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Old 10-22-2009, 11:45 PM   #1
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Jake replaced my IMS bearing LAST week

With some spare time on my hands, I drove down to Flat6 last week from NJ to have the IMS retrofit done on my '02 S with 69k mi. At the same time the clutch, flywheel and rear main seal were replaced.

Although it might have been the same cost to ship the car (esp. considering the $385 ticket I got going home through NC), I'm glad to have had the opportunity to meet and chat with Jake, his trusty sidekick Dean and the mechanics, see my car on the dyno, check out their impressive shop and some really expensive engines, and discuss and see current and potential problems with my car firsthand. Jake clearly really knows his stuff and obviously loves to share his knowledge, and I enjoy learning.

So what did he find?

- the clutch was original and had ~5-10k miles left on it.

- the center of the flywheel had become loose and needed replacement. I brought a spare with me assuming this to be the case.

- there was a slight bit of looseness between the inner and outer IMS bearing races (hope I got the terminology right) and slight oil leakage past it into the tube. The bearing was very early into failure mode. I believe Jake said I might have gotten 20k more miles before total failure. Bullet dodged.

- the rear main seal was original and still leak free, but it was replaced anyway with the latest seal (Jakes said it's from a Cayenne?), as is standard practice, and the part's inexpensive.

The whole process took three days. Jake was kind enough to loan me his test mule '98 Boxster so I could do a little sightseeing. I was called every afternoon with a progress update. Overall this was a very worthwhile experience that I highly recommend.

Not being a believer in pricey warranty policies, this was my insurance policy. Although I only paid $16k for my car and it wouldn't break me if the engine failed and the body was sold for $6k on eBay, it relieved a lot of anxiety I had about long term engine reliability. In my book, this was so worth it.

I'm hoping Jake can post some pix of my bearing after he cuts it open.

Gary
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:17 AM   #2
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This is exactly the same job I want done. How much did you pay?
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:23 AM   #3
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The economics of this makes a lot of sense.

Getting a 00-03 S model with 50K+ miles for something less than $25K, having the IMS changed out with clutch/IMS for $3K(?) gives you a car that you can have a lot of fun with-- for years--and dodge the dreaded depreciation hit associated with a new car.

The car has plenty of poop, looks good and costs--with repairs--less than half the price of a new base level car
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gschotland
- the center of the flywheel had become loose and needed replacement. I brought a spare with me assuming this to be the case.
Why did you assume this would be the case?
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkdefino
This is exactly the same job I want done. How much did you pay?
Dean (GM at Raby Ent) quoted me $3500 (US$, of course)
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:07 AM   #6
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Doing the IMS sounds like a good idea...

But I'd have trouble stopping there. Jake and Charles have discovered so many modes of failure that, if I'm gonna do that, I might as well let them rebuild the whole engine with all the improved parts, replace the water pump and the AOS, renew the under body panels...

And since the bigger displacement mod doesn't cost that much more...

By that time, the engine will cost more than the car is worth. (I don't know of anyone who has tested the market value of a flat6'ized Boxster by selling theirs so I have to assume it doesn't add value except to a very few knowledgeable folk who already have theirs.)

It is a slippery slope doing anything pro-actively. I frequently find I overdo it and would have been better off dumping the unit after I got the initial issue fixed. It is always a good idea to buy from me.

Where do you start and where do you stop?
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clickman
Why did you assume this [flywheel replacement] would be the case?
Jake said a replacement flywheel is very often required when the clutch is replaced. I bought my car from my brother who bought it w/43k miles. It was a very well cared for Porsche Financial off lease. My bro didn't replace the clutch and we didn't think it was fresh at 43k, so we assumed it was original, or had at least 40k miles on it.

I told Jake I got a new stock flywheel cheap from a friend who sold an '01 S. Given the fact that they can be purchased online for ~$450 (mine was less), I though it would be false economy not to replace it if it was the least bit questionable. Turned out it was more than questionable.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefocke
But I'd have trouble stopping there. Jake and Charles have discovered so many modes of failure that, if I'm gonna do that, I might as well let them rebuild the whole engine with all the improved parts, replace the water pump and the AOS, renew the under body panels...

Where do you start and where do you stop?
Stopping's not a problem. My wallet tells me when (moths start flying out). :-)

$3,500 + travel costs + flyweel = pushing $5k. That's not chump change for most anyone. To me it was a rational and sensible decision in line with what I paid for the car and my expected ownership horizon. Having the clutch and flywheel done here would have run me ~$2000 parts/labor. For a bit more I have piece of mind and the work done by someone experienced who has a solid reputation.

As word spreads about IMS there's undoubtedly going to be some premium for cars that have had the retrofit done. There are certainly plenty of potential buyers that have been turned off by it; I was amost one of them. This is likely a contributing factor in 986 and 996 values being in the toilet. I wouldn't have purchased if I hadn't gotten a great deal on a car that I knew was well cared for and had extensive service history. To think I was shopping Miatas... horrors.

If I were a knowledgeable buyer I'd certainly pay a bit more for a car that had the retrofit done. If I recoup 50% of my investment in the retrofit at the end of the day I'll be pleased.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikenOH
Getting a 00-03 S model with 50K+ miles for something less than $25K, having the IMS changed out with clutch/IMS for $3K(?) gives you a car that you can have a lot of fun with-- for years--
I wish I could feel that comfortable. What about the other 20(?) engine failure modes? The ongoing problem we Boxster owners face is how many M96 engines are really dying as a result of the multiple possible failure modes? Therefore what is the real risk and how much $ is it worth to preventatively deal with that risk? We really don't know.

It could be the answer is to not deal with the failure modes and other problems piecemeal, save thousands of $, drive the car you have and when (and if) it goes boom, plan to install one of Jake's upgrades.

I'm still trying to decide if my longer term plans should include a vacation to Atlanta with my MY01. I suppose at 50k miles my clutch is due anyways...

I know if I was to get into a Boxster now, I'd buy an '03/04 roller with the engine gone, and put in one of Jake's upgraded engines.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:02 AM   #10
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I've been putting aside a bit of cash here and there just for the pupose of having the engine work done, should the time come. My car is seven years old and has 17k miles...oil is changed every 2500 miles or so. I've added the LN filter adapter and low temp t-stat. Will it self destruct? Only time will tell, but I want to be ready, as I really enjoy the car and don't see replacing it any time soon.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefocke
By that time, the engine will cost more than the car is worth. (I don't know of anyone who has tested the market value of a flat6'ized Boxster by selling theirs so I have to assume it doesn't add value except to a very few knowledgeable folk who already have theirs.)
I have to agree with Mike on this.

I think anyone who is seriously considering a ims boxster and has any knowledge whatsoever about all the potential failure modes will not feel too secure unless most everything known has been addressed.

So now you have additional 20k+ tied up in the engine. What do you think someone will want when they try and sell. Remember they will be pricing against boxsters now going for 10-15k. I don't think anyone will be interested.

Additionally you will start seeing high 30k for a new ims-less boxsters shortly and they still have 3 yrs warranty left. Already showing up at 41-42k and these hopefully have all factory problems solved.

Seems like it may be better to just ride it out and hope for the best unless you really really love your current boxster.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gRed04
you will start seeing high 30k for a new ims-less boxsters shortly and they still have 3 yrs warranty left. Already showing up at 41-42k and these hopefully have all factory problems solved.
I have absolutely zero faith in the new engines being more bulletproof than the old ones. There are usually new failure modes with a new design, and the history of the M96 doesn't leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy about what the Porsche engineers can accomplish with reliability. That'll take hundreds of thousands of road miles to sort out.

I still think the best bang for the buck is to put a Raby upgrade into a roller.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:42 PM   #13
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These types of forums can really magnify these types of issues. There are plenty of M96 engines out there with 70,000+ miles that have never had a problem. The truth is, no one knows if the failure frequency is 1% or 20% and I bet that 90% of potential Porsche buyers and existing owners aren't even aware that there is a potential IMS bearing weakness. So I doubt any of this has caused much of a reputation outside of people like us and has had little to do with resale values.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clickman
I wish I could feel that comfortable. What about the other 20(?) engine failure modes? The ongoing problem we Boxster owners face is how many M96 engines are really dying as a result of the multiple possible failure modes? Therefore what is the real risk and how much $ is it worth to preventatively deal with that risk? We really don't know.

It could be the answer is to not deal with the failure modes and other problems piecemeal, save thousands of $, drive the car you have and when (and if) it goes boom, plan to install one of Jake's upgrades.

I'm still trying to decide if my longer term plans should include a vacation to Atlanta with my MY01. I suppose at 50k miles my clutch is due anyways...

I know if I was to get into a Boxster now, I'd buy an '03/04 roller with the engine gone, and put in one of Jake's upgraded engines.
IIRC, the big ones in that range of years are the IMS, the oil pump shaft and the plastic surfaces on the chain tensioner assy. The IMS and Oil pump part can be fixed with current technology without tearing down the motor; sounds like Jake was working on the tensioner assy. fix.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by clickman
I have absolutely zero faith in the new engines being more bulletproof than the old ones. There are usually new failure modes with a new design, and the history of the M96 doesn't leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy about what the Porsche engineers can accomplish with reliability. That'll take hundreds of thousands of road miles to sort out.

I still think the best bang for the buck is to put a Raby upgrade into a roller.
We know when the 987 was released the RMS was still present and being reported by the auto mags when the first cars were delivered. Between IMS and RMS that probably accounts for the vast majority of all critical failures.

Well the RMS is fixed and there is no IMS. Cars have been out for a year. I havent heard of any real issues yet. I would guess that alone should give us reason to hope for a more reliable engine.

Last edited by gRed04; 10-23-2009 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:20 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by gRed04
We know when the 987 was released the RMS was still present and being reported by the auto mags when the first cars were delivered
I should hope so otherwise the crank doesn't go outside the block!
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:43 AM   #17
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There are issues with the DFI IMS-less engines

Specifically the one issue you hear about and that many brands that have gone to DFI have had ...soot. Haven't heard of a catastrophic failure yet though.
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:56 AM   #18
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And how many hundreds of thousands of road miles

have the Raby/Navarro engine mods been tested?

Couple of dozen cars/engines. Been doing some for about a year and a half. Unknown number of miles on each car. Unknown number of mods to each engine. Design changes along the way.

While I agree that many unit testing over time is what will give us a baseline of confidence, it seems to me that you are holding Porsche to a higher standard than Jake/Charles in the quote below when you base an opinion on the OEM reliability on the number of test miles the new design has run. Didn't this IMS-less design go in the 911 line of cars some months before the Boxster/Caymans? So there must be thousands of new design engines running around the world today.

Please understand I have nothing against Jake...in fact he and I have discussed this very point of quantity testing and he does run himself what he installs for others (as does Charles...when you put your wife in one you show some confidence). It is just I don't want to be a fan-boy and not be intellectually critical in my thinking about his products even as I root for him to be wildly successful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clickman
I have absolutely zero faith in the new engines being more bulletproof than the old ones. There are usually new failure modes with a new design, and the history of the M96 doesn't leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy about what the Porsche engineers can accomplish with reliability. That'll take hundreds of thousands of road miles to sort out.

I still think the best bang for the buck is to put a Raby upgrade into a roller.
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:40 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by mikefocke

I root for him to be wildly successful.
+1.

I also hope both Raby and Navarro are very successful. Their work gives us a greater understanding of the issues we may face. They offer options that porsche doesnt for our M96 engines.

My comments were specifically about MY justification of expensive preventative maintenance and the cost of replacing the engine that is greater than the value of my NOW working car.

Something at the moment I am not I would do.
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:02 AM   #20
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Maybe you're right, mikefocke, but if I was to take a choice of putting megabucks (here in Canada) into a new Boxster with an unproven engine with the reliability history the designer accountants at Porsche have shown, or for way less $ get a good condition older car with an engine that has many beefed up parts to address known failure modes, I know which one I'd pick.
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Last edited by clickman; 10-24-2009 at 11:10 AM.
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