IMS

20

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.
Regards,
E.J. Hines

48 Answers

2,020

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.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful
20

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 of 2 people found this helpful.
705

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.

14 of 14 people found this helpful.
705

Also....you 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!

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
515

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: www.mbmotorsportsrepair.com. They specialize in engine repair, and know everything about P-cars. I highly recommend them to everyone!

18 of 18 people found this helpful.
210

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 !!

16 of 16 people found this helpful.
2,020

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.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
90

Great investment could save you 30000 or more

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
30

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
100

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 ,

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
270

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.

19 of 19 people found this helpful.
100

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 ,

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
80

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.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
90

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.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
80

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
2,020

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!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
150

Don't listen to anyone that says your fine ...do 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 ..an 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.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
60

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 cars.com 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.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
2,020

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?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
20

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.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
50

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.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
2,020

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.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
150

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.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
80

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
40

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.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
70

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.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
60

2002 Boxster S a great car lots of fun. Up until 2-days ago i hadn't really heard about IMS failure - now i'm an expert minus my Porsche. Get it done, i looked after my car, drove it well and out the blue the car is history following the IMS failing - as a result unable to justify spending thousands to replace the engine.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
2,020

Contact Parts Heaven in California for a used engine. Engine swaps are easy if you have a Porsche speed shop do it. Do not even consider a dealer, they'll take you over the coals. Make sure to have the IMS bearing installed when putting in the new (used) engine, and maybe a clutch. Good luck and I hope you get to keep your car.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
270

I am in Montreal. My mechanic (big Porsche re-builder) was at a Porsche dealer event. According to the dealer, Porsche has new pricing, really aggresive pricing, on re-built short block M96 engines. $6.5 K ($CAD) for a Boxter, $8.5 K. for a 996. Full lower end re-build, new IMS fix, etc. Worth investigating...

8 of 8 people found this helpful.
2,020

Yeah, at those prices I'd say that's worth looking into. I'd go for the 996 set up, just for the HP increase. Check out the articles at "Pelican Parts" on what weight oils to run and change intervals, lower temp thermostats and a spin on filter adapter, all stuff to increase the life of a Boxster or 996 engine. I hope you do it!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20

IMS kit is a scam. $50 in commodity parts sold for nearly $800, and then the labor - everyone is making a huge buck. If it were a real problem, Porsche would have been litigated to death in a class action. BUT it wasn't. The shills and scammers might disagree, as would those who were suckered into spending $1200 or more for this fake upgrade.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
210

Less than 2% of all Boxters manufactured & distributed WORLDWIDE had IMS problems !! Yet strangely 6% of all Volkswagen Beetles manufactured had faulty rear brakes ...no problems ......Enough Said !

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
55

I'm a very happy owner of a 1999 Boxster now with 99,000. Before I cought the car I talked to guys/gals in a Porsche club, although they had never had the IMS bearing go in one of the member's cars they recommended the 1997-1999 model year due to the double row bearing. One owner has a 97 with 247,000 miles with the original bearing, and he's the original owner. He also tracks the car. No failures. Changing the oil is important, 3000- 5000 mile. Use either Mobil1 or Red Line oil of 10w30-15w50. I use 15w50, with Lubromoly Mos2 added in and Z-Max to help the oil get into the bearing and soak into it. I often keep the revs up during sprited driving and so far report a very happy engine. So if you are really bored or need to replace the clutch then it's not a BAD idea to go ahead with the bearing but the actual risk is very slight, at least on earlier double row bearings. I've talked to two Porsche dealership out of curiosity and out of the 1000+ boxsters from 2000- 2006 they have only seen 2 bearings fail, and that was with cars that had the obsurd 12,000 mile oil interval changes, not the wiser 3k-5k that you should.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
150

so you base your information on what you've heard from a dealership ,The people that stand to make tons of money from your loss . you're changing your oil way too early doing all the things you wouldn't have to do if you had a proper oil flooded bearing in your Engine . Your life will come to an end when you hear the "Death rattle"sound of that bearing giving up the ghost. then you can't just change the oil you need to pull the engine and rebuild it like I did. When your engine goes feel free to contact me I'll give you all my contacts prices I paid etc. PS I say this with all due respect to a fellow Porsche lover. good luck .

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
210

Porsche Dealerships know far more about Porsche problems than their customers do ! I never use them due to their high prices but I definitely DO TRUST their factory knowledge !!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
2,020

The problem lies in trust. It took a class action lawsuit against Porsche just to get an acknowledgement that their was a problem with the IMS bearings. You may trust factory knowledge, but trusting them to be forthcoming is a whole other matter.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
55

I've looked at the recall bullitins for the Boxster from 1997-2006 and there is no bearing recalls. However if the car was still under warranty back when they were new they simply would have replaced the engine if the bearing failed. I did discover that Porsche had some early casting problems with there rather state of the art Lokisil technique that led to slow seepages of oil THROUGH the engine block due to porosity problems, but these engines were replaced if it arose under warranty. My question is if a class action lawsuit happened what was the outcome? I couldn't find anyone who got a new/better bearing replaced at intervals or a new engine who had a failure. Please let me know if I can get free work done...hehe:)

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
150

From what I understand if your car is less than 10 old and the motor goes and you pay for a rebuild motor ,Porsche will reimburse a portion of the cost.they wouldn't pay for preventing ims problems . This is why I think you take control of your own destiny ,repair it then your fixed for life .as I said previously get the IMS solution oil supply bearing it's a little more expensive but it will last a lifetime . I also agree with Stephen it really is a matter of trust how can a company like Porsche let down their customers as they did .it would be nothing to repair and replace bearings to preserve the good name and the value of their vehicles .Ball bearings have no place in an automobile engine it was a bad design .Porsche should own it. http://www.classactionrebates.com/settlements/porsche/

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
55

Thank you very much for the reply. I still think Porsche as a company is rare and the cars they produce are truly amazing and fun to own and drive. This bearing problem can of course be a major bummer for us working stiffs who saved up to buy our dream cars but I don't believe Porsche knew about it's possible faults until the warranty replacements started coming in. I am going to replace mine with either the LN Engineering ceramic bearing or the oiled one you recommend. The oiled one sounds more like a fix it and forget it repair but I don't like the idea of having to cut into the lower housing to run the oil line to it...I'll do this repair when I change the clutch soon.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
55

Now I just read the settlement clause if you will and it effected only the 2001-2005 models. Although this seems in direct relation to the single row bearing cars I'm still going to go ahead with replacing mine. My boxster is a 1999 with the dual row bearing that is less likely but I really don't want to ruin my engine and a new replacement engine would cost a bundle. Again thanks for the link and advice.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

I have a 2006 Boxster with 55,000 miles. Tonight the engine started to make a knocking sound, and it has me very concerned. I did not know about the IMS issues until I read this thread. If the sound is an IMS failure and my car is already knocking, does that mean I'm already too late. Or can it still be fixed?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
2,020

Don't attempt to start it! Have it towed to your shop or dealer to have it inspected. Don't even attempt to turn it over by hand! It may be nothing more than a loose heat shield, but have it checked. Good luck.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

Not sure what to do. I have a 2000 Boxster with 52,000 miles on it. No problems but last oil change ( 3000 miles ago) we installed a magnetic drain plug and when we changed the oil today there were some metal filings attached. Mechanic said it could just be a normal accumulation over 52,000 miles since we just began using the magnet. To replace clutch, flywheel and upgrade to ceramic bearing the cost will be $3500 or more according to numerous shops. Other than that my car looks new and runs well

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
210

Change oil & Porsche filter every 6000 miles ! Ignore the bullshit about IMS bearing failure Independent engineering shops scaring Boxter owners into spending thousands of $$$$$. Enjoy your Porsche...........less than 2 % of 986's ever had a problem !! FACT

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

I own a 2002 996 Carrera 4 cab . Had the IMS replaced at 99k, but had that fail last month. Dealer replaced my engine with a German factory rebuilt motor . Took 2 weeks and cost $24k. Very painful. Since that is what the car is worth I intend to keep it indefinitely. On the plus side, it runs like a new car. Now hav 1100 miles on my new engine. Mileage is 140k, so the IMS lasted 40k....

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
210

You must have more money than brains !!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
150

Better than having no money brains or upgraded IMS.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

Well it's been almost 4 years and I hope things worked out for you either way. This thread was very entertaining to read. You all sound like a bunch of Democrats and Republicans on here. No one agrees on anything! I own a 99 with 111K on the clock and have never had an issue with my IMS...having said that It could go tomorrow! I change my oil every other year at about 10-12K miles. Owning the Boxster has been a pure joy over the years and I'm about to upgrade to a low....er mileage 2009 edition with the 7 speed PDK. I'm getting old and tired of shifting gears. If I were in your shoes back then I would have taken the chance and not changed out the IMS mainly because you already had a 100K and the value of the car verses the actual risk, makes it a bad investment. For the record, I live in Florida with no homeowners insurance! Don't forget to clear out those drain holes! Best to all my peeps

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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