Porsche Boxster Tuning and Performance Upgrade

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Porsche Boxster Tuning and Performance Upgrade


Rinspeed Le Mans 600 based Porsche 997 Turbo
Gemballa GTR Biturbo, Porsche Boxster
2006 Porsche RS Spyder - Testing at Estoril
2007 TechArt GTstreet, 997TT




Planning to MOD your boxster? I have been looking around the internet, auto magazines, and miscellaneous
adverts like a starving squirrel in the mid of winter trying to scrounge

I have been looking around the internet, auto magazines, and miscellaneous adverts like a starving squirrel in the mid of winter trying to scrounge up what information I can that will help me get a bit more kick out of the boxster. With a meager budget of approx $4000 US I was looking to boost the power at the wheels to about 280hp, that's an additional 28hp over the stock 2001 3.2L engine. I sent a number of enquiries out through email and phone calls and I was disappointed with majority of the companies out there and their lack of response. I have to take my hat off to RUF who were blisteringly fast to respond and issue just the information I wanted (although a 27,000 Euro conversion, falls out of the bounds of this article). Also I have to stress that all the companies that I looked at are situated or have dealers in North America, and of course all the prices are in US dollars (obviously these may get out dated, dependant on how long it has been since I published this piece).

I highly recommend that the very first modification you look at is upgrading to an EVO high flow kit, This kit costs around $400 and the sound alone is well worth it. It is definitely good for at least a 5hp increase as it opens the beast up dramatically.

I was of course looking to replace the exhaust system with a specific combination of parts from a number of dealers and looking to find those perfect numbers between price, performance gain and weight reduction. However before I carry on I should stress the difference between a naturally aspirated engine (like that of the 986) and that of a turbo charged one (996TT). In a naturally aspirated engine there has to be a perfect balance between back pressure through the engine rpm range, unlike a turbo engine where back pressure is the enemy. So if one would completely open up the exhaust of a naturally aspirated engine you would notice a considerable reduction in power, and to back it all up I have talked to a person who was unpleasantly surprised after spending quite a bit of money on his exhaust system, opening it up, only to notice that he lost 6hp. Sad but true.

Another point to keep in mind is that the power outputs of water cooled engines are not as consistent as the air cooled units. Don\'t get me wrong - Porsche makes a fantastic engine however more often than not the power output differs slightly from engine to engine. So even though Porsche quotes 252hp your engine might be pulling out anywhere from 240 and up. With the 3.4L engines, after a number of stringent tests by one of the tuners they noticed that the power ranges between 285 and 300hp!

Another point that I would like to make is that there is a lot of misrepresentation and misinformation out there. Do not believe every thing you hear and read. A lot of manufacturers state, for instance, large horse power gains for certain mufflers or exhaust components.

However here is something interesting, as Alois Ruf. put it, referring to the 3400S: \"Lots of people complain that modern Porsches just don\'t sound as charismatic. So we had to make sure we got the exhaust note just right. In the old days, it was easy to get 10 or 15 horsepower with a sport exhaust, but modern Porsche exhaust are almost perfect. We know that from experience with the 993. It was easy to get a nicer noise, but you can also end up losing power. These new engines require a certain amount of back-pressure to work properly. It makes sense that the larger capacity 911 engine would be strangled with the smaller diameter Boxster exhaust. We ran dyno tests all the same just to satisfy ourselves of the fact. The best results we got on the Boxster 3400 S was with a design similar to the factory system but with 996 pipe diameters. This gave the right amount of back-pressure as sensed by the engine and produced a better sound. The exhaust testing and development alone took us nearly four months from start to finish." But RUF maintains that the addition of a good exhaust system alone is not necessarily a recipe for increased power with Porsche's water-cooled engines. "It is a combination of intake, exhaust, and a suitable reprogrammed ECU," Alois explained. "We probably only gained 2 or 3 horsepower with the exhaust system. The rest comes from the ECU and intake." The ECU (Engine Control Unit) is recalibrated in-house to match each individual engine. This is nothing unique to RUF, as it is a known fact that Porsche has several ECUs for each engine type to compensate for the production tolerances of engines.

Strange that RUF (a company that specializes in tuning Porsche autos) has spent all this time and money researching the "perfect exhaust", and then some manufacturer comes along and claims that they can increase the power of the engine by an absurd amount - be careful what you read.

You might also want to consider replacing that catalytic converters and maybe the headers, which I recommend you do to get the maximum performance out of your new exhaust system (how much that is still foggy to me), again you have to be careful which ones you choose to purchase. When buying Headers make sure that they come with a merge collector. A merge collector is a simple little pin like spine in the middle of where the three pipes meet creating a smooth air flow inside the large pipe. Without this there's a reduction of HP due to turbulence. As for the cats, I'd recommend that you keep the cats, replacing them would be more trouble than it is worth and generally disabling the O2 sensors is only performed for professional race cars. GIAC reports that they have seen a 6-8 horsepower increase with replacing the headers (in combination with their chips). And they do recommend Evolution Motorsports for additional parts that best compliment their chips.

So the question you should be asking yourself is how much money you are willing to spend on your new exhaust system/chip etc. Majority of which will not be recovered when you sell your car. Yes, sure it will sell faster however unless you are selling to an enthusiast who understands all the work/modification you have done there is no way you will recoup the money you have invested into the modifications. Another question you should be asking yourself is how long will you be satisfied with another 20hp to 30hp. After how many days, weeks, months are you going to be looking for information trying to find other ways to increase the power - get a bit more oomph out of your beast, this time looking at more expensive options, turbos/superchargers. By the way I have heard rumors that RUF are looking into developing a supercharger kit for the 3.4L and 3.6L engines. Would be interesting to see what they will provide in the future.

So what have I decided to do. Well if I were looking at a new exhaust system, the best value for money would be a silencer and headers bought from Departstop, with a GIAC chip. However Fabspeed boasts some eye-brow raising results, a total of 34hp gain with their tuning package, and they have confirmed this with dyno results. But I have decided against this kind of a conversion. I am planning to wait it out a bit and maybe early next year sell my 986 S and place my order for a RUF 3600 S.

I found an interesting article on the web, tuning the 2.7L boxster (exhaust, air intake and chip)
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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