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Old 08-05-2013, 07:13 AM   #1
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So I have been in the market for a 986 S for well over a month now. I have read a lot on the car and have become fairly knowledgable. I am looking for one with 60-70K miles and my budget is 17K. There seems to be a fair amount of them out there for that price. With that said, the IMS is starting to get to me. I can afford the car, I can afford the maintaince, I can afford to replace the bearing with the LN engineering one. What I cant afford is the replacement engine if it were to come down to that.
I honestly would buy the car and immediatly put in the LN bearing. I have read articles on the LN bearing, it seems to be bullet proof but with that said there are some people who say that even with the LN bearing, it could still fail. I know the percentage of actual IMS bearing failures is very little but it still concerns me. Am I over thinking it too much? How confident are you guys with the 986 being a reliable solid car with the bearing replacement? I just dont want to buy a 15K car and have to put a 20K engine in it. Thoughts?

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Old 08-05-2013, 07:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by PorscheBound View Post
So I have been in the market for a 986 S for well over a month now. I have read a lot on the car and have become fairly knowledgable. I am looking for one with 60-70K miles and my budget is 17K. There seems to be a fair amount of them out there for that price. With that said, the IMS is starting to get to me. I can afford the car, I can afford the maintaince, I can afford to replace the bearing with the LM engineering one. What I cant afford is the replacement engine if it were to come down to that.
I honestly would buy the car and immediatly put in the LM bearing. I have read articles on the LM bearing, it seems to be bullet proof but with that said there are some people who say that even with the LM bearing, it could still fail. I know the percentage of actual IMS bearing failures is very little but it still concerns me. Am I over thinking it too much? How confident are you guys with the 986 being a reliable solid car with the bearing replacement? I just dont want to buy a 15K car and have to put a 20K engine in it. Thoughts?

Just two weeks ago I had that same concern and wrote about it. There have been a few failures out of thousands but there is no way not to do it IMO. I want to give the motor every chance for successful life and the LN bearing does that. I would rather have the car with the new bearing than not have the car at all. They are just really really great cars! My IMS is being done today and tomorrow. I am thrilled!
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:48 AM   #3
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I just sold my S.

I had it for exactly 6 years, and put 60,000 miles on it. I paid more to maintain it than a "normal" car, but not that much more. In the end, I sold it for $12K less than I bought it for. That is $2K per year. You can't even buy a new Honda Accord for less than that.

IMS bearing? Frankly, I didn't worry about it that much. It certainly wouldn't keep me from buying a 986.

I get the sense you will have a hard time enjoying this car if you think it's about to fall apart every time you drive it.

It's pretty simple: Buy it. Maintain it. Drive it.



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Old 08-05-2013, 07:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorscheBound View Post
So I have been in the market for a 986 S for well over a month now. I have read a lot on the car and have become fairly knowledgable. I am looking for one with 60-70K miles and my budget is 17K. There seems to be a fair amount of them out there for that price. With that said, the IMS is starting to get to me. I can afford the car, I can afford the maintaince, I can afford to replace the bearing with the LN engineering one. What I cant afford is the replacement engine if it were to come down to that.
I honestly would buy the car and immediatly put in the LM bearing. I have read articles on the LM bearing, it seems to be bullet proof but with that said there are some people who say that even with the LM bearing, it could still fail. I know the percentage of actual IMS bearing failures is very little but it still concerns me. Am I over thinking it too much? How confident are you guys with the 986 being a reliable solid car with the bearing replacement? I just dont want to buy a 15K car and have to put a 20K engine in it. Thoughts?

Just purchased a 2000 S with 75000 miles. I was prepared to put another $2000 into purcahase price to cover LN retro fit. Passed on the nicest car, opting for this one which had the LN work completed. Used the $2000 for new top, refinish wheels and new set of tires. The ims issue remains, but after replacing oil and inspecting old filter, I sleep much better at night. I realize it could still go, however buying one without the retro fit or buying one and not having the work done was just not an option for me. I understand your concerns, especially after spending time on these forums. Just plan on the extra $2000 for whichever car you find.

I have a 97 993 I also drive, and the boxster is my daily driver....a/c is outstanding here in AZ. No regrets with the 986 at all, I love it.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorscheBound View Post
So I have been in the market for a 986 S for well over a month now. I have read a lot on the car and have become fairly knowledgable. I am looking for one with 60-70K miles and my budget is 17K. There seems to be a fair amount of them out there for that price. With that said, the IMS is starting to get to me. I can afford the car, I can afford the maintaince, I can afford to replace the bearing with the LN engineering one. What I cant afford is the replacement engine if it were to come down to that.
I honestly would buy the car and immediatly put in the LM bearing. I have read articles on the LM bearing, it seems to be bullet proof but with that said there are some people who say that even with the LM bearing, it could still fail. I know the percentage of actual IMS bearing failures is very little but it still concerns me. Am I over thinking it too much? How confident are you guys with the 986 being a reliable solid car with the bearing replacement? I just dont want to buy a 15K car and have to put a 20K engine in it. Thoughts?
You can replace the engine for a lot less than that, around $6K is common.

Also you can look at the IMS court case settlement and buy a car that has double row bearings or is outside the list of Settlement serial numbers to reduce risk even further.

Every engine can have catastrophic failure for a variety of reasons, every out of waranty car is always a risk.

At 10% or much less with a double row bearing I'd say you are rolling the dice the same with a 986 than with any other 10+ year old car.

Just do the LN bearing upgrade and don't give it another thought.

These engines are made to run hard and like the spirited use.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:20 AM   #6
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IMHO the IMS bearing discussion gets far more discussion and worry than it deserves because the cost of a failure is so high. The risks are actually quite low and almost zero after installing an IMS Retrofit. It should last at least 50,000 miles.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:26 AM   #7
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I bought a 2000 S with 103k miles on it this past December. After the shop did the PPI, and I finalized the deal with the seller, I had the shop put in the LN IMS Bearing for $1350 before I took delivery. (The clutch was recently replaced but the previous owner didn't do the LN retrofit). Since then I have never worried about it. But if I hadn't, I know I would have been worrying with every little noise. And he gave me a quote of close to $1,000 to install the IMS Guardian (which I know can be done as a DIY). For me it was worth the $1,350.

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Old 08-05-2013, 09:16 AM   #8
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You never can be 100% sure with anything mechanical. I have had installed the IMS Guardian but the ims can still fail. If I had the ln ims installed it could still fail but less likely. I would still keep the Guardian installed even with the ln ims installed.

If my engine failed then I would likely go the second hand route first if I could find one. At my stage of life I do not want to spend $$$ unnecessarily on my Box which I may not keep for more than 2-4 years. Most likely it will not fail. Odds are with me.
Only you can make this decision to replace it or not.....if you want to keep it a long time the ln ims bearing may be the answer for you. Even if you don't keep it a long time you may need the peace of mind of a new ln ims install.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:15 AM   #9
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IMS is not the issue. That can be done preemptively for as little as $1,000 if using the Pelican bearing.

The bigger issue is that you're shopping for a Porsche that's potentially walking into its first big wave of major maintenance. That ran me close to $10K, granted my car was 10 years old at that point.

My advice is to go in after 20K miles and get out by 70K if you plan only to own the car for the short term. If you're looking at 5 years or more of ownership, it will get expensive at some point. Thus, a car with 70K miles or more, needs to have a substantial list of repairs like shocks and control arms (if you plan to drive it daily over rough roads), clutch/ims, maybe water pump, AOS, coolant tank, and a few things that can go without warning.

A 70K mile car that "has needed nothing" is a car you'll be making expensive repairs to.

p.s.
when you get the pre purchase inspection done, make sure it includes a leak down test.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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This might put things in perspective. Six years ago I drove to the south side of the city to look at a '99 Boxster. By the time I got there they said it had been shipped out to repair a broken window(likely a controller). On the way back I saw a 99 Miata Mx5.
It was a base Miata, no air cond. , no heated seats. Bought it - wife not happy.

It was a low maintenance costing car - biggest expense was $500. Had a rollbar installed as well. Kept it 4 years and it was reliable. Wife complained about lack of air and lack of heated seats. Well I looked around and found the Boxster with air cond., heated seats. Had it two years. Bought it with 30k miles and now has 40k miles.
List of expenses so far:
- had cv joints refurbished $1000
- had IMS Guardian installed $1000
- had accessory belt replaced, pulley replaced $1000
This does not include antifreeze replaced (Porsche type!)
I do my own oil changes, air filter changes.
So I am spending $1500-2000 a year on fixing things.

This has all been worth it because the Boxster is way more car than the Miata. It is like comparing apples to oranges. Like the above says a 70k mile Boxster will start to need replacement of parts. It is not a Miata but this car is way more fun.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:46 AM   #11
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You are over thinking it.

Replace the IMSB with the LN bearing and forget it.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:43 PM   #12
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This has all been worth it because the Boxster is way more car than the Miata.
Not for the money it's not.

I modified the heck out of my Miata for autox/DE. Shocks, wheels, tires, intake/exhaust, headers and cosmetic mods that made it a real
head-turner -- just like the Boxster S it always got compliments.
All in, I think i barely spent over $5K. That's what my Boxster's Fabspeed exhaust and headers alone run these days...

To be honest, a well sorted Miata is much more of a gear-shifting, roadster experience in the tradition of Austin's, Elan's, Alfa's than the Boxster ever was. Actually for a roadster, the Boxster driver and feels more like a full-sized sports car. Probably because it's essentially a 996 Carrera by part number from the doors forward.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:57 PM   #13
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just buy the damn car. You can get an awesome 986 for 17k. I'd probably look for one in the 12-15k range and buy new tires / clutch / brakes / IMSB / suspension upgrade with the difference though...

Can you work on cars? Do you have lift access? If so, it's very easy to get in there and swap out the IMS bearing. After having pulled my trans a couple times, I think I could do the whole job (clutch and IMSB, drink a beer) in about 4 hours start to finish.

Otherwise, don't sweat it! I sold my car for a little less than what I paid + parts I put into it (I don't count my labor, otherwise I'd be way behind) ) and a had a blast with it! Chicks / dudes / kids / dogs all love it, and most importantly, YOU will love it!

Just make sure it hits 5k RPM at least once every time you drive it and the IMSB will be fine

Best car decision I ever made -- the only reason I upgraded (to a newer 3.4 Boxster S) was because the price was right.
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:43 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replys. I have my confidence back to buy the vehicle. Like I said I will put the Ln bearing in immediately following purchase. The vehicle will be driven maybe 3 times a week. It will just be a weekend toy.
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