When Your Battery Is Dead

Some of what you can do is model year dependent. I'll list all the methods I've ever heard of, you pick the one that applies to your model year and for which you have the equipment.

CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION - OBSERVE POLARITY WHEN DOING ANY OF THE ELECTRICAL METHODS BELOW.(Polarity means don't connect positive to negative or vice versa.)

First method

And probably the simplest is to go to Radio Shack and find the adapters for the Cigarette Lighter Plug with Banana Jack adapter (Cat # 270-1521).  

This sells for about $8.  It plugs into the accessory jack and the other end has two terminals, one red and one black.  Get yourself some color coded cable as well and then connect to a good battery being very careful to observe the proper polarity.  You'll probably have to hold the adapter in the accessory jack as the Porsche lighter socket is slightly larger than for American/Japanese cars in some model years.  You should be able to then open the front hood.  You can also get two of the adapters, run wire between them observing polarity, and then connect between two cars.  CAUTION: don’t attempt to start the “dead” vehicle in this manner.  Because of high starting currents damage is highly likely to occur.  Use this only to get the front hood open, and then jump the car in the normal manner should you chose to do so. 

A slight variation on the above:  If you have a friend that has a charger with cigarette lighter adapter try plugging it in and waiting an hour or so.  If you can get another car near it you can also go to Radio Shack and get two cigarette lighter adapters and string up some wire between the adapters (make sure you have the same polarity at each end, connecting center to center and edge to edge. That usually means the colored wires change where you splice them.) and then plug it in to another car.  Again wait a bit and then try the trunk opening, don't try to start the car that way as you'll draw too much current and fry the jumpers you just made.


Method two.

Some people have also reported that a battery maintainer which plugs into the accessory jack will also allow you to pop the hood.  I think I remember that you need to have it plugged in for an hour or so to get some level of charge on the battery before the hood release will work.

Third Method

Inside the top of the driver's front wheel well, just aft of the spring coil mount, is a little rectangular corner in the black plastic shroud that lines the inside of the wheel well. Reach under this, and you will feel a "wire" about 1/8" in diameter. Too thick for an electrical wire (and not in a harness anyway). Tug this cable gently out from behind the shroud and get a good grip on a loop of it. Now pull hard away from the headlight once, and prepare to hear the music of the alarm as the front hood pops open. Grab a 10mm wrench and take off one of the battery cables to silence the alarm. 

Eric adds:

"If you lay down under the front bumper you will see 4 openings and you can look all the way up them to the hood. The space between the trunk and bumper.

All the way up on the passenger side you will see the piping for the AC. (at least that's what I think it is). In my case I was also able to see the 1/4" cable that runs from the trunk latch towards the passenger front wheel well.

I was able to reach up and hook that cable and pull down on it to open the trunk, I then rerouted the cable making it easier to do again if needed.

I actually used part of a plant hangar my neighbor had in his garage and a flashlight so I could see what I was doing. It would help if you could jack up that side and stabilize it to make it a bit easier to get under there."


Fourth Method

...and from the Porsche TSB. 

"Should the front and rear hood releases become inoperative due to a disconnected or discharged battery, the following procedure will allow the hoods to be operated electrically under these conditions.
· Open the left door.
· Using an external battery, connect the negative lead to the door stop.
· Connect the positive lead to both sides of fuse "C3" (see illustration below).
· With the door open, move the door latch with a screwdriver into the closed position.
· Using the key, lock and unlock the door.
· The front and rear hood releases can now be operated.

By the way there are several batteries that people have used successfully.  I replaced mine with a Sears International Diehard at about $100. (Mike interjects here to suggest going to my page on batteries for a complete list of batteries known to fit the Boxster.)  I don't remember exactly which one but it was correctly shown in the Sears computer database.  When replacing, empty your front trunk and actually get into the thing with your feet on the floor.  Then changing the battery becomes easy.  Otherwise, it is very cumbersome lifting from the side or front when you are outside the car. 

When and owner called Porsche because he was still having problems, they suggested:

1) You need to try to open the lid using the KEY REMOTE, not the switch on the floor
2) Since the front lid had been sealed shut for 4 months, he said to press down on it (on the Porsche logo) and try to prop it up while trying to open it. Sometimes the rubber seals stick enough that the lid doesn't have enough oomph to pop open.

Fifth method

Applicable to MY1997 thru MY2000 (compliments of Joe King):
To open the front trunk when the battery is dead you can use the emergency release cable which can be accessed with a few tools, use the battery procedure outlined in Porsche Technical Bulletin 1/96 5510 or use my method which requires a small screwdriver and flashlight. It allows you to open the front hood lid in about 10 seconds once you learn the trick. My procedure is outlined below:
1. Both trunk levers are cable operated. When the alarm is set, a solenoid latches the two trunk levers. If the battery dies while the alarm is set, it is necessary to open the door with the key. Opening the door with the key does not unlatch the trunk levers since there is no power to operate the solenoid.
2. To learn how to unlatch the trunk levers, examine under the front trunk lever by looking through the slot between the two trunk levers with a flashlight. Look for the tab on the underside of the front trunk lever. Directly below the tab is a small U shaped cutout. When the lever is pulled up, the tab drops into the small U shaped cutout. When the alarm is set, a small white plate slides over the small U shaped cutout from the center of the car towards the outside of the car. This prevents you from pulling up the lever because the tab cannot pivot down into the small U shaped cutout.
3. To unlatch the front trunk lever, use a very thin shaft straight slot screwdriver (I used an Xcelite R3323 which has a very thin 3"shaft). Slide the screwdriver between the two trunk levers and insert it between the solenoid plate and outside rear edge of the U shaped cutout and slid the plate toward the center of the car and pull up on the front trunk lever.
To test this procedure (without waiting for a dead battery):
1. With the drivers door open, move the black door latch to the closed position, the second click. This is done by using a screwdriver to move the black lever portion of the door latch toward the outside of the door until you hear a distinct click followed by a second distinct click. IMPORTANT: At this point do not slam the door shut since the door latch is in the latched position and may be damaged when making contact with the door jab. Step 4 explains how to reset the door latch.
2. Lock the car using the remote or key. The alarm will be set and the trunk levers latched. Don't sit in the car because the alarm is set.
3. At this point you can use the above procedure to open the front trunk. The alarm may sound when you pull up on the lever since you are opening the trunk. This is determined by the front trunk switch adjustment.
4. IMPORTANT: After opening the front trunk using this test procedure you must unlock the car using the remote or key followed by pulling up on the door handle to unlatch the door latch.


My '01 has a red covered tab inside the fuse box that has a picture of the front hood opening. That is the positive connection point for an '01 Boxster.


How To Prevent This From Being A Problem

The Towing Eye Hack enables you, the owner, to open the front trunk quickly, when the battery is dead. It's the fastest way to gain access to your front trunk if/when your battery is dead.

Disclaimer: the Towing Eye Hack is for Boxster owners only. Non-owners should never pull the Towing Eye Cap to see if the owner did this hack. If this hack is ever utilized for evil purposes the evil-doer will surely go to a very hot place for all eternity.Often done while pulling the front bumper to clean the radiators.

Tools needed:
* Wire coat hanger
* Wire cutter (dykes)
* Flashlight
* Wire ties (plastic straps used to bundle wires)

1. Remove Towing Eye Cap in front bumper (or remove the bumper)
2. Open front trunk
3. Loosen spare tire in front trunk - loosen the wing nut in the middle of the spare tire
4. Remove tool kit behind spare tire
Note: Feel free to check your Owner's Manual for Instructions on removing and reinstalling your Boxster's headlights. Do not follow these instructions to remove and reinstall the headlights if they're wrong Reading instructions before doing work will take time and it may also cause dryness of the mouth, headaches and paranoia
5. Locate Headlight Removal Tool in tool kit
6. Release trunk liner (carpet)in the area inside the front trunk on the passenger side
7. Remove the rubber plug that covers the access hole to the headlight release on the passenger side
8. Insert Headlight Removal Tool into the hole engaging the nut
9. Rotate the Headlight Removal Tool and release the headlight
10. Remove headlight - Litronics headlights require releasing the plug while standard headlights unplug themselves when they slide out
11. Headlight slides out/forward - note the round tabs on the headlight that slide in tracks mounted inside the headlight area in the car
12. Place the headlight somewhere safe from falling and damage
13. Locate front trunk emergency release wire which is taped to the side of the trunk inside the headlight opening. It looks like this wire with the circular "handle".


14. Pull the front trunk emergency release wire free of the plastic tape.
15. Get a wire coat hanger and cut a piece about 10" long - make a small hook (small 'U' shape) in one end
16. Insert the hooked end into the Towing Eye hole in the front bumper
17. Using a flashlight if necessary, move the emergency trunk release wire so that you can hook it with the coat hanger hook - hook the trunk release wire in the middle of the wire, not the loop handle
18. Once you've hooked the emergency trunk release cable with the coat hanger, pull the coat hanger hook back out of the towing eye so that a loop of the emergency trunk release wire comes out the hole (it's not necessary to pull it all the way out)
19. Using a wire tie, loop it around the emergency trunk release wire and around the "fishing line" that is used on most Boxsters to connect the Cap to the bumper. If your Towing Eye Cap does not have the fishing line (meaning your Towing Eye Cap is loose) then you can run the wire tie through the round hole in the Towing Eye Cap meant for the fishing line.
20. Your wire tie should now be looped around the emergency trunk release wire and the fishing line in the Towing Eye Cap. Keep the loop of the wire tie large - there's no need to tighten it so the emergency release wire is pulled tight to the Towing Eye Cap. You'll want there to be a length of wire tie.
21. Push the loop of exposed emergency trunk release wire back into the hole, tuck the wire tie back into the hole and put the Towing Eye Cap back into place in the front bumper.
22. Use your wire coat hanger to fish the emergency trunk release wire handle (the wire has a loop handle) and pull it back towards where it was taped in place - it won't reach that spot any more but you just want to find a place to tuck the emergency trunk release wire and loop handle out of the way where it won't snag on anything.
23. Replace the headlight making sure the tabs slide back in the tracks.
24. Once it's back in place you'll need to use the Headlight Removal Tool to latch the headlight securely back into place. You'll need to hear a snap or "pop" that indicates the headlight is latched securely. Check it by tugging on the headlight to make sure the headlight is locked back in place and won't come flying out when you stop the first time you drive your Boxster.
25. Replace the Rubber Plug and the trunk liner back in place.
26. Pack up your tool kit and replace it behind the tire
27. Tighten up the nut holding the tire in place
28. Check your headlight to make sure it's securely locked in place
29. Next time your battery is dead (unfortunately, it's only a matter of time before it happens) don't get concerned . Remove the Towing Eye Cap, pull the wire tie out of the hole and pull on it to pull the emergency front trunk release wire out (no need to pull it all the way out). Pull on the emergency front trunk release wire and unlock your front trunk.
30. Jump start your car or charge your battery. Think about how much easier this is than other solutions.