I own an immaculate 2004 Boxster S which is my first Porsche and was purchased three months ago. I have seen your comments may times on various forums and you seem to be interested in what owners are doing in the “real world” so I thought I would drop you a line. I hope you appreciate the feedback and find my situation interesting.
I knew about the IMS issue before I purchased and so I had a plan. I would buy a low mileage Boxster S around the 2003, 2004 age because I wanted the glass rear window and the glovebox, and then have the bearing replaced with a LN Engineering upgrade in time. However, having found and purchased the car my first problem was that I had underestimated how much the IMS issue would detract from my enjoyment of the car.
I am an engineer and I have been involved with cars since I was a youngster, having built cars and rebuilt various gearboxes and engines. Knowing what the IMS bearing is, how it works and it potential for destroying the engine without warning the original bearing was just not something I could live with. Furthermore being located in Perth, Western Australia used Boxsters are substantially more expensive than in the US so a blown engine is not a good option.
So after visiting the local Porsche dealer (only to be assured there has never been an IMS issue) I looked for a good shop specialising in water-cooled Porsches. With the help of the local Porsche club I located the only one who came recommended, but he has at least nine months work ahead and was not keen on doing the bearing change on my car, a tiptronic.
So now what to do, I seemed to have only three options. Not drive the car for up to a year and hope the local specialist will eventually fix it, ship the car to the East Coast for a specialist over there to fit the upgrade, or do it myself. None of these options were ideal but in the end I decided that doing the upgrade myself was the better option, even though I do not have a lift, although I do have a well-equipped workshop. This would get it done sooner and the car would remain under my control, albeit that by doing it myself there would be no warranty.
Further research revealed a permanent solution to the issue, in the form of the IMS Solution from your good self and LN Engineering. I like the idea of an oil fed plain bearing, being simple, reliable and even if worn should not destroy the engine. So all parts ordered ex Pelican Parts including the new bearing, fitting tool kit and supplementary tool kit. Now I have seen comment on various forums about the high price of the tool kits, but I was blown away by all aspects of the tool kits and the IMS Solution bearing kit. The quality of every component was first class, the packaging was superb and the instructions which came with the new bearing detailed and complete. All in all very professional, greatly appreciated and a confidence booster.
Working with the car as high as possible on axle stands I removed the sump plate, phew no metal at all and no plastic. Cut up filter, no particles at all and none in the filter bowl. I then set about removing the tiptronic transaxle (a pain working through the starter aperture) but doable with a hired transmission jack. I then followed the IMS Solution detailed instructions step by step and to the letter. Being both a very cautious person and terrified of losing the cam timing, I locked both cam banks using the tools provided just to be safe.
In the IMS Solution installation video the engine is out of the car and the 4 – 6 cam tensioner is whipped out in seconds. In my Boxster that took me half a day while I worked out how to remove the left bank inlet manifold and the power steering reservoir and pipe so I could lift the A/C compressor out of the way. Yikes, lucky I had plenty of time and was not doing this commercially!
First challenge, did I have the correct bearing kit, yes I did – a single row. The installation went smoothly and after installing the new filter and adaptor, the connection pipe and a new RMS using a homemade installer, I reassembled everything very carefully. Finally and with thoughts of valves hitting pistons, I took a deep breath and fired her up repeatedly to build oil pressure.
SUCCESS! Brought her up to operating temp and checked for oil leaks. None so far. Out for a short test drive and back, no oil leaks. Out for a longer drive; extend her through the rev range, back, no oil leaks. Running absolutely brilliantly and so much more power, presumably because I am just so much happier to use all of the revs now I have a plain bearing instead of the hand grenade.
What of the original bearing I hear you ask. It had the seals intact but there was a lot of thick, smelly oil in the intermediate shaft and in the bearing. Seemed to spin smoothly though. However when the seals were removed and the bearing washed it was very loose, and rattled when spun. Examining the race surfaces after cutting the outer race showed patches of roughness with noticeable “lateral stutter” marks across the bearing track. A timely replacement I think.
I would just like to close with a big thank you to Flat 6 Innovations and to LN Engineering for producing a solution to the main problem with this engine. With no answer from Porsche thank goodness you guys have done all of the R&D and come up with answers.
West Perth, Western Australia