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Old 08-09-2011, 01:55 AM   #1
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IMS/RMS Leak?

Hi guys, looking for some advice. I'm a VERY recent Boxster owner, 2001 2.7. I've had it for two months and a slight leak under the engine has just appeared. Nothing major, just small damp patch on garage floor. I took it to a local mechanic this morning and he says it's coming from the crankshaft/flywheel area? He also told me that he wouldn't even attempt to repair it as it's beyond his capability... That got me scared

I'm not technically minded at all so my questions are these:
1) Is that the IMS/RMS that I read so much about?
2) The mechanic has suggested adding Stop Leak which 'might' work - is that a good idea or will that make it worse in any way?
3) Is the car drivable (only to get it to a more specialised mechanic 5 miles away)?

Really spoiled my day
Trying to save for a wedding in 10 months and the last thing I need is a huge bill...
Any thoughts or suggestions much appreciated
Pete

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Old 08-09-2011, 05:02 AM   #2
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Do a search...there's TONS of info on both at this site.

Basically, they're two different issues. RMS is, relatively speaking, more of a 'nuisance' issue, though obviously it's a good idea to get it fixed at some point.

IMS failure is typically in the 'catastrophic failure' category, but one never knows when or if it's gonna happen to you. There's little to no warning. Opinions vary as to the percentage of these engines that suffer from these failures, and Porsche ain't talking. In your search, you'll learn that there are now well-engineered retrofit IMSs available, and a lot of people have opted to go for them. I probably will as well, as I am getting to the point where I need to get a new clutch and the dis-assembly is the same for both. There is also now available an 'IMS Guardian', a warning device that tells you when IMS death is imminent.

Read up on Jake Raby's posts about both. Reading ALL the stuff available on IMS/RMS could take you most of the day, but it's good stuff to know.

As long as you monitor your oil level, your car is certainly driveable at this point.

Last edited by Frodo; 08-09-2011 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:44 AM   #3
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No, maybe and maybe

No to stop leak.

The leak could be from the Rear Main Seal in which case it is just a leak. Some have had good luck with just using a 10W40 oil. Porsche has a new improved RMS available for when you do the clutch at your convenience.

The leak could be from the IMS in which case you are well into IMS failure. Pull your oil filter and spread out the filter material and look for metallic pieces that you can pick up with a magnet. If you find any, have the car towed to a good Porsche mechanic who has done an LN IMS replacement before. If not, assume it is the RMS.

And it could be from lots of other things...get into the wheel wells with a flashlight or under the car and see if you can spot where it is coming from.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:08 PM   #4
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Not to spin you up, but I thought I'd share my experience on a similar issue. When I bought my car (Apr 2009) it had a very minor seepage from the bell housing. I always had to add some oil between changes (at least a liter), but it never left a puddle or drips in the garage. I had to do a clutch a few months ago so I decided to do the RMS and LE IMS bearing while I was in there. Turned out the RMS was pretty sound and virtually all of the oil was coming from the IMS bearing flange, not a good sign. I did the whole job myself and now, the oil level hasn't moved at all in over 2000 miles. I could feel play in the old bearing where the new one doesnt move at all. Not to preach doom and gloom, but I may have dodged a big bullet. I never had any metal particles in my oil and had even pulled the sump and didnt find much (some pieces of chain tensioner, which has all but stopped since the IMS bearing retro).
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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The bottom line is that you can't tell for sure whether its the RMS or the IMS leaking oil without removing the transmission and inspecting both.

At this point, the car is definitely still driveable and taking it to a more knowledgeable mechanic sounds like a good idea.

My general thought is that an oil leak of any type should be investigated, especially if it might be a sign of possible engine failure.

If you have the trans pulled and its the RMS, you'll have spent a lot to fix a minor oil leak. If you have the trans pulled and its the IMS, you'll be a hero like Manolo.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:43 AM   #6
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Update as follows... I picked the car up yesterday from my 'normal' mechanic. Basically all he did was add some stop leak and steam clean the underneath of the car. He had it running for half an hour and couldn't find the leak again.
After speaking to the Porsche mechanic he told me that the leak could one of a number of places, not necessarily the IMS, but as long as the oil wasn't running out of if that it was drivable - so I decided (wise or not) to put the roof down and floor it all the way home and see what happened (about 40 miles)... No problems at all on the way home. Put a board under the car last night and checked this morning and no sign of any leak...
Question is.. is it possible for a leak to be intermittent? I know I may be playing with fire and I do intend to get the IMS replaced at some stage, however finances at the minute could be better spent elsewhere.
Am I mad just driving away and keeping an eye on it for leaks?
Thanks again for all the advice. I'm not a mechanic by a long shot but at least (with your help) I have some knowledge when a mechanic tries to explain things to me...
Pete
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:02 AM   #7
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The oil leak could have been more of a seepage than a leak and may take more than just 40 miles or one day to return. If this is the case, you'll see it again in the next week or two.

The Stop Leak substance could have helped. I'm not familiar with this product but since its callled "stop leak" I have to consider that it may have actually worked.

However, the bottom line is that you still don't know what may have been leaking or whether its a critical component.

I'd say that you're in the exact same position you were since you bought the car since nothing on the car has changed. The only difference is that now you know you have an oil leak and now you know more about IMS/RMS issues.

You have a few options and they are all equally valid, it really depends on your personal situation, preferences, finances, tolerance for risk, etc:

1a. Do nothing and drive it. If the engine continues to run fine and not leak much, then you're in good shape. You didn't mention the miles on the car but some will argue that if your car has gone more than 75K miles then its likely to go much further. But no one can really say that with any certainty.

1b. Do nothing and drive it. If the engine does fail, then you'll need to consider replacement options. Plan on $6K minimum to replace the engine. More if you want to do some upgrades to try to avoid this from possibly happening again.

To avoid the doom and gloom arguments, no one can say what will happen if you do nothing and drive it. the best that can be said is that its a roll of the dice. Many people are comfortable with that situation and many are not.

2. Stop driving it and have the transmission removed to find out the cause of the oil leak and fix whatever needs fixing. Plan on $1,500-$3,000 depending on what needs replacement.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:21 AM   #8
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Thanks for the thoughts thstone (and everyone else). I've decided to just drive away at it and keep a very close eye on it for leaks. I didn't really expect the leak to return within one day as I don't think it was ever that bad... Will keep checking over the next few weeks and start saving my pennies... Will need some bits and pieces done over the winter so I think I'll probably leave it in and get the IMS done at the same time.
You mentioned the milage being a consideration and I had read about that somewhere else. There's just over 75,000 miles on the clock - is that a good thing? Does the IMS normally fail long before then?
Pete
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:49 AM   #9
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You'll probably get some specifics from others on that last question but, off the top of my head, it does seem like the ones I've read about here do tend to go before that, typically in say the 20K-60K range. But there have been exceptions...
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:03 PM   #10
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I have witnessed the failure of the oil cooler seals shortly after the owner dumped stop leak into his car.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:28 AM   #11
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The first thing you need to do is find a new mechanic; anyone that would look at a bell housing area oil leak on a M96/97 and even suggest Stop Leak needs to be shot……..

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