Is the Porsche 996 911 IMS Bearing Issue Overblown?

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Porsche 996 IMS Bearing

We’re led to believe that all Porsche 996 models with stock IMS bearings are ticking time bombs. But is that really the case?

For years now, we’ve been led to believe that our Porsche 996 models are ticking time bombs. That IMS bearing failure is inevitable, even at lower mileage counts. And as a result, most owners have “corrected” this shortcoming with aftermarket bearings that are markedly stronger. But as we all know, things on the internet tend to get a bit exaggerated sometimes. And that had Rennlist member JB001 wondering – could this IMS bearing issue be a bit overblown?

“I’m convinced that the 996 engines are liable ones and that the IMS issue has been exaggerated by companies marketing solutions. One way to find out if I am right (or wrong) is to ask here. How many miles do you have on your engine with the original IMS bearing? Mine is a 1999 C2 convertible with 76,000 miles.”

Porsche 996 owner pszikla made it an impressive distance on the original bearing, but was clearly close to disaster.

“I made it to 122,000 miles by the skin of my teeth! The bearing was so close to failure it was a question of possibly a few miles more before the big bang. Mine is a ’99 as well, driven firmly all of its life, including track time.”

Porsche 996 IMS Bearing

AzDropTop made it even further, however, and with no signs of looming problems.

“My ’02 C4 had 113,000 miles and the bearing looked good other than having oil in it. Did the clutch, did the bearing. Worth it.”

DBJoe996 has managed to rack up some serious miles on his original bearing, too.

“Daily driver with 143K+ miles. It’s a ’99 C2, manufactured 7/98.”

Of course, there are plenty of folks who think that it’s crazy to roll the proverbial dice with their Porsche. Including 808Bill.

“Just ask the guys that lost their motors due to IMSB failure. If you can’t afford a $20K+ rebuild, a $1-2K expense to prevent the failure makes a lot of sense to me. Roll the dice how ever you like, it’s your wallet!”

Porsche 996 IMS Bearing

Regardless, the OP’s mission isn’t to prove that replacing the bearing is a good or bad idea. Just that the issue seems to be a bit overblown.

“The IMS has been a problem for a very small percentage of 996 owners. But it reduces the value of all of them. I’m just trying to demonstrate that the 996 is a good car sold way below its value due to the IMS’ bad reputation.”

There are obviously passionate people on both side of this argument, as this thread clearly demonstrates. So we want to know what you think. Are you “risking it all” by racking up miles on the your stock Porsche 996 IMS bearing? Or did you replace it just to be on the safe side? Head over here and help us further this little experiment!

 

Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.
He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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