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Old 05-25-2015, 06:58 AM   #1
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IMS failure - how can I confirm my engine is toast?

I just bought a 2005 Boxster S within IMS failure confirmed by the Porsche dealer. The seller said it still runs but not to start it as the oil has been drained and the oil filter removed by the dealer.
Is there an easy way to check to see if the engine is non-salvageable. Could I do a compression test to confirm? Do I need to pull the transmission to check the cams are still in phase? Does and IMS failure ruin all engines? Is there a possibility I can remove the transmission and clutch assembly and simply replace the bearing with an upgraded IMS bearing along with a new RM seal, a new clutch of course, simply flush the engine of any potential foreign particles and be up and running?
Thanks for the advice.

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Old 05-25-2015, 07:16 AM   #2
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A full engine tear down is needed.

If the IMS bearing failed (or some other catastrophic failure), there are metal particles (of various sizes) everywhere in the engine. Turning over the engine, even by hand for a compression test, will grind all of those metal bits into the metal components in the engine.

To consider flushing the engine and replacing the IMS bearing without a full tear down is a fool's errand as there is already likely damage to many engine surfaces that needs to inspected and repaired.
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Last edited by thstone; 05-25-2015 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:17 AM   #3
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That engine needs to come apart completely. You can't resurrect a dead man by giving him a blood transfusion.

Compression is the least of your problems right now.

My car ran perfectly with no noises. It was a train wreck inside.

I'm assuming you got the car for cheap
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Townhome View Post
I just bought a 2005 Boxster S within IMS failure confirmed by the Porsche dealer. The seller said it still runs but not to start it as the oil has been drained and the oil filter removed by the dealer.
Is there an easy way to check to see if the engine is non-salvageable. Could I do a compression test to confirm? Do I need to pull the transmission to check the cams are still in phase? Does and IMS failure ruin all engines? Is there a possibility I can remove the transmission and clutch assembly and simply replace the bearing with an upgraded IMS bearing along with a new RM seal, a new clutch of course, simply flush the engine of any potential foreign particles and be up and running?
Thanks for the advice.
You got that one before I could
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:10 AM   #5
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That engine needs to come apart completely. You can't resurrect a dead man by giving him a blood transfusion.

Compression is the least of your problems right now.

My car ran perfectly with no noises. It was a train wreck inside.

I'm assuming you got the car for cheap
Yes, I picked up the mint, well optioned car for $8K in our devalued canadian funds. That's about $6200 in usd.
The reason I asked if it was salvageable is I've read some (not many) have repaired the IMS without a tear down. I was just wish-full thinking.
Thx for your wise advice.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:17 AM   #6
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Rather than a tear down and repair to the 3.2 my next thoughts are a 3.6 or 3.8 conversion.
I've done a couple of conversions in the past and have a well eqipped shop with a hoist. I considered an LS swap but looks like WAY too much work and Renegade offers limited instructions if any at all.
If my 3.2 is toast, which is the easiest and most beneficial upgrade?
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Townhome View Post
I just bought a 2005 Boxster S within IMS failure confirmed by the Porsche dealer. The seller said it still runs but not to start it as the oil has been drained and the oil filter removed by the dealer.
Is there an easy way to check to see if the engine is non-salvageable. Could I do a compression test to confirm? Do I need to pull the transmission to check the cams are still in phase? Does and IMS failure ruin all engines? Is there a possibility I can remove the transmission and clutch assembly and simply replace the bearing with an upgraded IMS bearing along with a new RM seal, a new clutch of course, simply flush the engine of any potential foreign particles and be up and running?
Thanks for the advice.
Step 1 remove oil filter housing & put your finger into the opening in the case where the filter attaches, feel around for metal particles. Step 2 remove oil sump plate & inspect what is on it in bright sunlight.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:18 AM   #8
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Having done this before. First off you have an oil filter that protects the journal bearings. Assuming it works (mine did) there won't be metal in the most sensitive parts of the engine which are likely pretty worn anyway.

1) remove the oil pan and the filter - you'll have metal debris in there if the IMSB failed, if you do,

2) Take out the plugs and scope the tops of the pistons. If there was valve contact replace the engine. If no valve contact:

3) Set the engine to zero timing remove the transmission. If you do not set the engine to zero timing and remove the IMSB cover plate the valve springs will move the cams and valve timing will be lost, you're hosed at this point.

4) With the transmission out and the engine set to zero timing (can't overstress zero timing) remove the IMS bearing cover. You have a single row IMSB, if you see a snap ring, you could replace the single row with another sealed single row. Make sure it is fully sealed as you will have loose metal in the oil and that will take out a bearing in short order if the contaminated oil gets into it.

Likely you will see what looks like a bad welding job in the counterbore that holds the bearing under the IMS bearing cover. If you see this the Intermediate shaft needs to be replaced and that is a full engine teardown. Get a new engine unless you're up for adventure.

This post won't be popular, and to be sure it does not follow the cultural norms of the forum but it makes sense as the engine is what it is. If you can breathe life into it with an inexpensive bearing some clean up work and a couple of quick oil changes its worth a shot.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:42 AM   #9
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I'm not in conflict with what James said, I'm just skeptical of the results. But I only have one data point. My oil pan was clean when I dropped it and I wanted nothing more than to install a bearing, flush and go.

This was the truth:


In keeping with James response, the absolute cheapest way to drive your car (if the end of the IMS isn't trashed as he indicates) is to replace the bearing and flush.

Second cheapest is a used motor of unknown origin and history

3.6 or 3.8? You must have deeper pockets than I do. Going rate on those engines (again, unknown history and total crap shoot) is $10k all day long. Check that your ECU is compatible with the engine before even making that decision.

Not sure if rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself is on the list of possibilities. I did all my own work and spent less than the unknown used option. I'm just a retarded engineer and managed.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:08 AM   #10
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At $6200 US, I'd consider parting it out.

Make a little $ and save the headache.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:18 AM   #11
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I'm not in conflict with what James said, I'm just skeptical of the results. But I only have one data point. My oil pan was clean when I dropped it and I wanted nothing more than to install a bearing, flush and go.

This was the truth.

In keeping with James response, the absolute cheapest way to drive your car (if the end of the IMS isn't trashed as he indicates) is to replace the bearing and flush.

Second cheapest is a used motor of unknown origin and history

3.6 or 3.8? You must have deeper pockets than I do. Going rate on those engines (again, unknown history and total crap shoot) is $10k all day long. Check that your ECU is compatible with the engine before even making that decision.

Not sure if rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself is on the list of possibilities. I did all my own work and spent less than the unknown used option. I'm just a retarded engineer and managed.
That looks scary. Thanks for your input.

Last edited by Townhome; 05-26-2015 at 04:36 AM. Reason: Delete pic
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:34 AM   #12
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The 2005 may have the large diameter IMSB ? Check with other Forum members. Makes a difference because the only way to remove the large IMSB is a total engine dismantle.
There is a hack method of boring out the back of the crankcase halves but there is not much field experience/results from this new method.
Like James and Flaps ,I have just done a rebuild and it is stunningly expensive to do correctly. Lots more time than a regular engine,very specialized machine work and very little factory documentation to help.
Just be aware of what you might be getting into before you start. I am familiar with Jaguar engines and found this M96 very exacting!
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:47 AM   #13
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What is the build date? some of the first 2005 987s had the old bearing. But the revised bearing very rarely see failures. Also, the IMS is often blamed as the root of the failure when its actually something else entirely.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:54 AM   #14
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What is the build date? some of the first 2005 987s had the old bearing. But the revised bearing very rarely see failures. Also, the IMS is often blamed as the root of the failure when its actually something else entirely.
Excellent point.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:26 PM   #15
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Excellent point.
Maybe an oil analysis would be a good idea to confirm the problem?
Cheap and easy thing to do.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:53 PM   #16
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Maybe an oil analysis would be a good idea to confirm the problem?
Cheap and easy thing to do.
An oil analysis would be a waste of both time and money. Pull the sump cover, if it is loaded with ferrous grit and debris, it is over, the engine needs to come out and apart. Takes about 15 min. to do and you will know exactly where you stand.
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Old 05-25-2015, 01:35 PM   #17
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I had three engine failures last year. This is what one of the filters looked like.

Even if the oil is flushed a couple of times and the IMS bearing is replaced, other components are already damaged (even if the engine runs) from all of this debris. If you can live with this, go for it; but it would be irresponsible to sell the car to an unsuspecting buyer.

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Old 05-25-2015, 03:22 PM   #18
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If your engine has a double row bearing it may have a failure but still run. Perhaps only for minutes until a full failure. Double row bearing engines have a chance of surviving an IMS partial failure.
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Old 05-25-2015, 03:47 PM   #19
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I had three engine failures last year. This is what one of the filters looked like.

Even if the oil is flushed a couple of times and the IMS bearing is replaced, other components are already damaged (even if the engine runs) from all of this debris. If you can live with this, go for it; but it would be irresponsible to sell the car to an unsuspecting buyer.
I think other parts *may* be damaged. I followed the trail of the metal chips in my engine when I tore it down. The timing chains carried the chips into the heads and back down into the sump area. The oil carried it to the oil pickup, then through the oil pump add into the filter. Upstream of the filter there was no evidence of chips, the oil galleys were chip free, and the cams and springs were chip free. The Variocams were chip free. The timing chains had a few chips. The chain ramps had lots of chips imbedded in them. The sump area walls were coated with chips. I agree reselling this car would require full disclosure of the failure if that is what happened.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:20 PM   #20
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A quick way to tell

Drop the pan and inspect.....you will know

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