M96 IMS Solution Install

Another IMS solution went in a week ago or so. Had the motor out for some other things, so after going through some predirectives, we went ahead and installed the IMS solution which is another recent solution to the IMS bearing failure problem. There are a couple of factors that play into the failure of the IMS bearing, including oil seepage past the seal which washes the old grease out and cooks inside the bearing, thus starving it of lubrication, along with overloading of the single row bearing, etc. Published figured have shown the dual row bearing in the early cars (1997-2001ish) to have only a 1% failure rate, while the later single row bearing has a supposed 8% failure rate. The IMS solution removes that single row bearing, and replaced it with an oil fed bushing of sorts, similar to how a rod or main bearing is lubricated. Instead of spinning metal on metal, a thin film of oil runs between the two contact surfaces. Pretty cool design.

Contents of the kit include an oil filter and adapter housing where the oil feeds the new bushing from. The stock oil filter canisters have a bypass valve which can get dirty over the years and allow a significant amount of oil to bypass the filter, which is not good. This new system ensures all the oil is filtered.

IMS is found below the crankshaft. This car had a very significant oil leak from the area, some of the RMS seal, and much from the IMS seal.

As you can see, someone has been in here before (recent clutch job as well) and used aircraft permatex on the IMS flange seal. No sealant is needed, so there was obviously a problem here before, that wasn’t fixed properly.

And looking at the old bearing. Here you can see the seal in which oil seeps by and washes the grease out internally. This type of bearing was not designed to be used in an oil rich environment, in fact, the seal is meant to keep thicker grease from getting out, not thin oil from entering. Add expanding and shrinking of the seal under normal use, and it is no wonder the oil can get past. Once it is past though, it can’t get out fast enough, overheats, and the ball bearings come apart due to friction.

And the bearing pulled out of the engine.

Staring down the IMS tube where the bearing sat.

Installing the IMS solution blockoff plug.

Here is what I found while replacing the RMS seal. It appears someone had jammed in a screwdriver to pull the seal, rather than using two screws into the seal, or carefully a seal puller. Either way, there is no reason to have a screwdriver anywhere near the outer edge of the where the seal sits. Luckily, after putting the engine back in, it is appearing to be sealing just fine, so the owner really dodged a bullet there.

Installing the new RMS seal.

And the oil filter system with new line running to feed the IMS solution. And that’s all she wrote. This is a very specific job to undertake, and you can’t short cut anything. Scratching the block surface and things like that are completely avoidable with a little care. Luckily with almost 1000 miles on the car already, everything is nice and dry and running great.

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February 10, 2015 at 11:26 PM

That was really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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