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spg356

IMS Bearing Puller

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Greetings,

I will be doing a clutch replacement on my '98 5 speed with 107k. I am looking into replacing the IMS bearing and have questions regarding the puller that Pelican and LN sell.

1) Is it necessary to do the job?

2) If so, are there any do-it-yourselfers out there that will rent or sell me one? I am a longtime 356 Registry and PCA member and will do right by anyone that can help with that, it just seems that almost $200 for a one time use tool (in my case, at least) is a bit much, so if you have one just laying around.....

Also, Pelican sells an IMS bearing with a stronger outer seal. My original bearing has made it to 107k so that one seems fine by me vs. the LN part, unless anyone has heard anything different.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Sebastian

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All of the tools included in the LN install kit are absolutely necessary, especially the puller and installation tool. Without it, it would be very difficult to extract the bearing, or properly install the new one.

The people that developed this kit did their homework on what is required and how the install should be done; I’d strongly suggest following their instructions as most of the problems we have seen happen when people try to take short cuts or skip steps in the process……..

Edited by JFP in PA

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Thanks JFP,

I highly value your opinion. I ordered the parts today along with the puller, but went with the Pelican parts factory bearing with a stronger seal.

I certainly do not want this to become another IMS bearing thread, but how much do you like the LN bearing over the Pelican modified bearing?

It's another $400 for the LN bearing which I will pay if it is vastly superior (or the Pelican bearing is vastly inferior!).

Thanks,

Sebastian

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Thanks JFP,

I highly value your opinion. I ordered the parts today along with the puller, but went with the Pelican parts factory bearing with a stronger seal.

I certainly do not want this to become another IMS bearing thread, but how much do you like the LN bearing over the Pelican modified bearing?

It's another $400 for the LN bearing which I will pay if it is vastly superior (or the Pelican bearing is vastly inferior!).

Thanks,

Sebastian

OK, this is always a bit of a “thorny” subject, but here goes: Wayne’s bearing approach was always designed to be “the low cost alternative” to the IMS problem. To that end, he has only one style bearing; there is only a single row type that is used with spacers in a double row application. The bearing is all steel, but supposedly has an improved seal and “lifetime” grease lubrication. How long this seal will hold up is an unknown. It uses a larger center stud, a known weakness in the OEM design. The Pelican unit uses an OEM style mounting flange.

The LN unit is a ceramic hybrid bearing that according to the specs is much more durable than steel. It comes in both single and double row styles (as well as a triple row version for the 2005 and later cars requiring a total tear down to install). It has no seals and is splash lubricated by engine oil. It also uses a larger and stronger center stud. The LN unit uses an updated flange that they produce.

In essence, the Pelican is just a new factory bearing, with perhaps better seals and a larger center stud. It is not immune to same potential issues the OEM bearing had. I am somewhat ambivalent about the use of single row only with spacers in a factory double row engine; how this will play out long term is unknown. Wayne has stressed from the outset that he want to see these bearings replaced at a minimum every 40K miles, or whenever the clutch needs to be done (if sooner). This obviously fails to take into account the Tiptronic owners, who typically pay a bit more to have the IMS updated done due to the more complex nature of the automatic cars from a labor standpoint, and obviously do not have any expectations for pulling the unit again for maintenance reasons. The total installed base for the Pelican units is rather small, perhaps only numbering in the hundreds as it has only be available to customers since April of this year. In any case, with such a small installed base, and no information on any potential failures available, no real longevity data is discernible.

The LN bearing has been sold commercially since March of 2009, and therefore has a much larger installed base; the last numbers I saw were in excess of 7,000 units. Of the units installed, only a handful (7 or 8) have encountered problems, most due to poor installation or ingestion of debris from other non IMS related engine component failures. The single bearing cage was redesigned with new material in late '10 and there have been no failures of that part reported since. The double bearing part has no reported failures. At last report, there was only one failure that could not be accounted for. Suggested maintenance intervals for the LN unit are 5 years or 50-60K miles, and this is based upon LN’s conservative view until they feel they have sufficient data to extend the intervals. Ln has a network of installers available for those who chose not to do it themselves.

In my world, the largest disconnect is that for a customer that pays a shop to do the update, the price differential between using a Pelican or a LN bearing is only about $300-400 (depends upon which style bearing) more for the LN unit in a project that is probably going to cost over $2K. The Pelican approach gives you a new old bearing, no different than what you started with; and in some installations, a smaller bearing (single vs. dual row) with spacers holding it in place. Whether it will have a longer or shorter life than the OEM unit is yet to be determined, but in any case, it will have to be replaced more frequently.

From what we have seen, the LN unit appears to be a more robust solution, with correctly sized bearings available for the application, and with continuous lubrication. The modest cost differential seems to be more than offset by the LN unit’s longer projected life expectancy. I would guess that it comes down to a personal decision; if you are only planning to keep the car for a short time, perhaps saving the money would be an approach to consider. If your plans are different, you may choose differently as well.

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^^^^

Very well stated. LN and Flat 6 keep meticulous records and their install and success rate numbers are great. I just had my IMSB retrofitted up at Flat 6 Innovations in Georgia due in part to the success numbers.

My dual row bearing in my 996 was in exceptional shape with 117,000 miles. But, peace of mind is now what I have.

To me, putting a superior part in a place that can cause superior problems if failed just made sense.

Bottom line, if you can afford the LN bearing I would bite the bullet and do it right the first time.

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JFP,

After your thoughtful response, I ordered the LN bearing and will return the factory bearing. As you said, another $400 on a $2,000 job.....you'd hate to look back and say "I shoulda spent the extra dough..."

Now, another hot button topic. With a car that has 107K and a soon to be installed LN bearing, which oil should I use? Since 40K on the odo, the car has received Mobil1 0-40 every 5K miles religiously.

And to Porsche Pilot.. thanks so much for the extra emphasis!

Regards,

Sebastian

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Anytime, glad to be of help.

The subject of oil is always a "lightning rod" topic. For many years, the "standard oil" we have used in the shop has been Castrol Syntec (now Edge with Syntec Technology) in a 10W-40 weight. This was based upon years of UOA data from customer's engines. Most recently, we have been experimenting with Joe Gibbs DT 40, a high ZDDP full synthetic 5W-40 Group 4-5 oil out of Joe Gibbs racing. While the UOA results are obviously more limited, they have been very good as well. While a bit more expensive, the DT40 appears to be worth the money.

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JFP,

I use high ZDDP oil (Brad Penn) in my 356's. I understand that the ZDDP is bad for catlytic converters and that is why modern oils have phased it out, yet it is still good for the old flat tappet non-cat engines.

Sebastian

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ZDDP is an excellent anti wear additive for any type of engine. And, yes, the OEM's are pushing to have it reduced/eliminated because it can shorten the life of the cats. In reality, however, they are not doing this because they have suddenly developed a "environmentally concerned conscience", they are doing it because the EPA has the OEM on the hook to warranty the cats for 8 years or 80,000 miles, and cats are expensive. As a car owner, your tradeoff is to run a high ZDDP oil and risk the cats going sooner (which is speculative), or running low or non ZDDP oils and suffering engine wear that only shows up after the warranty is gone. You also need to remember that you can crawl under the car and replace your cats with some simple hand tools; but rebuilding your engine is going to require a bit more equipment and dollars..........

Edited by JFP in PA

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