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Old 04-28-2016, 07:42 PM   #1
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'03 S Lifter and/or Camshaft failure

As long as I have had my S (it now has 54k) I have had a bit of lifter noise at startup on bank one, that fairly quickly went away after ten seconds or so. Sunday I started it up to the normal tapping and let it idle for a minute or two. I went to pull it out of the garage thinking it would stop as usual, but instead of getting better it seemed to get worse. I rev'd it a bit to see if it would clear up, but it didn't, so I turned it off. If there is one thing that I have learned over the years it is to turn off the engine if it sounds bad before really bad things happen. What was surprising that the day before it sounded fine. Oil level and pressure was fine (I have a 996 cluster with pressure gauge).

It sounds like the noise is in cylinder #1 (right side, front). From some research, it sounds like a fairly common issue. A tech friend mentioned that the three chain engines often have lifter problems and I should count on replacing at least a few lifters. I think the next step is to pull the cover, but I am not looking forward to it. It figures that as soon as I have the '06 VW Jetta GLI that I just bought with a blown timing belt and bent valves going back together that now my Boxster has decided to make more work for me...

Anyway, my question to the group is if there is some other underlying problem that causes this that should be addressed? From the techs I have talked to, they just do lifters unless there is other damage like camshafts of course, but nothing beyond that. To me, if this is rather common and usually on the same cylinder, it sure sounds to me that something is going on...
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Old 04-29-2016, 08:16 AM   #2
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Had the same noise and situation .It was multiple issues- all very expensive!
Standard procedure:
1. Locate precisely the location of the noise with a pro tool like Engine Ear. Eliminate the easy things like exhaust leaks.
2. Drop the pan and dissect the filter to inspect fr metal debris.
3. Do the math on the lifters. If one is bad, how bad are the rest ? You my need 24 ! The cost of those parts ,fitting them and all the 'while you are in there' stuff is eye watering.
That assumes there aren't other issues. With mine there were.
Hurry up with the VW ?
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Old 04-29-2016, 08:55 AM   #3
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Hi,

agree with Gelbster. This can get an expensive journey.

The part number for the hydraulic lifters is 99610504150. If you buy them from Porsche this will be very expensive.

I'm not 100% shure of the quality of after market parts in this case. Hydraulic lifters are a sensitive part of the engine. Seems like they are by INA / FAG. Maybe Gelbster can confirm that. In this case i could provide the OEM part numbers.

But first you've have to check in detail where the problem is and what is causing the problem.

Regards, Markus
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Old 04-29-2016, 08:55 AM   #4
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This is the most common issue with the M96.21, M96.22 and M96.24 engines. These are all Boxster power plants. I see 15-20 per year.

Typically the bank 1 intake cam and lifters fail, 65% of the time its the #1 cylinder, outboard intake valve that fails first.

Approach repair with care. Collateral damage from this failure can bite you later, especially considering he debris levels in the oil, and the chances for a bent valve/ broken valve spring on the effected position.
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby View Post
This is the most common issue with the M96.21, M96.22 and M96.24 engines. These are all Boxster power plants. I see 15-20 per year.

Typically the bank 1 intake cam and lifters fail, 65% of the time its the #1 cylinder, outboard intake valve that fails first.

Approach repair with care. Collateral damage from this failure can bite you later, especially considering he debris levels in the oil, and the chances for a bent valve/ broken valve spring on the effected position.
Does the M96.20 also suffer these problems?
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by boxster View Post
Does the M96.20 also suffer these problems?
No, never had a single case of this with the .20 engine.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby View Post
No, never had a single case of this with the .20 engine.
Ok, good to know!
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby View Post
No, never had a single case of this with the .20 engine.
Hello Jake,
Does the M97 ('07CS) engines have a high rate of lifter failures as well?

Last edited by Gilles; 04-29-2016 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 04-30-2016, 06:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby View Post
This is the most common issue with the M96.21, M96.22 and M96.24 engines. These are all Boxster power plants. I see 15-20 per year.

Typically the bank 1 intake cam and lifters fail, 65% of the time its the #1 cylinder, outboard intake valve that fails first.

Approach repair with care. Collateral damage from this failure can bite you later, especially considering he debris levels in the oil, and the chances for a bent valve/ broken valve spring on the effected position.
That is all info that I have read from other posts and techs. I was hoping someone may have some info as to why it happens. Bad version of lifters? Poor oil supply to those lifters? Soft cam lobes? I know that the local shops just replace lifters when this happens. Given that it sounds like it usually happens with lifters at the same location consistently, it sounds like perhaps there is an oil feed issue. The odd thing is that that lifter is right under where the oil pressure sender is.

The car was not missing with the lifter noise, and it was running fine the last time I ran. My original theory of why I had that noise was that when the engine stops, it settles with some of the valves open and therefore lifters depressed. After sitting that way long enough with zero oil pressure, they collapse as bit until it is run again and pump up once oil pressure comes back.

I highly doubt that there was any major failure resulting in debris, but I guess anything is possible. I did have a Blackstone oil analysis last oil change and everything looked fine and it had the usual cold start lifter noise then as well. I have had these type of lifters (perhaps even the same ones on Audis) "get weak" on me before with noise at cold idle and maybe after a very high RPM event, but I have never seen one that get this noisy.
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:26 AM   #10
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Need to distinguish between a 'leaky' lifter - it pumps up with full oil pressure after a few minutes - and one where the tappet has been 'hammered' into the bucket an never frees up.
The manufacturer INA has changed the part number several times, So has Porsche. So if you do replace, be sure you read the old threads on this well worn subject and get the latest part number. A full set may cost $700++ just in parts
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:37 AM   #11
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Junk oil leads to most of it, with it's low level of Zn and Ph cam and lifter wear, from a lack of boundary layer protection is to be expected.
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby View Post
Junk oil leads to most of it, with it's low level of Zn and Ph cam and lifter wear, from a lack of boundary layer protection is to be expected.
Thanks. I use high quality oil and and filters on a LN spin on filter adapter, but I have no idea what the previous owner(s) used. Actually, I see that as good news in that lifters, and maybe cam(s), should take care of it. I was more concerned that perhaps these engines have oil feed issues (more than the normal M96 oiling issues), or something of that nature that are more difficult, although perhaps cheaper, to take care of.

I have a few other projects to take care of before I dig into this one, so there likely won't be any update on this soon. It is just a hunch, but I doubt that I am going to find serious damage, but who knows. Maybe it will be 3.6l time.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:21 PM   #13
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"High quality oil" does not = ideal oil for the M96.
The M96 has some very specific and rather unusual tribology requirements.Very few of the mass marketed oils qualify.
There is lots written ab0ut the specific additive package required.More is not necessarily better.
Frequently Asked Questions about Motor Oils / LN Engineering - Knowledge Base LN Engineering
http://986forum.com/forums/performance-technical-chat/56373-yet-another-oil-thread-*caution*-science-content.html
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Old 05-01-2016, 04:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gelbster View Post
"High quality oil" does not = ideal oil for the M96.
The M96 has some very specific and rather unusual tribology requirements.Very few of the mass marketed oils qualify.
There is lots written ab0ut the specific additive package required.More is not necessarily better.
Frequently Asked Questions about Motor Oils / LN Engineering - Knowledge Base LN Engineering
http://986forum.com/forums/performance-technical-chat/56373-yet-another-oil-thread-*caution*-science-content.html
I use the LN recommended filters and the oil I use is someone's name in 5W40. I just wanted to avoid another great oil debate by not mentioning the name. No matter what you oil you use, SOMEONE will have an issue with it and say that has to be your problem... Heck, maybe it is!
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Old 05-11-2016, 09:50 PM   #15
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Update. Fixed! It WAS the oil. I checked my records and while I had thought I only had 1k or so on the oil, I had a touch over 5k. I forgot about that 2500mile trip averaging 75mph last fall. I thought I changed oil right after that. Guess not. Oops. When I started it again to put it in position to change oil after sitting another week, it wasn't as noisy. Normal startup taps, but nothing worse. This was odd considering how it sounded when I last turned it off. Then I changed the oil and filter. Nothing on the magnetic drain plug. Good. Oil seemed dirty, but viscosity seemed fine. My "how long does it take to run off the drain pan and how much sticks to the pan" test seemed to show that the oil was in good shape. Guess not. These engines seem to be VERY sensitive about oil, which is not something that I have ever seen before.

This time I went with the German brand 5W40 Liqui Moly and a Napa Platinum (Wix I am told) 1042 filter. As soon as the oil pressure came up the engine got dead quiet. VERY weird. In fact, it was smoother than I have ever heard it at startup. Usually it needed a fair amount of heat in the engine to get that quiet. I don't know if that means anything, but I like the sound of it. We will see how it does in the next 5k.

So, don't be a paranoid idiot like me. Sometimes you just need an oil change. I guess seeing all the blown M96s that I have in shops in the last year or so has gotten to me...

Back to my hole.
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