Asked by Dec 13, 2013 at 05:12 AM about the 1998 Porsche Boxster Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1998 boxster and was wondering just how important it is to replace the
Intermediate Shaft Bearing, I just turned a 100,000 miles and want to keep my baby
safe,I have read its only 1-2 percent and read it needs to be chaged to a upgrade please
help me out on this costly upgrade Thank You for your time.
E.J. Hines

26 Answers


I just serviced (Oct) a 2004 Boxter and replaced the IMS bearing. The existing bearing was fine, but the car had less than 20k miles. With as many miles as you have I would consider doing it. We put in a double row ceramic (expensive) bearing, the installation requires special Porsche tools, a lift, transmission jack, and requires at least 12 hours in labor. I would do it. Shop around, independent shops can be a lot cheaper than the dealers. Enclosed pic is of my 2000 911 with a double row ceramic bearing installed at 80k miles. Good luck.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Thanks so much for replacing info of IMS, I going to do it for pease of mind,plus I'll get a much longer lasting motor,Thanks so very much! Regards, E.J. Hines

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have done a lot of research on this IMS subject. I am now the owner of my third Boxster. I have never had any IMS problems. It seems the percentage of failure varies from about 7% to 20% depending on what you read. This effects all engines from 1997 up to 2008. Even the 911 engines are effected, but Porsche seems to squash that reality. I have seen ceramic bearing kits and direct pressure oil feed kits. The main cause of the bearing failure is lubrication, especially at high revs when the bearing gets starved for oil. With every Porsche I have owned (eight) I always start the car and wait a few minutes to get the oil pumping inside the engine and then start out slowly never going over 2500 RPM for the first few minutes. Considering your car already has 100K miles on it, I'm sure you are safe. You obviously have a good engine and I wouldn't mess with it. Whatever you have been doing has been working to keep your baby running good. So in conclusion, I say Mr. E.J. for your peace of mind you might want to do the work, but if you don't I think it's be OK.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.
545 must consider the value of your car. A 1998 Boxster Base with 100k miles is worth about $7-10,000 (price may vary depending on equipment). Do you really want to spend 25% of the cars value on an upgrade? You might consider selling the car while she is still running good and invest the $1500-$2500 upgrade money into a newer or better car. This is just a reality check thought here!

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

IMS can cause severe damage to your engine, so replacing it gives you a peace of mind. Certain model/year IMS bearing fails one day for no reason, no matter what the mileage is, and there are no warning signs. Shop that repaired my engine and installed IMS upgrade sells them for $400, here's a link to their site: They specialize in engine repair, and know everything about P-cars. I highly recommend them to everyone!

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.

Less than 2% of Boxters have IMS failure ! My Porsche mechanic says the small problem has now grown into a massive one............helped my so called " Porsche Specialists" who are making a mountain of cash by scaring owners. He recommends Regular Oil changes ( 6000 miles ) Genuine Porsche Oil Filter and Mobil 1 0w 40 fully synthetic oil and forget about the stories !!

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

Gavin is correct about the odds of an IMS bearing failure. It's really more of a "Do I want to take the risk or not" issue. But I bet every time you floor the car, you'll be thinking about that bearing and is this the time it goes. Also, genuine "Porsche" filters are made by various manufactures. Stick with the German brand name filters and save 2/3 the cost. Any synthetic oil that meets Porsche's oil specs can be used. The crap about using Mobil1 is just that: crap. It's just the stealerships wanting you to come in and get ripped-off.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Great investment could save you 30000 or more

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

what's pathetic is that Porsche just turns their back on owners. They also do this with the 996 coolant tank. A known problem. Their answer - Just replace it when it needs it. $800. I've owned two 911's and was thinking of a boxster. But, this is making me look at other options, and that new Jaguar is looking like it might be worth a try.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

My 1998 996 just stopped on the road yesterday , white smoke , oil everywhere no warning signs , m echanic thinks the the bearing has failed and f***ked my engine , 120 on the clock ,

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

From 2000-2005 models years the failure rate is between 8 and 20%, depending on who you talk to. 10% is the most common failure rate cited. Prior to 2000 and 2006-2008 have very low failure rates. The problem is that when it does, the repair cost can exceed the value of the car. It is a simple risk/reward calculation. Outside of the 2000-2005 model years, I wouldn't bother. I have a 2008 911 4S. I put in a magnetic drain plug, and I inspect the plug and the oil filter (by cutting it open ) for metal shards at each oil change. For a 2000-2005 model, it costs about $2500 to install a ceramic bearing IMS replacement versus the approx. $20,000 cost of replacing an engine. Say we have a 1 in 10 failure rate, that works out to $2000 per car (on average). As an alternate to putting in a new motor, the engine blows and you sell the car for parts for, say, $5000. If the car was worth $20K., you are out $15 K. If you change the IMS when you change the clutch (and might as well do the RMS (rear main seal) when there), the IMS change is only a couple of extra hours. Then your incremental cost is about $1000 for the IMS. That is definitely worth doing on a risk/reward basis. The risk/reward is about even in the first case, slightly favors a do nothing approach in the second and is definitely worthwhile if you are doing the clutch. From a purely mathematical standpoint, If you can afford the $15 - 20 K. hit when a failure happens, then don't bother with the IMS unless you are already doing the clutch. I think it comes down to whether you can afford to take the hit psychologically and financially. Most of us would rather take the hit on the new bearing rather than the 1 in 10 chance of a catastrophic failure. I am looking an buying an older Boxster in the 2000-2005 range. I am factoring in the cost of an IMS in my budget, even though it is not justified by the straight economics.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

Hi Timmy , Your right , it will never be worth the value when I fix it , can get a engine rebuild in the UK for about 5000 might have a look at that , boxster very cheap in Ireland at the moment , I had two , great cars underestimated in my opinion ,

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Timmy nailed it. Looking for a used Boxster now, and it really comes down to risk you're willing to take or how much you want to pay for some assurance/insurance to put in an aftermarket bearing or shaft modification.


Timmy_O's response is bang on. The problem for me is that when any company positions itself as a premier product and prices it accordingly then the buyer shouldn't need to be a product or mechanical expert in order to make the purchase in good faith that the vehicle will perform as advertised. Two weeks ago my 2005 911 Carrera with less than 45,000 km's, experienced catastrophic bearing failure resulting in the need to replace the engine for a cost equal to the properly functioning car's value. There should have been a proactive recall for this issue or some kind of cost sharing program because Timmy_O is correct that the cost benefit analysis would conclude that my once in a lifetime purchase dream car is quickly becoming a jaded consumer beware nightmare. Shame on Porsche.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

APS911, Ouch. As much as I want a Porsche, I'm now looking at 2009 or newer, which prices me out for the next year or so. A Miata is looking more compelling. Not saying a Miata is comparable, but their engines tend to be bulletproof.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

First thing - check to see that the IMS bearing install was completed, there is a numbered sticker applied to the drivers rear door post when work is completed. Then buy your used Porsche if all is in order. The Miata is so underpowered unless your running at 5000 rpm. Good Luck!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Don't listen to anyone that says your fine it this week It will cost $1500 to do it now, then you can sleep at night.Mine went I was an idiot for thinking I could catch it early,pulling oil filter every 1000 mil looking for metal, putting it off.BS I drive easy, change oil every 5000... IT WENT just like that. remember it will be a god- awful noise coming from the traffic around your car somewhere then you only realize its you when you turn the key off in traffic and the loud noise stops! 02 996 3.6 75000 mil Rebuilding myself with oil fed ims bearing about $3800 parts total in garage .They want $10,000. I love my car, I'm keeping it.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Too many non-mathematicians on this board citing statistics about Porsche IMS failures. 20% is a really unbelievable number. They would not be in business if that many engines failed. They may be citing Rear Main Seal (RMS) failures not IMS failures. One statistic you can verify is by doing a search on of Porsche 911 and Boxsters in the 1997 to 2004 year range for sale with IMS upgrades. Enter "IMS" in the other search box. The number of vehicles mentioning IMS upgrades is 5% to 6% of all vehicles for sale. This is usually a sample size of 620 Porsche 911s alone which is a large enough sample size to represent all 145000 vehicles sold. If you look at the detailed listings you will see that most of them claim the original bearing was in good condition. Thus I believe the problem is overblown by bearing providers and independent shops pushing work. These same shops tell you to replace your water pump every 4 years and your spark plugs every 10,000 miles. Perhaps those whom replace their bearings tend to keep their vehicles but I do see a lot of owners whom install LNE bearings sell them shortly after installing them. Is that a lack of faith in the new bearing or did the excessive maintenance costs cause the owner to have to sell the vehicle while it was marketable.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Rear main seal failure is accompanied by oil leakage and possible clutch disc failure. IMS failure is catastrophic instant damage and noise. Important statistics notwithstanding, if you owned and appreciated a fine automobile, wouldn't you have the work done just for the piece of mind?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Gary I bought a 2000 Boxster S new. Each time I took it into the shop for repair, they gave me a cayenne to drive as my loaner car. I drove the Cayenne more than I did my Boxster S. My wife has a 2000 Boxster. It has 145000 miles on it. Since learning of this IMS problem, we don't know what to do with it. I think will drive it and if it blows up will sell it for parts. And then will just drive her BMW X.3 forever. After I had by Boxster S, I bought a 2005 BMW M3. I've had it since 2005 as a new car. I have never kept a car this long. It has 156,000 miles on it. It did need a new Vanos system, which I got actually as a rebuild. But worth it. I love this car and will keep it forever. Just a couple weeks ago, I got another raving complement in the parking lot at the grocery store from some guy who thought it was just gorgeous. I thanked him and agreed. I would stick with BMW M cars if you want a high-performance sports car. As for me, one thing I do know, is I will never buy another Porsche.


I have a 1999 Boxster. The IMS failed and fragged the engine at i year old. Porsche replaced the engine and tranny under warranty. At 80,000 miles and 10 years old I heard a gravelly sound from the new engine. I found the IMS bearing shredded but the metal chips were contained inside the intermediate shaft with no evidence of metal in the oil. I was lucky to not frag the engine a second time. Checking the oil does not work. The failure rate is much higher than 1%. Do the upgrade.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I run the maximum amount of oil, plus 1oz per quart (10oz) of Klotz Benol castor oil. The stuff is an awesome lubricant. Insurance, piece of mind, call it what you will. Still did the IMS bearing. The car runs great. 2000 Carrera Convertible.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

All you people that say you do the math ..bullshit nobody knows my ims went. I'm just fixing it like thousands of other guys out there. I don't represent any product .I say just get a non ball bearing oil fed bushing in there and you will drive it forever. I love my car ,It's just a bad design. shame on Porsche.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

nealfix, Great POV. The 20% number for 2000-2006 is considered wildly high by many. How do we know. It seems more likely the IMS on all those cars still out there will fail. It's a matter of when. And I agree - shame on Porsche. They could have had the most loyal customers ever and driven sales up like crazy if they had addressed this head on, admitted it was a bad design, and helped people get those cars fixed. I get that it would have cost a lot of money. It was a fantastic opportunity to set themselves apart from every other car company. Oh well... The good news for people like me is that I likely get a low mileage '05 or '06 for next to nothing.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

my ims bearing went, no warning fully serviced . Would Ford get away with this ? Shame on you Porsche , you can ignore the problem but not word of mouth condemnation . tom uk.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I rebuild engines as a hobby I have rebuilt several 911 engines mostly my own. the 99 through 2008 911 IMS is a horrible design. it's not 7 or 20% its 100% will go it's just a matter of time .if you could see what I saw and understood you would agree. Your value will go up considerably if you have it done .I always install IMS solution pressure fed. It's pricey but now I drive my car no worries. I love how some of these guys say they've done the research and it's rare that it happens. Try doing more research the numbers are going way up.

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