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Old 04-24-2015, 10:01 PM   #1
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If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

My 2003 Boxster S now has 117k miles on it. I was quoted $4,000 to do a IMS Solution upgrade and $3,000 for a LN IMS bearing upgrade. Please note I have a Tiptronic transmission, so the labor cost is higher. From my understanding the engine has to come out with the Tiptronic trans. EDIT: This may not be the case after checking some more on it.

So, if you were in my shoes with a engine with that many miles on it.

Would you

Have the IMSB upgrade done?

or

Leave as is, and get another engine when this one fails?


Either way the engine has to be pulled. EDIT: This may not be the case after checking some more on it.


.

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Old 04-24-2015, 10:15 PM   #2
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At this point keep driving as is. Put the money towards a lower mileage Boxster or if this one is a keeper put the money towards an engine rebuild.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:33 PM   #3
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I should have been clear on that part. Yes, it's a keeper. I love this car, I will own this car until I die.
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:12 AM   #4
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mine is at 114k, and i'm having similar thoughts.. i have a few cars so the 986 is not necessary as a daily driver,.. mine is a 6 speed so i'm thinking that when the clutch needs doing, i'll drop the engine and transmission and do the IMS, RMS, and perhaps give it a partial rebuild.

The 986 is getting on a bit now, prices have started to firm up and a completely OEM car with matching chassis, engine and gearbox numbers from the build sheet, with a good documented history is going start appreciating as the hacked and chopped ones find their way to the scrapyards.

Having just rebuilt the front suspension, replaced the steering rack, with a body shell with zero corrosion, i see it as a future classic and so worth keeping tip top.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:23 AM   #5
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I'm guessing that your research has lead you to the decision that it's LN or nothing? It does clearly seem to be the best retrofit. If I didn't have anything else more fun to do with $3-4k, I'd probably go ahead and have it done. I usually have other things I'd rather spend it on though, and after I spent the money, I'd still probably worry about having one of the other failure modes on my (now more expensive) engine.

Are you sure that the engine has to come out on a tip? Once the flywheel is off, I'm not seeing much difference between the jobs. Of course, with the engine out, it's an opportunity to also get the chain ramps and some other wear items.
Personally, I'd change the IMSB myself and choose one of the lower cost solutions. "Better than the original bearing" is good enough to get me down the road another 50,000-70,000 miles 'till I fell like doing it again. Also if something fails, I would not worry about keeping a matched original engine unless I had one of the 550s.
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Old 04-25-2015, 03:18 AM   #6
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Honestly, I'd leave it. If my memory is correct, you have the dual-row in your S as well as a tip and high mileage. From everything I've read, you would be in the super low percentile of your IMS going out. And for $4000 - that'a heck of a down payment on a new engine. Put the $4 g's into an investment, make some money off it and if the IMS goes, get yourself a new, lower mileage engine using the $4000 you've had making some money. Why fix something that odds are will never break?
Just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 78F350 View Post
I'm guessing that your research has lead you to the decision that it's LN or nothing? It does clearly seem to be the best retrofit. If I didn't have anything else more fun to do with $3-4k, I'd probably go ahead and have it done. I usually have other things I'd rather spend it on though, and after I spent the money, I'd still probably worry about having one of the other failure modes on my (now more expensive) engine.

Are you sure that the engine has to come out on a tip? Once the flywheel is off, I'm not seeing much difference between the jobs. Of course, with the engine out, it's an opportunity to also get the chain ramps and some other wear items.
Personally, I'd change the IMSB myself and choose one of the lower cost solutions. "Better than the original bearing" is good enough to get me down the road another 50,000-70,000 miles 'till I fell like doing it again. Also if something fails, I would not worry about keeping a matched original engine unless I had one of the 550s.
Well I was told the engine had to come out. You got me checking into more and it does look like you can take out the Tip without taking the engine out. It is a more involving job to do then a manual trans.

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Honestly, I'd leave it. If my memory is correct, you have the dual-row in your S as well as a tip and high mileage. From everything I've read, you would be in the super low percentile of your IMS going out. And for $4000 - that'a heck of a down payment on a new engine. Put the $4 g's into an investment, make some money off it and if the IMS goes, get yourself a new, lower mileage engine using the $4000 you've had making some money. Why fix something that odds are will never break?
Just my 2 cents.
That's the way I've been looking at it, but my car does have the single row IMS. JFP in PA told me the $4,000 cost for the IMS Solution was a fair price.

http://986forum.com/forums/433855-post14.html
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by KRAM36 View Post
Well I was told the engine had to come out. You got me checking into more and it does look like you can take out the Tip without taking the engine out. It is a more involving job to do then a manual trans.



That's the way I've been looking at it, but my car does have the single row IMS. JFP in PA told me the $4,000 cost for the IMS Solution was a fair price.

http://986forum.com/forums/433855-post14.html
Will say my Indy quoted me $2000 for a tip last fall. $95/hour labour rate. Cost of the bearing has gone up a bit this year with the exchange rate from US to Canadian, so prob closer to 2500 now. Unless he had a brain freeze about the Tip part.
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:20 AM   #9
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Drive as-is. At this point, if the IMS bearing made it almost 120,000 miles, it is likely to make it all the way until some other engine component fails.

When the engine does fail, buy an 80K mile replacement engine from a salvage yard (mine cost $1,800) and have a shop swap it in ($2,500) and you can be back on the road for another 60K+ miles for around $5K. If you can do the swap yourself, you can get it done for ~$3.5K.
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Last edited by thstone; 04-25-2015 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:25 AM   #10
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Drive as-is. At this point, if the IMS bearing made it almost 120,000 miles, it is likely to make it all the way until some other engine component fails.

When the engine does fail, buy an 80K mile replacement engine from a salvage yard (mine cost $1,800) and have a shop swap it in ($2,500) and you can be back on the road for another 60K+ miles for around $5K. If you can do the swap yourself, you can get it done for ~$3.5K.
To me, that sounds like the more wise choice.
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Old 04-25-2015, 06:53 AM   #11
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Gosh, I'd start with a good therapist, and work out the whole rotor edge thing ASAP...

Oh, wait. Just read post. Sorry.

I'd pull it out, trans filter & fluid, referb guides and tensioners and all that engine general stuff, and reinstall. Profit.
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Old 04-25-2015, 07:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by KRAM36 View Post
I should have been clear on that part. Yes, it's a keeper. I love this car, I will own this car until I die.
I felt the same way when I bought my '99 with 74K miles. After driving, racing and Axing it for 10K miles I had the LN bearing installed at 84K. The Tip transmission was pulled without the motor and the IMS, RMS replacement was done with motor in car. That was three years ago and my '99 has the same mileage as your Boxster. I looked at the stats, back then, and decided that the ceramic bearing, with a 5:1 ratio of longevity to the OEM, was the way to go and get more miles out of the OEM motor. Three years ago the entire job, with LN bearing, was $1,800. If I was looking at $4K, in todays money, to have it done my thinking would change. I would drive it until failure and look at a low mileage 2.7L Metzgar motor which can now be picked up for around $2,500 and with around $2,000 to install it I've got a little more power and a more bullet proof motor than the 2.5L which, as has been stated, had very low failure rate.
As it turns out, at 68 years of age, it looks as though my Boxster will be my last car and that's ok with me as it has been the most fun car I've ever owned.
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Old 04-25-2015, 08:00 AM   #13
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Another Option

Another option:
IMS Guardian
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Old 04-25-2015, 08:25 AM   #14
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I had my 2002 S IMSB replaced at 140k miles a couple years ago.its also a Tip. My cost was $1200. The engine did not have to come out to do the job.

Btw the old IMSB was perfectly fine. I had it changed cause LN and JR did a great job marketing their product.
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Old 04-25-2015, 08:43 AM   #15
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Take good care of your car with frequent oil changes and drive it like you stole it. When it finally goes, you had to take the motor out anyways right? Just replace it with a shiny 4.0L
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Old 04-25-2015, 09:07 AM   #16
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So here's a contrarian view...

If you plan to keep your car a long time, say past 200K miles, then the IMS solution makes economic sense compared to putting in the LN Retrofit or Gen 2 Pro. The risk you're taking is whether some other critical engine component will fail before you reach your mileage goal. And that's hard to know.

I just faced the same issue when the clutch needed replacing at 125K miles. My camshaft deviations were close to out of spec. So I had the shop replace the chain rails, the variocam solenoids and thoroughly inspect the lifters and other items before making the IMSB decision. I went ahead and installed the Solution. If my bet doesn't pay out so be it. I'd rather bet on an engine I know over the lifetime of the car rather than one that comes from wreck in a junkyard.

BTW: My OEM bearing looked great - almost brand new - when it was take out and it didn't wobble at all. When I removed the outer seal, however, it was clear the grease had been washed out. It was only a matter of time before it would have failed.

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Old 04-25-2015, 09:07 AM   #17
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I would drive it until failure and look at a low mileage 2.7L Metzgar motor which can now be picked up for around $2,500
Please let me know where such an engine can be found. Thanks.
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Old 04-25-2015, 09:27 AM   #18
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Please let me know where such an engine can be found. Thanks.
If you look around on eBay there were three, as I recall, that were low miles (less than 50K) and two were priced less than $2,500 and one at $2,700. Two of them had Utube videos showing the motors running. A little leg work on your part will eventually produce one. If you are seriously in the market for one I will be happy to email you a notice and link when I next come across one.
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Old 04-25-2015, 09:31 AM   #19
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Yeah, standard M96, right. It's the Mezger part I was interested in.
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by thom4782 View Post
So here's a contrarian view...

If you plan to keep your car a long time, say past 200K miles, then the IMS solution makes economic sense compared to putting in the LN Retrofit or Gen 2 Pro. The risk you're taking is whether some other critical engine component will fail before you reach your mileage goal. And that's hard to know.

I just faced the same issue when the clutch needed replacing at 125K miles. My camshaft deviations were close to out of spec. So I had the shop replace the chain rails, the variocam solenoids and thoroughly inspect the lifters and other items before making the IMSB decision. I went ahead and installed the Solution. If my bet doesn't pay out so be it. I'd rather bet on an engine I know over the lifetime of the car rather than one that comes from wreck in a junkyard.

BTW: My OEM bearing looked great - almost brand new - when it was take out and it didn't wobble at all. When I removed the outer seal, however, it was clear the grease had been washed out. It was only a matter of time before it would have failed.
While all good points - spending $4000 on a part that may or may not break (and it's not even 50/50 - there is far more chance it will never break) can be a bit overwhelming for some. Really, replacing the IMS to me is akin to 'taking out engine insurance'. It's really personal choice how one wants to spend their money.
IMS seems to be more a personal opinion vs. hard fact unfortunately. If only Porsche would release more info, we might all have a cleared view of the actual percentage/risks.

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