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Old 06-12-2017, 10:20 AM   #1
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Took the 986 to an independent

shop here in Missouri last week after my engine light came on at 116,000 miles. After looking it over, the shop noted: "engine oil coming out of the bell housing -- could be flywheel seal or sealing at IMS bearing caused by IMS bearing failure coming up." True, over a period of a couple weeks a half-dollar size spot of oil/residue will collect on the garage floor under the rear/left side of the car. I informed the shop of this when I took the car in, so they were looking for it.

Otherwise, the car has been running great. There were no metal shavings in the oil filter when they checked it, but the mechanic said this may not be indicative of the issue. I was quoted $2,600 for IMS ceramic bearing, new clutch, labor, etc.

I opted not to go ahead with the repair at this time. The shop cleared the warning lights and I drove the car home. Today, I decided to drive the car to work and the engine light came back on. I assumed the shop checked the codes, but they did not communicate this to me last week when they looked at it.

My car is a 1999 with, I assume, a double-row bearing. I've been told it's fairly rare for these to fail. What would your next step be?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 06-12-2017, 11:01 AM   #2
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Call the shop and ask them about the codes, or hopefully you can read it on your receipt.
Buy a simple code reader. If you have a smart phone with Bluetooth, you can get an ELM327 device that plugs into your car's OBD port and can link to an app on your phone (under $20 on Amazon, eBay, etc.). Otherwise your local parts store should have a selection available or they may offer to read/clear your codes for free. The most common codes would be related to Secondary Air Injection system faults and O2 sensors. Not a big worry if it is those.

I had a similar leak on one of my 99s with 128k miles. I was sure it was the RMS seeping. I didn't worry about it for a long time, but it slowly got worse. I took it to a good local independent and had them fix everything 'while they were in there'. Nearly $4,000 later I had new mounts, front crankshaft seal, RMS, IMS, transmission service etc. They found that the RMS was actually fine and the leak was from the IMS bearing seal. The IMS bearing was still good, but I had them install a new LN ceramic.
Normally I do all my own maintenance and have done all those jobs on other cars. In this case it was well worth the money to me due to time-stress and peace of mind knowing a skilled pro had done it all.
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:04 AM   #3
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The leak could also be the RMS (rear main seal) that are known to leak. Cheap part but the work is the same as the IMS/clutch - remove the transmission.

Did the shop tell you why the check engine light cam on? It usually comes on for a reason and if they checked it it should have given them a code. With the age and mileage it could be a ton of things many relatively minor. Just clearing it won't make the cause go away. They should check it again free of charge.
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:13 AM   #4
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At 116k miles it's not rare for anything to fail, which may lead to everything failing. Before you start the engine again find a great Boxster mechanic with lots of experience installing LN engineering IMSB's. Take it there & have them check it out. If the check engine light comes on & flashes, that indicates the engine is missfiring! Turn off key A.S.A.P & have car towed to the shop.
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:43 PM   #5
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I would think the CEL and the Oil leak are not related unless you are Oil starved. I had a similar oil leak in the same area and it was the RMS. If you going to replace that, you might as well replace the IMS and AOS while the trans is down.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:30 PM   #6
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Ha! Never pay anybody to "clear codes!"

The light is NOT the problem, the situation that puts your vehicle out of emissions compliance is the problem and until that is fixed, the check engine light will continue to come on.

Yes, the code(s) indicate very generally what the problem might be, but usually some further investigation is required. You can't just automatically go to the indicated component and expect that to be the problem.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:31 PM   #7
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Depending on the code ,it is useful to have associated information like RKAT,O2 sensor voltages and all sorts of tedious detail that Durametric provides. Yes, Durametric is imperfect and sometimes frustrating because it could easily(?) be so much better, but it is the best we have for right now.
If you had been able to post the codes and related Durametric readings in your 1st Post we could have quickly narrowed down the problem/solution.
I would be reluctant to let a mechanic who does not use Durametric work on such issues because he would be guessing more than necessary.
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Old 06-25-2017, 09:28 AM   #8
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I would have the shop perform the work they quoted you. Otherwise, you may have a boat anchor sooner rather than later


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Old 06-25-2017, 10:44 AM   #9
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Sounds like it's the RMS seal, it will leak oil prior to failing. But it could also be one of several other things, go by an auto parts store and have them read the codes.

Personally, I would get a second opinion from a different shop. Any mechanic that claims to have diagnosed IMS failure before it happens, especially on a '99 which isn't affected by IMS failure is either an idiot or trying to rip you off. I am also not sure why you would need a new clutch for an oil leak.
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Old 06-26-2017, 03:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick3000 View Post
Sounds like it's the RMS seal, it will leak oil prior to failing. But it could also be one of several other things, go by an auto parts store and have them read the codes.

Personally, I would get a second opinion from a different shop. Any mechanic that claims to have diagnosed IMS failure before it happens, especially on a '99 which isn't affected by IMS failure is either an idiot or trying to rip you off. I am also not sure why you would need a new clutch for an oil leak.
The OP took his car in for a CEL. The garage noted an oil leak, presumably having not done a full investigation as that's not what the car came in for, and made a few suggestions of what it could be. That doesn't read the same as the garage diagnosed the IMS as at fault.
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Old 06-26-2017, 07:21 AM   #11
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I am going to venture to say that the CEL and the oil leak are probably not related.

And if they are related, then damage may already be happening and there's not much you can do about it except stop driving the car and think about engine options.

With that being said, there are two likely causes of the oil leak - rear main seal and IMSB seal. Some people have tried to snake an inspection scope into the bell housing but its nearly impossible to see much. Thus, the only way to determine what is leaking is to remove the transmission.

Of course, once you've paid the labor to remove the transmission, you're mostly committed to repairing whatever you find and its easy to replace the IMSB since its literally sitting right in front at this point. But this means that you'll likely be into the job for several thousand.

The CEL could be almost anything but they are most often emissions related. That doesn't mean that it should be ignored as some CEL's are critically important to rectify as soon as possible (like a misfire). Others can be ignored but you'll have to get the CEL code to determine a prudent path forward.

If the CEL and the oil leak are related, then the oil leak is likely from a failing IMSB and that means that the engine might already be compromised. The next steps would be to immediately check the oil filter and the sump for metal. Then go from there.

Start by finding out the CEL codes and posting them here. Someone will provide info and recommendations for repair.

In the meantime, you can live with the oil leak for awhile but eventually it will get to the point where you'll have to remove the transmission to fix the leak. That might be the time to replace the IMSB and eliminate that worry, but the choice about replacing the IMSB is yours alone.
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Last edited by thstone; 06-26-2017 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:48 AM   #12
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Diagnose the CEL first. Not to fix it but to know what it is telling you.
Pull the oil filter and inspect.

Those are cheap things you can do yourself and you'll know then what type of issues you face.

(Oil on the face of a well used clutch and yes you could want to do the clutch while you are in there. Even if the oil is the most benign RMS leak, you are into the wallet for the R&R of the transmission and you might as well do the RMS seal with the new one, AOS, clutch and IMS as they don't add that much labor once you have the transmission off. I say "that much" compared to doing them later in a separate Trans pull. But then we each have our own maintenance strategies and budgets.)

Good luck.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thstone View Post
I am going to venture to say that the CEL and the oil leak are probably not related.

And if they are related, then damage may already be happening and there's not much you can do about it except stop driving the car and think about engine options.

With that being said, there are two likely causes of the oil leak - rear main seal and IMSB seal. Some people have tried to snake an inspection scope into the bell housing but its nearly impossible to see much. Thus, the only way to determine what is leaking is to remove the transmission.

Of course, once you've paid the labor to remove the transmission, you're mostly committed to repairing whatever you find and its easy to replace the IMSB since its literally sitting right in front at this point. But this means that you'll likely be into the job for several thousand.

The CEL could be almost anything but they are most often emissions related. That doesn't mean that it should be ignored as some CEL's are critically important to rectify as soon as possible (like a misfire). Others can be ignored but you'll have to get the CEL code to determine a prudent path forward.

If the CEL and the oil leak are related, then the oil leak is likely from a failing IMSB and that means that the engine might already be compromised. The next steps would be to immediately check the oil filter and the sump for metal. Then go from there.

Start by finding out the CEL codes and posting them here. Someone will provide info and recommendations for repair.

In the meantime, you can live with the oil leak for awhile but eventually it will get to the point where you'll have to remove the transmission to fix the leak. That might be the time to replace the IMSB and eliminate that worry, but the choice about replacing the IMSB is yours alone.


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