Up until now there has been no way to determine the condition of the IMS bearing without removal of the transmission and associated components to perform a direct inspection of the bearing. Due to the time and expense necessary to gain access to the IMS bearing, it is generally considered best to remove and replace it regardless of its condition as a preventive measure.
The IMS Guardian is sold as a complete system. The package includes a wiring harness, electronic circuitry box with audio buzzer, all wiring connectors, an LED warning light/test switch, the MCD sensor, installation instructions and a step by step Installation DVD.
The installation is straight forward and made relatively easy by the details available in the manual. It appears that Raby Engine Development has done the hard work of thinking through the process and has designed a product that is easy to install and operate. Someone that works on their own car and can follow electrical wiring instruction will likely do fine. The basic tools needed are; flat head screw driver, Phillips screwdriver, jewelers screw driver, M8 Allen wrench, Crescent wrench or 26MM open end wrench and wire strippers/crimpers. For the professional mechanic we would estimate approximately 3 hours installation time when having access to a vehicle lift.
The IMS Guardian’s combination LED warning light/test switch is designed to be installed into an unused factory accessory switch position located on either side of the dash A/C Heater controls. The LED test switch can be wired to have dimmable backlighting for night operation. The IMS Guardian’s circuit box and alarm buzzer are mounted behind and under the dash. The cable to the MCD sensor is routed through the dash and under the center console. The cable will then pass through the engine compartment alongside the shift cables for the transmission/gearbox. The MCD sensor replaces the engine oil drain plug and connects to the IMS Guardian’s main cable via an electrical plug.
The operation of the IMS Guardian system is fairly basic and easy to understand. Under normal operating conditions the LED warning light is illuminated in amber letting you know that the system is operating. By pressing and holding the LED warning light/test switch, the system will go into the test mode, the LED will change from amber to red and the warning buzzer will sound. When the switch is released the system will go back to normal operation and the amber LED will again be visible.
If the MCD sensor becomes bridged with metal debris during normal operation of the car, the LED warning light will change from amber to red and the buzzer will sound. At this point it may be best to call the Raby Engine Development’s 800 number helpline for support. We would suggest that the car not be driven further until the source of the metal debris can be determined and corrected.
It should also be mentioned that every time an IMS Guardian equipped car has an oil service, the MCD sensor should be inspected. If metal debris is present on the MCD magnets, it should be photographed for future reference and the timeframe and mileage since the last service documented. The MCD should then be cleaned and all debris removed at each service. If debris is left in place, it will likely result in a future false warning due to a long term accumulation of ferrous materials. When the IMS bearing begins to fail, the bearing will expel more than enough ferrous material to activate the IMS Guardian’s warning system leaving adequate time for preventive action to be taken.
Tony Callas & Tom Prine