Kudos to Franswa - who is a Porsche dealer gold certified tech, who spent about an hour on the phone with me last night covering the intricacies, quirks & problems with Cayennes.
He's cooled my interest in the early Series 1 Cayenne S 2003-05, & all but maybe a late 2006 Titanium Edition - & again I'm refocusing to Series 2 2008-10 or maybe an upcoming well priced off-lease Series 3 2011-14 S or Diesel (2013-14). In all cases I'm looking for a low mileage (+/- 70-80k mi or less) & preferably original owner or a perfect 2nd owner vehicle with immaculate service records & less than recco fluid changes + the key fixes done timely before problems arise
As a side note, I still could also look at a Toyota Land Cruiser or V8 4Runner, VW Taureg - esp. in TDI form or V8, BMW X5 V8 or diesel, or MBZ ML350 or 550 diesel or V8, V8 Ford Explorer, etc. if something cherry came along & checked out as great condition in a pro PPI.
For others who may read this later, here's a summary of the skinny ....
First few years were a problem with a bunch of stuff going wrong & the kinks needing ironed out - as is often the case with any makers' new vehicles. My Dad used to say to stay away from the first year or two of ANY makers' new models (or significant redesigns).
Series 1 Cayenne:
- Horrific - many service & tech notices came out
- some improvement, but still horrible
- getting better, but still a lot of tech & service advisories (fixes)
- better still, but not as good as the Series 2
Aside from the teething & initial quality/QC problems, the key issues are:
The plastic coolant pipes on the engine need to be retrofitted preemptively
along with the starter & water pump. If they weren't replaced until after they leaked down into the transmission/starter, then there can be all sorts of problems with the seals & transmission needing replacement or rebuilding. IIRC VW Taureg & Audi Q7 both had the plastic coolant pipes too, so this would be a fixit item there too.
Also they had problems on the early ones & some later with the individual ignition coils per cylinder were failing, so they had a factory tech bulletin to replace them with a new coil design.
Beyond that, the bushings on the lower front control arms wear out at 40-60-80,000 mi or so & can't be replaced - plus the ball joints are going bad by then, so it's a full lower control arm replacement cost & labor.
Likewise, the center supporting bushing on the Kardan Shaft (driveshaft) wears at about that time too, & likewise can't be replaced - so that's a full shaft replacement.
The high pressure fuel pumps (almost as high as diesel at 200 bar) in all series tend to go after a point & need replacement.
They all need timing belts, tensioners, etc. & water pump replaced on service interval (IIRC that was +/- 60k or so).
Also on all, the oil & other fluid changes per factory recco are too long & should be shortened or halved - especially in the early MYs, & the factory or longer changes can gunk up the motor valve train, transmission, F & R differentials, &/or transfer cases works (solenoids, actuators, etc.) such that it causes repairs needed later on, but earlier than if changed more often.
Franswa suggested a quick test for valve train problems when looking over a Cayenne: while still in park floor the accellerator up to redline & hold a few seconds & then let off - if it stumbles when back at idle, then you have an expensive valve train repair waiting!
They all need a 4 wheel alignment on a good machine annually
- or more often if bad roads &/or off-roading.
All of them also need the "water box" area between the firewall & windshield base checked at every service to see that the drains are clear & no leaves/etc. built up, because they mount computers, controllers & other electronics in there - which don't do well when wet. Wet front carpets & windows steaming or fogging up ar an indicator of this water problem.
2006 Titanium Edition
- I didn't realize it, but this was a late model year carry-over or "continuation model" used until the Series 2 came out in 2008 MY (& some were still being sold new then).
2007 - No Cayenne
Series 2 Cayenne:
- changed to direct fuel injection (DFI), so the valves don't get washed off by the fuel coming into the intakes, & they need to have the valves media-blasted/vacuumed (special tool/machine) when built up carbon deposits on the valves get too much & causing running problems. No to fellow oldtimers - we can't go out & run it hard to blast off the crud like in the old days!
They fixed most of the series 1 problems, including switched to metal coolant pipes on the engine - except 1 plastic under the distribution box (term?) which still needs replacement
, as does the original coolant dist. box with the glued connections need to be replaced with the Porsche fix is a screw connector to the alum. box - & the engine need to be dropped to access them.
The lower front control arms & Kardan shaft (drive shaft) central bearing/support continue to be long term maintenance items.
2008 still used the earlier radio units, while 2009> use a later unit with a hard drive which some are now coming back for replacement. The older one was a bit funky to some & not as good as the newer unit.
And the Nav option is required to have the factory rear-view camera option, which wasn't available until 2006 MY.
Series 3 Cayenne:
- lighter body, slightly better fuel economy in the S V8
- 3.0L V6TDI Cayenne Diesel
We didn't cover these as much due to out of our budget at current prices for the diesel, but maybe after 36 month leases rollover. Also they're generally too new to have much coming back to the dealers yet.
They did switch to the 8-speed ZF transmission in 2011> as noted above.
Series 4 Cayenne:
- brand new & just out, but no more V8 "S" - it's a TTV6 now as noted above by Cory Can, with only a V8 in the Turbo.
Consumer Reports loves them & the Series 2 & 3 (after bashing the Series 1), as does Andy T. at CanAm for TV duty.
Franswa warns about using them to tow at their max limits - although I know that many can & do with the Toureg & Cayenne, and that they have a relatively low payload. For us with a 3-3500# vintage TT & just 2, he thinks we're probably fine.
Note that ALL series V8 Cayennes (S, GTS, Turbo S, etc.) use a lot of gas typical of most V8s weighing in at +/- 5000#, & all eat tires in 15-20,000 miles too - perhaps helped along by the fact that they're fun to drive aggressively & most have softer performance tires on them.
Also, they & their VW & Audi cousins are premium or luxury SUVs - so parts, repairs & maintenence costs are going to be priced acoordingly higher than some other domestic & imported TV candidates - although IMHO prices for Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinity & USA Big 3 parts-n-labor is not really far off anymore, since they're all using the same group of suppliers.
Additionally, read the other posts by Franswa & other posters on some of the issues which have come up. I'm probably forgetting some of the things from Franswa & that I've read heard elsewhere, but I blame it on my half-zymers - I only remember half the stuff, half the time!
NOTE TO USED/PRE-OWNED CAYENNE BUYERS:
"Excellence" magazine has their annual buyer's guide Reviews of Cayenne (& all models), & the PCA "Panamera" member magazine has "Tech Tips" which cover the Cayenne issues (& other models' too), and are well worth reading to get up to speed with them if you're considering a Cayenne - whether or not as a TV.
For me - I tend to keep & keep up my cars .... forever .... as you might tell by being the original owner of 2 of our 3 cars & 2nd owner of the 3rd, they being 1985 & 88 + 1973 respectively. We also only put less than 6,000 miles on the former 2 daily drivers PER YEAR
& the `73 is under a long & slow restoration.
So I would foresee us maybe putting 3-5,000 mi/yr on the Cayenne as TV & "3rd car" - with possibly a bit more if we decided on a longer cross country trek or tow from time to time, & therefore plan to keep it indefinitely too, letting it too age into a classic vehicle as well!
More Cayenne TV towing input & ownership experience is still welcome - good & bad! .... and of course anything fun about 928!