How to Repair an IMS Bearing Failure in a Porsche

by wp_germanmotorspb July 28, 2018

Porsche Car on Road

The Porsche IMS bearing now has gained quite the reputation – for all the wrong reasons. Porsche is an adored brand for those with an appreciation for the finest in German engineering.

Unfortunately for Porsche, there are a handful of now-infamous flaws that have garnered a lot of negative attention in the car industry. Here’s an overview on what you need to know about IMS bearing failure in your Porsche and what to do if it happens to you.

Why it is Important

The Intermediate Shaft Bearing, called IMS bearing for short, is critical to the function of your Porsche engine. The IMS bearing drives the 4 camshafts off the crankshaft via the timing chains. This design is characteristic of the flat 6 cylinder Porsche engine and water-cooled Turbo, GT2 and GT3.

It is important because IMS bearing failures can cause camshaft timing to be completely thrown off, requiring a comprehensive disassembly of the entire engine. If damage is too great, the engine itself may need replacement. As you can imagine, this worst case scenario comes with a very hefty price.

Is my car at risk?

Overall, IMS bearing failure is rare, which is why the prevalence of this issue in Porsche vehicles has received so much attention.

There are a few things to look for to see early signs of an IMS bearing failure. First, there may be metal or plastic debris present in the oil or oil filter that can be found during a routine oil change, or a slight oil leak may also appear at the rear of the engine. It requires a certified Porsche mechanic to detect these early warning signs, which again underlines the importance of taking your vehicle to a specialist for all routine maintenance.

If the IMS bearing failure is more advanced, drivers might hear knocking sounds coming from the engine. In this case, you need to stop driving and have your Porsche towed to the shop immediately. Acting quickly at the first indication of trouble might just avoid catastrophic engine failure.

The Porsche models that are widely known for a high IMS bearing failure rate are the Porsche 911 and Porsche Boxster, years 1997-2005.

What to Do

Since the IMS bearing issue is now a Porsche engine hallmark, there is little that drivers can do on their own to safeguard their vehicles and prevent disaster.

You need to rely on an experienced Porsche mechanic to keep your car running as smoothly as possible and to take certain preventative steps. A Porsche expert knows to always closely inspect the oil and oil filter for the slightest indication of those telltale debris during every oil change. They will thoroughly inspect the entire engine for any signs of a leak or other issues.

Regular, professional grade maintenance is also necessary and can potentially prolong the life of a faulty IMS bearing.

The engine cooling system in your Porsche needs to be functioning flawlessly to ensure proper oil temperature and of course, you must always use high quality full synthetic oil that is frequently changed. Your mechanic may also remove the grease seals from the IMS bearings to increase lubrication and decrease temperature, or proactively change out the IMS bearing for updated, more reliable replacements. Unfortunately, these are measures that can only be done on a handful of susceptible Porsche models.

In the end, the best and only thing that Porsche owners can do is to find the most reliable, trusted Porsche shop for all maintenance, preventative care, and repair needs.

Who to Trust

German Motors and Imports has been servicing Porsches of all models and years since 1959. We have over 5 decades of experience diagnosing and repairing IMS bearing issues. Or team has given peace of mind to Porsche owners throughout the areas of San Diego, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, and Clairemont, CA.

Porsche Cayman

You simply cannot risk having your German performance car touched by anyone who is not an expert in the exclusive engineering behind it. Our mechanics are factory-trained to service Porsche, BMW, Audi, Mini Cooper, and Volkswagen vehicles. The team is constantly attending workshops and seminars to stay up-to-date with the latest in specialized diagnostic and repair for these luxury brands. Trust the lifetime care of your Porsche to the authorities at German Motors and Imports to ensure your Porsche stays at peak performance for many years to come.

* Porsche Car on Road image credit goes to: Terroa.

* Porsche Cayman image credit goes to: SusanaValera.