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Marc, are you sure of that DTC code?

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the engine developed an odd idle condition.

One moment the engine idling at normal idle speed then it drops to around 500 rpms (by the tach dial/needle) then almost no sooner does it reach 500 that it climbs again to the normal idle rpm and this cycling repeats over and over again, at least for the few minutes I let the engine idle.

Gave the engine some throttle and it ran and sounded ok. No other symptoms, Oh, CEL was not on.

Plenty of gas.

Hooked up the OBDII reader and no current DTCs. No CEL so I didn't expect a current DTC.

Checked for pending DTCs. There is one. P1341: 174 Camshaft Adjustment, Bank 1 - Signal Implausible, 174 Camshaft Adjustment, Bank 1 - Below Limit, 174 Camshaft Adjustment, Bank 1 - Above Limit.

Used reader to clear DTCs (including pending one). Symptom not much changed.

Going to take care of some stuff at work and then decide what to do about the car. Assuming it will start and run ok do it drive it home (~30 miles) or call a tow truck and have it flat bedded to Livermore Porsche dealer for attention come Monday?

Oh oh. Not what I wanted for Christmas... A sick Boxster engine.


1341 is the code for bank 1 camshaft allocation issues, usually the sign of either a VarioCam unit or the small chain ramps between the cams going south....

“Anything really new is invented only in one’s youth. Later, one becomes more experienced, more famous – and more stupid.” - Albert Einstein
right after I read it using the code reader. I looked it up and there's no test steps to eliminate various sensors, connectors, or wiring, etc. Looks to be a night and day, black and white situation. Bad something whatever it is and whatever it is is a critical component/system to be sure.

Engine exhibited a bit of knocking this AM upon cold start. The knocking lasted close to 20 seconds. A light knocking but one that I can't recall hearing before.

Hence the 'oh oh'...

And I think I'm leaning towards having the car flat-bedded to the dealer rather than risk driving the car. However, if it is the VarioCam actuator unit or the chain guides/ramps going bad I'm not sure I'll spend the money to fix these. Not looking forward to putting perhaps several thousand dollars' worth of repairs into an engine with so many miles on it. (There's the issue of if one does one side because it needs it this almost demands the other side be done at the same time.)

Even though the rest of the car in good shape I'm still not sure I want to spend the money to replace the engine. If I were to replace the engine I'd have the clutch done cause that's the original clutch in the car too. Then I'm sure the CV bearings/boots need doing. Several times now when I've had the car in for various things the tech has reported while the boots are intact they're quite dry and starting to show signs of cracking (original CVs too). The various techs have been bringing these CV boots/joints to my attention now for over a year. Plus the car needs at least one (side #2) converter which is $1000 in parts alone and at this many miles both sides should be replaced. Then there are other things that fall into that while I'm there category. Plugs are close to needing replacement. And coils are original so might as well have those done at teh same time the other stuff is done.

Put all the above together I'm looking at easy $15K. If I were to instead take this $15K and add to it whatever I realize from the sale of the Boxster in its current condition I'm close to having the money to buy a nice used Boxster or possibly even a Boxster S, or a Mini Cooper S, or a new VW GTI. While my experience with VW service was terrible the Dublin VW dealer which gave me such crappy service has had a change in management and supposedly the change was for the better so a GTI is back on my list of cars. Or, I can just get by with one car for a while.

But let me see what the diagnosis is.


When the actuators fail, they both rarely go at the same time. Often, they crap out due to debris blocking the oil passages, but as they are not designed to be serviced, replacing them is the best option. Also have your wrench look at the two small chain tensioning paddles between the cams, they are very cheap and usually beat to Hell, often the source of the debris that plugs up the actuator.

Be aware that most Porsche dealers charge absolutely ridiculous amounts to do this type of work, often in the $4-5K range per side (one get the impression they really don't want to do this type of repair). Most Indies typically knock them out for about $1,200-1,400 per side; all in.

Sorry for the less than seasonal greeting...............

“Anything really new is invented only in one’s youth. Later, one becomes more experienced, more famous – and more stupid.” - Albert Einstein
Advance planning and searching is usually necessary to go that route, though.

A used engine from a reputable source of from someone where you can still verify that the engine is running before being removed from the wreck can be the ticket out of dealing with what might prove to be an expensive repair, after which you will still have an engine with over 200K documented miles on it.

Regards, Maurice.
Vario cam solenoid sounds familiar
when the two poster boys of Boxster longevity, Pedro and Marc, both suffer engine failures. Although worthy of note neither is probably caused by the one item everyone talks about.
... extensively, I've come to the conclusion that piston rod #6 broke due to excessive heat buildup from oil starvation.
Piston 6 is the farthest away from the oil spray.
When the engine failed it had very close to 200,000 miles, with over 20,000 of those being track miles at high-speed tracks such as Sebring and Homestead-Miami.
Since I don't want to have another engine failure any time soon I will be installing an AccuSump System in the next couple of weeks.
This system will pre-oil the engine before startup and will maintain oil pressure no matter the G-forces generated during high-speed turns.
I'll document the install so that others who want to do it don't have to guess.
Happy Boxstering,

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 293,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
Ollie had a similar problem this summer with his early Boxster on engine #2. I hooked up the PST 2 and cycled the cam actuator a few times. It's been running fine since. A PST 2 can cycle many components. I'm still learning how to use it.

Ed B sad smiley
I started the Boxster's engine. The rough idle symptom not present. No engine noises. I drove the car home -- nearly 30 miles -- with no problems.

Short (1.5 miles) drive this AM and dropped the car off at the dealer. Idle a bit rough but nothing like it was yesterday as I pulled into office parking lot.

On way to the dealer this AM the check engine light came on just a few blocks before I reached the dealer. I didn't read the code -- took OBD reader out prior to taking the car to the dealer -- but suspect it is P0430.

Spoke with the senior Porsche tech. Short version is he suspects an actuator. Left car for an hour's worth of diagnosis. The tech generously printed out factory info on the error code and there are diagnostics steps available.

Given the symptoms and more importantly lack of symptoms: No noises, engine running relatively ok; the problem might not be that serious. Tech says if actuator is bad no need to replace the other side. It is under different camshaft cover so there's really no savings to be had. Says if the other side goes bad it can be replaced. It may never go bad. He prefers to not replace things that are working ok.

Now he did say if he finds the VarioCam camchain guides worn on one side he would recommend replacing the other sides VarioCam camchain guides.

The tech did say he'd remove the Boxster engine's oil filter housing and pour the oil out through a clean cotton towel to collect anything in the oil and he'd cut the filter element apart and save it for me to look at.

More when I know more.


Bad VarioCam actuator is the diagnosis. Camshaft cover comes off tomorrow and actuator guides will be evaluated then as well.

If guides ok cost to repair is under $1600. (Roughly the new actuator lists for $400 the rest is labor, etc.)

If the guides on side with bad actuator are worn enough to warrant replacing then guides on the other side will be replaced as well. I do not have the additional cost this guide replacement can add to the total bill.

Parts will be ordered tomorrow and with a bit of luck the car should be back on the road in a couple of days.


had not yet received the parts. So work has not started on the car yet.

If the parts arrive today (if they arrive they should arrive by 1:30pm IIRC), the car might be done by Friday before the dealer closes (early) but it might not. If not Friday then Monday. (And when the Boxster is back in my hands the Turbo goes in for a new clutch power assist accumulator.)

Anyhow, I asked to have the old parts saved and returned to me. As soon as I can I'll post pics. Trying to arrange to swing by the dealer to take pics of the new parts too and of the engine's internals (what little of them are exposed when the camshaft cover is removed) but I may not be able to get away from the office even to make a mad dash to the dealer service department for a photo shoot.


As Ed B mentioned earlier I have thrown the code for this issue also, although we cycled the variocam and the code has not returned since but I am curious how many hours labor they quoted for this job... If/When I have to do it I can at least double (maybe triple) their estimate to know how long it will take me to do it

some diagnostics that it was the actuator. The PST2 diagnostics computer has a drive link (not sure how it came by this name) that allows the tech to control this actuator (and its twin over under the other head's camshaft cover) and he cycled it and could tell from the sensors/derived data (short term fuel trims and other sensors) the actuator was not working at all.

Since I drive the car alot and change the oil frequently I didn't expect the problem to be something fixed by cycling the actuator a few times. The tech hinted as much when I asked if he would look at the oil filter housing oil and filter element for any signs of 'stuff' and he said he would. But he added that since I change the oil every 5K miles he didn't expect to find anything.

Getting anxious to get the Boxster back. After I give the Boxster a bit of a shakedown the Turbo goes in under the knife, err wrench.

The Turbo's clutch accumulator has failed and while the engine is running the clutch power assist/boost circuit works to provide assist to keep the clutch action light, as soon as I shut off the engine the clutch becomes very hard to operate. More noticable when I get into the car to start the engine and go to depress the clutch to allow the engine to crank. Takes some effort to depress the clutch pedal. Tech gave me some info and I checked the fluid level in the fluid reservior under the cowl cover and the fluid level ok so the hydraulic system is probably ok, it is just the accumlator. Furthermore I asked and the tech said it won't hurt to drive the car with this accumulator non-functioning.

Thankfully the Turbo is still covered by the CPO warranty. I don't know how much the presence of the CPO warranty added to the car's purchase price but I think in this case it has paid for itself several times over: leaking tranny seal (fixed by the installation of a new (remanufacturered) transmission); noisy idler roller bearing replaced; new radiator and radiator fan motor/hub/blade assembly; new coolant tank cap, and now this accumulator.


The CPO coverage has really paid off for you; how much longer does it last and do you see yourself keeping the Turbo after it expires?
which puts the expiration date sometime in June of this (2011) year. 100K miles is about 48K miles away. I've added a bit over 40K miles to the car's odometer since I bought it a year ago last June. The car now has a bit over 52K miles.

Will I keep the car after the CPO warranty expires? That's a good question. Right now I am leaning towards not keeping it, but not sure how I want to get rid of it. Private sale? Or trade-in at a Porsche dealer? Either way the car retains its CPO warranty. And with what to replace it with. I've toyed with the idea of driving to the nearest Mini dealership and trading it in on 2 Mini Cooper S's. However, in this case the CPO warranty is not transferrable. I've also thought about trading the car in for a Cayman, either an S (though the ones I've found are heavily optioned and with expensive options that don't at all appeal to me) or even a base Cayman. In my opinion the base Boxster or Cayman is the most car for the money. Extremely well-balanced and I mean in all aspects from purchase price, performance, running costs, etc.

OTOH, had I gotten rid of the Boxster at 55K miles (about 2 years after I bought the car new) I would have missed out on a lot of relatively trouble free driving. Nearly 200K miles worth.

I really don't know what I'll do yet, but since I tend to procrastinate on these things if I don't do something this month June will be here before I know it.


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