No car manufacturer is without its recurrent and inherent problems. For Mini, it is the clutch and transmission, and for BMW, it is rust. Porsche is no different. Many models of Porsche develop problems with the IMS bearing, which can lead to engine problems and damage. Let’s take a look at this issue and learn where you should go for excellent automotive repairs.
The IMS bearing, or the “Intermediate Shaft” bearing, is the component that gives the necessary support to the intermediate shaft at its flywheel end. The intermediate shaft is an integral part of your Porsche’s engine, since it drives the camshafts. The intermediate shaft helps to extend the life span of the chains, and it also helps to keep engine timing precise. As a result, the bearing is essential to ensuring the longevity of the intermediate shaft by securing and supporting it in the correct position.
There are some models of Porsche that are more prone to developing IMS bearing failure. Porsche Boxters, Caymans, and 911s produced between 1997 and 2008 are most commonly at risk of IMS bearing trouble, excluding the Turbo, GT2, and GT3 variants.
Of this 11-year timespan, the most affected are Porsches manufactured between 2000 and 2005 including the 996 model of 911 and the Boxer 986.
When it comes to knowing when failure will likely occur in these afflicted models, there really isn’t a projected timespan in regards to mileage. The unlucky drivers may notice issues prior to 20k miles, while others may notice this closer to 130k miles down the road. Put simply, IMS failure can occur at any time, so if you drive an affected Porsche, it’s best to know the signs and symptoms of failure so you can pick up on any suspicious activity and have the problem repaired swiftly.
Some drivers report that detecting IMS bearing failure is impossible. However, this isn’t the case. You simply need to be switched on when it comes to maintaining your Porsche.
You can check the status of your IMS bearing each time you change out your engine oil and the oil filter. If you notice that the used oil has metal shards in it or that the filter has collected metal pieces, then it’s almost guaranteed to indicate IMS bearing failure. The IMS bearing has metal balls inside it, so when it becomes damaged these balls can get crunched up throughout the engine system. If you notice plastic pieces instead, then it’s likely to have come from the IMS bearing seal.
As oil changes and inspections are the clearest way in which you can detect IMS bearing failure, if you drive an affected Porsche, you may want to alter your maintenance and servicing schedule. Where most cars require an oil change after every 5000 to 7000 miles, to ensure you’re never caught out by IMS failure, many Porsche drivers prefer to check and switch out their oil and filter more often instead.
Oil leaks that occur at the back of the engine may not always indicate IMS bearing failure but instead should be seen as a sign to inspect the part for signs of failure. If caused by the IMS bearing, a rear oil leak can be due to failure of the IMS flange seal. This problem will need to be investigated by a Porsche specialist.
If you suspect that your Porshe’s IMS bearing is failing, don’t drive it. Driving your Porsche dramatically increases the risk of metal pieces escaping the damaged bearing and flying around your engine, causing massive damage. Instead, it’s worth calling for a tow truck to transport your Porsche safely to European Service Center.
When IMS bearing failure rears its ugly head, call upon our team at European Service Center of Houston. We are your local Porsche specialist, and we’re used to dealing with IMS bearing failure. We will always be transparent and honest when inspecting and diagnosing your IMS bearing problems and won’t recommend replacement unless we deem it necessary and beneficial to your car. So for no-nonsense Porsche repair, give us a call today.