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Old 08-30-2012, 04:00 PM   #1
Futurama56
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Angry IMS Failure at 51,000 miles - NOW WHAT?!

Hello everyone,



I am new to the board and have broken down to posting about my problem as I seek some guidance and condolences for what has just happened to me.

I have a 2005 Porsche Boxster (987) with 51,000 miles on it - and have just had an IMS failure. The failure occurred at a traffic light, after 15 minutes of highway driving. The car was not moving when the failure occurred. I had no previous indication of imminent failure - no CEL, etc. The clutch was engaged and suddenly the car stalled. I attempted to restart the engine (because I was in the middle of an intersection) - and got it started, hearing now mechanical clunking/metal on metal. Immediately I turned off the engine, wanting to conserve energy until the light changed. Once the light turned green - I gave her one last start, and got up to about 20mph before turning her off and cruising to a stop. This was absolutely necessary, otherwise I would be blocking traffic in a major intersection. Once off to the side - I called roadside and did not attempt to restart the car.

Once the flatbed arrived, as soon as the car was in a vertical/upright position being loaded onto the bed - OIL came pouring out the back, at this point I was in shock and horror - knowing that the problem must be engine related, as I did not hit anything prior to cause such a leak, etc.

The car was towed to the dealer - and by Monday I had the news - "Intermediate balancing shaft came apart". They proposed to rebuild the engine - for 10k

2,799 in Parts
48hrs/45 -- in labour
7,650
-------
$10,449

That's a dealer rate of nearly $160 an hour! OUCH.

Now, knowing that this was a crazy estimate - I wanted to get an IMS specialist on the job. I had the car moved to an independent shop with lots of IMS experience. As my car was a single row bearing design, he removed and replaced the IMS from LNEngineering - this mechanic is one of the few certified directly from the company, so I trust his work. Upon restarting the car after the upgrade, he reported that there was still too much metal moving around in the engine - and that the engine was officially blown/dead.

The value on the car right now is 21k in good working order, without the engine I understand that I will only be able to salvage 3-4k at best. I have read all the options, and just about every forum post on the topic of IMS failures - but still don't have a clear idea of what the next steps to take are.

Here are my trouble points:

1. If the engine is replaced, I understand it to be about 18k for a "new" one from Porsche, or somewhere in the 15k range for something used. (This is including labor costs).

Is it worth it to do this on a 2005 car? Other options?

2. I have fallen madly in love with this car, and have babied it from day 1. So the interior/exterior are in perfect shape. Also, there is no other car on my short-list for now that I would be interested in. This was it.

What model/year Porsche would you replace with so that this can NEVER happen again? (I understand only 2009--later)

3. Is the dealer serious that they could "rebuild" the engine for that price? Or will they end up increasing the estimate once they take it apart?

4. The car is out of the CPO warranty by about 1 year. The dealership says it's only a 5 year warranty - when stated on the website it claims 6! The dealer says warranty was finished on 4/15/2011. Is there any chance in Heck that they would honor a "Goodwill" replacement or adjustment - as we also own a 98' Boxster as well.

Car Location : Bay Area California

All Advices/Insights/and Remarks are welcome!
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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Cannot offer you guidance, but my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry to hear your bad news. I had a 1998 boxster for 9 years with really no problems with it at all, can't image having somethng like this happen to me. Good luck with everything, but I think you'll have to get ready to pay the piper on this one.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:41 PM   #3
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I recommend you also post your questions on www.planet-9.com. Larger audience and you're more likely to get specific answers and recommendations, including advice as to where you buy a replacement/salvage engine and can get the work done for much less than you're estimating.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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An engine rebuild for $10K sounds pretty good to me. As you've already figured, the math isn't very good no matter which way you look at it, and $10K is about the minimum you can probably get away with unless you do all the work yourself.

I ended up selling my 996 as a roller but if I were in love w/ the car and had more patience, I would have gotten it back running before selling it; I track my cars and decided I would not be able to do that without worrying about it in the future.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:50 PM   #5
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I'm hearing the theme to The Six Million Dollar Man as I read this thread. ...How about a 997 X51 transplant?
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:00 PM   #6
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First sorry to read about your misfortune.

If you sell the car as it sits you take a huge hit in depreciation.

If you fix the car you are looking at spending no little amount of money.

The choices aren't black and white. There are pros/cons to each.

I am afraid a few of some of the following comments will not be that well received.

I do not agree the engine rebuild estimate was a crazy one. It might have been a costly one, but a rebuld costs what it costs. I note it would have cost less than you are facing spending now for a replacement engine.

One of the things that would have been done is the engine would have been judged as whether it would be a suitable rebuild candidate or not.

This is very important. Maybe the engine wasn't and you threw good money after bad in having the LN bearing installed.

In a rebuild, the tech might have stopped early and at least you would have known before sinking too much more money into the engine.

Be very sure of the cost to replace the engine.

Some months ago the cost of a factory engine for my 02 Boxster was around $17K with a suitable core, $27K without a core. Your car's engine may not be suitable as a core.

Anyhow, about the cost...be sure you have hard numbers.

A factory sourced engine puts the car back they way it was. The car remains essentially stock. It will have the same characteristics as it had before.

It will be no more, but no less the car it was. The car I note you fell in love with.

A factory sourced engine gives you peace of mind with the warranty the new engine comes with.

A used engine comes with no warranty, though in some cases a used engine supplier will take an out of the 'crate' bad used engine back for credit. But you need to get this, or whatever warranty there is, in writing.

Is it worth it to go either route?

Impossible for me to say. And I do not know what I would do in your situation.

That is a lot of money to spend and you'll not be able to charge more for the car should you go to sell it. Well, there might be some bump in its value with the new engine but not enough to put you into a higher tax bracket should you sell the car.

You will get to continue to enjoy the car and with a warranty on the new engine with some peace of mind. The car essentially becomes new again.

I note you admit you fell in love with the car and that counts for something going forward with the car back to the condition in which you loved it.

As for not happening again, as long as any engine has an IMS and its bearing the risk is present. The replacement engine warranty takes some of the risk out of this but not 100% of the risk.

You are limited in some ways in that it is extra work and the outcome may not be as good as it would have been otherwise in trying to install a much newer engine, or even an engine from a different model of car, like a 996.

IOWs, while I don't want to say it is not doable putting a new DFI engine with no IMS into your car is probably a lot of work.

The best engine replacement is to put in an engine from the same model year or years as your car. An engine that is newer than your engine -- later off the assembly line -- is probably better than one off the line earlier but there's no way of knowing for sure. The older earlier engine might have received some rework that makes it the better engine.

Regardless, you are going about this I believe the right way.

Take your time. Solicit input. Develop a sense of what makes sense and cents. Weigh all your options. Be as sure of your info as you can be. When you make your decision you want to be make it based on as accurate info as possible.

Sincerely,

Macster.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:08 PM   #7
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Would you trust a dealer to do a re-build or is it a ticking time bomb?
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:01 PM   #8
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#1... Sorry to hear your plight. That blows. The exact same thing happened to the po of my car which happens to be the exact same model/year as yours. His (now mine) had 42k and was 2 months out of factory warranty. No help from Porsche was offered.

#2... Please put me on the list of interested immediate cash buyers for the car as-is.

<or>

#3... Find an '07 or '08 3.4 engine from a wrecked Cayman S. Bolt it in your car. Reflash your ecu. Don't look back and drive the **** out of it. Major grins.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:09 PM   #9
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This is what we are trying to save!
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:14 PM   #10
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Looks very nice op. A proper 3.4 in there ought to wake it up. Decisions decisions!

Just sent you an email.

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Old 08-30-2012, 10:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurama56 View Post
2. I have fallen madly in love with this car, and have babied it from day 1.

All Advices/Insights/and Remarks are welcome!
Nooooo! Oh god, no, that's the single worst thing you can do to a Porsche. IMS failures are reported far more common in garage queens and other babied cars than in tracked cars and those driven very hard. Conventional wisdom is that the IMS loves high rpms, and appears to need lots of them very often for proper lubrication. Too late now for this engine, but when you get your new engine, don't baby it, drive it like you stole it! Once it gets up to temp, do a few back-to-back redline shifts every time you drive it. You'll have more fun, too
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjfehr View Post
babied it from day one
I mean maintenance, car condition, and general upkeep.

No old granny syndrome here - the car was driven to its limits

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjfehr View Post
garage queens:
Hmmm - this may shed some light on the problem. Since 2007, the car would be in the garage for 6 months sometimes. At other times, driven daily for a few months - then put back into storage. Could this have created a hazardous IMS condition?
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurama56 View Post
I mean maintenance, car condition, and general upkeep.

No old granny syndrome here - the car was driven to its limits
Time trials? DE? Autocross? Not driving to the limits on the street, I hope! Where the IMS is concerned, it's not so much about pushing the limit of traction as getting high RPMs to lubricate the IMS every time you drive it, even when just driving around town. EG- flogging it, not babying it. In your defense, these terms are awfully subjective; I've seen people on this forum claim they drive their Porsche "hard" in the very thread they posted because the tach accidentally hit 6000rpm and they were worried the engine got damaged. Just read a letter in Excellence (just before I saw this thread, actually) from a 987 owner complaining that he got an IMS failure despite babying the car never exceeding 4000 rpm, and he couldn't believe babying it didn't save it. So, when you said you babied your car, that's what I thought you meant. These are racing engines; they're not built for that. No driving style has been shown to definitively cause or prevent IMS failure, but the statistics do show it can sway the odds quite a bit one way or another.

If you're looking for a cheaper alternative than another 987 engine, this guy dropped a $1400 Audi V8 in his blown Boxster:
http://www.motorgeek.com/viewtopic.php?t=34827
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:18 PM   #14
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Sorry to hear your troubles. Lost my engine on my '04 C4S two weeks out of factory warranty, but between my dealer and PCNA, I received a brand new engine (not remanufactured) and two years of extended.

Sold it a few months prior to expiration of that, but it was fine.

Have you considered talking to a tuner/race builder like TPC? Not sure where you are located, but it might be an interesting call to see what they can do. And I'm sure there are others (check board sponsors) to see what your options are.

Either way, the peace of mind for two years - is good - but not sure of throwing 15-20k into the car for just two years (or longer if you decided to keep it).

Good luck either way.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurama56 View Post
... I wanted to get an IMS specialist on the job. I had the car moved to an independent shop with lots of IMS experience. As my car was a single row bearing design, he removed and replaced the IMS from LNEngineering - this mechanic is one of the few certified directly from the company, so I trust his work. Upon restarting the car after the upgrade, he reported that there was still too much metal moving around in the engine - and that the engine was officially blown/dead.

...
Sounds like this mechanic has already dragged you over the coals. This "certified" (which, BTW means he pays LN to be on the "certified" list) mechanic should have known rule #1 from LN eng, - any engine that has already suffered an IMS failure is NOT a candidate for IMS retrofit, because of all the misc metal particles floating around in the engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjfehr View Post
... Conventional wisdom is that the IMS loves high rpms, and appears to need lots of them very often for proper lubrication... Where the IMS is concerned, it's not so much about pushing the limit of traction as getting high RPMs to lubricate the IMS every time you drive it, even when just driving around town. EG- flogging it, not babying it. ...
Have to disagree with the above comments.

First of all, the original IMS bearing is a sealed bearing and no amount of uber high revs is going to get any lube into the bearing. Maybe once the bearing has already begun to fail and the seals have become compromised, maybe some lube would get to the bearing, but it's already too late at that point.

So high revs is not what the IMS needs to survive. Getting the engine nice and hot every time it is started, is what I firmly believe to be the answer to IMS health. (high revs WILL help get you there, but is not what is actually helping the bearing) This will boil away the moisture that can accumulate inside an engine when it is used for short trips. If any of this moisture collects in the bearing then corrosion begins on the finely polished surfaces inside the bearing. Once that happens just one time, it is the beginning of the end for the IMS bearing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurama56 View Post



Hmmm - this may shed some light on the problem. Since 2007, the car would be in the garage for 6 months sometimes. At other times, driven daily for a few months - then put back into storage. Could this have created a hazardous IMS condition?
I think this is exactly where your problem came from. All it took was a little bit of moisture to get in the bearing and then the corrosion process begins, uninterrupted with the engine just sitting. In six months the corrosion can do some serious damage inside this bearing. Once the degradation of the bearing has begun it is just a matter of time and miles until total meltdown.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:48 PM
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