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Old 09-12-2009, 09:43 AM   #1
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IMS Retrofit

Hi All, I've recently talked to Jake about installing the IMS retrofit when I decide to replace the RMS. My question is, has anyone on the forum had the IMS retrofit installed? How much of improvement is it? Does it erase the possibility of an IMS failure or just reduce it?

Jake feel free to answer as well.



Jalke was a pleasure to deal with. Informative and quickly repsonded to my emails.

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Old 09-12-2009, 11:34 AM   #2
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How would any

one, even if they had the Jake/Charles IMS installed, be able to tell you anything other than it was done and they feel good about it? I say this because none of us have the statistics or multi-car experience over time to be able to tell how reliable it might be.

I can tell you from cruising lots of Boxster forums that there are dozens installed and I haven't heard of a single failure. But what does that really mean? We don't have any 100k-with-the-retrofit cars out there. We don't have hundreds of cars driven multiple years with it. We just don't have enough data to see how the retrofit will work with cars run in the winter or stored over the winter. Only after many years and many hundreds of cars will we have what starts to be a meaningful sample.

We also don't know how experienced your installer would be or how the experience of the installer matters in the retrofit reliability.

If you have the transmission and motor apart for some other reason, that may change the economics of the retrofit. But it is still an expense that may or may not be needed. Recall that maybe 80-90% of our cars will not have this problem in their lifetimes even without the retrofit. Remember there are cars with 360k/225k on them out there with their original IMS bearings. And other cars that are on their 3rd motor. When you play in the casino (pay for the preventative retrofit), some will win big (those that would have had the failure), many lose (those that wouldn't have had the failure).

I do suppose that the retrofit might enhance the resale value of the car someday...if it proves out to be reliable over time. But frequent documented oil changes with the right oil can help prevent IMS problems too and could be also value enhancing.

I suggest you read the lnengineering web page on the IMS and decide for yourself if spending the money to retrofit is right for you.

IMHO
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:43 AM   #3
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I am keen to have the IMS retrofit done as well, since my clutch will be due for replacement in the next year. It seems intuitive that the LN Engineering kit would provide some added amount of protection from IMS failure simply because the bearing is obviously more sturdy than the OEM one. Nothing is 100% protective, though.

I am wondering about the risks involved in the OEM bearing removal process. The essay about the process by the company suggests that the effort put into pulling out the bearing (compressing the lock ring) is critical and somewhat risky. Has anyone suffered damage to the engine a a result of this bearing removal procedure? Or has it become a relatively safe and routine procedure?
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:47 PM   #4
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I'll add that the only difficulties that have been encountered during the process of installing an IMS is when the engine has already suffered a failure and the inner race and balls from the existing bearing have come out. At this point, it's very hard to get the remaining outer race out, especially on a dual row bearing IMS. Otherwise, it's very straightforward. Regardless, quite a few IMS's that were previously considered gonners have been saved.

There are a few tricks/tools that an adventurous technician can use to extract the remains of a failed bearing but the question remains - what if the debris from the failed bearing has circulated in the engine? Is there any other hidden damage? Also, if the timing was thrown out of whack, there could be some carnage in the form of bent valves, etc., requiring the heads to come off. At this point, it might be best to do a complete teardown rather than trying to use a retrofit kit 'after the fact' to try to resurrect an otherwise failed engine.

To answer the original poster's question on whether a retrofit kit is a permanent fix - we just don't know. We've redesigned the bearing support and relocated the o-ring to make that component stronger and gone to a ceramic hybrid bearing that in the field is usually rated for up to five times the life of a conventional ball bearing. We've used the same sintered silicon nitride material that is used to make the ball bearings, but for cam followers. Our experience was their phenomenal wear characteristics, as in zero wear on full blown race engines with radical high-ramp rate lobes, typically known for severe wear and short life spans. The only drawback was the price.

Here's some info on those ceramic lifters we had years back (no longer available as material became too expensive and hard to get):

http://lnengineering.com/lifters.htm

But that said, obviously the IMS is a flawed item, or Porsche wouldn't have eliminated it from the new DFI engine in the '09 model after having intermediate shafts in their flat 6's for the last 4+ decades. We're just working within the constraints of what Porsche has given us with regards to the intermediate shafts to make it as best as we can.

We're planning a redesign of the flange to address variances in the reluctor wheel (timing teeth) on the flywheel that sometimes causes an interference fit between the two. This has been very rare with only three flywheels having experienced this problem out of the dozens and dozens of kits that have been successfully installed around the country. I'm also working with Flat 6 Innovations to finalize our own puller, to bring the price down and resolve current supply issues, as the pullers currently come out of Germany and take 4-6 weeks for us to get (and are hard to keep in stock).
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:18 AM   #5
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Probably

the least self serving message I've ever seen posted by a vendor.
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:10 AM   #6
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A Q for Charles:

I want to do this retrofit fairly soon. There is one highly regarded local P-car specialist in town whom I'd like to perform this for me (here in Victoria BC Canada). They are called Forward Automotive. Are you aware if this garage has performed this retrofit yet? I'd like to know so I can be prepared to explain the retrofit to them if they have not. http://www.forwardcars.com/Foward_Auto_Gallery/Service.html
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:56 AM   #7
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How many more engines that could be saved will fail if people are waiting for 100K miles to be racked up on the IMS retrofit bearing?

Since the procedures have been perfected DOZENS of engines that had early signs of IMS bearing failure and even engines that had failures that hadn't spread throughout the engine have been saved from the salvage yard. There is no better feeling than saving an engine from the junk heap and keeping thousands of dollars of our money back here in America.

The bearing technology alone is much greater than that of the factory bearing, there is no way to build a stronger bearing that will fit into the factory IMS location without engine disassembly. No cost was spared when making the retrofit bearing and thats why its not cheap.

I have the very first unit that was ever installed in my personal car, just this month I have already installed 3 IMS bearings in cars from Ohio, Texas and one from Atlanta. My personal car has been painfully abused with this bearing installed and has seen track time at Road Atlanta with one of the most aggressive drivers that one can find... Where it turned a 1;47 in stock trim with me as a passenger and a stock 2.5 (stock internally less the IMSR bearing) I also have an IMSR bearing in my911, that my Wife will hopefully set a Land Speed Record with next weekend.
The fellow from Atlanta is a forum member here, perhaps he'll chime in- I saved his engine last weekend and he saw the pieces.

Most cars that would fail at or below 70K miles without an IMS retrofit will be able to run until something else in the engine gives up or wears out. When an engine has 20 modes of failure, removal and replacement of the biggest failure point is smart when the clutch needs replacement, etc as a preventive. I am a very objective person and even I can see that IF the bearing wasn't good for 100K miles it would get the engine past the critical wear periods and take it through till the "big one" takes the engine out and that big one would no longer be the IMS bearing.

Our experience with doing so many of these in a short period of time has proven effective. I have had to use some of our old fashioned ingenuity to make some of the more challenging removals and replacements happen and that includes cutting failed bearings out, welding pullers to bearings and etc. Thats why people send these troubled cases to me, because I'll do pretty much anything and we have a flawless record so far... Every bearing we have attempted to pull, has been effectively pulled and replaced with 100% success.

More and more Porsche Dealerships are recognizing the IMSR bearing technology and are using it to save engines. Porsche won't give them the technology, so they have to look to us to make it happen and they are. Rizza Porsche in Chicago is one good example.

The extraction process is being revised and I amusing our experience and application to assist LN with making an even easier to use tool for the process. Thats my job.

I have dozens of IMSR clients that would be willing to share their experiences with anyone who is on the fence, just email me.

Here is one example:

My 2003 2.7 Boxster had covered 49,000 miles and was in at an official Porsche dealership for a routine service. During the service they noticed a small leak from the engine - the infamous rear main seal. I booked it in for repair and once the gearbox was off, it was also apparent that the intermediate shaft bearing retaining bolt had sheared off. The car was running absolutely fine when it went on the ramp but we didn't dare fire it up it again knowing this! To fix this I was told by my dealer the engine would have to be stripped down and a completely new intermediate shaft fitted (Porsche don't sell the bearing on it's own). COST for parts and labour - 6000GBP!

Needless to say I was not impressed and after asking around on the internet I came across flat6innovations. Their IMS retrofit kit addressed this issue - not only do they have the kit and the know-how, but Jake identified the type of IMS bearing from pictures I sent him, advised exactly what tools were required, how to do it and shipped me the kit to the UK within days. GREAT customer service!

Porsche fitted the new IMS for me (the techs were gathered round while it as being done!) and I have the car back. It runs as well as it always did, but with peace of mind that the IMS bearing is a quality item and the retaining bolt is at least twice as thick. It's as Porsche should have designed it!

COST for this repair - 650GBP including parts, tools, labour, overseas shipping and taxes!!! I am a very happy customer!

Rgds,

Craig Smith


Save someone 10,000+ dollars and they'll appreciate your technology.

Last edited by Jake Raby; 09-13-2009 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:04 PM   #8
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Hi, One thing we all know for sure is that the factory bearing will fail sooner or later

I,m no engineer but let me say from experience in my working field the materials used for the new bearings are indestructible.

just my 2 cents
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCsaltchucker
A Q for Charles:

I want to do this retrofit fairly soon. There is one highly regarded local P-car specialist in town whom I'd like to perform this for me (here in Victoria BC Canada). They are called Forward Automotive. Are you aware if this garage has performed this retrofit yet? I'd like to know so I can be prepared to explain the retrofit to them if they have not. http://www.forwardcars.com/Foward_Auto_Gallery/Service.html
I am not familiar with that shop, but it's a job that any shop capable of doing a rear main seal or that has done an ims flange seal in the past, should be able to do. We offer basic instructions, but if further guidance is needed, Flat 6 Innovations offers support plans for purchase for those wanting support and guidance through the whole process.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:12 AM   #10
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My .03

I am in the engineering field (30+ years) and I told Jake once before if this type of quality exhibited by the Boxster was present in the aircraft field, the product would be history. I have already had the water pump, clutch, IMS bearing, motor mount, and MAF replaced. I still have issues with my lifters and other things that are wearing out.

Jake did show me my pieces. The bearing was severly scored (apparently wobbling apart in shaft). The clutch was down to the rivets and the motor mount (which I did see: http://986forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21801) was separated from its insulating material.

With 80K +, my vehicle is worth 8.5K $US on the market. I had to spend half of that to bring it where it is now. And if I didn't go through Jake, who knows? I hate stuff that doesn't work.
To me it's more economical to fix rather that spend more to buy something else.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:43 AM   #11
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Here are some pics of jboxes IMS bearing after we extracted it.. This bearing was loose in the IMS, only being held in place by the internal snap ring.

This one is quite odd because it was loose in the IMS... If we continue to find problems like this the data base will grow very rapidly!

But remember, Porsche says there is no IMS bearing issues, so this must all be nothing more than our imaginations playing tricks on us again.

Last edited by Jake Raby; 09-14-2009 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:03 PM   #12
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http://www.cheetahonline.com/ims.html

I installed one last year, and did a write-up on it for Charles.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:02 PM   #13
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Hi, how could we know if a single or double row bearing was installed in our cars and which of the 2 fails more often?

cheetah, nice write-up
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:24 PM   #14
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Single and dual row fail at a rate that can't be calculated. If its a factory bearings, it is at risk of failing.

What year is your car??
the only way to REALLY know is to pull the bearing flange and visually inspect the bearing... .. We have a list of serial numbers and etc that dictates the engines that have each bearing, but it is not accurate. Nothing is accurate except a visual inspection.
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby
Single and dual row fail at a rate that can't be calculated. If its a factory bearings, it is at risk of failing.

What year is your car??
the only way to REALLY know is to pull the bearing flange and visually inspect the bearing... .. We have a list of serial numbers and etc that dictates the engines that have each bearing, but it is not accurate. Nothing is accurate except a visual inspection.

Hi, My car is a 1997

Thanks
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco
Hi, My car is a 1997

Thanks
Then it can only be a double row..
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:20 PM   #17
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jake/charles,
do guys have experience working with any of these shops? would you know if they've done retrofits before? appreciate your feedback on this. thanks in advance

Don Galbraith Motoring - Devon, PA
J&J Motors Inc. - Bryn Mawr, PA
Monteith Restoration and Performance - Lebanon, PA
Pelican Parts - Emmaus, PA

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