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Old 11-11-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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Just suppose

that there was someone in the Porsche world who understood the specific metallurgy of our M96 engines and would take a sample of your oil and analyze it and tell you, based on seeing hundreds/thousands of other samples from running engines and the oil characteristics of a certain number of failed M96 engines, if there was a increasing statistical probability of a certain kind of failure in your engine. IOW, the value of this characteristic in your oil sample or the slope of this change in your oil's characteristics between samples is typical of what we see in an engine about to have failure Q. (Sally's engine, which just had failure X, had exactly the same change in characteristic Y of her car's oil as yours is exhibiting.)

This isn't the typical oil analysis done from the oil's perspective without regard to what engine the oil came from but rather is an analysis of the way the trace content in the oil tells specific things about what is happening in a M96 engine. This trend data may be the only way that forecasts of potential problems can be identified and forecasted in advance of an actual issue. This would help ease the mindís of owners knowing that the wear occurring within their engine is being traced and evaluated by specialists that also watch and create trend data for hopefully hundreds of other M96 engines that could become part of the same program.

Would you be interested in paying for an oil analysis and thus contributing to the data base assuming you got a written M96 oriented analysis? Would you be willing to do it repeatedly if the value of trendlining your engine and its oil was increased the more times the analysis of your oil would be done (IOW you'd get a better prediction from multiple samples versus just the one and the data base gets better at predicting)?

Assume for this discussion the cost was $30 per analysis. And assume the process of getting the oil sample done was no more complicated than it is using existing labs and is thoroughly documented so that the DIYer can obtain a clean sample.

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Old 11-11-2008, 03:18 PM   #2
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You should have made a poll on this question. Great idea.
'97 Boxster (Black Hole for 42,000 Dead Presidents and counting) - 122k
New motor, transmission, suspension, and on and on and on it goes...
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:10 PM   #3
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Interesting idea! But, playing for a minute, I can see some potential issues.

You're assuming that there is a 'telltale' of an oncoming failure in the oil, not sure that's a fair assumption. IMS failure seems to be a sudden, not progressive, failure and so may not offer such a 'telltale'. Confirming that no 'telltale' exists could end up being the only 'result' from such a database, which is basically where we are now.

Also, an oil analysis is a snapshot at a given time/mileage (since the last change). You'd need to build a database using the same oil, filter, mileage, usage (driving style), or multiple analyses and you'd have to have a fairly significant sampling to draw any certain conclusions.

Most owners go 7500-10k mi. between oil changes (ie. samples). For some, that can mean a year or more. You could have a 'clean' sample and still have an unexpected failure before the next sampling making the whole process meaningless for you personally. Also, perrenially adding $30 to an already expensive oil service isn't too appealing.

Suppose your sample did set off the Red Light, or was 'marginal'... what are you gonna do about it? There is little service being done to these engines, even Jake Raby's operation is geared more toward replacement (albeit with a 'better' motor) and not repair. I suppose you could do an overhaul, but that's likely to be nearly as expensive as just letting the motor fail and addressing it then, using money that would have otherwise gone into analyses, especially since there are numerous special tools (some unavailable) required for engine assembly adding to the cost for a DIYer.

What if such a database became common knowledge? How would that impact an owner trying to sell his car? Would there be a legal impact if the buyer suddenly had a failure?

To me it's kinda like knowing the hour of your own death - still unavoidable, but you get to spend endless sleepless nights worrying about it.
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Last edited by Lil bastard; 11-11-2008 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:31 AM   #4
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I am in denial


It's an interesting idea. But I think there are big IFs:

IF there is a tell tale.
IF there are enough samples to track the tell tale.

But the biggest IF is IF I care. Personally, I am in denial about the IMS problem. I refuse to worry about it. If it happens under warranty on my car, Porsce will fix it.

If it happens after warranty, I will fix it.

If word of potential IMS failure lowers the resale value of the car, so what? I buy cars to drive, not to sell. And the way I drive, resale value is questionable anyway.

But for those who do care, this seems like a good, thoughtful approach and I wish you and others well with it.

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Old 11-12-2008, 08:06 AM   #5
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What if

the tell tales foreshadowed other failures beyond the IMS. What if IMS wasn't the only failure that could be predicted?

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