Last year we introduced you to our newest project car, called simply “Project Boxster Clubsport”. In that first installment we found the right car, we purchased it for a song, and since then we’ve been slowly removing weight from it and installing a few upgrades. So far, we’re really happy with what the Boxster has become, but things came to a halt recently and sent us back to the drawing board. It’s an excellent Porsche, and we aim to make it just a little bit more excellent with each improvement.
Before we get started we would need to thank Michelin. As many of you know, Michelin is a long-time sponsor of FLATSIXES.com. Recently, they have generously offered to sponsor Project Boxster Clubsport as part of their involvement with our site. Please consider checking out what Michelin has to offer by clicking their banners on this page. Without Michelin’s support, and others like them, this site really wouldn’t be possible.
Part 14 – Interior Door Handle Update
After attempting to build what can only be described as an utter failure of an RS-style interior door panel, our Boxster suffered damage to the interior door handle bowden cable. It’s safe to say that more of my ham-fisted tomfoolery was involved in that, but I won’t go into details here, just to say that we may try another attempt at that project in the future with perhaps some more professional help. So, as it stands, we’re in need of a new door handle cable, that should be simple, right?
After a bit of sifting through part numbers in PET, we came up with a part number for the new cable and ordered one up. There had been a supersession on the part, but Porsche often changes part numbers without a change in the physical dimensions of the part. We were wary, but not worried. A ‘supersession’ is a change in the part number that occurs whenever the part itself changes. Essentially when a part is superceded, they link the old part number to the new part number, so when you try to order the old one, you’ll be informed and supplied with the new one. As I said before, most of the time these SS part numbers occur because of a materials change or a manufacturer change. In this case, it was a wholesale design change that made the new cable incompatible with our old handle.
Instead of sitting back and letting this beat us up, we did the logical thing and ordered more parts! It would seem that the supersession, which occurred in mid-1998, made significant changes to both the interior door handle assembly, as well as the cable. The best part is that there are different colored handles available, thanks to 996 models. We chose to ‘update’ to the later 996 version of the handle in a metallic silver color. Boxster door handle assemblies are all black, and we thought the silver handles worked better with our interior. If you have a late-1998 and later Boxster, this project wouldn’t even require you to change your cable, just the handle assembly. It’s a quick and simple project that brightened up our interior a bit for minimal time and dollar investment.
Step 1 – Disassembly
The door cards on a 986 are very simple to remove, and if you have one, you likely know exactly how to do it. There is a torx bolt underneath that little band on the door pull, and a couple more under the cover ahead of the metal handle itself. After that, it’s simply pulling out and disengaging the plastic clips around the panel, then lifting straight up to lift the seal out of its track. Be careful with the plastic clips, as they break easily thanks to almost twenty years of deteriorating.
On the back side of this assembly, you’ll see the old-style cable, and the old-style door handle assembly. Remove the cable, remove the tension spring (wrapped in felt here), and unscrew the handle from the door panel.
The door panel itself did not change in 1998, so the new-style handle screws right in. The handles, both left and right, were purchased used on eBay, and the bowden cable was purchased through Stoddard, though they should be readily available similarly inexpensively from your favored Porsche parts retailer, including your local dealer.
Perhaps the most difficult part of this project is taking the exterior door handle out of the door. Unfortunately it was dark inside the door, and I couldn’t get very good photos of it, but with patience and the right frame of mind, you can get it done.
Step 2 – Reassembly
With the exterior door handle removed from the door, you’ll easily see how the cable attaches. Install that end of the cable first, and reinstall it in the outside of the door. Again, patience is a virtue here. Make sure you route the door handle bowden cable correctly on installation. I was apparently tired and inattentive when I did this, as I routed the cable through the window track, and rolling down the windows caused the door to unlatch. Obviously I had to take everything apart again and re-do that part of the project. Take it from me, you won’t want to do that.
With the new inside handle attached, and the new cable installed, it’s simply a matter of re-tensioning the return spring, and putting the door panel back on the car. The process is relatively easy and should only take a couple of hours for both doors. You can compare this photo to the photo above to see the differences in attachment points where the cable and the handle meet. I’m still trying to figure out why Porsche made these changes.
Once installed, this is the finished result. We’re happy with how they turned out, as it is a small and subtle change, but it adds a bit of flair to an otherwise lackluster interior. The color is officially called “Aluminum”, but sadly the new handles are cast iron as the old ones were, making this project a weight-neutral update.
Door Handle Update Costs
Left Door Handle – $47.95 (Used – eBay)
Right Door Handle – $63.46 (Used – eBay)
Bowden Cable (996-537-320-03) – $8.64 each (New – Stoddard.com)
Extra Door Panel Clips (999-507-582-40) – $0.44 each (New – Stoddard.com)
Total – $133.09