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Engine

Reliability and Performance Upgrades for Porsche Boxster, Cayman, and 911 Engines with the "Integrated Dry Sump"

With the introduction of the Boxster in 1997 and subsequently the 996 in 1999, Porsche made many changes to the engine including, but not limited to, switching to an “Integrated Dry-Sump” Lubrication System without an external oil tank, like found on the 993 and earlier models with the Mezger engine. Oil passages are cast into the crankcase, providing supply and return of oil. Pressure is provided by a single stage oil pump driven directly off the intermediate shaft that draws oil out of the sump via the oil pickup. Since there are no oil return tubes like in a Mezger engine, scavenge pumps are fitted to the cylinder heads to return oil to the sump via oil return tubes also referred to as “swirl pots” to de-foam engine oil. Later 987 and 997 models use an “oil slinger” to de-foam oil as it discharges oil onto the sump walls. To combat crankcase windage issues associated with wet sump engines, Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models are fitted with an air oil separator (AOS) that applies a vacuum to the crankcase and separated oil mist from air, which is returned to the sump via drain tube and cleaned air gets routed to the engine air intake.

Where later air-cooled models used external oil coolers with an external thermostat to ensure proper oil temperature and rapid warm-up, Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models feature a heat exchanger located on top of the engine which warms up the oil with cross-flow of engine coolant through the heat exchanger.

Although special models like the 3.6 X51 in 2004 came fitted with additional oil scavenging in the heads and a special oil baffle to improve oil supply under increased G-forces, referred to as an “X51 baffle”, additional steps should be taken to improve oil system and AOS performance to ensure proper lubrication if tracking your Boxster, Cayman, or 911.

Just like with an air-cooled Mezger engine, over-filling your engine can lead to smoking, elevated oil temperatures, oil foaming, and increased oil consumption. On early Boxster and 996 models, a dipstick is provided to positively measure and set oil level, but eventually that was abandoned for an electronic oil level sensor. Where oil level is measured running and at full operating temperature on a level surface on a Mezger engine, setting the oil level on the Boxster, Cayman, and 911 from 1997-2008 (without Mezger engine) needs to be done carefully to avoid over-filling the engine.

Oil change intervals for the Boxster and 996 originally were two years or 24,000 miles, but has been reduced significantly. Like with aircooled models, many industry professionals recommend oil and filter changes every six months or 5,000 miles and significantly less if you track your car. Equally important is using a quality motor oil in your Porsche engine as the factory fill may not always be the best choice. For street driven Porsche Boxster, Cayman, and 911 vehicles, we recommend DT40 for port injected and DI40 for direct injected engines; for Porsche engines that will see track time (or any driving event that requires you to wear a helmet), Driven XP9 race is what we exclusively use and recommend to our customers. We do not recommend running any street oil on track. If unsure about lubricant choice and intervals, used oil analysis can help owners make sure they are doing right by their engines and is something we recommend for all Porsche Boxster, Cayman, and 911 owners at every oil change using the SPEEDiagnostix service.

Starting in 2009, Porsche introduced the 9A1 engine with an improved “Integrated Dry Sump.” 987.2 and 997.2 models feature a more robust oil control and a variable demand oil pump that ensures adequate oil supply under most operating conditions, eliminating oil system issues experienced with the prior generation of Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models from 1997-2008 (not including GT3, Turbo, or GT2 models with a dry-sump Mezger engine). These engines have proven themselves as durable as prior Mezger engines for track use with proper maintenance, enough so that Porsche replaced the Mezger engine in the Turbo and GT models with the 9A1 engine.

The 9A1 (MA1) and later 9A2 (MA2) engines can benefit from increased oil capacity to help reduce excessive oil temperatures when tracking 2009 and later Porsche Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models. Larger oil coolers and low temperature thermostats also help to improve engine cooling for added durability and longevity, but adding one of our billet deep sumps that increase the engine oil capacity by 2.5 quarts on 9A1/9A2 engines and add 2 quarts additional oil volume to 718 four-cylinder models is the best thing you can do to help improve the performance, reliability, and longevity of your Porsche engine if you plan on tracking it.

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