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Old 06-06-2012, 08:38 AM   #1
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IMS Failure - Need Advice

I have a 2004 Boxster S, 550 Spyder Anni Edition, with 32K miles. I purchased the car less than 12 months ago.

The IMS bearing went out with no warning, so now the engine is toast.
Porsche USA will not help.
After driving for 40+ years and 25+ cars later, this is the 1st car I have owned that had an engine failure.

I need help to determine what my options are?
Has this happened to anyone and what did you end up doing?

Help !!

Mbeardo

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Old 06-06-2012, 08:46 AM   #2
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If you are certain that the IMS failed and you are certain that valves slammed pistons and everything is seriously f'ed up, time to shop for a motor. You can find decent used ones at dismantlers, have Raby install a primo rebuilt one or call your dealer and order a crate motor.

Whatever you do, make sure the next motor has an upgraded IMS and change oil every 5k miles.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:47 AM   #3
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How did the conversation go with Porsche?
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:08 AM   #4
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I still cannot believe Porsche didn't get sued over this, if it was anything like my pursuit, Porsche said nothing. It has to be one of the worst designs they manufactured and it's pretty likely they knew it was a POS right out of the gate but just rolled em off the line and sold them anyhow.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:29 AM   #5
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You are most likley going to be looking for a replacement engine.

Like most things in life, it all depends on what you want and how much money you are willing to spend. The best thing that you can do is to learn all you can about your options and understand the tradeoffs:

Option 1: Used Donor (eBay or equivalent) Engine. This is the cheapest route and consists of simply replacing the engine you have with another used engine of the same type and doing a 60K service to get the car back on the road and hope for the best in the future. Even if you have a replacement IMSB installed, future reliability is unknown and you may be right back where you are now (needing an engine replacement) in anywhere from 10K-100K miles. Obviously 10K miles would be a bummer and 100K miles would be awesome - but no one can say for sure which it will be because there are around 22 known ways that an M96 engine can fail. Since all the shop is doing is a remove/replace operation plus a service, its not super critical which shop does the work so this may give you some flexibility. $4K-$7K.

Option 2: Refreshed/Rebuilt Engine
Some shops call them "refreshed" but many of the sellers will actually call them "rebuilt" even though they are not really rebuilt. This path consists of taking a used engine and performing whatever minor work is required to bring it up to whatever standard is acceptable to the seller so they can sell it as being "better" than a simple used donor engine. The seller's goal is to find an engine that has an acceptable number of previous miles and then do whatever minimum work is required to acheive acceptable key engine characteristics/tolerances. Most likely this will consist of a used engine that has good compression as-is with maybe new timing chain/guides, maybe a new water pump and/or alternator, new thermostat, and a 60K service. Again, you may be right back where you are now (needing an engine replacement) in anywhere from 10K-100K miles (even with the IMSB replacement) but you should have a little more peace of mind knowing that a few components may have been replaced or that the donor engine was from the "better" group of used donor engines. $6K-$10K with higher priced engines having fewer original miles and/or add'l components replaced and/or coming from better known shops.

3. CPO/Remanufactured Engine: In this case the engine is rebuilt to meet the original spec's, mostly using OEM parts. This is a classic rebuilt engine. Some engines may have updates like IMS/RMS but you'll need to specifically check for this to make sure. This option should give you ~100K miles of service but the reliability is (again) completely dependent on the engine builder and the extent and quality of the updates installed to address the inherent reliability issues. Likely to have a warranty of some kind so be sure to check the warranty details. $8K-$12K. Higher priced engines have more high quality parts/updates and/or come from better known shops.

4. High End Fully Rebuilt - These come from specialty shops and there are a few others who do similar work. The engine is rebuilt from the ground up with lots of new parts and all upgrades. Buyer may be able to specify some build details as desired. Engine is probably better than anything coming straight out of the factory brand new. Shops that do this work are top-end and their business relies on a good repuatation. Should expect ~100K+ miles but check the warranty details. $10K-$18K (or even more). This will give you the most peace of mind (and maybe the highest performance) but it comes at a cost. Be aware that you may not get 100% of the engine cost back in resale value (remember to subtract the cost of a donor equivalent) but that really depends on the buyer. Some buyers may highly value a fully upgraded engine from a well-known engine builder and this might help support a fairly high resale price on a well-optioned and well-cared for car.

In summary, only you can decide which path is right for you and depends on how long you expect to keep the car, how much you love the car, how much money you are willing to spend, etc, etc.

Value is entirely in the eye of the buyer. Don't be ashamed to install a donor engine to keep your daily driver running so you can get back and forth to work if you don't happen to have $10K+ available or if its not worth the investment to you. On the same note, realize that your donor engine probably had 40K-60K miles to start and still has all of the original reliability design issues so expect an engine life and reliability that corresponds to its heritage.

On the other hand, don't be ashamed to put $15K into a high end rebuild if this helps you sleep better knowing that you have what is essentally a brand new zero-miles engine that will last as long as anyone knows how to make an M96 engine last and probably has as good of performance as anyone can expect. And if you do have a problem, there is likely to be someone who is still in business that will address your issues. On the same note, be aware that there are cheaper options available.

All of the other options are somewhere in between these two and most people end up there due to reasons of cost. Buying a used donor engine and having your local shop who is trained/experienced in M96 engines install a few of the critical upgrades should improve reliability and save some money at the same time. On the other hand, realize that its still a used engine that you're starting from.

Just my general thoughts on the subject, and as with all generalities, be sure to check out all of the details when you are actually ready to spend the money.
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Last edited by thstone; 06-06-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:44 AM   #6
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Not to derail the prudent advice, but now would be a good excuse to do an engine upgrade. 3.4l engine conversions are popular for boxsters, and there has even been a subaru and v8* conversion.

*The v8 was a frankenstein looking creation, but I am sure if you are determined and have the money if would work and function OEM.

I'm sorry to hear about your IMS failing, but you never know what comes after.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:00 AM   #7
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Mark sorry for your loss. I think thstone very accurately laid out your options for repair except for option #1 which will be $7k+. The other avenue is to sell it as is. 986's seem to sell for $3k- $5k if needing a engine, I would guess maybe $7k for your SE.
I would be a prospect if you decide to go this route.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:14 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear about that, Mark. . I too own a 550, with 41,000 miles and no issues so far. I have to assume that since you had a failure your SE has the black interior? I can't imagine one of the Cocoa cars failing.

Seriously, though, it would be a shame to sell it as a roller, as mentioned above, but that is always an option. But with the low mileage of your Boxster it will make a great car once the new motor is in. Of course, my vote (since I'm spending your money) is to put in a fully-updated 3.6 upgrade. Come to think of it, that's my vote even when I'm spending my own money, should this happen to me as well.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by NoGaBiker View Post
Sorry to hear about that, Mark. . I too own a 550, with 41,000 miles and no issues so far. I have to assume that since you had a failure your SE has the black interior? I can't imagine one of the Cocoa cars failing.

Seriously, though, it would be a shame to sell it as a roller, as mentioned above, but that is always an option. But with the low mileage of your Boxster it will make a great car once the new motor is in. Of course, my vote (since I'm spending your money) is to put in a fully-updated 3.6 upgrade. Come to think of it, that's my vote even when I'm spending my own money, should this happen to me as well.
+1 that's the only way to make it better than new, so that's what I would be doing with it.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:48 AM   #10
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Sorry Mark. Hopefully you have the coin to do the replacement and it doesn't dent you too
badly.

If you get a replacement, get the IMS done 1st thing.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:46 PM   #11
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Porsche USA said I need to go through my local dealer. The dealer said, after talking to their rep, that Porsche would do nothing. Dealer said they would be happy to sell me a reman engine, from Porsche, for $18-19K.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:40 PM   #12
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Porsche USA said I need to go through my local dealer. The dealer said, after talking to their rep, that Porsche would do nothing. Dealer said they would be happy to sell me a reman engine, from Porsche, for $18-19K.
Yeah, I didn't even list the cost for the Porsche crate engine from a dealer. After an IMSB failure and getting no help whatsoever from the dealer, very few people are going to be in the mood to write them an $18,000+ check.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:14 AM   #13
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Someone really needs to take action against Porsche for this. I honestly believe that if the media caught hold it would mean bad press for Porsche and they may just do an individual re-evalution of thier 'not our problem' catchcry. I think there are engineers on here who could lend their expertise to a claim.
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:10 AM   #14
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I was researcing possibly buying a 04-up Audi S4....at 100k those things need a 5k+ timing chain replacement or the engine can get damaged...so it is not just Porshce that suffers problems like this----
in your situation I would look for a low mileage motor from a wrecked Boxster and have a LN IMS installed before you even put the new motor in.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:02 AM   #15
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Im curious why people say its going to cost so much? How much is a used engine? 2-3k?

Rebuilding your current engine, how can that POSSIBLY cost upwards of 15k? Can someone break down the price a bit?
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:05 AM   #16
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Im curious why people say its going to cost so much? How much is a used engine? 2-3k?

Rebuilding your current engine, how can that POSSIBLY cost upwards of 15k? Can someone break down the price a bit?
All depends on what you decide to do and what damage was done.

Goto Pelican and add up the parts you are going to need.
Assume bent valves, IMSR, probably have to source a used IMS Tube.
head gasket, engine seals kit, fluids.

Then you have a lot of WIAIT costs.

It adds up quick. But you should be able to do it for 7-10K depending on labor and WIAIT costs -- however upon
teardown -- you might find the damage was catastrophic.

A 2.5K engine might be fine -- or it might be a nightmare.
Check the leak down, IMSR, and replace the WP at a minimum.

Mike
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:11 AM   #17
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All depends on what you decide to do and what damage was done.

Goto Pelican and add up the parts you are going to need.
Assume bent valves, IMSR, probably have to source a used IMS Tube.
head gasket, engine seals kit, fluids.

Then you have a lot of WIAIT costs.

It adds up quick. But you should be able to do it for 7-10K depending on labor and WIAIT costs -- however upon
teardown -- you might find the damage was catastrophic.

A 2.5K engine might be fine -- or it might be a nightmare.
Check the leak down, IMSR, and replace the WP at a minimum.

Mike
Sorry for my ignorance, but what is WIAIT, and what is an IMS Tube?
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:33 AM   #18
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Sorry for my ignorance, but what is WIAIT, and what is an IMS Tube?
WIAIT is a dreaded curse which is
While I Am In There
which translates to an empty wallet :-)

I don't have any pictures handy at the moment -- they reside on another computer
so you'll have to bear with me textually.

IMS Tube: InterMediate Shaft Tube.
It is the Tube that runs along the bottom of the engine.
The front side is connected to the Crankshaft by a chain, (on a boxster)
a chain in the front drives the right most cylinder head camshafts
the rear drives the left most cylinder head camshafts.
it rides on the IMS Bearing on the front which is held in place
by a bolt (which can fail) to a flange on the front of the engine.

The rear rides in a cavity in the block and also drives the oil pump.

When the IMS starts to lose the support on the front of the engine
by either having the bolt sheer or the bearings fail
it will still spin (to a point) damaging the far end of the IMS tube.

We were able to rebuild 2 IMS failures by replacing the tube (and a whole lot more stuff) -- But it is hit or miss depending on the damage done.

Last night my mechanic pulled a bearing from a 2001 Base 91K mile Tip.
It had an RMS leak -- but otherwise ran flawlessly.

If you look closely -- you can see the metal filings around the seal of this IMS Bearing assembly. It was just a matter of time before it failed.




There were no indications in the oil filter either.

After he finishes some other work -- I'll have him disassemble the bearing race and see what it looks like inside


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Old 06-07-2012, 09:34 AM   #19
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Sorry for my ignorance, but what is WIAIT, and what is an IMS Tube?
WIAIT - While I Am In There - meaning that there are always a number of components that may not need replacement but its a good idea to do it as long as you have the engine apart. Things like cam chain guides, oil pump, etc.
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:46 PM   #20
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Having been through this with others and personally, sell the car, and run away. Even it you fix it, you will never enjoy it again. Even a used motor can run $10K by time you are done.

I suggest you advertise your car for $15K and see what happens.

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