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Old 03-21-2017, 07:40 PM   #1
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Fixing the IMS Bearing - or not?

How do you decide when or whether to bite the bullet and fix the IMS bearing issue? If a car is showing no symptoms of failure, does that mean it's not likely, or is catastrophe right around the corner?

I have a 2002 Boxster S Tiptronic. It only has 52K gentle miles on it, and is in excellent condition. Regular maintenance for the last seven years that I've known the car, including regular oil changes, and presumed good maintenance before that. In the most recent oil change, about two weeks ago, there was no sign at all of metal in the filter. All good signs, right?

Or is it? Am I courting disaster by not investing in the overhaul, or should I suck it up and get it done? How do you decide? I intend to keep this car for a long time, and want to make sure I'm not setting myself up for financial disaster. My mechanic is quoting me about $4000 for the IMS Solution, including labor. (He says since it's an automatic he has to drop both the engine and transmission to get to the IMS bearing. True?)

What's your experience?

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Old 03-21-2017, 07:53 PM   #2
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I'm in the same position as you. I do have a 2004 Special Edition with 54k miles. I am the 3rd owner. The 1st owner hardly put any miles on the vehicle and took amazing care of the vehicle for 24k miles. I have no records on the 2nd owner and the 26k or so miles he/she put on it.

I have decided not to gamble and to get the IMS done. I hate driving a ticking time bomb. There is no guarantee with a new IMS it won't fail, but I think I reduce my chances by a lot.
My Indy estimates a 30% failure rate for my year Boxsters.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:09 PM   #3
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My 01S has never been changed to my knowledge. I never find any metal at oil changes, however it will need a new clutch in the next couple of years....it will get a new IMS bearing when I pull the transmission for the clutch job...as well a a new RMS......but until then I am driving it
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:11 PM   #4
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Just...

...Do it.


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Old 03-21-2017, 11:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by algiorda View Post
I'm in the same position as you. I do have a 2004 Special Edition with 54k miles. I am the 3rd owner. The 1st owner hardly put any miles on the vehicle and took amazing care of the vehicle for 24k miles. I have no records on the 2nd owner and the 26k or so miles he/she put on it.

I have decided not to gamble and to get the IMS done. I hate driving a ticking time bomb. There is no guarantee with a new IMS it won't fail, but I think I reduce my chances by a lot.
My Indy estimates a 30% failure rate for my year Boxsters.
Where in the Wild World of Sports did your Indy come up with that statistic???
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:18 AM   #6
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My Indy estimates a 30% failure rate for my year Boxsters.
Haha

Time for a new mechanic.
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:51 AM   #7
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The IMS is a maintenance item like a timing belt. All the IMS bearings are good right up to the point they fail. Your mechanic appears to be misinformed, or trying to push you to perform the work with the 30% number. 8% for single row bearings is the highest accepted failure rate for IMSBs.
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:24 AM   #8
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Consider the replacement as regular maintenance. Many 2000 series cars (VW's) had fiber timing belts that would break or the tensioner pulley would seize causing catastrophic engine carnage. It is what it is.... Factor the replacement into your budget and drive it like a Porsche without worry.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:35 AM   #9
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Where in the Wild World of Sports did your Indy come up with that statistic???
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Haha

Time for a new mechanic.
I'd almost have to agree with his indy. The 2003-05.5 engines are dropping like flys lately. I've been getting calls from people looking for a motor at least once a week. That's a lot! I don't get to see why the 3 chain motor is failing so much lately but I'm starting think the 3 chain has more flaws than the 5 chain. I also have to agree with his decision to drop the motor and trans as one. "IF" he's also going to be replacing the AOS and vacuum hoses too. It doesn't take much more of an effort to drop the engine/trans as it does for a trans by itself.
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:11 AM   #10
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I would make a point of changing the bearing out if your inention is so keep the car long term. The IMS Solution is a $1725 kit and the labor can't be $2275 to do the install. I have done the change, not with this kit and the labor seems quite high. You should get an itemized estimate for the work. The 30% comment is also quite a bit higher than reported....
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:29 AM   #11
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You just have to decide to do it or not. You probably aren't going to get any signs that its time to change. If you do, its most likely to late
Your car being at only 52k miles, you still have a lot of miles left in her. It makes sense to do it sooner than later. The value of the car will also get a positive.
Clean Filter, clean sump and timing still on are positives of good health but if you find metal in the filter and sump it's most likely to late to just make the change without cleaning debris.
IMSB has to be changed before the original starts letting go

Treating as a Preventive maintenance item is the best way to think of it. For those of us with clutches, we tend to tie the two together. Problem here is if your not abusive to your clutch, one maybe looking at 100K + miles before replacing that.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:49 AM   #12
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I did mine at 98K on my 2001S as part of the clutch/flywheel/RMS maintenance. Once I got in there I could see that the seal on the IMS cover was leaking some. No oil on the ground but some oil caked around the seal. I didn't find the IMS to be very difficult at all to change. Just a little daunting with all the discussion about which replacement is best, yada, yada... and making me worry about what I would find. What I found was a dual row IMS that was in (according to me) perfect condition. But I am glad I replaced it because now I know what's in there and I don't need to think about it anymore. And I needed the new clutch and flywheel so I was going in.
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Pdwight View Post
My 01S has never been changed to my knowledge. I never find any metal at oil changes, however it will need a new clutch in the next couple of years....it will get a new IMS bearing when I pull the transmission for the clutch job...as well a a new RMS......but until then I am driving it
Same here. I'll do it when the clutch gets done. One thing I know for sure.... if you want to sell your car serious potential buyers are very aware of the IMSB issue. I have no doubt that if I had completed the bearing replacement the Boxster would have been sold three different times. I guess I am fortunate I haven't done it.
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:19 AM   #14
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2003 986S Tiptronic with ~105kmiles

A year ago as I focused on this issue I was pondering the same decision. I fell victim to the "if it's good at 30k it will be good for 230k" myth. Filter analysis had turned up nothing in the summer of 2015. Sure enough in september 2016 my IMS failed. I wish I had indulged my fears and bit the bullet and changed the IMS for a few $ thousand rather than spend 2-3 times that in having a replacement engine installed. With a Tip you are never have the opportunity of a clutch change to prompt you to act and offset part of the cost. You can bet that the replacement engine got a new IMS bearing.
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:41 AM   #15
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I would make a point of changing the bearing out if your inention is so keep the car long term. The IMS Solution is a $1725 kit and the labor can't be $2275 to do the install. I have done the change, not with this kit and the labor seems quite high. You should get an itemized estimate for the work. The 30% comment is also quite a bit higher than reported....
He's quoting the $1725 for the IMS Solution, "as much as" 18 hours labor @ $100/hour, (a discount off his normal rate), fluids, and tax. Includes the RMS as well, since he's in there. So his quote "could be" $4K, and would be less, if labor was less. He says he won't know till he gets in there, but wanted to warn me that it could be that high. He's a good mechanic I trust, (known him for years), but the price was still a bit hard to swallow.

The 30% failure rate is a comment made by someone else, not me.

Dave
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:29 AM   #16
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Tip IMS ,just my 2$ ....

03 Boxster with tiptronic.
Changing the IMS bearing with the tiptroninc is not for the faint of heart.
At 90K had my tiptroninc gave out. So much for the "bulletproof" opinion!
Did the work myself as local dealer was out of sight, and couldn't find an indie willing to tackle it. too much liability for the amount of reward.
For those who think it's just a" little" worse than dropping a clutch- all I can say is "try it" and let me know how you make out on that.
Is a good opportunity to spend even more for things like AOS and water pump- lots of things never be easier than when the trans is dropped. Why someone says drop both engine and trans is beyond me. don't really see how it would be any easier.
It was the opportunity to "address" the IMS question.
will finish in 2nd post...
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:31 AM   #17
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My 2$ on Tiptronic IMS replacement-finish

At 90K miles, pulled the cheap bearing, and found a little play in it, but nowhere near failure. Most of the posts at the time from the experienced guys seemed to indicate that for some reason, tiptronic cars don't fail as often as manual cars. Probably has to do with the fact gas pedals don't get buried to the floor as often with an automatic as "popping the clutch" cars...who knows!
What I do know is I would never do 4K ( and it will be more, trust me on this one) on a 14 year old car, until I have to! Boxster's won't be classics worth a million like some of the cars cousins. There are other things that fail and can be just as catastrophic, dollar wise, to recover from.
A used power plant can be had from any number of breakers, and I dare say complete with tiptronic, it can be bought for around 4K. put that plant into tip top shape, and when ( or if) yours goes belly up, you can put it in and go another 10 years!! Is what I plan to do if mine dies again!
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:08 PM   #18
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He's quoting the $1725 for the IMS Solution, "as much as" 18 hours labor @ $100/hour, (a discount off his normal rate), fluids, and tax. Includes the RMS as well, since he's in there. So his quote "could be" $4K, and would be less, if labor was less. He says he won't know till he gets in there, but wanted to warn me that it could be that high. He's a good mechanic I trust, (known him for years), but the price was still a bit hard to swallow.

The 30% failure rate is a comment made by someone else, not me.

Dave
18 hours is ridiculous, two cars can be done in that amount of time.
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:13 PM   #19
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At 90K miles, pulled the cheap bearing, and found a little play in it, but nowhere near failure. Most of the posts at the time from the experienced guys seemed to indicate that for some reason, tiptronic cars don't fail as often as manual cars. Probably has to do with the fact gas pedals don't get buried to the floor as often with an automatic as "popping the clutch" cars...who knows!
What I do know is I would never do 4K ( and it will be more, trust me on this one) on a 14 year old car, until I have to! Boxster's won't be classics worth a million like some of the cars cousins. There are other things that fail and can be just as catastrophic, dollar wise, to recover from.
A used power plant can be had from any number of breakers, and I dare say complete with tiptronic, it can be bought for around 4K. put that plant into tip top shape, and when ( or if) yours goes belly up, you can put it in and go another 10 years!! Is what I plan to do if mine dies again!
What this guy said +1.
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Old 03-22-2017, 01:26 PM   #20
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18 hours is ridiculous, two cars can be done in that amount of time.
He might be a good mechanic but he obviously doesn't work on Porsches. If he did he would know what it really takes. It sounds like he is a little scared of the job.

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