WilD HalfDork
2/26/16 11:38 a.m.

I thought there was a thread here talking about these engines (or the related 911 unit) and the scourge of IMS bearing failure. I tried searching but could not find it...

Anyway, what is the real deal? I occasionally see older Boxsters that look like really clean cars for not that much money. But the world wide web seems to want me to believe the engine is going to eat itself and total the car at some random moment. This has been enough to scare me away. Current prices seem like a lot to spend on a very large paperweight if the IMS bearing quits. However, if I could get one for $5000 I might be tempted to roll the dice.

On a related note: Why does KBB seem to lowball the private party value on '97 Boxster's? I assume they base their estimates on some kind of real world data, but they say $5000-$6000 for a very good condition '97 with 70K miles. That is well below what I see cars advertised at and closer to what NADA says is trade in value... is their data simply worthless on older sportscars?

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/26/16 11:43 a.m.

L&E engineering and pedro's garage are you friends regarding prevention. The issue is very real, but normally shows itself by 80k miles.

keethrax Dork
2/26/16 12:12 p.m.
WilD wrote: is their data simply worthless on older sportscars?

KBB is pretty bad on almost anything that's not a basic appliance car, IMO.

racerdave600 SuperDork
2/26/16 1:31 p.m.

A car dealer once told me that KBB is formula based where NADA takes sales into account. No idea if that is true, but I've always found KBB to be severely off in most cases, at least around here.

No input on the Boxster, but I'd like more info too.

Trackmouse HalfDork
2/26/16 1:47 p.m.

What is an IMSbearing? And how is it fixed? Edit: Googled. Double edit: http://www.oregonpca.org/resources/ims-bearing-the-full-story/ God bless the hippies.

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/26/16 2:40 p.m.

I am thinking Boxter plus Subaru engine FTW.

AaronBalto Reader
2/26/16 2:44 p.m.

I had an IMS Boxster S for a while. I sent an oil sample in to Blackstone and it came back 100% clean. I sold the car, but only because I needed a bay for another, even dumber car.

If you want one of these cars (which you probably do--they are great), just buy one. Negotiate the price down "because it hasn't had the IMS bearing done" and then send an oil sample off ASAP. If it comes back with bad news, list the car for sale and move on. If it gets a clear report, you are probably good. Just send the sample in at each oil change.

Disclaimer: It may blow up anyway, but at least you were driving a Porsche there for a while...

WilD HalfDork
2/26/16 2:51 p.m.

In reply to Trackmouse:

I've read that Oregon PCA article twice. On the one hand, it's encouraging that they assert pre-2000 MY bearings seem less failure prone than the 2000-05 bearings. On the other hand, the failure rate still sounds like it may be high and nobody is really sure.

Maybe this is just another case of too much information making things seem worse than they are and ignorance would have been bliss. It really does sound like the odds of these engines living long uneventful lives are not as great as one might hope.

Knurled MegaDork
2/26/16 3:04 p.m.
Trackmouse wrote: What is an IMSbearing? And how is it fixed? Edit: Googled. Double edit: http://www.oregonpca.org/resources/ims-bearing-the-full-story/ God bless the hippies.


Also, now, when I describe the Ford 4.0 OHC engine's cam drive arrangement where there is a chain at each end of the engine so they can use only one head casting, I will cheerfully describe it as "Just like a Porsche engine!"

AaronBalto Reader
2/26/16 3:24 p.m.

I think that most of the IMS bearing issue is lore. I know NOBODY who has suffered a failure. You don't see rows and rows of them at the junkyard. What you do see is a handful of message board postings with thousands of hits. Guess what? One bearing failure that is read about 10,000 times is NOT the same as 10,000 bearing failures. If you go to FerrariChat and read in the 308/328 section about timing belt failures there are dozens (if not hundreds) of threads. But there are almost zero postings by people who have actually had a failure. It's the same thing, and as a result everyone is scared to death of Ferraris--and Boxsters!

Bottom line, if you want one of these cars--they are great, great cars--go and get one. Do NOT let some interweb-fed paranoia drive you away. Have your motor oil tested every time, and enjoy that car.

WilD HalfDork
2/26/16 3:38 p.m.

Coincidentally, I am also afraid of any Ferrari with a timing belt... and sodium filled valves... etc. Honestly, I consider any car with a timing belt suspect since I spent so much time reading about Lotus and Ferrari service intervals.

I probably need to stop reading web forums.

Knurled MegaDork
2/26/16 3:51 p.m.

In reply to WilD:

Ford's 427s had a habit of losing their sodium valves' heads.

Audi 10v turbo engines would drop the valves too, if you let EGTs get too high, which is easy to do since the knock-prone combustion chambers don't let you run very much timing. Or if the valve guides get extremely loose, which is also common.

Five skazillion 5v Audi engines were made with sodium valves, though (four, six, and eight cylinder) and it just ain't a problem.

My 10vt engine has Inconel, admittedly. But they flow more. And massive boost on pump gas is the plan.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
2/26/16 5:31 p.m.

satisfied customers rarely complain...

Wall-e MegaDork
2/26/16 6:39 p.m.

In reply to AaronBalto:

So now I need a new excuse not to buy a Ferrari.

simontibbett Reader
2/26/16 8:14 p.m.

I keep eyeing Boxsters. I love them, the IMS threat scares me though. Things can get expensive fast. Luckily there are better routes than others though when buying a used Boxster. I still don't plan on buying one until I have a little more in savings just in case.

Feedyurhed SuperDork
2/27/16 5:58 a.m.
Trackmouse wrote: What is an IMSbearing? And how is it fixed? Edit: Googled. Double edit: http://www.oregonpca.org/resources/ims-bearing-the-full-story/ God bless the hippies.

Wow. Very informative. I am saving that article for possible future reference.

Vigo PowerDork
2/27/16 6:42 p.m.

I guess i am the only weirdo that looks at 986 and 996s at the low end of the spectrum with the intention of replacing the IMS himself, at home..

I also fear no timing belt as long as i'm getting a good chunk off the sale price with the idea of getting it done 'professionally' somewhere with no mention of the fact that im going to do it myself for the cost of parts.

Our Preferred Partners