987 IMS Bearing Issues Continued

So we decided to drop the motor and see if we could save the engine with a new IMS bearing. Since the car is a tiptronic with the glass window, it is just easier to drop the entire assembly rather than pull the tiptronic out…..and since we were throwing that crank position code, it just makes things easier in case we have to pull things apart.

With the engine out, we can see that the center support stud of the IMS bearing is broken and missing. The result is a big open hole into the middle of the IMS shaft. No wonder there was oil coming out so fast. Neither the RMS or the IMS seals were actually leaking.

After getting the flange out, I pulled about 4 remaining ball bearings, the center race for the bearing, and the broken support shaft from the other end of the hollow intermediate shaft with a magnet. All other parts had chewed themselves up and melted around the bearing race.

The outer race is still pressed into the intermediate shaft. Now the interesting thing, is that the snap ring to remove the bearing is there….but it is surrounded by melted metal, thus ruining our chances of saving this engine.

Here you can see the snap ring clearly (and another blown bearing race behind it) from a spare motor we had laying around. If you can’t remove the snap ring, you can’t replace the bearing, and it laughed at everything we had to try and get to that snap ring exposed.

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February 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

How many miles were on this 997? Although this engine is toast, in the future, when motors need a new IMS bearing, will you be installing “the solution” — http://theimssolution.com/ — instead of an OEM or ceramic aftermarket bearing? What are your thoughts on the “solution”?


    February 2, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    This was a 987 boxster. 05 with 45k miles. Having seen aftermarket bearings fail that were suppose to be the ultimate solution, I am not sold on anything new until they have been tested for a few years, including the IMS solution. While I do feel it is a step in the right direction and we will definitely install them per customer request, I can’t say that it is the end all fix until the data proves otherwise. It is a big difference in parts cost as well to the tune of about an extra $1200 which is hard for many to swallow.

Matt Mace

February 9, 2015 at 1:59 PM

So, beyond the usual 5k oil change. is there something 987 owners can do to prevent catastrophic failure? I was under the impression that in 05 and later engines IMS failures were rare, but it appears now I may have gotten some bad information.


    February 12, 2015 at 5:57 AM

    Hi Matt,

    Unfortunately the later M97 motors don’t have the serviceable IMS bearing as it is too large to pull through the hole in the case. Some of the 05 boosters I have seen still have the removable bearing, but it seems by 06 from what I have seen, they are no longer serviceable. On those particular motors, it is best to remove the outer seal of the bearing to allow oil to freely splash lubricate the bearing. Essentially the grease starts to wash out of the bearing the moment it is put into the oil rich environment, so it is best to get as much oil lubrication as possible. While the failures are more rare in the later motors than in the 01-04’s, it does still happen on occasion. Obviously the best thing you can do is to do regular 5k or 6 month oil changes so you can monitor the oil filter for ferrous debris on a more often basis.

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