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Old 11-11-2013, 02:34 PM   #1
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'03 S - Two Mechanics say Yes & One says No - IMS

Yes, I know you are all sick of the IMS topic, but mine is in the 8-10% failure rate. If it were in the 1% category I wouldn't give it another thought.

I have an appointment to have the IMS bearing replaced in 2 weeks. Before I bought the car another mechanic suggested I have it replaced immediately. I just spoke with a third mechanic today who said he has replaced four dozen IMS bearings, and not a single bearing he replaced was bad.

He believes there are warning signs. He also believes in checking the oil filter every time the oil is replaced for metal shavings. He believes the only reason you should do it is if you need that piece of mind. Good grief, now I don't know what to do.

The mechanic I called today came highly recommended from a fellow forum member.

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:41 PM   #2
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I don't want to spend $3,000 on my car right now, especially since my clutch works well and there is not leak in the RMS/IMS area. I put very strong magnets on my filter housing and check them more frequently than I would change my oil. I am banking on catching it in time to have it repaired only if there is an indicator of a problem.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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I just spoke with a third mechanic today who said he has replaced four dozen IMS bearings, and not a single bearing he replaced was bad.
He must not be cutting those bearings apart or checking them for wear. Not doing this is judging a book by its cover and that doesn't work.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:58 PM   #4
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I was test driving a 996tt this morning and the salesman was tring to get me into a 2006+ 997 and I told him no more IMS for me. I would never buy another porsche with an IMS again. Mine has been good as I drive with high revs and was fine when I replaced it, but. I'll never buy one again, just for peace of mind. He didn't like my position on the matter.

The TT on the other hand was a really nice car. Not really the color combo I was looking for but talk about power. It had gobs of power in every gear.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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^ I'll buy another Porsche with an IMS bearing all day long (as long as the bearing is easily serviceable 97-04 986's).

It's a bearing for crying out loud, just replace it at a regular interval. You don't even need to buy an expensive bearing. At the end of the day we're talking about one day at the shop, not a month.


To the OP, have you looked into get the IMS Guardian warning light for your dash if you are heissitant to plunk down the expense?
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:43 PM   #6
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Parker986, I am local to you and sent you a PM, give me a hollar.

To others who are wholesale discounting the M96 motor series, you really are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. To do such, especially now with the bargains available, would be entirely missing the boat on catching a helluva deal on a GT (996), Incredible Sports Car (986) not to mention a Bona fide Super Car (Metzger Motor) 996 Twin Turbo.

If you are considering these you simply have to look at IMS, Water Pump and AOS items as Service Interval replacement parts. The IMS Bearing should be dealt with sooner rather than later, when that along with the water pump and AOS are up to date you seriously will be sitting on a bargain when it comes to Cache and Performance.

P.S. Listen to Jake Raby along with JFP in PA, their advice is invaluable.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:50 PM   #7
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+1 on listening to Jake and JFP.

Make sure you get a through PPI to rule out any other problems. While it isn't possible to inspect the IMSB directly without removing it, there are some possible warnings signs - magnetic metal pieces in the oil filter, leaking oil in the area of the transmission / engine juncture, wobbly cam deviation angles. A through inspection out to look at these items.

If the inspection gives the car a clean bill of health, then taking proactive preventative action depends on your risk tolerance. If you're going to worry all the time, then change the bearing and be done with it. If the car is low mileage and the oil hasn't been changed frequently (once per year or every 5000 miles). then replace the bearing because the seals may be degraded. If the car has been a daily driver with frequent oil changes, the change the bearing when you replace the clutch.

Nothing is completely risk free. It all a matter of what you're willing to live with.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:57 AM   #8
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Coreseller, the Metzger engine is completely different and has no IMS bearings to worry about.

Brad
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:41 AM   #9
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There can be warning signs... or your engine can just pop.

I don't give people a "doom and gloom" story on the IMS bearing, but if you have an appointment scheduled in 2 weeks, then just get it done. If the optimistic mechanic is wrong and your engine pops without warning is he going to buy you a new one?

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Old 11-12-2013, 05:01 AM   #10
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Coreseller, the Metzger engine is completely different and has no IMS bearings to worry about.

Brad

Correct, which is why I listed the Metzger name since many think that the 996TT motor is simply a forced induction variant of the M96 motors used in 986 and 996's. The engine used in the 996 Turbo is a derivative of the Metzger engine found in the Le Mans winning GT1 race car, it also has none of the supposed weaknesses associated with the standard 996 Carrera engine.......
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
There can be warning signs... or your engine can just pop.

I don't give people a "doom and gloom" story on the IMS bearing, but if you have an appointment scheduled in 2 weeks, then just get it done. If the optimistic mechanic is wrong and your engine pops without warning is he going to buy you a new one?

Kirk
Kirk makes a lot of sense. I would add that if you are concerned it will give you peace of mind to have it done.

Secondly I would say if you are well heeled financially and can afford to take a hit financially then don't bother. If you cannot afford the grenading get it done.....
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:03 AM   #12
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I have the same quandry - 95K miles, due for new clutch soon. Mechanic pulled sump pan out and inspected for debris along with oil filter - they were both spotless. Suggests keeping IMSB as is, in the theory that if it has worked this long it should continue to work. Feels that regular oil changes along with inspection filter will detect pending failure in time to avoid disaster.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:08 AM   #13
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i'd do it again if i had to. i just did mine.

it was a great experience for me, cos I got to know more about the car since I had an excuse to inspect all the usual suspect parts during the process. in 1 go, i was able to:

1) IMS
2) RMS
3) waterpump was new ! (from last owner .. woohoo!)
4) belts were good
5) tranny was in good condition
6) changed the engine & tranny oil
7) the throttle body was clean ... AOS seems good
8) gave the underside a good de-greasing clean ....

its not that bad! since can do it with the engine in.
killing many birds with one stone .... well worth it IMO .... if you are a 2nd+ owner .... now you have a good basis to work off.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:18 AM   #14
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I have the same quandry - 95K miles, due for new clutch soon. Mechanic pulled sump pan out and inspected for debris along with oil filter - they were both spotless. Suggests keeping IMSB as is, in the theory that if it has worked this long it should continue to work. Feels that regular oil changes along with inspection filter will detect pending failure in time to avoid disaster.
If it was mine then I would replace imsb at the same time as having the clutch done
....while I am in there basis.

My base 2001 Box has no clutch issues, has 40k miles so will wait till it needs a clutch. I have however the IMS Guardian installed.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:25 AM   #15
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I just spoke with a third mechanic today who said he has replaced four dozen IMS bearings, and not a single bearing he replaced was bad..
Here's the problem with this sort of logic, every 996/986 owner drives and maintains their car differently. So his 48 bearings may be comprised mostly of people who drive and maintain their cars properly with low to moderate mileage. The next 48 may be totally different, that group could only have 1/3 who follow proper maintenance/driving with most in that group having close to 100K miles on the clock.

So basically sample sizes these small tell you nothing since your car may only have usage and maintenance similar to only part of that sample, which of course makes the sample size even smaller/more inconclusive.
The lawsuit was interesting because Porsche's IMS numbers for their flawed bearing design came from all of those engines that they actually addressed in their engine replacement program. They didn't include all the engines that may have failed but the owner simply didn't bother to let the dealer know about. Since then mileage has gone up pushing the original bearing closer to its sell by date. So the 8-10% figure you quote is as reliale as a Congressional Budget. It could be much lower or it could way higher.
But again the ironic beauty of this engine is that you can easily swap the bearing when you do your clutch, and a new clutch has utility no matter when you decide to toss the old clutch. Basically you get a two-for.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:37 AM   #16
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I my situation I bought my Boxster 5 years ago with 25k miles. Being the fourth owner, I knew it had been sitting for sometime and probably hadn't been driven that hard.

I bought my Boxster as a primary car and I didn't have a lot remaining in savings to cover purchasing a new vehicle or factory motor if the current one grenaded on me. Here's what I did:

1) Accepted the fact that I *should* replace my IMSB sooner than later (for peace of mind, reliability of use, and insurance against a more expensive replacement purchase).
2) Started saving up what I could towards that $3000 estimate (IMSB, clutch, & RMS).
3) As soon as I could safely afford it, I had the bearing replaced.

In the time it took me to go through all three steps I probably doubled the mileage on my Boxster through enjoying it and commuting with it. Don't be afraid to use it as is, but be intentional about whether or not you're going to take the plunge and replace the IMSB.

$3000 later, I have no regrets (other than there was probably lots of life left in my prior clutch).

If your boxster is just a weekend hobby car and you can afford to buy another one at the drop of a hat, then I'd hold off on the IMSB until you get accustomed with and attached to this specific car.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:52 AM   #17
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I would get drunk and forget about it...

until you have to change the RMS or the clutch... then I would charge it...

and then I would get drunk and forget about it!
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:37 AM   #18
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I would get drunk and forget about it...

until you have to change the RMS or the clutch... then I would charge it...

and then I would get drunk and forget about it!
Have you been hanging out with Toronto Mayors lately?
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:47 AM   #19
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I had the same experience as the OP - ask several shops and you'll get vastly different answers.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:59 AM   #20
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^ I'll buy another Porsche with an IMS bearing all day long (as long as the bearing is easily serviceable 97-04 986's).

It's a bearing for crying out loud, just replace it at a regular interval. You don't even need to buy an expensive bearing. At the end of the day we're talking about one day at the shop, not a month.


To the OP, have you looked into get the IMS Guardian warning light for your dash if you are heissitant to plunk down the expense?
I agree 100%. You can buy the original one from Porsche for $112, I dont see what the big fuss is to change it every time you replace the clutch...

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