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Old 01-14-2016, 02:47 PM   #1
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The unlucky 1%

Apparently I am one of the unlucky 1%! My cheap 99 boxster has a bad IMS. I am not overly surprised or upset, at least fixing it will remove that big unknown.

I drained the oil and dropped the sump. See the attached picture of debris I found in the sump. Most of it is plastic but there were 2 metal pieces large enough to pick out. They appear to be part of a ball bearing, about 4.8 mm long, ferrous.

Showed the picture to a Porsche mechanic. He said, "That is IMS debris, don't start the engine until it is fixed!"

I will be ordering the bearing, RMS and clutch in the next few days. A friend and I will do the repair........


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Old 01-14-2016, 03:54 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear about the news. I am glad to hear that you caught it before total destruction though. I have an oil change coming up shortly and wondering if I shouldn't drop my pan also. What is the car history, mileage, etc.? Please update, as you can, during your rebuild. Best of luck.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:12 PM   #3
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Thanks. Yes, rather fix it than replace the engine!

No real history on the car, it's been pretty much sitting for a couple years. 87K

If anyone has the IMS tools they would be willing to rent, please PM me. Thanks
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:10 AM   #4
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I bought a cheap one with no history too. Impulse buy. Anyway, a friend helped destroy the clutch about 3 months after I got it. Had all the same work done about a year ago. After the work is done you will not believe how much more you'll appreciate that IMS insurance policy you just took out.
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Old 01-15-2016, 02:48 AM   #5
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You should consider taping (wrapped black electrical tape works well) magnets on your filter and it is a good idea to glue magnets to the bottom of your sump to trap the metal in your oil. Your IMS is pretty far gone, that looks like the bearing cage. If you go with an open bearing it it critical that no metal debris gets into the new bearing or the new bearing will begin to self destruct and won't last long (like 500 miles or less). If the new bearing is damaged (in this case by debris) the small damaged spots in the bearing create more small damaged spots and so on until the bearing is destroyed. Metal in the oil will kick off this process. I would consider going back with a sealed bearing after cleaning as much metal out of the oil as possible and using the magnet trick.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:17 PM   #6
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I had already purchase the spin on filter adapter and a filter mag. Friend advised me to use Joe Gibbs BR oil in it for 100 miles before switching to the normal oil.

So hopefully this will capture anything flowing through the oil system in very short order. I may even swap out the filter and dissect it after the first test drive.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:40 AM   #7
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If anyone has the IMS tools they would be willing to rent, please PM me. Thanks
I have the full set of IMS tools from LN Engineering. I will send a PM.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:38 AM   #8
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I have the full set of IMS tools from LN Engineering. I will send a PM.
I bought a '99 from the original owner with 84K on the clock. He had never changed the IMS bearing.
Clutch was going away so I changed the IMS and RMS while they had it unbuttoned.
The IMS bearing was actually in great condition. The seals were good and the bearing spun smoothly.
I can tell you I do feel much better Knowing I have a new, redesigned LN bearing in it.

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Old 01-17-2016, 12:17 PM   #9
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So what is the ultimate IMS fix? I have read about the ceramic ball bearing and the constant oil feed. This forum is full of a lot of research and installation tips. Do we need a sticky on "the" fix?
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Old 01-17-2016, 12:30 PM   #10
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So what is the ultimate IMS fix? I have read about the ceramic ball bearing and the constant oil feed. This forum is full of a lot of research and installation tips. Do we need a sticky on "the" fix?
The only "ultimate" or permanent IMS fix is the LN IMS Solution, which is an oil fed solid bearing with no moving parts. All other approaches using roller or ball bearings have fixed life expectancies of differing lengths, but will eventually need replacing.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:11 AM   #11
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JP thanks, As an "outsider, however, it is not clear to me that the "solid bearing" is the fix. At least one knowledgeable diy person here stated the solid cannot be implemented. On the you tube I watched it seemed like they were pressurizing a ball bearing. Also does the solid bearing approach somehow run the journal on aluminum inserts, or is machining done for snap- in conventional bearing inserts. Please note this is not criticism, just trying to understand. Not an owner but admirer .
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:49 AM   #12
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JP thanks, As an "outsider, however, it is not clear to me that the "solid bearing" is the fix. At least one knowledgeable diy person here stated the solid cannot be implemented. On the you tube I watched it seemed like they were pressurizing a ball bearing. Also does the solid bearing approach somehow run the journal on aluminum inserts, or is machining done for snap- in conventional bearing inserts. Please note this is not criticism, just trying to understand. Not an owner but admirer .
Then you need to let that person know that shops are installing them everyday, and they work.

This is the IMS Solution:



It comes in both single and dual row bearing sizes, has no ball or rollers of any kind. The bearing surface is coated with DLC ultra durable coating. It is oiled by a line running from the spin on filter adaptor to the unit, and is a patented design:



This system basically mimics the incredibly strong lay shaft bearings used in the Mezger designed and nearly bullet proof 996/997 Turbo engines, and is the only replacement system that does so. Some of the aftermarket oil fed systems are simply squirting oil on the back of the OEM steel bearings, which is actually not a good idea as it can lead to problems both with the ball bearing IMS, and how they source the oil feed has created other problems as well. The IMS Solution system works flawlessly, and is the only permanent IMS retrofit.
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Last edited by JFP in PA; 01-18-2016 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:03 AM   #13
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There is more than a bit of economics that comes into play when choosing a IMS bearing kit to use unless you are super rich, are blindly loyal to one producer or are unerringly convinced of the logic behind the marketing justification for some kit. How much to spend is really an important element in most people's decision.

Just within the LN/Flat6 line I'd describe the three kits for the 2000-2004 single row engines this way:

The Solution - Appropriate if you are in love with the car, are going to keep it forever, and are going to spend about $12k to $25k doing other upgrades to parts that have become known as weak spots in the engine. This bearing is similar to what is on the other end of the IMS shaft and we never hear of those failing. 100s installed. Highest priced.

The IMS Pro - the dual ceramic bearings into a single bearing space kit is intermediate in cost, not as many installed to prove their true longevity but a good reputation. Appropriate if you are going to keep on top of any issues, want to keep the car for another 5-7 years and you'll be doing lots of preventative maintenance as you can to keep it running smoothly. 100s installed.

The LN single row ceramic bearing kit - lowest in cost, good for 50k+ miles but probably needs to be replaced at some point if the car hasn't crashed or failed by then for one of the other 29 reasons known to bring engines down in the M96 line. 10k ++ installed. Longest installed in largest quantity so a well known reputation.

Outside the LN line, there are other approaches that use lots of different materials, lubrication methods, etc. Lots of different costs too.

How much any of these are tested before being marketed I'll leave to your due diligence.

No matter what you choose, the condition of the engine prior to the replacement of the IMS is a major determinant in the longevity of your replacement. Dirt grinds away at moving parts. Metal flakes grind expensively and often fatally.

And the skill of the installer matters too. Choose your mechanic before you choose your kit.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:12 AM   #14
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The OPs 99 is a dual row, and the LN release of the dual row Solution ^tm is fairly recent.
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Old 01-18-2016, 12:45 PM   #15
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The OPs 99 is a dual row, and the LN release of the dual row Solution ^tm is fairly recent.
They are on the shelf and ready to ship as of the New Year.
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Old 01-18-2016, 02:04 PM   #16
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To the OP,
Wait. You're not going to just change the IMS bearing and "do the clutch and IMS while you're in there" are you?
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Old 01-18-2016, 02:30 PM   #17
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Pelican IMS "Factory Style" replacement kit - $165. Just like the factory. Be sure to use the proper installation tools!

2003 Porsche Boxster Base Convertible - Camshafts & Timing Chains - Page 3

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Old 01-18-2016, 06:32 PM   #18
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To the OP,
Wait. You're not going to just change the IMS bearing and "do the clutch and IMS while you're in there" are you?
??? Uhm, yes. IMS, RMS and clutch while the tranny is off. Am I missing something?
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:21 PM   #19
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I had your story crossed up with the other guy who had his engine make terrible noise and cut his filter open to find a mess. Two recent members that lunched engines i guess.

If the IMS bearing really came apart you have two immediate risks. First that your valve timing (re: "deviations") will be all over the place, and may have had valves and pistons colliding. Second, your engine pumped broken the debris through. Those pieces can't exactly fall from their normal locations into the pan. Judging be their appearance they took a trip through a timing chain sprocket or oil pump.

The sad part about the M96 engine is that you can't determine the extent without tearing it downand the risks of collateral damage is high.

I hope I'm wrong though
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:46 AM   #20
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Flaps10, Thanks for the concern. I am hopeful that it had just started to fail. The pic is of the only 2 identifiable metal bits in the oil sump. My quick inspection of the filter did not reveal anything. I am going to tear it apart this evening for a closer look. I will post pics if I find anything.

I am kind of taking the attitude that even if I do find some very small metal particles in the filter, I am just going to change the IMS, flush the oil and hope for the best. I don't see that the 2.5 engine is worth tearing down. Even if I do it myself, it would cost more than a used engine. So, I am probably going to fix the IMS, put it back together and see what happens.
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