(Clean air for you and your car)

When most Porsche owners obtain a new vehicle they spend an excess of time cleaning and polishing their new acquisition. After the car is so clean that the glare becomes a danger to oncoming traffic, and water beads off the owners hands, we usually see the next step in the condition, known as “new owner fildle-i-tous”.

The next level in “fiddle-I-tous” is more of a hands on phase of the condition. However, in the case of 996’s and Boxster’s, there is very little that you can actually get your hands on. The 996 engine bay is well filled and the engine lid is extremely small! The boxster is even worse with its “childproof” sealing of the engine compartment.

While a qualified Porsche technician should preform most of the service, there are some items that can be performed by an enthusiastic owner.

Particle filter replacement
The first and easiest service task is the replacement of the climate control particle filter. This is a filter that looks like an engine air filter. It filters incoming passenger compartment air of dust, dirt, and… well particles. During “normal conditions” these only need to be replaced when the car receives its normal service. However, there are several cars that are driven in “severe conditions”. (See: The real world). For these cars more frequent replacement may be required.

An indication of filter replacement would be a laboring sound from the fan motor, or decreased air volume coming from the ventilation system. An odd odor may also be present while a dirty filter is in place.

Checking of the filter is no more difficult than opening the front trunk, removing one screw and two pieces of plastic. The filter is located under the cowl next to the passenger side hood hinge. (In both the 996 and Boxster). Remove this piece of plastic by first removing the center battery cover and then unscrewing the one mounting screw and pulling up on the far right plastic piece. (The screw takes a T-25 torx bit to remove it) . Once removed try not to be shocked at what you see, it could be very ugly in there!

Particle filter with both plastic covers removed

(This filter has only been in the car for 15,000 miles – yuk)!

 To remove the actual filter element you must first locate the filter-retaining clip and release it. It is to the right of the filter as you are looking at the filter (towards the center of the car).

Particle filter retaining clip released

Now lift up on the corner of the filter and pull the element out. Be careful not to let any dirt fall into the climate control system. If some does enter the system, use a shop-vac to clean the assembly thoroughly. If you do not clean it out you will get a blast of dirt thrown into you face when you turn the climate control fan on! Now take the new filter (Part # 996.571.219.01 costing $35.29) and slide it into place. Be careful, as this is not as easy as it looks, aggressive installation can result in a crushed filter element. Be sure to look at all corners of the filter to guarantee complete sealing against the housing. After the filter is perfectly seated in place you can reattach the retaining clip.

New filter with clip in place; ready for cover to be re-installed.

Replace the plastic cover and retaining screw (T-25 Torx bit) and you are all set to breathe easy again!

Engine air filter replacement – Boxster (986)

Replacing the engine air filter in a boxster is about a 5-minute proposition. Getting to that filter is another story completely!

If you consider yourself adventurous and at least reasonably adept at mechanical endeavors you should be able to complete this task. If your VCR is still flashing 12:00, and your complete tool set fits in the kitchen drawer… maybe you should leave this task to your mechanic at service time.

In order to gain access to the engine compartment and ultimately the air filter we will need to remove a few things from the car.

The top, storage shelf, insulation carpet and finally the engine cover must all be removed or relocated. The process for this is as follows:

•  Activate the top so the body cover lifts up and the front of the top lifts back about two feet.

•  Unclip the skirt of the top (both sides) where it attaches to the body.

•  Disconnect the two retaining cables at each end of the top.

•  Carefully lift the back section of the top forward until you feel a click (90 degrees of movement).

•  Carefully activate the top to the closed position; making sure the cloth does not catch anywhere.

•  Remove the storage unit by unfastening the two inside clips and the one top outer clip.

•  Remove the two remaining rear fastening clips at the rear of the carpet piece and remove.

•  Pull the locking rings of the metal engine cover up and twist counter clockwise.

•  With the cover loose carefully remove the cover and set it aside.

Warning: You are lifting a heavy cumbersome metal cover over the painted surface of your car, if you drop it…. Well just don’t drop it!

We now have access to the engine compartment and air filter. The air filter resides in a rectangular housing in the far left side of the engine compartment (drivers side).

Air filter housing looking from the passenger side of the car.

After locating the air filter housing we must remove the element. There are two retaining clips holding the door to the housing securely closed. Release each clip (one on each side) and gently wiggle and pull the top out. After the cover is out about four inches, tug a little more and the filter element will start to come out. This whole arrangement works just like a CD drawer on your computer. The only difference is there is no fancy button to push; you are the button.

Cover is out, and filter is half way out.
Pull cover top until filter is completely exposed.

After the filter is completely exposed, lift the filter and insert assembly out of the housing. When you do this there is a high likelihood that all sorts of trash, dirt, and debris will fall into the filter housing. This is because the filter element separates the top and bottom halves of the filter housing. When you remove the separator, all the matter not contained in the filter falls to the bottom half of the housing. Be sure to thoroughly clean the filter housing out before installing the new filter element. Any dirt left in the housing will be sucked directly into the engine! I hope you didn’t put that shop-vac away yet!

Cigarettes are bad for you and your car!
Be sure to get every last bit of debris out of the housing.

With the filter element insert out, discard the old filter and clean the assembly of and debris. Install the new filter into the element insert and reinstall the insert into the housing. New filter part # is 996.110.131.04 and costs $23.83.

Filter insert assembly ready for cleaning and element replacement.

To do this, push the filter all the way in, pressing on the filter element with your fingertips, not the filter cover. After the element is fully inserted into the housing push on the cover top until the retaining clips lock into place.

Notice how the filter is completely inserted before the cover is pushed all the way down.

Now that the filter replacement is complete, we can start closing the engine compartment:

•  Replace the metal engine cover and lock down the fastening tabs.

•  Replace the top carpet cover and lock down the fastening tabs.

•  Replace the storage unit attaching it at the two inside and single top tabs.

•  Open the top as was done earlier and pull the back of the top down into its original position.

•  Reattach the retaining cables at each side of the top.

•  Reattach the skirt where it fastens to the body.

•  Activate the top to the closed position.

•  Double check to see that everything is in place and nothing is binding or catching as the top operates.

Engine air filter replacement – Carrera (996)

Engine air filter replacement is much easier on 996’s. If you can’t program your VCR, you can still probably handle this operation:

•  Open the rear engine cover and locate the air filter housing.

Complete air filter assembly

•  Locate the oil filler pipe, unclip it and move it aside (do not disconnect).

Oil filler simply unclips and gets laid aside.

•  Locate the throttle body and loosen the intake boot hose clamp with a screwdriver.

•  Locate the plug at the mass air sensor.

•  Release the plug clips and remove the wiring harness from the sensor.

•  Remove the first harness clamp on the right side of the housing.

Note the clip half way down the wiring harness.

•  Loosen the single mounting bolt at the center of the filter housing. (Use a 13mm socket and extension to remove the 8mm mounting bolt).

•  Lift the entire housing up and out of the engine compartment. When the housing is half way up reach around to the right side of the housing and remove the second clip holding the remaining section of the mass air sensor wiring harness.

•  Remove the housing completely from the engine compartment and lay if aside.

•  Remove the seven screws holding the top and bottom housing pieces together.

•  Lift the top piece off and remove the filter element.

Complete air filter assembly and necessary tools for removal.

• Clean both top and bottom halves and reassemble with new filter element.

•  Reinstall air filter housing in reverse order of removal.

•  Air filter element part # is 996.110.131.52 and the cost is $25.03.

Now that’s how all filter replacements should go. Both you and your car can now breath easy!

Good Luck