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Old 05-31-2010, 02:35 PM   #1
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I have a theory on the IMS failure

The other day I let a friend of mine drive my 98... and all of the sudden I have this moment of inspiration where I came up with this brilliant theory (LOL, we need to blame it on something) about the IMS failure based on the way he drove it. I learned driving in a stick shift car, I never owned an automatic car, and I think my dad taught me well, so I am always trying to make my driving as smooth as possible. Anyone can drive stick, but what really makes a difference is the way you shift. Shifting should be almost unnoticeable. You need to aim for quality when you shift, not shifting like crazy as many people do. Well this friend of mine would realease the clutch in a very abrupt way, not once, or twice, but pretty much all the time. Multiply that for 15K miles and you have an stressed engine due to abrupt changes in torque ( that stresses the timing axel and thus the bearing) , or underreving prior to stall, or when the ac kicks in (sometimes my rpm drops below 500 and I hear some noise from the engine if I am in gear), add everything up and there is your IMS failure. That why, accoding to what I read, that boxsters with automatic transmission are less prone to it, shifting is usually smooth and there is no stalling at a red light or underreving due to not pushing the gas enough. I dont know, it could be the biggest BS you guys have ever heard, but in my mind it makes sence. It is evident that there is a flaw, and that the engine shoud be designed to take it, but this car is not a toy, it is by far the hardest I have ever driven, it is not easy to deal with the extra hard clutch and shifting isnt always smooth. After driving it for a couple of months I took my old vw corrado for a ride.......boy, I thought the clutch had broken, it went all the way in as if it had no spring, so soft, so easy to drive....
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:06 PM   #2
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Couple of “fly’s in the ointment”………. TIPS do have IMS failures, just not at the rate the manuals do. As there are far fewer TIPS, that would seem to appropriate.

The cars that get the loving Hell beat out of them, street and track, seem to fail less frequently; cars that are low mileage and babied seem to fail more frequently than cars that are beat on. So much for the smooth shifting scenario……………….


Cars that get past the IMS "sweet spot" miles (45-60K) seem to go forever (125-225K miles not unusual), regardless of how they are treated.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:02 PM   #3
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i wanna hear the theory of putting a sealed bearing inside an engine and not use the engines oil. und vhy r vees doing diss ,hair fritz again ?
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFP in PA
Couple of “fly’s in the ointment”………. TIPS do have IMS failures, just not at the rate the manuals do. As there are far fewer TIPS, that would seem to appropriate.

The cars that get the loving Hell beat out of them, street and track, seem to fail less frequently; cars that are low mileage and babied seem to fail more frequently than cars that are beat on. So much for the smooth shifting scenario……………….


Cars that get past the IMS "sweet spot" miles (45-60K) seem to go forever (125-225K miles not unusual), regardless of how they are treated.
Yikes ! My "garage princess" only has 17k original miles on the odometer. If I at least start talking dirty to her will it prevent IMS ?????????
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:27 PM   #5
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that might actually do the trick... that is if "talking dirty" means driving WOT through the hills in a local mountain pass!
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edbelton
The other day I let a friend of mine drive my 98... and all of the sudden I have this moment of inspiration where I came up with this brilliant theory (LOL, we need to blame it on something) about the IMS failure based on the way he drove it. I learned driving in a stick shift car, I never owned an automatic car, and I think my dad taught me well, so I am always trying to make my driving as smooth as possible. Anyone can drive stick, but what really makes a difference is the way you shift. Shifting should be almost unnoticeable. You need to aim for quality when you shift, not shifting like crazy as many people do. Well this friend of mine would realease the clutch in a very abrupt way, not once, or twice, but pretty much all the time. Multiply that for 15K miles and you have an stressed engine due to abrupt changes in torque ( that stresses the timing axel and thus the bearing) , or underreving prior to stall, or when the ac kicks in (sometimes my rpm drops below 500 and I hear some noise from the engine if I am in gear), add everything up and there is your IMS failure. That why, accoding to what I read, that boxsters with automatic transmission are less prone to it, shifting is usually smooth and there is no stalling at a red light or underreving due to not pushing the gas enough. I dont know, it could be the biggest BS you guys have ever heard, but in my mind it makes sence. It is evident that there is a flaw, and that the engine shoud be designed to take it, but this car is not a toy, it is by far the hardest I have ever driven, it is not easy to deal with the extra hard clutch and shifting isnt always smooth. After driving it for a couple of months I took my old vw corrado for a ride.......boy, I thought the clutch had broken, it went all the way in as if it had no spring, so soft, so easy to drive....
I think this has some merit. Heavily loading that bearing with poor shifting technique during times of limited lubrication (cold engine) could very well be a factor. Add long oil change intervals with Mobil 1, long periods of non-use with garage queens, and a possible poor bearing alignment when new and you have the IMS failure matrix.

JFP is right that there is a higher incidence of failure between 40-60K miles but they can and do fail at nearly every mileage logged. I don't agree that hitting the track is necessarily hard on the IMS due to rough shifting. Seasoned track guys often have the smoothest and most seamless shifts. They have learned that it is not necessary to flog the car in order to turn some quick laps.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:47 AM   #7
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I am smelling a wives tale in the making.

You need data, scientific data to analyze and then you need to test a theory in reality to see if the hypothesis is correct.

The only person that seems to be doing that is Jake. As much as I disagree with his marketing approach and fear mongering he is approaching it from a scientific standpoint and I applaud him for that.

What was interesting to me were the comments that he made recently about abusing the Boxster motor intentionally to blow it up and cause failure. All of the things he was doing were like fingernails on the chalkboard to me, reving a cold engine, banging on the limiter in first gear, the list was long. Reading it was aweful. Last I heard he had not blown it up yet.

The point is that you can have as many Eureka moments as you want but without research, data and experimentation you may as well make sacrifices to a head of cabbage, it will be just as effective as this speculation.

Not trying to piss anyone off but I felt the need to say something here.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:16 AM   #8
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I personally do not think there is any particular reason for these failures other than poor design of this area. I believe if you are going to get a failure it will not have anything to do with the way you drive or oil types or change intervals. Basically, if it's going to happen it's gonna happen regardless of what you do.
You guys need to understand that there are tens of thousands of boxsters out there. thousands of which will never see this problem. Roll the dice , that is how i look at it. the odds are in your favor.
Do i believe this is a problem? Yes! there is no excuse for the amount of failures that have been happening for a car that cost as much as they do. 911 owners paying over a 100 grand for a car that blows up! these cars should run to 200k for what they cost.

If your not hitting the rev. limiter every know and then you should'nt own a porsche sports car!

Just my 2cents
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:20 PM   #9
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Sometimes we Krauts live up to our hard-headed reputations.
Long, long ago, in a galaxy not too far away, Porsche made a 1300 CC 356 engine with roller bearing main bearings. Great little motor.....until you "lugged" it one time and Kaput! the roller bearings self destructed within short order. For those who don't understand the term "lugged" it is what happens when you drop the RPM too low in gear and then try to accelerate away. It's a nasty sound and a really nasty vibration that does terrible things to your crankshaft, bearings, connecting rods and pistons.
In any case, Porsche went back to plain main bearings and the problem went away with the change. So..................can someone explain why Porsche would put more roller or ball bearings inside the engine????
The only explanation I can come up with is the distance the intermediate shaft is from other pressure lubed rotating shafts and they are saving the porting/runners/tubing to get pressure oil to it?
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:42 PM   #10
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I've thought for a while now that lugging the motor probably contributes to the RMS failures. Explains why the tips fail less often (the production numbers for tips are higher than you might think, or at least they were prior to 2007 when I was researching to buy mine.) So it was interesting to see some history (from Quickurt) of lugging a motor leading to roller bearing failure.

It would be interesting to know if Porsches in countries with higher octane fuel also have the same level of RMS failures. Lugging can also cause pinging (even with a car designed to tune on the fly to eliminate pinging). Pinging can send all sorts of forces and vibrations through a car
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
You need data, scientific data to analyze and then you need to test a theory in reality to see if the hypothesis is correct.
Correct. that data needs to be gathered with as few variables as possible.

Quote:
The only person that seems to be doing that is Jake.
Thats because all I do is basically gather data and perform tests. I first did this with aircooled Porsches, then moved to the M96.

Quote:
As much as I disagree with his marketing approach and fear mongering he is approaching it from a scientific standpoint and I applaud him for that.
I invite ANY of you to come to my office for a day, sit between Dean and I and listen to the phone calls; I'll even let you read our emails. When you do this you will see that what I have stated isn't fear mongering, it is plain and simply the truth. It is impossible to share the experiences that we face daily with these engines and the results not to be negative. The reason for this is the fact that people seldom call on us before their engine fails or before they have a bad experience, we are much like morticians.

Trust me, if I was willing to put up with the bull**************** related to sharing EVERYTHING that we see here the term fear monger would be an understatement. I quit posting on forums because I had nothing good to offer, there are no fairy tells here. I even quit adding the details related to the modes of failure to my site because people couldn't handle the truth and because I don't have the talent to bull**************** anyone into reading about a "good" failure mode with these engines.

We deal with carnage daily that ranges from intermix, cracked heads, IMS failures and the like because thats what we do and we are the only real specialists in the US that go this deeply into the engine. Aside from the wise people that schedule a preventive IMS procedure with us or the people who want big power from a new FSI engine, EVERYTHING else we deal with is the direct result of a catastrophic or near catastrophic failure. There are always those cases related to things that no one else can diagnose or repair. We do not do service work, we do not complete tune ups, but we do disassemble some really mangled parts and pick up lots of pieces. We don't work on any other aspect of the car other than the engine.

Like I said, we are M96 Morticians, we get the death calls and we hear the sob stories and I even have recordings of owners CRYING when they left us voicemails after an engine death. Like I said, I don't have to make this sound worse than it is to get business, hell I had to STOP talking about it to keep from pissing people off!

Its plain and simple, we are backlogged for months because we took the time several years ago to understand this beast and tame it. We also took the initiative when others called us idiots to develop the upgrades for the engine and because of that this economy hasn't hurt us at all. We have more business than we can handle so don't ever think that I am making things sound worse in hopes of gaining business, in fact we are turning work down and have been for two years off and on.

Quote:
What was interesting to me were the comments that he made recently about abusing the Boxster motor intentionally to blow it up and cause failure. All of the things he was doing were like fingernails on the chalkboard to me, reving a cold engine, banging on the limiter in first gear, the list was long. Reading it was aweful. Last I heard he had not blown it up yet.
It still hasn't blown up. It'll soon be seeing service in the most demanding application possible. To me engines are tools, and I push their buttons to find what makes them tick and ultimately what makes them go boom. What I learned from treating that engine horribly is something I'll never share, because no one would believe it.

Quote:
The point is that you can have as many Eureka moments as you want but without research, data and experimentation you may as well make sacrifices to a head of cabbage, it will be just as effective as this speculation
I agree.

Charles from LN and I have some really good hunches as to what actually creates the IMS issues, but I'd never post that here or anywhere else. I told a writer from a prominent publication that I refused to divulge the information, even though he was willing to PAY me for the interview (THIS WAS NOT EXCELLENCE!).

I have often wondered what would happen if I started a twitter account and posted every phone call we receive related to a failure and every email that we receive on the same topic as soon as they occur... I guarantee I'd be called everything under the sun by the 3rd day we created the account. Trust me, what I have shared isn't anywhere near what I can share.

What matters is we have repairs and preventives for the majority of the 20 different modes of failure, people seem to overlook the good we have done. Thats par for the course and it sucks.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:15 PM   #12
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Only some people overlook the good you have done (& shared) Jake - a lot of others appreciate your work, whether its your bread and butter or not....
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jake Raby
Like I said, we are M96 Morticians, we get the death calls and we hear the sob stories and I even have recordings of owners CRYING when they left us voicemails after an engine death.
Interesting analogy. Morticians presumably get calls when people are dead or dying in the forseeable future. But while a mortician can reasonably tabulate the causes of death that he sees, an actuary would be the right person to ask about your chances of dying.

In our world, the automobile actuaries are Porsche (though they don't share their results, you can perhaps infer from their actions), Consumer Reports, JD Powers, and so on. As far as I have been able to determine, not one of them has tabulated greater than "average" major engine failures on M96-engine Porsches.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:47 AM   #14
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Exactly.. Thats why when I am asked how long an engine will live I reply "How long will you live?" In a mechanical world nothing can be accurately forecast for a life span, hell not even the weather man can make an accurate forecast these days!
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:49 PM   #15
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"but I'd never post that here or anywhere else. "

"What I learned from treating that engine horribly is something I'll never share, because no one would believe it."

I don't really understand this (in all sincerity and curiosity) why do you feel this way about sharing your knowledge?
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:31 PM   #16
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IMS failure theory

Excellent forum gentleman.

My 1999 just turned 40K miles. It's never overheated but in Hawaii it's 72-86 degrees year round. Water temp gauge is seldon above 185. Air conditioner never used......top is always down. No oil leaks and the Box get new blood every 5K. Never over RPM'd above 6000 and never lugged under 2500. Electronically re-engineered with original factory settings to maximize gas mileage 24 city/30 hwy. (Sorry Al Gore) no emission standards in Hawaii. This also increased horsepower by 50-75 and my 99 2.5L now leaves my neighbors 2002 3.2L S in the rear view mirror. Treat it with respect and it will last forever. I personally have met 3 people with IMS failure, and they all have tried to have the RPM gauge do cartwheels. Bad idea. Constant High RPM's allows for that little intermediate shaft bearing to go bizerk. Bad design,......but when you know the cause of failure you avoid what causes failure. High oil temp and high water temp,.....equates to cracked heads and coolant leaking into cylinders, and thus internal motor failure.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:20 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lobo1186
"but I'd never post that here or anywhere else. "

"What I learned from treating that engine horribly is something I'll never share, because no one would believe it."

I don't really understand this (in all sincerity and curiosity) why do you feel this way about sharing your knowledge?
Due to previous experiences that haven't been positive.. What we see most everyday defies conventional wisdom and in this world a lot of armchair mechanics (most of which have ZERO direct experience with the M96 engine) can really push our buttons and start keyboard combat.

It didn't use to be like this... People used to appreciate first hand accounts, but its just not that way anymore. I learned very quickly that what we could share would be limited with the M96 following, what makes it worse is giving info for free that can't be sourced anywhere else and still having to hear crap! So, looks like most everything we'll be sharing in the future will be for sale; if I am going to hear crap I at least want to get paid for it!

As far as the IMS failure and RPM, well from what we see the IMS bearing LOVES RPM, but thats another one of those things that doesn't make sense to those who haven't been exposed to the carnage.

Thats just the facts... The Engineers are the worst, followed closely by statisticians, neither of which generally own a toolbox.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:20 PM   #18
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Jake,

I have followed your posts and I am one that agrees you should be able to share without getting criticized and or torn apart. The information you (and others) have shared on this topic have scared me some nights and others I could care less and I enjoy the car.

With that being said we do have alot of armchair mechanics on this forum (and I am not to far out of that chair). I like to take all the information about engines, wheels, suspension etc and determine what is best for me and my car given the situation.

I appreciate your posts and experience and if I ever need any help I will come to YOU. Thanks again.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:23 PM   #19
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thats pretty ironic if you ask me! seems to me that telling a bunch of porsche owners that one of the best ways to avoid IMS failure is to actually drive your car with some good old high RPMs you should get a good response!

strange if you ask me.

but you do great work! I currently cant afford your work or knowledge unfortunately but luckily you have no shortage of either! hopefully in the future we can do business.

btw beating the crap out of that engine you have, to see its limits sounds like alot of fun!
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:10 AM   #20
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Nothing wrong at all with armchair mechanics, the majority of the best professionals were in those positions in their early days.

I take what we work with very seriously, the engine will teach anyone what they need to know to work with it, all it takes is extreme attention being paid..
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