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Old 04-26-2017, 11:21 AM   #1
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Advice Please

I have a 2003 3.2 63,000 miles.
When I took my car into the garage for an oil change the mechanic and I heard a rattle noise when the car decelerated he told me it could be one of the cats and he would check it out when the car was on the ramps.
He phoned me an hour or so later telling me after he did the oil and filter change he started the car and the rattle was terrible so he turned off the engine the car ran for less than 10 seconds.
He drained the oil and we found fragments of metal and glitter in the sump the new filter also had glitter on it.
I think the problem could be the ims bearing the glitter being from the bearings and the fragments from the casings.

Your advice and prognosis would be greatly appreciated

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Old 04-26-2017, 11:36 AM   #2
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If you already have metal in the oil and filter, it is too late to do anything about the IMS, other than to pull the engine and take it apart for a rebuild, or buy a used engine and install it.
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:55 PM   #3
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I'll start off by saying that I agree with JFP 99.9%. But there is that 0.1 percent sliver of hope, and by the description you gave, you qualify.

I rebuilt a 2003 3.2 after a catastrophic engine failure. Because I'm in the do it yourself class, and not in the professional mechanic class, I can take chances a do it yourselfer can, and a professional could not. I know of one do it yourselfer who took an engine from a flood car, drained the water out of it, put oil in, and its running just fine. . I rebuilt mine without an ultrasonic cleaning, yet there was little residual metal in the oil first change, as expected none getting past the filter, then none.

So what you *might* be able to do is simply change the IMS bearing and clean as much of the metal out of the oil as possible.

The quick version of doing this is to set the timing to zero (you'll know if you dropped timing at this point)

Check the IMS shaft for damage. What you are looking for is if the locking ring in front of the bearing is still serviceable. In the unlikely (but possible) case that it is, you can simply source a new 6204 steel ball bearing and replace the failed bearing. You can buy a 6204 ball bearing over the internet for $10 to $20us. I'd suggest a Nachi high temp full contact Viton seal bearing, but that's just me.

You'll need to drop the pan and clean as much metal out of the engine as you can. Using rare-earth magnets and a shop vac with a tiny hose to get into small areas is needed.

If you go this route, if it is even possible to go this route, you are still likely to have metal embedded in the chain ramps unless you change them, and you will need to do several quick oil changes as well as use magnets on the outside of the drain pan and oil filter housing to pull residual metal out of the oil.

This may be possible based on the limited run time after failure. If so it will be the cheapest option. With a fully sealed IMS bearing a little metal in the oil doesn't bother me. If it gets past the oil filter during bypass on a cold start up that is a problem so it is important to get it out of the engine through dropping the sump and through quick oil changes. With an open IMS bearing, metal in the oil will get into the bearing and the bearing will fail quickly. Do not use an open bearing in this engine.

Don't expect this advice from a professional mechanic, it is nowhere near the safest option to choose, just the cheapest if it works. Professionals cannot risk their reputation with failed engines, and this is definitely a crap shoot.

A more surefire, but more costly option is to source a used engine. Then change the bearing before installing the engine.

Tearing down and rebuilding your current engine will be both expensive (I stopped counting at $2000us in parts) and the mechanic has to have experience in the M96 engine. They are very different to work on and can be broken if not dis-assembled and re-assembled properly.

Best of luck.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:43 PM   #4
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Jay

My recommendation is to do what JFP said. I agree with him 100%.

Having said that, you could do what Jamesp mentioned and replace the IMS and do multiple oil changes to flush any metal out of the engine.

I don't recommend doing this...

...but if you do go this route, be sure NOT to install an LN ceramic bearing. I'm pretty sure that they don't have seals (depend on sump oil for lubrication) and will definitely go BOOM if ANY metal hits them, so use a standard 6204 steel, sealed bearing (preferable the one that Jamesp recommended).

You can increase your chances of success by installing an LN oil filter adapter so that you can use spin on filters which will not allow oil to bypass the filter like the stock filter. Plus a magnetic drain plug will help pull metal out between the very frequent oil changes you'll have to do.

Your best bet though is to source a replacement engine, and while it's out replace the IMS bearing. Just be sure it can pass a pre-qualification inspection (no metal in sump or filter) before you spend the money on an IMS replacement.

The other option is to have your current engine rebuilt, but this requires a complete tear down and the replacement of thousands of $$ worth of parts and thousands of $$ in labor to make sure that all the metal particles are cleaned out. I went this route 3 years ago with my engine and it cost just under $15K (that included installation of an IMS Solution and various minor upgrades, like racing connecting rod bolts, etc). They did a fantastic job and I've never regretted doing it, but it can be a difficult decision to spend that kind of money on a car that (on a good day) might only be worth that much (or less).

One final thing - the metal might not even be from your IMS bearing!

In my case, my IMS bearing was fine - oh, it was on it's way out (all grease washed out), but still had some life left in it - the metal was from my main timing chain (from crankshaft to IMS). The chain had stretched SO MUCH that you could have taken a link out of it and it would still have been loose, even with the tensioner paddle at full extension. The chain was basically beating the hell out of the top of the tensioner paddle and had worn off the anti-friction pad and was shedding aluminum from the paddle itself. Luckily, none of that metal made it past the oil filter, but it was still circulating from splashing up from the sump (so all 5 timing chains, ramps, valve train, etc were seeing it). It was a miracle that my engine hadn't gone BOOM (we have no idea why it didn't go BOOM). But the gurus at Flat-6 were able to save it, and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. My car has never run better!

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! We all feel your pain brother!

Bill
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Old 04-29-2017, 05:19 AM   #5
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Is the Jake Raby 'IMS Solution' the same as LN 'IMS Solution'?
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:42 AM   #6
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Is the Jake Raby 'IMS Solution' the same as LN 'IMS Solution'?
Yes, Jake did the development work on the Solution for LN, and Jake has used them exclusively for a long time now.
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Old 04-29-2017, 10:50 AM   #7
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OP, that cross your fingers and spend a few grand on the IMS swap, oil flushing simply will not work. If you are seeing ferrous bits in hand there are almost assuredly ferrous bits in the tight spaces that will not come out, constrict oil flow and kaboom. It will take a few thousand miles if your lucky but there's no cheating the reaper who will claim the entire engine instead of sparing you with just the cost of the rebuild.

How many miles were you able to put on the car yourself? I had a theory for a while that we would see a rash of these since most Boxsters and 996 Carrera never bad their IMS swapped when the clutch was replaced. I figured once the majority of these cars crossed 100k miles or suffered from infrequent oil changes the failures would begin to tick up sharply. But since these are not daily driven cars to most it would take some time.
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Old 04-29-2017, 02:02 PM   #8
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If you are seeing ferrous bits in hand there are almost assuredly ferrous bits in the tight spaces that will not come out, constrict oil flow and kaboom. It will take a few thousand miles if your lucky but there's no cheating the reaper who will claim the entire engine instead of sparing you with just the cost of the rebuild.
.
Not likely (the grim reaper / kaboom part). There will certainly be metal bits in the oil. I had the nefarious ferrous bits in my oil after my rebuild and no kaboom, no grim reaper, no drama, just an oil filter (and a sealed bearing). That's what the oil filter is for. If the metal bits get past the oil filter en masse, they can certainly cause problems by clogging small oil passages. The same mechanism that moves chips towards our engines destruction moves them into the oil filter where they get trapped in the oil filter pleats, almost like it was designed to do that. Again, that's what its there for, and don't even start with low temp cold start bypass. Certainly a possibility under very specific conditions that can be easily avoided.

Just saying there can be a possible way to fix this without breaking the bank if it's caught very early. Unlikely due to collateral damage, but possible. After having been around the block a few times I'd do it if the opportunity presented itself.

And as previously stated, any non sealed bearing installation in this situation would likely fail very quickly.
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Old 04-29-2017, 02:15 PM   #9
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One anecdote to support James caveat.
The OP of my car replaced the IMSB with a good quality open bearing(1 seal removed) from a reputable source just before I bought the car. It lasted me 10 days before the engine started knocking - #5 c/s bearing.Total diy rebuild. Financial fiasco but great learning experience.
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Old 04-29-2017, 02:29 PM   #10
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One anecdote to support James caveat.
The OP of my car replaced the IMSB with a good quality open bearing(1 seal removed) from a reputable source just before I bought the car. It lasted me 10 days before the engine started knocking - #5 c/s bearing.Total diy rebuild. Financial fiasco but great learning experience.
The problem with an open bearing and metal in the oil is that the metal will end up in the open bearing with the lubricating oil. The metal will get smashed between the rolling elements and the races in the bearing damaging both causing a phenomenon called brinelling. Brinelling is a failure mode in bearings that feeds on itself, starts with the bearing microscopically damaging itself as it runs, but quickly balloons into a catastrophic failure as the bearing damages itself more and more. Metal in the oil contaminates an open bearing and starts this process. A sealed bearing limits the possibility of this happening.
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:39 PM   #11
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If it were my car, I'd be trying Jamesp's method first since there isn't much to lose. Leave it on the stands and let it run. Why the heck not??? It's toast if you do nothing.
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Old 04-30-2017, 07:50 AM   #12
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Not likely (the grim reaper / kaboom part). There will certainly be metal bits in the oil. I had the nefarious ferrous bits in my oil after my rebuild and no kaboom, no grim reaper, no drama, just an oil filter (and a sealed bearing). That's what the oil filter is for. If the metal bits get past the oil filter en masse, they can certainly cause problems by clogging small oil passages. The same mechanism that moves chips towards our engines destruction moves them into the oil filter where they get trapped in the oil filter pleats, almost like it was designed to do that. Again, that's what its there for, and don't even start with low temp cold start bypass. Certainly a possibility under very specific conditions that can be easily avoided.

Just saying there can be a possible way to fix this without breaking the bank if it's caught very early. Unlikely due to collateral damage, but possible. After having been around the block a few times I'd do it if the opportunity presented itself.

And as previously stated, any non sealed bearing installation in this situation would likely fail very quickly.
Doesn't the fact that the OPs engine is running like crap indicate we are past the "if you catch it early" stage of this game?
In other words that typical spotting of metal in oil while the engine was still running is usually when the cross your fingers oil flushing and IMS swap is attempted.
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Old 04-30-2017, 08:36 AM   #13
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Stick a finger into the hole where the oil filter mounts on the engine block. If you have lots of metal I would be careful since the rest of the engine is probably full of metal debris.
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Old 04-30-2017, 09:47 AM   #14
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Doesn't the fact that the OPs engine is running like crap indicate we are past the "if you catch it early" stage of this game?
In other words that typical spotting of metal in oil while the engine was still running is usually when the cross your fingers oil flushing and IMS swap is attempted.
There really is no catching it early. You've got to beat it to the punch. After there is metal in the oil it is too late to use the go to methods of mitigating IMS failures.

Once there is metal in the oil most would say the engine is toast/needs major overhaul or replacement and they might always be right.

The thought is that on the off chance the failure is caught with the snap ring in the IMS shaft still intact (talking single row) there may be a repair option available that is relatively painless.

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