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      04-09-2021, 01:26 PM   #1
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Any prior or current 2009-2016 Cayman owners?

I'm considering a 2009-2016 Cayman 6MT as a fun car in addition to my 2016 M235. My preference is a 981 generation as I think it looks the best, but I'm not totally opposed to the 987 gen assuming it's an S.

I'm a DIYer and can do most maintenance and repairs myself. About the only thing I haven't done is replace a transmission/clutch or major engine work like yank a head or swap a motor.

From what I've gathered, the 2009-2016 Caymans are fairly reliable and easy to work on. Even though the motor is in the middle, you can access the front and top of the engine from the interior and most of the sides, bottom, and back of the motor from the underneath. I've had many Subarus so I'm used to Boxer style motors. It's my understanding that the 2009-2016 motors don't have IMS bearing which is huge plus. I've read that the 6MT's can have shifter cable issues and that the cables should be replaced every 30K miles.

Anyone have direct experience with these cars? Is there anything major, problem wise, I'm missing? Thanks.
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      04-10-2021, 11:01 AM   #2
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I had a 982 718 CS for a couple of years.
Other than engine most of the features are the same.
If doing it again I would also look for a 981 as you are.

Shifter cables were changed but I don't recall if it was for the 981.
Either way, it is easily rectified with cables from Numeric Racing.

Yes IMS was resolved for 981.
One thing to watch for are active suspension components if so equipped.
(active motor and trany mounts)
They run more the $1500 each if they fail.
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      04-10-2021, 03:15 PM   #3
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I've had 2 981 Cayman S's, but only kept them 2-3 years each form new and under warranty so can't speak to long term longevity...I had no warranty issues with either.

they are certainly amazing to drive

the 981/987 forum on rennlist would be a good resource in terms of the longevity and mechanics of these cars
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      04-10-2021, 03:32 PM   #4
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I was looking at the same thing before buying my 235i I asked for input on a motorcycle forum I belong to and the only thing of value was "Tiptronic is just Porsche's word for "automatic". It's boring and it sucks and it takes the life out of the car. Wait and find a manual."
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      04-11-2021, 02:55 AM   #5
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I owned a 2009 Cayman S for a year at the same time as my 997.2 GTS.
I liked the car, though it is no 911. It was easy to work on, and the only thing it needed was basic maintenance and expected wear items like a motor mount, even with the car having 95k miles on it.

I would have a 987.2 over a 981 every time due to the steering. I've got extended seat time in 981 due to getting one for several days as a service loaner. Another reason I'd take the 987.2 is they are in shorter supply and the values not only hold but begin to increase a little. I owned my 987.2 for only 1 year, and even with such high mileage I sold it for $2k more than I bought it for. 981 also suffers similar to 991 in feeling generally more disonnected than the previous generation as VAG complete control over Porsche started to have obvious impact. Its not a good change at all if you want to enjoy a sports car.

Get a PPI from an independant source if possible, also make sure all maintenance was up to date through the cars life and you should not have any issues.

Last edited by Fined; 04-11-2021 at 03:02 AM..
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      04-11-2021, 08:30 AM   #6
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Had 2011 987.2 and 2014 981 for 3 yrs, 40k miles (both 6mt). My brother bought and still has my 987 now with ~90k miles. Other than shifter cable and [recently] brake lines, it has been rock solid/his least expensive car to maintain from 40-90k miles (yes, he keeps track of stuff like that). I loved both of those cars and they were trouble free for me. You are correct about the IMS 2009+
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      04-11-2021, 08:56 AM   #7
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I have a 987.2 6MT but I just picked up a new Supra so it'll be sold here next month. Here's my personal take on the car maintenance, reliability and vs the 981.

After doing nearly everything to my car from changing all oils, coolant flush, motor and trans mounts, full suspension change out, brakes, and more...I feel the car is very well made and fairly easy to work on. Something like the Quickjack make working on this car a breeze. I would say reliability is very high as well.

Time for things I don't like about the 987.2. The motor mounts on these things deteriorate quickly. Regardless of the miles on the car you should check if it's been changed. If you shift the car hard and feel/hear a slight clunk then the mount is probably shot. Personally, I didn't think they are that hard to change, however you have to drop the coolant tubes which means you need vacuum bleed the coolant back in. The stock suspension is ehh and just regular aftermarket struts are noticeable improvement in performance. The car has very little negative camber in the front and if you plan on doing track days then plan on spending money on the suspension because it'll eat tires.

The interior is dated but the worst part of it is that all the plastic trim in the car as that rubbery coating on it that flacks off and looks terrible. The only way to fix it is to strip and repaint the pieces. The manual in this car feels TERRIBLE. It has plastic bushings and other pieces in the shifter and the cables stretch as well as have these bushings in each end that have too much play. I'd immediately budget like $1200 and install the numeric cable and shifter kit. It is an immense upgrade in feel. At the very least a numeric cable should be installed.

Personally, I'd opt for a 981 and I would have gotten a 981 GTS recently but my wife really liked the Supra so it is what it is. The steering feel isn't as good. Everyone says it and they're right but for me that's it. The interior is better put together and none of that janky coated plastic stuff, you can get the x73 sport suspension from the factory so you don't have to install crap yourself, there's a bit more power, the exterior is more modern, you can find S and GTS with optioned PTV if you track the car, the list goes on. You can pickup a GTS with 40-50k miles with a manual for around 55-65k and that would be my pick. With all the stock options on that car plus the GTS got the well trimmed interior...it's a gorgeous car that probably has deprecated fully at this time. As long as you don't put tons of miles on it then it's value is pretty solid.
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      04-11-2021, 02:38 PM   #8
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Had 981's the past 9 years between a '12 Cayman S and a '16 GT4. They're very solid cars with zero surprises. The infamous 3rd gear recall had to be done on the GT4 but that's not an issue on the non-GT Caymans
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      04-11-2021, 03:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strohw View Post
I have a 987.2 6MT but I just picked up a new Supra so it'll be sold here next month. Here's my personal take on the car maintenance, reliability and vs the 981.

After doing nearly everything to my car from changing all oils, coolant flush, motor and trans mounts, full suspension change out, brakes, and more...I feel the car is very well made and fairly easy to work on. Something like the Quickjack make working on this car a breeze. I would say reliability is very high as well.

Time for things I don't like about the 987.2. The motor mounts on these things deteriorate quickly. Regardless of the miles on the car you should check if it's been changed. If you shift the car hard and feel/hear a slight clunk then the mount is probably shot. Personally, I didn't think they are that hard to change, however you have to drop the coolant tubes which means you need vacuum bleed the coolant back in. The stock suspension is ehh and just regular aftermarket struts are noticeable improvement in performance. The car has very little negative camber in the front and if you plan on doing track days then plan on spending money on the suspension because it'll eat tires.

The interior is dated but the worst part of it is that all the plastic trim in the car as that rubbery coating on it that flacks off and looks terrible. The only way to fix it is to strip and repaint the pieces. The manual in this car feels TERRIBLE. It has plastic bushings and other pieces in the shifter and the cables stretch as well as have these bushings in each end that have too much play. I'd immediately budget like $1200 and install the numeric cable and shifter kit. It is an immense upgrade in feel. At the very least a numeric cable should be installed.

Personally, I'd opt for a 981 and I would have gotten a 981 GTS recently but my wife really liked the Supra so it is what it is. The steering feel isn't as good. Everyone says it and they're right but for me that's it. The interior is better put together and none of that janky coated plastic stuff, you can get the x73 sport suspension from the factory so you don't have to install crap yourself, there's a bit more power, the exterior is more modern, you can find S and GTS with optioned PTV if you track the car, the list goes on. You can pickup a GTS with 40-50k miles with a manual for around 55-65k and that would be my pick. With all the stock options on that car plus the GTS got the well trimmed interior...it's a gorgeous car that probably has deprecated fully at this time. As long as you don't put tons of miles on it then it's value is pretty solid.
Do you have any thoughts yet on the Supra compared to a 987 or 981?

I've only driven a base 718 Cayman, but came away really underwhelmed after the test drive. Felt like I really had to push it to have any kind of fun. Afterwards I test drove a M2C and much preferred it. Mind you all of this was done on boring city streets with a couple of roundabouts.

I still haven't driven a new Supra yet, but am always interested to hear folks impressions of it that have also driven or owned Caymans/Boxsters. I've heard the 718 is more engaging than the 981, but perhaps not as much so as the 987.
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      04-12-2021, 09:44 AM   #10
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The 987 is the most engaging because it's loud, noisy and you are always getting road feedback in the steering. The car is very sensitive to tire balancing.

If you felt the base Cayman had to be pushed was it from lack of power or because of the tall gearing? Base 982 is going to feel faster around town and through normal corners than a 981 or 987. Plus you can get another 50hp/tq out of them with a tune which really puts them ahead.

If you liked the M2c and said to yourself I want a 2 seater of this but just slightly less raw feeling for every day use then the Supra is what you get. But no manual so I don't think it'll make it on your list.
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      04-12-2021, 01:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strohw View Post
The 987 is the most engaging because it's loud, noisy and you are always getting road feedback in the steering. The car is very sensitive to tire balancing.

If you felt the base Cayman had to be pushed was it from lack of power or because of the tall gearing? Base 982 is going to feel faster around town and through normal corners than a 981 or 987. Plus you can get another 50hp/tq out of them with a tune which really puts them ahead.

If you liked the M2c and said to yourself I want a 2 seater of this but just slightly less raw feeling for every day use then the Supra is what you get. But no manual so I don't think it'll make it on your list.
Thanks for the insight strohw.

When driving the 718 base PDK I found the throttle very unresponsive and the power pretty lacking at low RPMs even when compared to the MK7 GTI I had at the time as well as the ND Miata I had recently sold. Selecting sport mode didn't seem to help much with this. It's worth noting that I'm at Denver altitude (around 5,700'). Which certainly doesn't help with turbo lag and perceived performance at lower revs on some low displacement cars. My MK7.5 Golf R suffers from some of this too with it's larger turbo and more pronounced lag.

When I drove the Cayman I was looking to use it as a daily driver as well as a canyon carver. I came away feeling like it would be a good fit for the latter, but not the former (at least for me). Thus as a 2nd car it's still a platform I would consider. Unfortunately I just don't have the garage space for an extra car right now. So I've been shopping for a do everything sports car.

Regarding the Supra being auto only: I'm actually viewing this as a plus for my use case. If I were to get a M2 today it would be DCT. At only 41 years old I've developed a left knee injury from years of abuse. Unfortunately it often bothers me the most when driving a manual trans car because of the clutch work.


Best wishes,
Alan
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      04-13-2021, 09:38 AM   #12
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You should test drive a Supra then. It's the most comfortable car of everything you listed but still very comparable to the other two. Though you should probably try and find a 981 to test drive as well. Keep in mind that you can get 3.0 premium Supras for 50-51k right now very easily. An OK optioned average mileage 981s is going to cost you more than that. I also don't get the impression from what you said that you would like the 981 base as it really needs to rev to make any power.
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      04-13-2021, 07:44 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the information. It's super helpful and helps solidify my decision. I'll probably hold off for a bit as used car prices seem quite inflated at the moment.
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      04-13-2021, 07:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strohw View Post
You should test drive a Supra then. It's the most comfortable car of everything you listed but still very comparable to the other two. Though you should probably try and find a 981 to test drive as well. Keep in mind that you can get 3.0 premium Supras for 50-51k right now very easily. An OK optioned average mileage 981s is going to cost you more than that. I also don't get the impression from what you said that you would like the 981 base as it really needs to rev to make any power.
I love everything about the Supra except for the looks. I just can't get past all the unnecessary scoops, winglets, and all the fake intakes and vents. The car is trying too damn hard visually and comes off a bit poser-like. It's dialed up to 11 when I'm sure it would be exceptional looking at a 9. The Japanese just can't resist all the unnecessary aero stuff. I miss the restrained Japanese styling of the 1990s.
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      04-13-2021, 08:16 PM   #15
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as someone who was an NSX fanboy from the first time I saw one in the early 90's as a youngster and lucky enough to have three of them over the last 18 years it was time for something else with more of todays tech but still be a naturally aspirated V6 in the right spot(mid engine) ...the 981 Cayman fit the bill with its NA MR flat six... it is ironic and fitting that Porsche introduced the original Cayman just as Honda killed off the original NSX....The Cayman evolved into what the original NSX should have evolved into....always liked them, but it wasn't until the 981 was released that it really caught my attention with its much more muscular design and imo just much better looking over the previous 987 gen.
A couple years ago I cashed in on my last NSX and picked up a 981 Cayman S, after a few months of hunting down my perfect spec, (white on black, x-73, 20" Carrera S wheels, SD steering wheel etc) I finally found my unicorn. So I took a one way flight to San Jose and drove it home....

My only regret is that I didn't hold out for a manual but the PDK is amazing I just miss rowing gears....prices have actually gone up the last year on these cars and are getting harder to find, so if one pops up that fits your bill hop on it!!
Loved my NSX's, but this thing is on a whole nother level when it comes to performance and handling...it's by far the stickiest car I've ever driven
Only thing I did so far was swap out the exhaust...it's all it really needs, so you'll save a ton in mods especially if you can find one with the X-73 sport suspension,, but that isn't easy.

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