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Yup - IMS Failed - 2005 Boxster S engine replacement question

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Well, it happened to me. What I was most concerned about and why I almost did not buy a Porsche. The IMS went and completely trashed the engine. As everyone here probably knows, 17k + labor for replacement from Porsche.

I purchased a power warranty from Interstate National Dealer Services and after inspection they said because the external bolt that leads to the IMS bearing was broken off, that that was the problem and they do not cover it because it was not an internally lubricated part. I have the best Porsche mechanic in Southwest Virginia who has worked on well over 1000 Porsche engines and has over 40 years experience telling them otherwise. I sense I will have to get a lawyer involved. I write this only to let everyone know that all these aftermarket insurance companies are weasels and to avoid this one at all costs.

But my question lies in my search for a less expensive alternative to a new Porsche engine. I am trying to do research on my own before I approach my mechanic.

Are all of the engines from 2005 - 2008 interchangeable? In other words, can I take a 2008 Cayman S engine and drop it in without any issues in my 2005? I found several places on the web that sells engines and has various years available from 2005 - 2008 and they say they will fit unmodified. Obviously, if I can search fro 4 years of engines instead of 1, I will have a better chance of finding one. I also know the later the year the better chance of another engine failure happening because of the same IMS problem.

Thanks so much in advance for your reply. I really appreciate it!

A very sad Porsche owner at the moment,


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I feel your pain.. I lost a 996 engine in the past. Seems to me that you should contact Porsche.. They have been known to give "goodwiil" on 2005 engines even though they are out of warranty. The 05 engines had a lot of IMS failures and had the "old design" IMS bearing. 06 + engines had the newer design.. Not failure proof but much better bearing. Porsche is well aware of the problems with the 05's..

Your didn't mention mileage..Do you have low miles? I would contact Porsche about your failure.. Sounds like you are the type that did all required maintenance at a certified Porsche shop. I would contact Porsche with all service records and see if they will work with you. MANY 05 owners (out of warranty) have received refief form Porsche on IMS failures.

I have heard the the way to succeed with Porsche is to be relentless but polite and civil in seeking goodwill. I blelieve you have a very good chance of a positive outcome.

I would start there.

I'm reasonably sure that engines through 08 would be "plug and play" as long as they are the same displacement.

Let us know what happens.. Don't panic yet and drop $20k on and engine....

Edited by phillipj
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Sorry to hear about your loss.

You can go from 2002 to 2008 (just as long as they have dual variocam). You might have to double check on the 2002.

The early years could be even better because you can do an LN IMS Retrofit upgrade before installing the engine

and significantly reduce or darn near eliminate the chance for another IMS failure.

The later 2005 (at some point) and on have a revised IMS and cannot be retrofitted as the bearing carrier is larger than

the block opening.

Depending on how much damage was done when the bearing or in your case bolt failed -- your engine maybe rebuildable.

However, it's possibly cheaper and quicker to find a used motor -- but they have their unknown question marks as you can imagine.

good luck


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He sould seek goodwill first...

Never hurts to ask, but I seriously doubt that PCNA is going to come through on a car that is approaching 8 years old and that far out of warranty. We have a couple of customers with relatively low mileage 2005, 2006, and 2007 cars suffer the same fate, and even though they were multiple new car purchasers from the same dealership, PCNA only offered them a small discount off the replacement engines, none of them got the replacement costs covered.

As for replacement engines, I'd look for a nice one in the 2003-2004 model time frame. Many of the 2005 engines came from the factory with the "final solution" unserviceable IMS in them, so I would also be looking at the last two years before the 2005's to be on the safe side. If you do find a 05, look at the IMS center bolt, if it is the 22MM unit, it is the one that cannot be replaced. If you find one with the smaller center bolt, it can be updated with the LN Engineering unit. Anything later than 2005 is not easily updateable without spending nearly as much money as buying the engine from PCNA.

As for your experience with after-market warrantee coverage, you are not alone. For the most part, concerned owner’s would be better off putting the same funds in a “repair fund” account, or spending it on getting the engine updated with the LN unit. A lot of independent shop owners, myself included, will not deal with them on any repairs.

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All, thanks for the replies. I really appreciate it.

I actually looked into Goodwill but because I am not the original owner, I am the 2nd, they would not consider it.

Interesting about the older years prior to 2005. I had not thought about that. Wouldn't I be giving up some horsepower though?

I did not know the bearings were different in newer models...

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  • That's too bad. I hope you can find a solution. If I had a M96 engine i would most definetly do the LN IMS upgrade.. I hope you find a solution. I have been in your shoes and know how confused and angry I was.. It all worked out though ..
  • Good luck with you engine search...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just had the IMS blow out on my 2005 Boxster S this weekend. The best I can tell is your options are a used engine, reman or a rebuild. LA Auto Dismantlers have a 3.2L and a 3.4L used engines for sale. You need to be careful on what you purchase. As you said, 17 to 18K for a remanufactured engine, I'd suggest adding the IMS fix while you are at it. I just shipped mine to Jake Raby in Cleveland, GA and waiting on the prognosis. They can build my engine into a solid 3.6L but it will take 4 months and mine is my only car. Let us know what you decide.

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I got very lucky. I was so worried about what I read about the IMS failures that I took out a engine/powertrain warranty for $1,600 when I bought the car. It took a month but the insurance company, Interstate, is paying $19,800 in total of which $17k is a brand new engine and the rest goes towards the labor. I will have some out of pocket but not much at all. I should be getting my car back this week. The IMS upgrade could not be done because this is a newer sealed bearing. The engine has a 2 year warranty on it so I plan on getting rid of the car by then and getting a newer one, 2009 or newer so I will never have to worry about this particular problem again.

I was so disgusted with Porsche I sold my 2006 Cayenne Turbo S for no other reason than to not have another Porsche. In hindsight, I already miss the incredible power that had and probably should have slept on it but I was just so pissed at Porsche as many people who have had this happen to them have been, that I was seeing red. The fact that they knew about this and have not lived up to the reputation they have by recalling or in some way owning up to the problem, truly amazes me. The problem is, there cars are for the most part very reliable and a real blast to own.

I had found LA Dismantlers and another place in NC called DC Auto I believe. I also spoke to Jake Ruby about rebuilding the engine. The issue I had was it was just not worth spending 20k out of pocket on a car that is only worth 25k anyways. I would probably have sold it for whatever I could have gotten and bought a 2009 or newer.

Thanks to everyone for the advice through this whole thing...


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That's certainly good news!

Often the adjusters that work for the automobile service contract companies have very limited knowledge about specific marques or specific engines. When you have an expert Porsche mechanic with decades of experience who stands ready to testify about the cause of the engine failure and that it was a covered cause, the company will back down.

They have no interest in a losing legal battle, just an interest in seeing which of their contract holders will just go away without a fight.

Congratulations on your outcome.

Regards, Maurice.

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