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Old 02-19-2013, 08:48 AM   #2446
Rinty
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I think that if you install the kit, change the oil every 3 to 5,000 miles, and do a careful filter cut apart and examination each oil change, the chances of trouble are probably minimal.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:53 AM   #2447
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IMHO...

IMS bearing issues, while real, are overblown. Not a reason to avoid a water cooled Porsche any more than the potential for leaking valve guides or broken head studs are reasons to avoid an air cooled Porsche...

Here is the IMS issue as I understand it:

996/997/Boxster/Caymen engines use an intermediate shaft (IMS) to drive the camshafts and oil pump. The bearing on the flywheel side is a sealed, 'lifetime lubricated' bearing packed with grease. Sometimes the bearing seals leak or fail, allowing engine oil to enter the bearing. Over time, the oil can wash out the grease from the bearing. Once the grease is gone, the oil wash alone is not enough to lubricate it and the bearing will eventually fail. Unfortunately, when it fails, it also dumps the chewed up bearing parts in the engine, which then tear things up nicely.
  • Most 996's & 997's, and all Boxsters and Caymans have the same fundamental IMS bearing design.
  • The failures in early (99-01) 996's seem to be most common.
  • 996/997 Turbo's, GT2's, GT3's *do not* use the same engine design and do not have the IMS bearing issues.
  • 1%-2% failure rate seems to be the number many experts use, though the guys who helped design the upgraded bearings (flat6 innovations) and some forums might convince you it is a much higher failure rate.
  • Costs for repair if a catastrophic failure occurs have also gone way down... Initially it meant a new factory crate engine. Now rebuild parts and/or used engines are available making repair costs on par with air-cooled porsche failures (leaky valve guides, broken head studs, leaking front main O-rings, etc).

There is a ton of advice out there on how to best prevent failures... some of the suggestions I've read below that seem valid:
  • Avoid low mile early cars. A garage-queen 1999 996 with 5,000 miles on it is not a score.
  • Don't go the recommended 10K miles between oil changes.
  • Don't use the factory recommended Mobil 1 0W-40. Use a top quality ester based synthetic 5W-40 with high ZDDP. (Honestly, I don't see how either of the two oil recommendations could help prevent seal failure/washout of the IMS bearing, but they seem like good advice anyway).
  • Inspect the oil filter for metal. You are looking for magnetic (ferrous) metal which might have come from the bearing, not tiny specs of aluminum which are semi-common. You can also drop the oil pan to do a more thorough investigation. This is probably the only PPI inspection item that will give you any idea of a IMS bearing issue (other than the engine sounding like it is full of marbles, of course).
  • Use oil analysis like blackstone labs to look for iron/steel in the oil, showing possible of bearing deterioration.
  • Replace the factory bearing with a ceramic bearing. LN Engineering sells a bearing kit for about $700, but others have sourced a top quality off-the-shelf ceramic bearing for 1/10'th the cost, though it does require some additional steps.
  • Replace the factory bearing immediately if you are paranoid, but definitely any/every time you have the transmission out for any reason (eg: clutch, RMS leak).
  • Note that the latest Porsche IMS bearing design (most 997's for example), have a better bearing design and lower failure rate, but they also can not be replaced without splitting the cases!
  • You can also install the LN Engineering 'guardian'. About $400 and a relatively easy install (replace oil drain plug, install warning light/buzzer in place of blank switch on dash, run wires). This is an early warning system that constantly looks for magnetic metal in the oil, presumably indicating a bearing that is beginning to fail, and fires off a warning light and buzzer. If the warning goes off, you'll still need to replace the IMS bearing as well as thoroughly flush the oil, but presumably you'll save yourself an engine rebuild. If you are paranoid about IMS failure, but don't see any other reason to drop the tranny (high mile clutch, leaking RMS for example), this seems like a good way to go.
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pfb screwed with this post 02-19-2013 at 12:29 PM
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:09 PM   #2448
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Such lovely music

ahhhhh those lovely porsche boxsters......so visceral indeed.

Non-Turbo 911 RSR



911 GT3

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:19 PM   #2449
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfb View Post
IMHO...

IMS bearing issues, while real, are overblown. Not a reason to avoid a water cooled Porsche any more than the potential for leaking valve guides or broken head studs are reasons to avoid an air cooled Porsche...

Here is the IMS issue as I understand it:

996/997/Boxster/Caymen engines use an intermediate shaft (IMS) to drive the camshafts and oil pump. The bearing on the flywheel side is a sealed, 'lifetime lubricated' bearing packed with grease. Sometimes the bearing seals leak or fail, allowing engine oil to enter the bearing. Over time, the oil can wash out the grease from the bearing. Once the grease is gone, the oil wash alone is not enough to lubricate it and the bearing will eventually fail. Unfortunately, when it fails, it also dumps the chewed up bearing parts in the engine, which then tear things up nicely.
  • Most 996's & 997's, and all Boxsters and Caymans have the same fundamental IMS bearing design.
  • The failures in early (99-01) 996's seem to be most common.
  • 996/997 Turbo's, GT2's, GT3's *do not* use the same engine design and do not have the IMS bearing issues.
  • 1%-2% failure rate seems to be the number many experts use, though the guys who helped design the upgraded bearings (flat6 innovations) and some forums might convince you it is a much higher failure rate.
  • Costs for repair if a catastrophic failure occurs have also gone way down... Initially it meant a new factory crate engine. Now rebuild parts and/or used engines are available making repair costs on par with air-cooled porsche failures (leaky valve guides, broken head studs, leaking front main O-rings, etc).

There is a ton of advice out there on how to best prevent failures... some of the suggestions I've read below that seem valid:
  • Avoid low mile early cars. A garage-queen 1999 996 with 5,000 miles on it is not a score.
  • Don't go the recommended 10K miles between oil changes.
  • Don't use the factory recommended Mobil 1 0W-40. Use a top quality ester based synthetic 5W-40 with high ZDDP. (Honestly, I don't see how either of the two oil recommendations could help prevent seal failure/washout of the IMS bearing, but they seem like good advice anyway).
  • Inspect the oil filter for metal. You are looking for magnetic (ferrous) metal which might have come from the bearing, not tiny specs of aluminum which are semi-common. You can also drop the oil pan to do a more thorough investigation. This is probably the only PPI inspection item that will give you any idea of a IMS bearing issue (other than the engine sounding like it is full of marbles, of course).
  • Use oil analysis like blackstone labs to look for iron/steel in the oil, showing possible of bearing deterioration.
  • Replace the factory bearing with a ceramic bearing. LN Engineering sells a bearing kit for about $700, but others have sourced a top quality off-the-shelf ceramic bearing for 1/10'th the cost, though it does require some additional steps.
  • Replace the factory bearing immediately if you are paranoid, but definitely any/every time you have the transmission out for any reason (eg: clutch, RMS leak).
  • Note that the latest Porsche IMS bearing design (most 997's for example), have a better bearing design and lower failure rate, but they also can not be replaced without splitting the cases!
  • You can also install the LN Engineering 'guardian'. About $400 and a relatively easy install (replace oil drain plug, install warning light/buzzer in place of blank switch on dash, run wires). This is an early warning system that constantly looks for magnetic metal in the oil, presumably indicating a bearing that is beginning to fail, and fires off a warning light and buzzer. If the warning goes off, you'll still need to replace the IMS bearing as well as thoroughly flush the oil, but presumably you'll save yourself an engine rebuild. If you are paranoid about IMS failure, but don't see any other reason to drop the tranny (high mile clutch, leaking RMS for example), this seems like a good way to go.
This should be a sticky .
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:46 AM   #2450
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfb View Post
IMHO...
[*]Don't go the recommended 10K miles between oil changes.

[*]Don't use the factory recommended Mobil 1 0W-40.
Had the same "discussion" with the tech for my new (to me) Smart car over the same oil. Finally ended it by saying "Just because Exxon-Mobile gives Maclaren-Mercedes a million dollars worth or R&D and oil every year doesn't mean it's the best oil to run in my car.

Besides, it's a French car, it needs Frenchie oil. It's Motul 8100 X-cess 5W-40 changed every 5K for me.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:11 AM   #2451
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No go on the Cayman: the seat wouldn't go back far enough to accommodate my 36" inseam.

Back to the 996 hunt I guess.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:02 AM   #2452
68deluxe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRG View Post
They are very nice cars. If you are spending that kind of coin -

Get a PPI before you buy from a good indy mechanic near you (ask/join PCA locals). Negotiate w/ indy that you are going to have them replace the IMS bearing w/ the LN aftermarket one as soon as you buy the car and never worry about it again. With a new clutch and RMS this should cost around $2k. Just bite the bullet and do it.

I have an '01 Boxster that's been great and I enjoy the hell out of if every time I drive it.
I wish I had kept my 2001 Boxster (base), I had macho-man fever and traded it for a 2006 997S. What a pile of shit.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:09 AM   #2453
68deluxe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailhead View Post
No go on the Cayman: the seat wouldn't go back far enough to accommodate my 36" inseam.

Back to the 996 hunt I guess.
Try a Boxster, if that does not work I heard the BMW Z4 has a little more leg room. You could also try an after-market seat such as Recaro , might move back another inch or 2.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:48 AM   #2454
Rinty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailhead View Post
No go on the Cayman: the seat wouldn't go back far enough to accommodate my 36" inseam.

Back to the 996 hunt I guess.
You may want to check to see whether you can move the seat rails back one bolt hole. This is possible in some earlier air cooled Porsches.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:35 AM   #2455
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I don't think there's a way to buy more legroom in that Cayman when the seat is pushed right against the firewall (or whatever it's called) and I still feel confined.

Thanks for mentioning the Boxster, but it doesn't really do it for me. All my favorite Porsches have been coupes.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:18 AM   #2456
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68deluxe View Post
I wish I had kept my 2001 Boxster (base), I had macho-man fever and traded it for a 2006 997S. What a pile of shit.
I don't think I've ever heard anyone describe a Porsche that way. What are the issues you have with it?
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:59 AM   #2457
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciferMutt View Post
I don't think I've ever heard anyone describe a Porsche that way. What are the issues you have with it?
You've obviously never neet anyone with a 944.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:54 AM   #2458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOT DAMN! View Post
You've obviously never neet anyone with a 944.

Eh......you mean the guys that bought a $500 neglected 25 year old car and expected it to be trouble free?

I've personally seen many 300k mile plus 944/951/968. Just take care of them and they are great cars.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:00 PM   #2459
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Eh......you mean the guys that bought a $500 neglected 25 year old car and expected it to be trouble free?
Nope not those, the well taken care of money pits.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:58 PM   #2460
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOT DAMN! View Post
Nope not those, the well taken care of money pits.
I have yet to find one that is any different than any other 25 year old fast German car

You're buying into the myth
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