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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking of purchasing a used 2004 Cayenne S (no specific one) and was wondering how hard and expensive they are to maintain? I read the procedure on the oil change and was quite surprised, but I am mechanically inclined and have replaced things like timing belts, brakes, etc but mostly on subarus.

Also wondering what to watch out for. I gather there's an issue with coolant pipes considering a lot of ads say "upgraded coolant pipes" or "coolant pipes replaced".

I am not rich but make an average, decent salary. Are these things expensive maintenance buckets that break down all the time?
 

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It's a Porsche... they don't break down regularly. If you buy a "cheap" one, someone's likely getting rid of a problem or maintenance they don't want to perform. If you purchase one that has been driven properly, maintained to factory specs., and you have it professionally inspected to make sure there are no obvious issues, and you then keep up with scheduled maintenance, you'll be fine.
 

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Are these things expensive maintenance buckets that break down all the time?
I bought a 2004 S around 9 months ago - so I think I'm a pretty prime candidate to answer this for you. Mine looked to be a *mint* condition example with 63K on the clock. I bought it for a little over $17K. I even brought it to the premium Porsche shop in my city for a pre-purchase inspection.

Day 0: Pre purchase inspection went well - nothing found
Day 1: On my way to work - I give it the beans on the on-ramp - *PSSHHHH* coolant pipe failure. Originally quoted $3,200 to repair it - but convinced the dealer to pay for half and the shop that did the PPI to drop it by 50%. So I come out at $800 for something that is a known failure point. I'm (oddly) happy it happened then.
Day 30: The starter starts making a gggrrRRRRRR sound on cold starts - looks like its common for the coolant from the pipes bursting to cause a delayed starter failure. That being said 8-months later (now) and it hasn’t caused a problem.
Day 60: I'm under moderate load going up a hill and the transmission SLAMS into 4th from 5th. This becomes more and more common over time - and now I just drive it in manual mode all of the time to prevent it from happening. This is the valve body - I was conveniently also quoted $3,200 (magic number?) to replace that.

Here is what you should look for:

1. Have the coolant pipes been replaced? If not walk away. You can apparently tell without taking off the intake manifold: Plastic or Aluminum coolant pipes, how to tell without intake removal: - Rennlist Discussion Forums

2. Is the driveshaft bearing problematic? This will sound like someone under the car tapping the transmission tunnel with a little hammer. I've heard this is a nightmare to fix. If you hear it - walk away.

3. Does it clunk from 5th to 4th? If so - walk away. The valve body is a really expensive repair. I plan on doing mine in the next year or so with one from RevMatic with upgrades. Even doing all of the labor myself it will be about $1,000.

4. Get it compression tested. Early Cayennes can have problems with cylinder scoring in the 3rd and 5th cylinders. This is a MAJOR MAJOR repair and basically is solved by replacing the $8-12K engine. If its anything sub optimal - RUN away.

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Ownership of any 10-year-old $80,000 isn't for the faint of heart. If you want a luxury SUV however - it could be a good choice (as long as the 4 above check out ok).

I picked it over a similarly priced Range Rover because the seats fold flat and their planned lifespan is longer. I picked it over a cheaper XC90 V8 because those seem to be everywhere.

The interior is also pretty crappy, I've had 3 or 4 trim pieces straight fall off and the front power-outlet won't stay in its tracks. The seats are made for very thin people - and if you are even slightly bigger like me - they won't be very comfortable. Its mileage is awful - think 12-13 MPG and maybe 15 on the highway.

What are the plusses?
1. They are **** cheap now.
2. People think its worth WAY more than it is. This could also be seen as a con.
3. It really is about as fun to drive as a european sporty sedan like the 5-series.
4. It can tow a bunch.
5. It isn't awful to work on yourself.
6. It doesn’t seem to have the electrical gremlins of a Range Rover.
7. Once you repair the major defects above - it should be pretty reliable.

So go for it only if you get it checked out (and it passes), its cheap and you are ready to have maintenance bills of a $80,000 car - not the $15,000 or so you might pay for it.

If I could do it all again - I'd probably either get a XC90 V8 or a much less comfortable Wrangler Unlimited.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you VERY MUCH for the replies. I knew about the coolant pipe issues but not about the other issues mentioned. I was initially going to bypass a pre-ownership check but will definitely be getting one. I'm sold on this car. I simply want nothing else. I was considering a Touareg but it seems like the maintenance is just as bad if not worse. Plus, it doesn't look as good.

Do you know what year the cylinder problems were fixed? An 05 or 06 isn't out of the question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also, if the 3rd and 5th cylinders are prone to damage, is it not conceivable that the issue might pop up later even if I get it checked out? I don't want to have to replace a $12k engine after 30,000 miles.
 

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Also, if the 3rd and 5th cylinders are prone to damage, is it not conceivable that the issue might pop up later even if I get it checked out? I don't want to have to replace a $12k engine after 30,000 miles.
Unfortunately I don't really know that. The reports of it are pretty rare (in all of my searching online I think I found 3 or 4) and I believe they were all to owners in the 20-30K mileage range. Get it tested and I think you'll probably be fine.

You should be able to test the transmission valve body on your test drive.
1. Put it in manual mode
2. Go around 40MPH and shift into 5th gear
3. While driving up a hill, press the throttle maybe half way down and downshift into 4th

If you get a big clunk then - don't buy that car unless you budget to fix it for $3K.
 

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As everyone has stated,there are a few issues that Porsche fail to correct, coolest tubes made of plastic,then there costly items to stop the drive shaft to turning your milk into butter, remember the engine was built end outside the body to correct fan Belt you need to remove a lot of parts to get it ......you may want to take the tech some of moms cookies and be sure to find out what kind of beer he likes."......lol or if you are rolling into big bucks buy one .".....or wait on the new Macan it's coming out soon.
 

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P.S. There are two batteries in this vehicle if one goes bad don't let the one under the driver seat be disconnected it might short out your dish,ecu unit can cost up $3200 in my case,take to the dealer not like my did Auto Zone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again for all the replies. I ended up buying a cayenne s (white) with 99k on the clock with none of the above mentioned symptoms. It has been inspected by a mechanic and determined to be in good shape. I paid 12.5k under the impression that it needed a coolant pipe upgrade. Come to find out after taking it to a mechanic that it didn't. I'm concerned about the temp gauge rising past half way but everything I've read says this is normal. Now to figure out upgrading the horrible crappy stereo system with the stupid bose (bozo) sound system with its fiber optic MOST crap.
 
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