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Old 12-22-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
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IMS bearing inspection

I will probably be having a new clutch fairly soon.

To what extent, if any, can you inspect the IMS bearing once you have the tranny off?

I know a bearing upgrade would be prudent, but it add roughly £1,000 to the bill if you include the UK's punitive VAT sales tax and that's an awful lot for a car that's probably only worth £4,000 at most.

Is it the case that you can really only inspect it by removing it and thus you have to replace it to inspect it?

There's an LN Engineering bearing video that suggests if you remove the IMS hub flange you can see if the seal is knackered and also give the race a wiggle to see if it's firm or disintegrating. From around 1m 5s here:

Porsche IMS Bearing Failure Explained - YouTube

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Old 12-22-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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Yes you could just remove the cover and look but it won't tell you much. If I lived in the UK where there was a high probability of moisture intrusion into the bearing, changing it would be a no-brainer. The actual failure rate is guesstimated at between 2-5% of all m96 motors produced so odds are in your favor. Compare the cost of changing the bearing vs the cost of depreciation if you owned a 2009 and it might be easier to swallow.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:15 PM   #3
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You also need to consider your "sunk cost"of the labor to do the clutch; if at a later date you decided to go back in and do the IMS, or had to, you would spend all that money all over again (less the price of the clutch parts) just to get at the IMS bearing to change it. The extra cost now will pale in comparison............
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:39 PM   #4
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pothole.. you're 90% of the way there, might as well spring for the xtra and get it done.. we're not in the position of our murrican cousins with lots of parts sources and expertise to call on the same country at reasonable prices, and that american thing of 'customer service'!

besides if anything it puts more value into the car shoudl you decide to sell it. not only that, you'll alway be thinking to yourself 'should i have done it?' afterwards..

i'll be doing mine with the next clutch change along with the RMS.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:41 PM   #5
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Why not split the difference and install the pelican bearing or a standard factory bearing. That would cut the cost to around £250.00.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:51 PM   #6
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its probably the labour costs, rather than parts, we see prices closes to 100 bucks an hours from a back street garage that could probably just work out where in a boxster the engine is..

the there's the joy of having a spanner monkey work on your car that would probably have difficulty in spelling IMS, then he would probably revert to reading this forum for a 'how to' anyway.

oh how i yearn for the home garage workshops some of you guys have
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:01 PM   #7
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The 90% of the way there argument doesn't hold.

Doing the clutch is going to be £400 + VAT @ 20% (£480). That's at one of the most competitively priced of the well known Porsche independents in the UK.

The same place with do the clutch and LN Eng bearing upgrade for £1,249 + VAT (£1,499). So it's an extra £1,000 to do the bearing. Don't think I'll get the same work done much cheaper elsewhere.

Whether some of the labour is shared is neither here nor there. It adds £1,000 on top of £480. It's a lot more money.

Incidentally, this place charges £999+VAT for just the bearing, so it's really only £150 you save having both done at the same time.

I'm not crazy about the Pelican / standard factory bearing. Given that bearings are known to fail at very low miles, the question is how confident are you the new bearing will last longer than mine, which can't be one of the really bad ones as it's already done 112k miles...

Is it more likely a new standard bearing will hit 50k miles than my existing bearing does another 50k? Not sure - certainly not sure enough to justify throwing a lot of money at it.

The LN bearing appears to be an "upgrade", but it's very expensive. For an extra £500 or less, I'd probably do it. For £1,000, it's getting very uncomfortable.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:02 PM   #8
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It looks like these guys probably "get it" when it comes to IMS issues.

AUTOFARM | Porsche Specialists For Over 35 Years - Oxfordshire Buckinghamshire Cotswolds

I'm not quite sure how a shop can pull the trans and replace the clutch, pressure plate, and flywheel. Then re-install the trans for 480 quid, but charge another 1K for a 2 hr procedure . I smell fish.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:10 PM   #9
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Autofarm have a good rep. But they really know how to charge. Just the LN bearing install costs £1,300 + VAT (£1,560). They charge £1,650 + VAT (£1,980) for the bearing and clutch. Which is frankly ridiculous.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:42 PM   #10
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Pothole.....
Why don't you just buy the LN bearing in the US and have it sent to the UK via Fedex or whomever. That way you won't have to buy @ the inflated British cost - unless of course UK Customs slap on the VAT on entry.
Here in Australia, parts less than $1000 (650 pounds) don't attract GST - that's why I buy all my parts from the US or UK.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:57 PM   #11
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Something seems off in the numbers.

In the US, the cost of replacing both the IMSB and the clutch is about $2,200 or $1,360 pounds. Parts alone are roughly $1,100 or 680 pounds. If one adds 20% VAT to the parts, then the total cost goes up by $220 or $136 pounds. This would bring the total out the door price to $2,420 or 1,496 pounds.

I have no idea why you're seeing the numbers you do unless the shops are double counting the labor hours. The incremental labor to do both jobs is two hours or less.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:20 PM   #12
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As above, my favoured indy charges £1,200 including VAT for the LN IMS fit. Which is reasonable given that the parts are so expensive.

The main problem is the price of the LN kit. It's fine for later models that retain some significant value. But for an early 2.5 986, spending a third of the car's value on a preventative upgrade for something that probably won't happen doesn't really add up.

Compared to spending at least £1,200, you'd barely be any worse off if you saved that money and sold the car to a breaker for £1,000 when it blows up.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:31 PM   #13
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Pothole.....
Why don't you just buy the LN bearing in the US and have it sent to the UK via Fedex or whomever. That way you won't have to buy @ the inflated British cost - unless of course UK Customs slap on the VAT on entry.
Here in Australia, parts less than $1000 (650 pounds) don't attract GST - that's why I buy all my parts from the US or UK.
There's a company in the UK that sells the kit for £595 + VAT, so parts pricing isn't really any worse here. Nor, as I said above, is the overall job, which can be done for £1,000 + VAT.

It's the basic kit price of the LN stuff that is the problem. In my view, it's too much money in the context of an older Boxster with a very low market value. You've got to draw the line somewhere.

I'd be happy to pay the extra to have the Pelican kit fitted when I do the clutch if I was more confident it would last. Frankly, I'm not terribly convinced there's much reason to think the Pelican bearing will last any longer than the one that's survived the last 112k miles.

Like I said, I'd pay an extra £500 on top of the clutch. but £1,000+ is too rich. I can't really afford it.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:59 PM   #14
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Your indy's price (1200 pounds) for a LN retrofit is reasonable if that is the only work done. The 1200 breaks down to roughly 460 pounds in parts and 740 pounds in labor.

A clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing costs about 375 pounds VAT included. Labor is roughly two hours less than the hours necessary for the LN bearing replacement. I don't know what shops in your area charge for labor, but I'd guess the labor associated with a clutch job is about 700 pounds using the LN bearing job as a reference. So, something is off. There's no way a shop can profit by replacing the clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing at $480 pounds out the door.

I do agree with you that replacing the IMS bearing doesn't make sense if you're willing to walk away from the car if the engine implodes. On the other hand, if you plan to keep the car for another 50K to 100K, then you're looking at something like a 5% chance of catastrophic failure by doing nothing (a guesstimate on a 112K car) versus almost no chance of failure after installing a dual row LN bearing.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:42 PM   #15
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A 1997 with 112k on the clock in the UK? The DM flywheel is certainly gone and the IMS bearing is likely showing significant wear.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:56 PM   #16
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A 1997 with 112k on the clock in the UK? The DM flywheel is certainly gone and the IMS bearing is likely showing significant wear.
There are 2.5s around with 200,000 miles on the clock on the original bearing. I've also seen reports of 100k bearings being pulled and seeming to be just fine. How can you be sure the bearing is worn? Ditto the flywheel. There's someone with a 2.7 on the original clutch and flywheel at 265,000, I think it is.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:01 PM   #17
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I don't know what shops in your area charge for labor, but I'd guess the labor associated with a clutch job is about 700 pounds using the LN bearing job as a reference.
Even the expensive places in the UK only charge about £700 pre VAT for the whole job including parts. £700 would be about 11 hours in labour.

You can get the kit for £240 inc VAT, so presumably the indy will be paying a bit less.

Porsche Boxster Clutch Kit - 98611691100/1 | Design 911

Revolution Porsche quote a very clear £399+VAT to do the clutch. Second offer down here:

Check out our offers, Revolution Porsche, Brighouse, West Yorkshire

They have a pretty good rep on the local Boxster forum Boxanet here in the UK.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:06 PM   #18
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Back to your original question. You certainly can inspect it while in there. I understand your financial argument and it seems you probably have a pretty good bearing since you have made it this far. I installed the LN bearing myself and my original bearing was like new, there is also no proof the LN bearing will last either.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:17 PM   #19
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I do agree with you that replacing the IMS bearing doesn't make sense if you're willing to walk away from the car if the engine implodes.

It's not so much being willing to walk away if it implodes. It's simple maths.

If I was to fit a new clutch, flywheel and LN bearing tomorrow, I'd probably looking at a bill of £2,000. I could probably buy a replacement 2.5l Box for £3.5k and keep my current car for spares!

It just doesn't make financial sense to bury lots of money in these cars in the UK given the terrible residuals.

I'm in a bit of a tricky spot with this car right now. I could throw £2k at it and then one of the heads could crack the week after and before you know it you've spent more than the price of just buying another one.

Not sure what I am going to do. The best outcome would probably be a new clutch and hope the flywheel is OK.

Probably the best thing to do would be to get the clutch done and if that goes well, sell the car for £3.5k and buy a really tidy 2.7 for about £5k.
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Last edited by pothole; 12-22-2012 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:18 PM   #20
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Back to your original question. You certainly can inspect it while in there. I understand your financial argument and it seems you probably have a pretty good bearing since you have made it this far. I installed the LN bearing myself and my original bearing was like new, there is also no proof the LN bearing will last either.
How many miles did your bearing have when you removed it?

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