Is failure of the IMS bearing inevitable in M96 and M97 Porsche engines?
The Intermediate shaft Bearing failure is a known issue and I'm considering the purchase of a 2000 911 Carrera 2 with 157,000 miles and no known engine repair to date.
I'm quite concerned about the possibility of a "silent" but nearly always fatal engine disruption in a car that exhibits no visible or audial sign of impending doom
157K miles is a lot on any car- in a 911 it is 20,000 laps around Le Mans- do you think it might need some service/repairs?!
The IMS bearing is all well known for failure, I would highly recommend a PPI ( Porsche Prepurchase Inspection ) They will check the whole car and I believe this includes the IMS and give a full report on the car. This PPI usaully cost around $150 but can save you hundreds if not thousands. That said there are plenty of P cars with high miles, as long as it has been maintained and has records of said maintenance that should also give you a piece of mind. There is a company that has redesigned the IMS and that is also an option to help prolong the life of you 911. I myself have been looking the boxster which also suffers from the same issue, Ive been read up over on the pelican parts forum theres tons of great info there. Good Luck and keep us informed.
It is not inevitable in most cars. That said, I'd do it anyway. The bearing itself can cost plenty. A single row ceramic is about $200 and a double row ceramic bearing is more than $300. That is just for the bearing (don't consider anything less than a ceramic bearing) you have to drop the transmission to install it, and you have to use Porsche specialized tools to do it correctly. While you're in there, you might as well consider a clutch if you think it needs it, and definitely do a rear main seal. This will probably set you back around $2000 if you do the clutch. It's worth the peace of mind.
I remembered seeing an oil feed IMS bearing heres a pic. This is what I would be using if I had to / wanted to replace it. Direct Oil Feed (DOF) for early style IMS Bearing (1997-2004 996/986 ).
IMS failure happens without a warning, and no matter what mileage, even at 15k miles! Certain years and models have faulty factory bearings, and they fail without a warning. The only thing you can do is prevent severe engine damage and high repair costs by replacing your IMS ahead of time. I know a place that sells IMS bearing upgrades for $400 free shipping: www.mbmotorsportsrepair.com. They specialize in Porsche engines and know everything about these cars. Give them a call if you have any questions. They have customers all over US, Canada, Europe, etc. Very good small shop with lots of happy customers (including me), other shops buy their engines too.
According to http://theimssolution.com/ims-101/, the single row bearings were phased in during 2000 so not all the 2000 models have them.
The failure happens usually. I would recommend to check the information on this site http://www.imsbearingsolution.com/. There is a good IMS bearing solution there.
The failure only occured in 5% of the vehicles, so it doesn't happen usually. There seems to be a decent amount of misinformation on this thread. The IMS tends to fail between 35k and 50k, and if this car has reached over 100,000 there is a very low chance of failure. That being said, installing an IMS alarm or doing an outright swap might be worth the cash. If it has the dual bearing, there is no need to do anything IMO
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