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Old 04-22-2018, 04:13 PM   #1
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I read on various forums that the ims failure is about 8% overall but there doesnít seem to be a rhyme or reason why some fail why some do not. Two questions does anyone know if there is a database on the engines that did experience the ims failure. Second if this database does exist has anyone analyzed the big data to see if there are any insights into predictive failure? Certain years, month of build, etc? Rick
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Old 04-22-2018, 04:59 PM   #2
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Good idea but hasn't happened for numerous reasons:

~ Porsche didn't keep track because they didn't want to have the data incase someone sued (which happened).

~ Many of the failures in the early to mid 2000s had to go to Porsche dealerships for repairs. There was no replacement IMSB in those days so all you could do was cross your fingers and hope it didn't happen to you. If it did, you took your car to Porsche and they installed a replacement engine with the same failed bearing design in it. Since Porsche was the only ball game, you had to take it there for repair. See point #1 on their record keeping.

~ With all the IMS hysteria on the Internet, someone could have a failed coil pack causing a misfire but the owner would be quickly on the nearest forum claiming their IMS had failed. There are numerous examples where someone had a failed AOS and their mechanics were claiming the IMS was bad and the engine needed replacing. Or something else caused the catastrophic failure, such as bore scoring or a spun rod bearing, but everything gets lumped into IMS failure. Actual failures are probably lower than you'd expect due to all the other modes of failure that are blamed as IMS.

There's been plenty written here and elsewhere speculating what causes the bearing to fail and what you can do to avoid it. Notice I said speculate because there is no hard evidence on what causes it or how to avoid it. The best thing is to change your oil between 5-8K mi. The majority of the failures are linked to the Gen II design from approx. 2001-2005. It was about that time Porsche and Mobil 1 were selling the idea of 15K mi oil change intervals.
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:15 PM   #3
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~ Porsche didn't keep track because they didn't want to have the data in case someone sued (which happened).
This ^^^^^.
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:37 AM   #4
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There are three different IMS bearing designs used by Porsche with different failure rates. With different replacement options. So don't lump them together. Differentiate and speak of a specific bearing design.

Any wear part will fail eventually, some earlier, some later.

General information at this site. And there are hundreds of messages already on this forum and a search function available.
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:36 AM   #5
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There are three different IMS bearing designs used by Porsche with different failure rates. With different replacement options. So don't lump them together. Differentiate and speak of a specific bearing design.

Any wear part will fail eventually, some earlier, some later.

General information at this site. And there are hundreds of messages already on this forum and a search function available.
What Mike said. ALL bearings fail eventually. They just do. Not trying to lessen the reality of a dead engine, but it is a reality. One can opine day and night the wisdom of the IMSB design, why they fail etc... but at least it is a known factor, and part of the maint schedule for these motors. I'm facing bearings on all four corners of my Jeep pretty soon. An old Subie motor ate itself a while back... bearing failure. Etc. Etc.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:46 PM   #6
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Thanks for your collective insight - I have a new to me 2004 Boxster S with 30K miles on the clock. Since I have gotten the car I have done a lot of research on the forum, PCA, Google on the dreaded IMS issue. While 8% is a higher failure rate than the original design, there is a 92% chance that it will not fail. Of course if you are one of the unlucky ones then dropping the cash for a pro-active IMS bearing fix is a no brainer... For now I will change the oil at an earlier interval, examine the filter for debris, keep an eye on this, and plan to do a replacement at some point the future.
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Old 05-07-2018, 04:48 PM   #7
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...Any wear part will fail eventually, some earlier, some later....
Lubricated for life is a self-fulfilling prophesy though.
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:22 PM   #8
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IMSB Failure

Hi Rick - I am sure Iíll get roasted over this, but I just have to say, itís about $2000 to eliminate this problem. I just donít understand why some people think that changing oil and inspecting oil filters is going to eliminate this problem. By the time you see metal shavings, itís very, very likely too late. I can tell you firsthand, itís a real bad day when that engine fails - itís about a $12,000 bad day. There is a lot urban legend about this and internet panic. But, for $2000 I just donít understand why people wonít eliminate that nagging worry every time you get in a car that is supposed to be fun to drive. Itís just the cost of doing business Ė the cost of owning a Boxster. Of course, we all make our own decisions. Good luck.
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Old 05-08-2018, 04:04 PM   #9
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I can tell you firsthand, it’s a real bad day when that engine fails - it’s about a $12,000 bad day.
I certainly don't want to "roast" anyone but I'm not sure why a failed engine has to be a $12K problem.

My engine just failed again so I had my local shop swap in Engine #5. The total cost was under $4,500:
- Replacement 2.5L engine with 87K miles = $2650 (eBay)
- New plugs, filters, fluids = $300
- Shop labor = $1,500

If I had DIY'd the engine swap, it would have been less than $3K. And I should be good for at least another 75K miles.

Even if I had to do it again in 75K miles (for another $4500), I'd still be way ahead financially compared to a $12K replacement.
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Old 05-08-2018, 04:18 PM   #10
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Even the 8% failure rate cited in the settlement is suspect as it was based on prediction and a life cycle that all the 986 engines have now exceeded. I suspect Porsche agreed to a settlement $ amount based on a length of time so as to limit its liability forgetting these are Porsches and people keep them forever. There are bound to be random failures or failures based on use patterns that only show up after more years or miles of use. And the engine numbers and VINs shown in the settlement have been proven to be wrong in some cases so Porsche's own data is very suspect. Enough that the people who invented the IMS replacement insist on (or at least strongly suggest) an inspection to see which version you have before ordering a replacement kit.

I prefer to think of a 1% failure probability in any given year since the cars are beyond what the settlement was based on.

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Old 05-08-2018, 06:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by por356c View Post
Hi Rick - I am sure Iíll get roasted over this......
I can tell you firsthand, itís a real bad day when that engine fails - itís about a $12,000 bad day.......
But, for $2000 I just donít understand why people wonít eliminate that nagging worry every time you get in Ė the cost of owning a Boxster. Of course, we all make our own decisions. Good luck.
Por356, honestly, this post is real doom and gloom kind of stuff!
Many of us would look at this and say: "yeah, you add $2k to the cost of the car and suddenly it's no longer a car I want". Me, personally, that would've tipped me towards the MB SLK I was also considering.

I don't know why it has to be a $12k bill if it fails? That doesn't mirror any of the experiences I've read about here or elsewhere.

And the cost of owning a Porsche? Seriously? The cost of owning a Porsche, to you, is throwing money at a problem because you're so scared the car sucks?

I'm chuckling to myself that this is the same board that told me I shouldn't desnorkel mine, because the Porsche engineers are so smart and always know best. Hahaha

I say drive it. Drive the PISS out of it. And if it fails, then decide (based on how much you like it dislike it) if you'll junk the car, or replace the motor. Either way, THAT'S the point where I'd start adding -up the "cost of owning a Porsche".

Just my $0.02

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