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moondoggy

2000 C2 owner and PCA support of 996's

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Recently PCA posted attempt to accommodate 996 owners who may be frustrated with value and IMS controversy.  We're aware of the class action suit won against Porsche regarding the original IMS.  Also, it's recommended that we replace the original IMS anyway and don't know how to determine if it was defective to begin with.  There's a company publishing on Facebook, believe called Gearheads, that put the 996's as one of 8 sports cars that, if bought, should be done with extreme caution.  Some of PCA comments included that maybe 1 of 10 996's may experience IMS failure (local dealer told me maybe 1 of 100 and part of problem due to lack of mileage accumulation) and 9 of10 potential buyers have issues with IMS controversy.  Not very helpful from my perspective.  Another engineering problem is with pinion gear in 2d gear of manual tranny.  I've replaced IMS and installed new tranny.  Assume there were at least 50k of this model sold and, if so, a lot of potentially frustrated owners.  Acknowledge that some non 996 owners response might be we had a choice.  MY car's been for sale and can only tell prospective buyer the replacement IMS warranty was only for 30 days.  I'm preparing to discuss this at future PCA meets and seeking comments.   

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I don't really know where to begin.  

 

Currently, 996s are inexpensive to purchase, for a couple of reasons.  Porsche sold a lot of them, so their prices aren't elevated by scarcity.  Porsche purists look at them sideways, since they incorporated water cooling, and the styling shares forward-styling cues with the Boxster.  For these, and so many other reasons, they're comparatively inexpensive, which is great if you're a buyer, and less wonderful if you've purchased a 996 new with the expectations that it would retain long-term value.

 

I have seen the IMS failure rate estimated at 5% or so.  The early dual row bearing engines seem to do better than the later single row ones.  Although the IMS gets a lot of heat, there are plenty of other possible failures that can destroy the motor.  At one point, Porsche had somewhat reasonably priced replacement engines available, but today's factory spare engines, if available, cost well more than the value of the car.  Lesser-cost options for a new engine are developing, but none of them are "cheap".  For many, losing an ~$25K engine is the end of that car as an economically viable item.

 

If the IMS is a wear item, and you feel so inclined, you can replace it for little incremental cost when the transmission is out for a clutch change.  If you have a Tip, then you'd R&R the transmission just to repair the IMS, or replace the main seal.  And theories abound about the merits of frequent oil changes, oil filter media inspections, and other actions that may make an IMS failure less likely, or allow you to nip it in the bud, before the engine self-destructs.  But, if the 5% failure rate is correct, then 95% of 996s never experience IMS failure.

 

The transaxle has some weak parts, usually the second gear syncro and the pinion bearing.  If those let go, it usually isn't the end of the car, and there are some capable firms to set failed transaxles right.  Compared to losing a $25K engine, the loss of a transmission seems like you're getting away with little punishment by comparison.  

 

I'm in my mid-fifties, and have been enamored with Porsche since the mid-1970s.  In those days, 356s were thought of as "worthless" and the 914 followed in that entry-level role in the next decade.  As the years have gone by, model after model have risen from the low point of their depreciation curve, and are not considered "disposable" anymore.  This does not mean that the 996 will be a future classic (other than limited production models like the GT2 or GT3) with rapidly escalating values, but they do make for an acessible entry into the Porsche world, and they're certainly nice to drive.

 

PCA exists as a gathering place for fans of the marque.  It is not an agency to strong-arm Porsche into doing things, but, as the largest single-marque enthusiasts' club in the world, it is in a position to possibly influence Porsche in some ways.  Porsche Classic may show more love for the 996 by broadening parts offerings, but factory parts command factory prices, and these prices can be painful.  Parts from the VW or Audi bin may cost 20% of the seemingly identical Porsche item, so some of the smaller trim items may have a less-expensive alternate available.  But "hard parts" that are Porsche specific will always carry a premium price.

 

In the end, go into 996 ownership well-informed, and make your own decisions.  There are plenty of other cars that offer 80% of the 996 dynamics for 30% of the cost.  And there are others that do a bit more than the 996, but they may cost three or four times as much to purchase and operate.  The proverbial "*** for every seat" comment applies to 996s, and perhaps it's a good fit for you, or you might be happier elsewhere. But I do hope you find what you're looking for.

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Thanks sburke for extensive response.  And so where do I continue from.  Been PCA member and porsche owner since late 1960's off and on until now, total 3 of them; last one the 2000 C2 cabrio since Jan 2011.  With 74k miles, not a garage queen.  Experience with PCA in 60's unfortunately similar to now.  Back then, had parts availability problem and were told by porsche rep at PCA meet that simply had to live with the problem.  You didn't mention the class action suit and I learned about it from a friend with Ferrari and 911 who referred to either Motor Week or Auto Week article criticizing porsche for hard headedness with the IMS problem.  I replaced tranny with brand new one from DCautomotive because cheaper than removing pinion bearing problem tranny, shipping to rebuild and reinstalling.  AT time had IMS replaced.  (Had RMS replaced with new clutch).  Your 5% stats don't match  PCA stats that assume based on coordination with porsche.   PCA technicians aware of these problems but, since volunteers, couldn't do much but offer replacement advice.  The LN engineering replacement cost with labor when tranny replaced, $1k.  Offers 30 day warranty only for their bearing.  Would assume PCA and/or porsche interested in original bearings to confirm if were defective to begin with.  Don't expect 996 value to match air cooled and post 996 but assumed PCA, supposedly advocate for owners, would try to be more influential to help alleviate negativity of  IMS (and relatively unknown pinion bearing) controversies. This especially due to your ref to the number 996's produced.  Assume non 996 owners see no negative impact on their car values due to 996 noteriety.  Last for now, also have problem with wiring harnesses in light fixtures due to degradation of plastic coating on the wiring.  Having mine rewired currently.  Renntech.org suggests due to EU environmental regs that preclude making wiring that lasts longer.  Appreciate that mine has been well taken care of and garaged all its life.  Then what to do with PCA stats that 9 of 10 potential 996 buyers are understandably nervous about them.  What to do to assauge these concerns especially when only 30 day warranty for LN bearing.  Again, need PCA help and will address at next members meet I attend here in central VA.  Good luck.    

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Thanks sburke for extensive response.  And so where do I continue from.  Been PCA member and porsche owner since late 1960's off and on until now, total 3 of them; last one the 2000 C2 cabrio since Jan 2011.  With 74k miles, not a garage queen.  Experience with PCA in 60's unfortunately similar to now.  Back then, had parts availability problem and were told by porsche rep at PCA meet that simply had to live with the problem.  You didn't mention the class action suit and I learned about it from a friend with Ferrari and 911 who referred to either Motor Week or Auto Week article criticizing porsche for hard headedness with the IMS problem.  I replaced tranny with brand new one from DCautomotive because cheaper than removing pinion bearing problem tranny, shipping to rebuild and reinstalling.  AT time had IMS replaced.  (Had RMS replaced with new clutch).  Your 5% stats don't match  PCA stats that assume based on coordination with porsche.   PCA technicians aware of these problems but, since volunteers, couldn't do much but offer replacement advice.  The LN engineering replacement cost with labor when tranny replaced, $1k.  Offers 30 day warranty only for their bearing.  Would assume PCA and/or porsche interested in original bearings to confirm if were defective to begin with.  Don't expect 996 value to match air cooled and post 996 but assumed PCA, supposedly advocate for owners, would try to be more influential to help alleviate negativity of  IMS (and relatively unknown pinion bearing) controversies. This especially due to your ref to the number 996's produced.  Assume non 996 owners see no negative impact on their car values due to 996 noteriety.  Last for now, also have problem with wiring harnesses in light fixtures due to degradation of plastic coating on the wiring.  Having mine rewired currently.  Renntech.org suggests due to EU environmental regs that preclude making wiring that lasts longer.  Appreciate that mine has been well taken care of and garaged all its life.  Then what to do with PCA stats that 9 of 10 potential 996 buyers are understandably nervous about them.  What to do to assauge these concerns especially when only 30 day warranty for LN bearing.  Again, need PCA help and will address at next members meet I attend here in central VA.  Good luck.    

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Forgot to add comments on the recommended Michelin tires.  Appreciate can't rotate them and understand rear wears faster, but disappointed Michelin won't honor 20k  warranty because don't/can't rotate them.  So, switched to AS2's on rear (front getting no wear obviously due to no weight up there-also accept little noisier with AS2), with 40k warranty.  We know can expect maybe 10k miles on P2's and 20k miles on AS2's before reach wear bar, but at least get little more use.  NOte, don't track mine for reasons other than fact would accelerate wear, i.e., insurance and damage.  FYI, have 2 P2's at wear bar for sale consider for track use.  And, know that some thoughts on this include fact that extra tire wear comes with the car and if not like, buy a vette.  Also, can consider other less expensive tire manufacturer in future.

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Guys, I am not really sure what you are trying to get at, but the reality of the situation is that all of the M96/97 engines came with fairly well documented issue, namely the IMS bearing.  Risk level varies according to which version the car has and is well documented.  Porsche has never acknowledged the issue other than within the bounds of the class action, which did not cover all cars.

 

The aftermarket recognized the opportunity to step up and offer a fix, which multiple companies have done; albeit some very good fixes, others not so much.  But choices are readily available, and at varying price points.

 

From direct experience, PCA is by far more a social organization rather than a lobbying arm or enforcement agency for car owners.  While they may choose to communicate member's concerns to Porsche, they obviously do not see their role as interceding for the car owners.  If they had, there probably would not have been a class action in the first place.

 

So were does leave current or potential owners?  You have choices: You can buy the car, knowing the issue exists, and factoring in the expense of doing a retrofit, or move on to something else.  Current owners can access where they see themselves going, and either doing the retrofit or accepting the potential risks.  We do PPI's on these cars just about every day, and cars with documented quality retrofits are doing just fine in the resale arena.

 

As for warranty, like most things in life, these cars and their replacment parts have limited warranties.  LN only offers a 30 day on their ceramic hybrid replacement bearings, and recommends replacement every 75K miles.  This is not out of line for automotive replacement components.  If you want a better warranty, they also offer their IMS Solution, which comes with a 5 year part warranty when installed by an approved installer.  The Solution is also the only known permanent (read life of the engine) retrofit system, so there is no recommended replacement window, but it costs more money.  And as with their ceramic hybrid retrofits, cars carrying the Solution command a significant premium at resale.

 

So there are choices, you can choose to own one of the cars or not.  If you do choose to own one, you have choices of whether to retrofit or not.  If you choose to retrofit, again you have choices.  But PCA is not going to fight a battle with PCNA over this issue.  It is not why they exist.

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These cars are great fun, but they are not cheap to run.  Why bother to make a fuss after all this time.  996's are now, at best, at least 11 years old.  What can you expect from an 11 year old car?  Already I have had to replace some brake lines, air con tubes, air con rad, coolant reservoir bottle, air oil separator, alternator, oil filler tube, exhausts, suspension drop links and the shock are to be changed this year.  Compared with Toyota longevity (I have two), they are toast, but they are ten times the fun.  I smile every time I get into my 996. 

 

My 2003/996 has done about 67K of which I have done 22k enjoyable miles.  Although it did have a replacement engine by Porsche at about 25K (reason unknown). If it gets to 100K I will be happy and at that time I will consider some major engine works including an IMS bearing upgrade, chain tensioners and complete replacement of coolant hoses.  I hope I live that long. 

 

Just buy/drive it and enjoy it while it lasts.

 

H

 

 

 

 

Edited by Hilux2400

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Thanks sburke for extensive response.  And so where do I continue from.  Been PCA member and porsche owner since late 1960's off and on until now, total 3 of them; last one the 2000 C2 cabrio since Jan 2011.  With 74k miles, not a garage queen.  Experience with PCA in 60's unfortunately similar to now.  Back then, had parts availability problem and were told by porsche rep at PCA meet that simply had to live with the problem.  You didn't mention the class action suit and I learned about it from a friend with Ferrari and 911 who referred to either Motor Week or Auto Week article criticizing porsche for hard headedness with the IMS problem.  I replaced tranny with brand new one from DCautomotive because cheaper than removing pinion bearing problem tranny, shipping to rebuild and reinstalling.  AT time had IMS replaced.  (Had RMS replaced with new clutch).  Your 5% stats don't match  PCA stats that assume based on coordination with porsche.   PCA technicians aware of these problems but, since volunteers, couldn't do much but offer replacement advice.  The LN engineering replacement cost with labor when tranny replaced, $1k.  Offers 30 day warranty only for their bearing.  Would assume PCA and/or porsche interested in original bearings to confirm if were defective to begin with.  Don't expect 996 value to match air cooled and post 996 but assumed PCA, supposedly advocate for owners, would try to be more influential to help alleviate negativity of  IMS (and relatively unknown pinion bearing) controversies. This especially due to your ref to the number 996's produced.  Assume non 996 owners see no negative impact on their car values due to 996 noteriety.  Last for now, also have problem with wiring harnesses in light fixtures due to degradation of plastic coating on the wiring.  Having mine rewired currently.  Renntech.org suggests due to EU environmental regs that preclude making wiring that lasts longer.  Appreciate that mine has been well taken care of and garaged all its life.  Then what to do with PCA stats that 9 of 10 potential 996 buyers are understandably nervous about them.  What to do to assauge these concerns especially when only 30 day warranty for LN bearing.  Again, need PCA help and will address at next members meet I attend here in central VA.  Good luck.    

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Thanks for the response, HILUX.  If you research further in renntech, you'll find a high 996 mileage club with many of their odos at 6 figures plus.  Then, if you talk to Rob, owner DCautomotive, he'll also vouch for 100k+ 996's.  Yes, it'll last longer than you (I'm 73) without major work (other than IMS replacement engine and pinion bearing tranny).  ALso, per renntech, easiest to DIY porsches other than in my history with the cars, 356, 912 and 914.  Plus, depending on your summers, with water cooling, dissipates heat better, making AC more efficient than air cooled.  If interested, with the VIN, dealer and/or porsche north america could tell you why engine replacement if under original factory warranty or result of class action suit.  Mine isn't a garage queen other than snow and salted road surface conditions, leaving me with central VA weather, about 11 months of use, averaging 6k miles annually with cabrio and hardtop.  Not tracked and yes, enjoy the cars off and on since 1967.

 

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JFP in PA, interim reply.  Not sure who fickle finger is for but don't want to be sensitive like some porshephiles I've met in past decades.  Also, your Feynman  quote could be applicable to my concerns.  More to come.   

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