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Porsche 986 Boxster

Tips to Maintain the IMS Bearing in Your Porsche

by techplusaadmin February 17, 2019

You might have heard the acronym IMS as a Porsche owner, but you might not know what it means. Why are the IMS bearings so important? What are they? And what happens when they go wrong?

The Role of the IMS Bearings

IMS is an acronym that means “intermediate shaft bearing“. This means that it is a supported bearing inside the intermediate shaft, located on the flywheel of your motor. The intermediate shaft serves the purpose of driving your camshafts directly off of your crankshaft. When your vehicle uses the intermediate shaft, the speed of all of those chains is reduced and that helps guarantee a longer lifespan for the chains.

This is a basic design that has been used throughout 6-cylinder engines since about 1998. Having this intermediate shaft has been an integral component to the type of engine that you see inside most Porsche vehicles. In fact, this exact design has been used with the water-cooled turbo model, the GT2, and the GT3 model. All of these engines are based off the same engine case which has the same internal components.

This intermediate shaft has plain bearings on it which are fed pressurized oil, specifically engine oil, in order to lubricate them. If your bearings start to wear out your engine might produce a small knocking sound. The condition of IMS bearings failure will not necessarily result in a complete engine failure, but it is a definite possibility, so it is an issue that should be taken very seriously. If you hear that knocking sound or see any other signs of IMS bearing failure, you should get your vehicle into a skilled mechanic as soon as possible to reduce your chances of a pricey fix or total engine replacement.

Which Porsche models are more likely to have IMS bearing failure?

There are certain Porsche models which are prone to this type of failure and will likely need replacements at some point in the car’s life. Specifically, all of the 986 Boxster Porsche models, as well as certain 987 Cayman and Boxster models. With the exception of the turbo and GT models, all of the Porsche 996 models run this risk. If you have one of these models, it may be worth talking to your reliable Porsche mechanic about inspecting your IMS bearings for any sign of strain or failure.

So what really goes wrong with IMS bearings failure?

There are a number of reasons for IMS bearing failure, but most of the time the failure is the result of many things, not just one factor. The more you use your vehicle, the more strain is going to be placed on these components. Once the bearings reach the end of their lifespan it starts to result in failure. If your bearings do not have the proper lubrication, that can result in high heat conditions, which can lead to early failure. They could cause a lot of friction which pushes the bearings beyond their strength point and leaves them fractured. You can see how all of these things work together to create long-term failure.

The worst thing that can happen if you have this type of failure is that your cam timing gets thrown off, which causes your valves and pistons to come into contact. When this happens, you will likely have to replace your engine entirely.

Recognize the Signs

It is always best to recognize the signs of failure Porsche Owner with Mechanic early on, as this can help you avoid even more expensive repairs. When you notice that your vehicle isn’t operating the way that it should, bring it into our skilled mechanics at Tech Plus Automotive.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. The warning signs you might notice include metallic debris in your oil filter (something you or a professional will notice when you have an oil change), you might have an oil leak in the back part of your engine, or you might hear a metallic knocking sound coming from your engine. If you have one or more of these signs, schedule an appointment today.

The sooner you bring in your vehicle, the sooner we can stop any additional damage to the engine. Call us at Tech Plus Automotive. We are convenient to Phoenix, Paradise Valley, McCormick Ranch, and Scottsdale, AZ.

* Porsche 986 Boxster image credit goes to: DarthArt.

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