - nice to have on my Guards Red car but easily retrofittable

Painted Centre Console - ditto

Automatic Climate Control - nice to have but could live without

12v Passenger Charging socket - ditto

Crested Headrests - !


I don't have:


Porsche Sports Exhaust - I have the aftermarket Carnewal modified exhaust which is great but you can't turn it off!  It adds a slight harshness to the whole feel of the car which is noticeable when I compare with the standard exhaust on our other car.  PSE would be a nice option to have.

Multi Way adjustable seats - really wouldn't bother personally.  

19" wheels - not fussed.  The Gen 1s apparently drive better on 18's and I think 19's without PASM would be a bit harsh


Probably missed a few but that's most of the available options, at least on the Gen 1.



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Regarding common issues to look out for, Gen 1 "S" cylinder bore scoring is the big one - this is the one stand-out potential problem that would make me wary of buying a Gen 1 S in particular (the Gen 1 2.7 and both variants of Gen 2 appear not to suffer).  The problem is it is very difficult to detect in the early stages.  I had mine borescoped before I bought it 5 years ago and was still somewhat paranoid until I'd established what the oil consumption was.  That was 30k miles ago (now on 73k) and mine uses about 1 segment of oil on the dash display (approx. 0.4l) per 10k miles, which is about as good as it gets.  This is an area where it may actually be better to buy privately than from most dealers since there are very few dealer warranties that cover bore scoring.  Aside from a borescope inspection, I would want to know the oil consumption over a decent number of miles.  You won't get this from any dealer but you may get a good feel from a private seller who has had the car for some time (if you trust them!).  I'd be vary wary of someone selling a Gen 1 S after only a short period, for this reason.  Worst case scenario is a bill for £10-12K for the full-works engine rebuild (half that for a quick sticking plaster fix).  As for how common this is, there are no definitive statistics.  And I don't think it's digital, in that I suspect in many cases it's a gradually accumulating problem.  My guess is that 5-10% of the Gen 1 S cars for sale are at a worrying stage.  But I have absolutely no objective basis for that figure, just countless hours spent on Porsche forums over the last 20 years!  


My 2006 car has had the following maintenance over and above normal servicing since I bought it in 2012:


- Battery replaced @ 46k & 68k

- Rear springs replaced @ 46k due to breakage

- Clutch, dual mass flywheel and rear crank seal @ 58k

- All 6 exhaust studs at joints between manifolds and rear system (utter pig of a job!) @ 58k

- Coil packs @ 58k

- Rear wheel bolts due to corrosion of the aluminium collars (not visible externally) @ 58k

- All wheels fully refurbished @ 58k

- All TPMS sensors replaced @ 58k

- Four wheel alignment @ 58k

- Front discs and pads @ 60k (must have been replaced previously but I don't have details) - you need to look closely at the rear faces of the discs - often horrendous when the front faces look great

- Air con regassed @ 65k

- Rear pads @ 68k (again, suspect may have been replaced previously)

- Front springs, top mounts, top mount bearings, lower wishbones @ 73k

- Drivers window regulator @ 73k

- All four front coolant hoses, two cross-over metal pipes @ 73k


Still to do:

- Replace air con condensers and receiver/drier


All of the above is pretty normal for a Cayman of this age/mileage.  Total cost of the above (excluding routine servicing and tyres) in my ownership (30k miles) is approx. £3k, all on a DIY basis except specialist stuff like air con regassing and alignment.  At a very rough guess, at a Porsche specialist including labour the above would have cost about £6k so that works out at about £1200 per year (5k miles/yr) of additional maintenance, over and above routine servicing/tyres.  This is roughly in the ball park of other estimates I've heard of overall running cost including servicing and tyres but excluding insurance & tax of around £2k per year.


The standard service interval specified by Porsche is 20k miles/2 years.  I think this is way too many miles to go without an oil change - I'd go with 5-10k oil change intervals depending on use pattern.  You should also be looking for brake and clutch fluid change every 2 years too (which is specified by Porsche) but not everyone has it done. 


Aside from the additional issue over Gen 1 S bore scoring, it's all about condition and history with these cars.  There are some great higher mileage bargains to be had and some low mileage sheds.  If in any doubt about your ability to assess these, buy from a reputable dealer (and check their warranty limitations) or get an independent inspection.

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