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Old 10-19-2010, 04:01 PM   #1
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IMS Upgrade - Should I have it done

Wow, just about ready to buy a 1999 Boxster. Appears to be a really clean car with 30K miles. I have been reading these IMS bearing failure and I'm getting this uneasy feeling.

What is the frequency of this occurring? Should I have the bearing upgraded?
What is the consensus here?
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:34 PM   #2
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Sounds like a classisc victim... Low mileage, clean, probably hasn't been driven enough to see short interval oil services, etc, etc.

Read this and the links that you'll find inside the article
http://www.flat6innovations.com/services/intermediate-shaft-retrofit

If you have the opportunity to ask the question that you have posted here, then yes you should have the IMS bearing retrofitted.

Thus far this week we have saved one engine from IMS bearing failure (just today) and have had 3 IMS failure calls come in from various parts of the country. One of those that failed did so at 27K miles.

Low mileage, clean cars that haven't been serviced frequently enough and haven't been driven hard enough are what we see fail most.. The other day someone asked me how he should drive his car to help avoid a failure... My answer??? "You can't drive it hard enough".
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:09 PM   #3
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How much does the IMS retrofit cost? That's the same as upgrade right?
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:21 PM   #4
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How much is the cost typically and does anyone know anyone in the Baltimore area that I can have do it? I do most of my own maintenance but this looks a little more than I want to handle.
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Miller
How much is the cost typically and does anyone know anyone in the Baltimore area that I can have do it? I do most of my own maintenance but this looks a little more than I want to handle.
LNEngineering has a list of approved servicers IIRC, there is a list somewhere on that site.

On your vehicle, (and I'm just a lowly "owner", Jake and others are the authorities here) I'd get it done unless you're sure you'd want to run the risk of a 10k+ replacement. If you have the tranny pulled be sure to get the RMS while you're in there too.

Good luck.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:04 PM   #6
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The IMS bearing retrofit can cost you just under $800.00 if you do the work yourself.
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:44 PM   #7
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Jim,
I guess your 1999 Boxster isn't worth very much in the US, but saying that, the car was an expensive item when new. At 30,000 miles you are driving a vehicle that is only just nicely run in, so with the correct maintenance regime in place, you could well be driving it for the next 100,000 miles.
You dont say how often the car has been serviced, how long its been stood idle or if it was garaged all its life - these things really have an impact on the condition of the electro-mechanical workings (read reliability) of the car.
Get the IMS replaced by a reputable shop, together with a new clutch and updated RMS. You then don't have to worry about that concern for the next 50,000 miles.

Next step is go through the car maintenance as per book (coolant, brake fluid, filters etc. Apart from engine oil & filter which really should be replaced every 5,000-7,500 miles regardless of what the Porsche maintenance schedule says.

Even without the IMS retrofit, budget the initial maintenance costs to be at least $1,000 if you do it all yourself or at least $2,000 if you pay someone to do it.
Then enjoy it........
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Last edited by Steve Tinker; 10-19-2010 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby
Sounds like a classisc victim... Low mileage, clean, probably hasn't been driven enough to see short interval oil services, etc, etc.

Read this and the links that you'll find inside the article
http://www.flat6innovations.com/services/intermediate-shaft-retrofit

If you have the opportunity to ask the question that you have posted here, then yes you should have the IMS bearing retrofitted.

Thus far this week we have saved one engine from IMS bearing failure (just today) and have had 3 IMS failure calls come in from various parts of the country. One of those that failed did so at 27K miles.

Low mileage, clean cars that haven't been serviced frequently enough and haven't been driven hard enough are what we see fail most.. The other day someone asked me how he should drive his car to help avoid a failure... My answer??? "You can't drive it hard enough".
Jake

How long does it take to do the work and approximate cost? Would it be possible to arrange a time were I drive it down, I have you guys do the work and I drive back.
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:19 AM   #9
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With all due respect, I have a 1998 that just crossed 32,000 it runs better than any car I've ever owned and revs freely right to the yellow line. I'm just tired of the urban legends about 986's and which ones are going to break. It's about as accurate as predicting the stock market.
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Old 10-20-2010, 03:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Miller
Wow, just about ready to buy a 1999 Boxster. Appears to be a really clean car with 30K miles. I have been reading these IMS bearing failure and I'm getting this uneasy feeling.

What is the frequency of this occurring? Should I have the bearing upgraded?
What is the consensus here?

Don't know that you'll get a consensus here, but I would seriously consider having it done. It's a nice insurance policy against a really expensive failure. No way to know the % of the cars that have had one fail, but it's pretty easy to see that its a high enough percentage for it to be a very legitimate concern.

Another issue is with a car that old a failure could lead to a repair that could be equal to or greater than what you paid for the car. That's a tough pill to swallow.

FWIW, mine failed earlier this year. The various alternatives once that happens are expensive and could cause (as it did in my case) a significant period without the car.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:30 AM   #11
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An IMS bearing upgrade will be the first thing I do after I buy mine. Unless I am lucky enough to find one already done.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Miller
Jake

How long does it take to do the work and approximate cost? Would it be possible to arrange a time were I drive it down, I have you guys do the work and I drive back.
Sir,
please read the link I provided.. It's 8000 words all about our IMSR procedure, exact cost and turnaround if you ship the car down or choose drive it down and wait on the work to be done. In my link I explain the difference between and IMSR and a full blown IMS upgrade that requires complete engine disassembly.

We work from a well organized schedule so after reading my link on the Flat 6IMS procedure a quick email or call to my Office could answer the rest of the questions you have. My assistant, Dean can also set you up with a phone chat with me.

We do lots of out of state IMSR procedures and others here can share their experiences with my company and procedures. I am in the middle of a procedure for an ou of state client now, he thought he had a full blown failure when the car arrived, but he didn't so I made a simple AOS repair and then he decided to do an IMSR while the car was here. That owner is a member here and I have been posting the info to a thread he started here when his engine supposedly failed. Today I'll be posting the IMSR procedure pics to that thread, you'll learn a lot from that thread.

BTW a lot can be learned from poster mts as he was basically in waiting for an upgraded engine from us or an IMSR procedure when he had a bearing failure.
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Last edited by Jake Raby; 10-20-2010 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:57 AM   #13
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Wow, now my head is all messed up. I really want this Boxster I have lined up to buy Sunday but buying it and having to spend 2K+ on an upgrade right out of the box ...

The big question is do I give up my 330i zhp (2004, 49K miles) mint cond which I have all the confidence in the world will go 200K for a 99 986 with 30K garage kept well maintained, never driven in bad weather? Disadvantage of getting older, the practical / responsible side of you starts kicking in.

I'm looking for the thrill of owning / driving like I had with my 71 911T, will I get that from the Boxster?
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Miller
Wow, now my head is all messed up. I really want this Boxster I have lined up to buy Sunday but buying it and having to spend 2K+ on an upgrade right out of the box ...

The big question is do I give up my 330i zhp (2004, 49K miles) mint cond which I have all the confidence in the world will go 200K for a 99 986 with 30K garage kept well maintained, never driven in bad weather? Disadvantage of getting older, the practical / responsible side of you starts kicking in.

I'm looking for the thrill of owning / driving like I had with my 71 911T, will I get that from the Boxster?
The choice is yours.. Is the thrill of owning the car worth the investment? Know that if you don't do the upgrade that a failure can occur and if it does happen the repair will cost more than the price of the car.

At least you know this now.. Many others don't find out until after the purchase is made or when a failure occurs. Two people I am working with now have experienced failures with cars they haven't even made the first payment on yet... Talking about being disgusted! The worst is the guy with the 996 that had it fail while being transported to him from the buyer.

With the proper necessary upgrades the cars are very good and reliable... Low mileage cars worry me because we see so many low mileage failures.. People think they can drive the car 2000 miles a year and never have to change the oil.. All that time the oil is saturating the outer IMS bearing seal.. It's not the mileage between oil services that matters most, it's the time the oil is in service.

Though you may be gun-shy it is better to be informed than being flanked by a full on failure out of the blue. People have called us in tears before, literally.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Miller
Wow, now my head is all messed up. I really want this Boxster I have lined up to buy Sunday but buying it and having to spend 2K+ on an upgrade right out of the box ...

The big question is do I give up my 330i zhp (2004, 49K miles) mint cond which I have all the confidence in the world will go 200K for a 99 986 with 30K garage kept well maintained, never driven in bad weather? Disadvantage of getting older, the practical / responsible side of you starts kicking in.

I'm looking for the thrill of owning / driving like I had with my 71 911T, will I get that from the Boxster?
Have you not read of "permagrin" yet? I have driven a few boxsters on the street and have rode in one that was driven badly when the owner was auto-Xing it for a day and that was a blast. I have to say that you will love it. I don't know if it will touch the flickability that you had with a 71 911 (has to be much lighter) but I do not know anyone who has driven a boxster for any amount of time and not loved it.
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Caractere kit seam sealed, Caractere rear wing, 1 3/4" drop on coilovers, 235/40/18 Kuhmo XS on 18x8 Millie Miglia Spider II's, H2sport spindles, H&R front Sway bar, O-bar rear torsion, VF Eng. motor mounts, G60 12# flywheel, Nuespeed P-flow intake, Forge DV, Samco IP, Custom K04 turbo and Upsolute chip, 4 bar fpr, TT 2 1/2" SS DP, 2 1/2" custom stainless exhaust no muffler, Peleguin LSD, B&M SS, Momo 14" wheel, R32 steering rack.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by postitagain
With the proper necessary upgrades the cars are very good and reliable... Low mileage cars worry me because we see so many low mileage failures.. People think they can drive the car 2000 miles a year and never have to change the oil.. All that time the oil is saturating the outer IMS bearing seal.. It's not the mileage between oil services that matters most, it's the time the oil is in service

My Car:

I have changed the oil once in 7 years. My car has 12k on it. It still smells like new!

I don't worry - life is to short!
Good grief you need to go drive that car. 12K an 7 years that is sad.
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Caractere kit seam sealed, Caractere rear wing, 1 3/4" drop on coilovers, 235/40/18 Kuhmo XS on 18x8 Millie Miglia Spider II's, H2sport spindles, H&R front Sway bar, O-bar rear torsion, VF Eng. motor mounts, G60 12# flywheel, Nuespeed P-flow intake, Forge DV, Samco IP, Custom K04 turbo and Upsolute chip, 4 bar fpr, TT 2 1/2" SS DP, 2 1/2" custom stainless exhaust no muffler, Peleguin LSD, B&M SS, Momo 14" wheel, R32 steering rack.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:59 AM   #17
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Given the inventory of Porsches in general, you should look for a newer, in terms of engine design, Boxster. At this particular weight, those extra ponies really hit the sweet spot when you are exiting out of corners. It also helps in merging on highways and overtaking soccer mom vans. When I first drove a Honda S2000 on 240 HP (albeit with less torque) and came out of braking I instantly had an 'a ha" momment. Although the S2000 has its engine weight before the front shocks, the principle was similarish to a mid-engine two seater like the Boxster: At 240-260 HP(3.2 Boxster engines), this variety of roadster "comes alive".
280 - 300 (3.4 Boxster engines) give more oomph but the power starts to make more of a difference than the driver. Below 240 (2.7, 2.5 Boxster engines) its all driver.
I think 240-260 is the happy medium. Although if you offered me a Boxster Spyder I wouldn't turn you down.

There are also engine improvements in term of reliablity that come with each step forward in the design evloution. 2.5---->2.7, ----> 3.2,-----> 3.4

p.s.
My Porsche specialists did my IMS and clutch for ~$1800.
This should be the first thing you upgrade on the car in my opinion, even if your clutch is still "50%" so to speak. No point in passing up potential $10+K savings from an engine that didn't grenade just to save $300 (1/2 the cost of clutch).
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
Given the inventory of Porsches in general, you should look for a newer, in terms of engine design, Boxster. At this particular weight, those extra ponies really hit the sweet spot when you are exiting out of corners. It also helps in merging on highways and overtaking soccer mom vans. When I first drove a Honda S2000 on 240 HP (albeit with less torque) and came out of braking I instantly had an 'a ha" momment. Although the S2000 has its engine weight before the front shocks, the principle was similarish to a mid-engine two seater like the Boxster: At 240-260 HP(3.2 Boxster engines), this variety of roadster "comes alive".
I was thinking this same thing after reading the 911 comment. But then I also know how appealing a pristine interior can be.
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2000 New Beetle / in search of 03 986S triple black
Caractere kit seam sealed, Caractere rear wing, 1 3/4" drop on coilovers, 235/40/18 Kuhmo XS on 18x8 Millie Miglia Spider II's, H2sport spindles, H&R front Sway bar, O-bar rear torsion, VF Eng. motor mounts, G60 12# flywheel, Nuespeed P-flow intake, Forge DV, Samco IP, Custom K04 turbo and Upsolute chip, 4 bar fpr, TT 2 1/2" SS DP, 2 1/2" custom stainless exhaust no muffler, Peleguin LSD, B&M SS, Momo 14" wheel, R32 steering rack.

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Old 10-20-2010, 08:56 AM   #19
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S2000's are fun cars to drive, but a 986S will walk all over one....and the honda is very cramped for interior space too.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:41 AM   #20
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I have changed the oil once in 7 years. My car has 12k on it. It still smells like new!
Classic example of a situation where someone doesn't understand what kills engine oil.. How about fuel intrusion? coolant intrusion?

The oil in that engine should have changed at least once per year, EVEN IF THE CAR WASN'T BEING DRIVEN!

Based on what I have seen, I'd bet the engine posted above would be at higher risk of experiencing an IMS issue or some other engine issue than most any other 100K mile engine that had been driven by a teenager.

Lack of use IS ABUSE!

To the poster bragging about the 7 year old service:
Do an oil change and send me a 1 liter sample of that oil. I'll analyze it for free, I'd pay to see the acid numbers that oil has!

Extended drain intervals are one reason why these engines are seeing failures and thats not just in terms of mileage..
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