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Project Porsche Boxster R Part 3: Chip, exhaust, and accessories

Aug 8, 2002 SHARE

Before certain parties dip my fingers in molten copper, let's get a few things straight. One: I don't hate chrome wheels. Two: I don't hate mini trucks. And three: I don't hate Mustangs (except the Mustang II).

Just like some people prefer certain food, I am fond of certain cars and the manner in which they are treated. It is simply a matter of taste--no right, no wrong, just taste. So go ahead, put those 14-in. Dayton spokes on 20mm spacers with 165-series whitewalls on your Toyota mini. I'll be stuffing my face with haggis and Vegimite in an effort to spread culinary goodwill (I'm sure I'll offend those people, too).

Like 99 percent of our readership, clan Boxster R wanted more power. Despite my efforts to school them otherwise, no one would be happy until the Porsche could do a respectable burnout. When I mentioned a Mustang might be a better choice for such activities, I was given a summary "wedgie," advised to shut up and find more ponies (hp).

Initial dyno tests showed the Boxster was producing some 166 whp at 6000 rpm--not great--but when you figure in a 20-percent driveline loss, that makes about 200 crank horsepower, which ain't too bad. Still, the Boxster felt like it had more to give--we had to figure out where to find it.

Past issues of ec have been painfully short on Boxster features, specifically cars equipped with bolt-on modifications. Not surprisingly, the most common mods we've seen have been Boxsters retrofitted with the 996 motor, an effective yet pricey procedure that was out of the question, for us, anyway.

Thumbing through Performance Products expansive catalog, we saw two engine performance parts that showed promise--the Dansk 986 exhaust and the PowerFlow intake.

Open element intakes have been popular with Porsches since forever, the idea being less restriction means more air, which equals more power and better throttle response. Anyone with a hole saw can create a freer flowing intake by drilling the airbox (and that is exactly what many do), but the compromise means your factory box is forever changed and the elements (water, gravel, mouse poo) may be sucked up in the additional holes. Performance Products PowerFlow intake simply replaces the entire factory unit and is available with a shielding that deters the elements and focuses airflow into the air filter.

The PowerFlow intake is fabricated from 3-in. stainless-steel stock, nicely welded, and features a factory-like crinkle-coat finish. The flex joints are a quality high-pressure hosing (Samco, I think), and the clamps are top notch. The optional water shield (highly recommended) is wrought from stout sheet steel and features top-edge foam seals and a crinkle-coat finish. The cone-style filter is a K&N unit featuring several layers of cotton gauze sandwiched between two layers of metal screen. The cotton is permeated with oil and catches the finest dust, making its filtering efficiency better than the factory's paper unit. Tests on a C4 have shown K&N air filters have more than twice the cfm of the stock filter, and they're designed to last the life of the car.

The PowerFlow intake features comprehensive installation instructions--even cousin Dave understood them. Performance Products' tech staff installed the PowerFlow in two hours, and we were off. First impressions felt like we had an additional 50 hp--the Boxster R flew down the street with a new voice that made it sound ferocious. In the same way an open-element intake will transform the sound of Volkswagen's narrow-angle VR6, Porsche's flat six responded brilliantly, especially near 5400 rpm when the intake geometry changes. The bloody thing wails.

On the exhaust end of things, we installed a Dansk dual-outlet sport muffler, the idea being if the Boxster R was going to eat more, it was going to poop more.

The Dansk exhaust is manufactured in Denmark and boasts a gem-like quality that makes it a shame to hide. The welds, fasteners, bracketry, etc. are near perfect and give the factory more than a run for its money in terms of quality. Moreover, the system for the base 986 features stout stainless-steel construction and dual tips, just like the Boxster S. The Dansk system is a cat-back exhaust designed to reduce backpressure, increase horsepower and mileage and give a sportier sound (that's what the literature says, anyway).

The Dansk exhaust bolted up without a problem, and the dual tips fit the rear valance cut-out perfectly. And, while we were very happy with its overall quality, the tone and performance were simply fantastic. The Dansk exhaust is one of those rare systems that manages to blend good performance and great build quality with a superb sound. It is actually quieter than the stock system--until the throttle is mashed. About 5400 rpm (when the intake kicks in) the exhaust lets loose a feral scream, and it seems like all hell is about to break loose--it's great fun.

Dyno tests revealed decent gains in hp, although we failed to get torque readings because our dyno guy was afraid to strip the insulation away from the coil pack. However, one thing was painfully obvious--the rev limiter was set at a joy-killing 6700 rpm, effectively ending the fun just as it started.

During our "mother of all exhaust tests," Jeff Moss at Velocity Tuning suggested we try a GIAC chip for the 1.8t motor--it was a great recommendation. Huge power gains coupled with smooth response turned our ubiquitous Jetta IV into an E36 M3 killer (yes, it really happened). Could they do the same to the Boxster?

"It won't be quite that dramatic," said Moss, "But you'll sure feel the difference."

Project Boxster R found itself at Velocity Tuning (a GIAC distributor), where its Bosch Motronic M 5.2 computer was removed and overnighted to GIAC. Garrret Lim, the brains behind GIAC, reprogrammed the box with more aggressive fuel and timing maps and a 7300-rpm rev limit.

Moss was right--the difference was evident the moment the Boxster left the shop. There was more grunt from 1700 rpm right up to 7000, and driveability remained perfect. Dyno runs proved what our backsides felt--the Boxster R was making significantly more power. My clan was very, very happy.

Due to the nasty dip leading from our offices to the street, Performance Products equipped our Boxster with its "Boomerang" protection plate. Shaped like its name, the Boomerang is a stout metal plate that fits the lower lip of the Boxster's nose. It has saved us untold damage to the radiators, front condenser and front spoiler. I know this because the Boomerang bears the scratch marks of countless driveways, parking berms and curbs. Get one, now!

Performance Products used the Boxster R to prototype a set of carbon-fiber door sill plates--I sure hope these make it into production, because they are beautiful and a topic of constant discussion.

Lastly, we swapped out the yellow sidemarkers with color-coded units that lend a unified appearance to our Boxster R. It's a very subtle touch that nonetheless appears very, very cool. Project Boxster R is shaping up beautifully. The bad part is clan Boxster are beginning to squabble over the keys more and more.

Stay tuned.

Performance Products
8000 Haskell Ave.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(800) 423-3173
www.performanceproducts.com
www.automotion.com

GIAC
www.giacusa.com

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