The IMS Solution takes a very different approach to Porsche’s IMS bearing design. The IMS Solution follows the lead of the intermediate or lay shaft which has long been used (trouble free) to rotate the camshafts (via chains) in all Porsche horizontally opposed Boxer type overhead cam air/oil cooled engines. This basic design was first used in 1956 with Ernst Fuhrman type 547/1 dual overhead cam flat 4 engine for the 356A Carrera. This system worked so well that it found a permanent place in all the Mezger/Piëch designed flat 6 cylinder air/oil cooled engines from the 1965 type 901.01 to the 1998 M64.60 993 Turbo plus the water cooled GT1 type racing engine and its road versions used in the 996/997 Turbo, GT2 and GT3 Models.
The IMS solution is a plain bearing replacement system for Boxster and Carrera models for years 2000 through 2005 that utilize the smaller diameter single row IMS bearing. While the IMS Solution is a simple straight forward design, its construction is executed with a level of sophistication and detail that you would only expect from the highest quality manufacturers. The primary advantage of the IMS Solution is its simplicity in design by following a tried and proven approach that a plain bearing, supplied with oil under pressure while the engine is running, insures the highest level of performance and long term reliability. This is the same methodology behind the operation and lubrication of every automotive engine crankshaft main and rod bearing in use today. The IMS Solution equates to a permanent fix to the IMS bearing issues and should last the lifetime the engine.
The IMS Solution provides a comprehensive systematic approach to the IMS bearing replacement plus a desperately needed upgrade to the oil filtration system of the engine. The Spin-On oil filter system includes a special oil filter adapter along with a NAPA 1348 spin on oil filter which replaces the factory oil filter housing and filter element. There is definitely an advantage to the spin on oil filter, this system filters all the oil, all the time with no pressure bypass like the factory design which allows oil to bypass the oil filter when cold and or clogged. Additionally, through an external oiling port on the oil filter adapter, freshly filtered oil is routed to the IMS Solution bearing through a provided ultra high quality external oil line. A small notch is made in the engine case to allow the external oil line to connect into the bearing flange that attaches to the engine case. The location of the line provides more than adequate protection against damage from an off road excursion and is the best choice for this application.
The IMS Solution eliminates eleven wear components of the factory type IMS ball bearing. As the factory IMS bearing begins to fail, the ball bearings start to fracture and expel their metal material into the engine oil which is circulated throughout the entire engine. When metal debris first shows up in the oil filter, it warns that a problem within the engine is taking place. This debris should be checked with a magnet, if it is attracted to the magnet then it is a ferrous material and the factory IMS bearing would be highly suspected as the source. If this deterioration of the ball bearings is allowed to continue, the volume of metal debris will increase dramatically, as stated this metal debris will travel throughout the engine. The debris will damage every bearing, crankshaft main and rod journals, lifters, camshafts, adjusters or tensioners and any other item that is oil lubricated. Consider having this damage being spread throughout the engine by internally deteriorating ball bearings being no different than pouring metal filings into the engine’s crankcase; no one is going to do that. Even before the IMS bearing fails, the internal collateral damage caused by the metal debris has already destroyed the engine. When the factory IMS bearing does finally fail, valve timing will be lost, pistons and valves will make contact and almost all of the major engine components will be lost.
Porsche utilized three versions of the sealed ball type IMS bearing in the water cooled normally aspirated M96 and M97 engines from MY 1997 through 2008. Each version of the bearing was utilized in specific model years; however, each version also had overlapping periods of usage with the IMS version that either superseded or preceded it. If your car has a factory replacement engine installed (following a failure) it would likely have the IMS bearing that Porsche was utilizing in their new engines at the time when the rebuild took place. In this case, the only way to tell for sure is to inspect the size of the center stud and retaining nut as the version three bearing has a noticeably larger center stud and nut than the earlier versions one and two. For those that have the larger single row version three bearing (MY 2006 to 2008), unfortunately this cannot be extracted from the engine case and requires the dismantling of the engine to replace a suspect and or failing IMS bearing.
As many of you already know, there is currently a class action lawsuit settlement in progress against Porsche for IMS related failures in 2001 through 2005 Boxster and Carrera models. In the lawsuit documentation it identifies that Porsche has covered under warranty or goodwill, approximately 3100 engines that failed due to IMS bearing issues. Of course the lawsuit is not for the engines covered by Porsche, it is for the cost to the owners which were not covered. The total number of IMS engine failures is not known but our concern is how these engines will age from here. As the miles add up on these cars, we expect that the number of failures will continue to increase because the factory bearing is a weak point that has been known to fail. Upgrading to the higher quality IMS Solution ends the worry.
Enjoy Your Porsche.