do 996 911 automatics have the IMS bearing problem?
All 996 and 997's built between 1998-2009, regardless of transmission, have about a 5% chance of an IMS bearing failure unless it has been retrofitted with one of the aftermarket upgraded bearings.
The most common deficiency with the M96 engine and its revisions through 2008 is the failure of the ball-bearing found in the intermediate shaft. The intermediate shaft found in the M96 and later M97 engine was revised three times. The earliest design incorporated a dual-row ball-bearing used through model year 1999 and in some 2000 and 2001 models. Starting in model year 2000, Porsche began phasing out the dual row bearing and went to a smaller single row, with significantly less load capacity. From model year 2002 -2006, all engines used this smaller, lower capacity bearing. In all cases these are sealed bearings and can fail causing significant damage. An aftermarket bearing can cost about $3k to have installed, but will eliminate this problem. Since a failure will require a new engine, the $3k is a good investment. If you have a manual trans, have it done when you replace your clutch, if you have the auto-trip trans, have it done when you have your trans serviced at 80k miles.
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