By on December 27, 2011

 

Sam writes:

Hello, can you tell me what ever happened with the Porsche IMS concern? At 18K miles, an IMS bearing failure has caused a catastrophic engine failure in my Porsche 911. My Porsche dealer (who has done all of the Porsche recommended service on the car since new) just told me that there is nothing that they or Porsche can or will do, and that it is an isolated incident. I have since been doing research online, and I find out that an IMS bearing failure is not at all a rare occurrence.

I am not a litigious person and I am not out to tarnish the Porsche name. But with a repair cost of $19k, I cannot afford to get my car fixed. I am looking to get Porsche to step up and address what would appear to be a bearing design defect.

The problem exists in Carerras, Boxsters and Caymans, and Porsche has redesigned this bearing 4 times and have even designed the IMS completely out of the newest 997 direct injection engines. I need some help please and would be sincerely grateful for any help you can give me.

My Porsche dealer here at first told me that only the stud on the Intermediate Shaft had broken, and that they had caught it in time to prevent catastrophic engine damage. They quoted me on a $2000. repair in which they would install an aftermarket-3rd party bearing manufactured by LN Engineering. They told me that they have installed as many as 6 of the LN Engineering bearings in cars brought in for Porsche authorized service. Then 3 days later when the aftermarket bearing arrived and they went to remove the IMS from my car they discovered that the damage had been much more severe than they had initially thought and thus would only be able to proceed using a Porsche factory rebuilt engine at a cost of $19K. Even if the failure rate is <1%, the cost to the car’s owner is huge (I will not be able to get mine repaired as I do not have that kind of money). It is very telling that an authorized Porsche dealer would be installing non-Porsche manufactured bearings in Porsche engines unless of course…….it is because they know that there is a problem with the OEM bearing design.

While I do not want to see the dealer get into trouble with Porsche Corporate (call me selfish since I only want my car fixed and not some class-action lawsuit) I think that this is significant.

Respectfully yours,
Sam

Sajeev answers:

Your assessment of the situation is complete and seems even more accurate. Yes, the IMS bearing is junk and they fail on many Boxsters, 996s non-turbos and even 997s…except for the latest DI motors which silently resolved the problem. My question to you, at what year of ownership did this happen? Because at 18k, any late model 911 is under warranty and they are legally obligated to fix it under that warranty.

Reading between the lines, many Porkers run out of warranty because of time, not mileage. Such is the life of a play toy. And in that case, I fully understand your situation and I wish you and your 996 (probably) the best of luck.

Months later, Sam updates:

Mr. Mehta: Porsche came through for me in a big way. My 2003 now has a new engine and my feeling is that they went above and beyond for me. I will be buying Porsche again as they stand behind their Products.

Sajeev Concludes:

Maybe Porsche isn’t the only one, but they are in our scope for now: this Piston Slap shows that a loyal customer gets the treatment they deserve, warranty or not.  And those who deviate from the dealership’s paper trail tend to not get what’s coming to them. And heaven forbid you put your Porker on the track, accidentally hit the rev limiter (Big Brother is Watching) a couple times, put a K&N/cat-back exhaust and get your service work done elsewhere.  My argument hinges on your statement:

“My Porsche dealer…who has done all of the Porsche recommended service on the car since new.”

Congrats Sam, I will consider you one of the lucky ones. Best and Brightest, your thoughts???

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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112 Comments on “Piston Slap: Porsche Customer Service doesn’t Stink?...”


  • avatar
    daviel

    You might have a lemon law claim, depending on your state’s statutes. Go on line and see if any attorneys handle this kind of matter. I’d file suit.

  • avatar
    itsgotvtak

    Baruth’s head just exploded in a fit of blind Porsche rage.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    Similar thing happened to me. the MAF went screwy in my Wife’s Audi *just* out of warranty. I had all the service since new done at the dealer and they got Audi to cover the costs of repairing the MAF (they didn’t replace it). Then the MAF died on me 3 years later. I still had the car serviced by Audi so they replaced the MAF with new on thier own dime at their offer (since the 3 year old fix didn’t hold). We now own three Audis and they’ve always treated us well in the sales department and the service department. Keep in mind all this good will is in spite of my ongoing Jihad againt Audi for no longer selling stick shift wagons!

  • avatar
    daviel

    By file suit I mean an action along the lines of a deceptive trade practice based on failure to disclose a known design defect that would affect your decision to purchase this piece of junk in the first place. Again, it depends on your state law, and whether you find an attorney knows how to handle these kinds of cases. Deceptive trade practices cases often provide for attorney fee awards, but you would have to finance the lawsuit yourself and depend on winning to get an attorney fee award. If this is a known defect, as the internet research says, you may have a claim simply based on the salesman not disclosing that fact; just like not telling a home buyer about a foundation problem. If the repair is $19,000, I would spend $19,000 kicking that dealer’s ass. that’s just me. Just an idea.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Ooops, I did not realize the guy they came through for was the original complainant! I can’t believe a company like Porsche would let that defect go on and on without correcting it before failure. Another reason to avoid that company. It seems like a family, genetic, birth defect from VW to Audi to Porsche. I got so pissed off at Porsche selling the design failure in an expensive, supposedly elite machine, that I went straight to court! I think my analysis of the matter is probably why they helped him; not out of altruism.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Sajeev, I hope you caveat lectored the hell out of this story. This smells like Gary Fong.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    That is a good ending for this customer, and kudos for the dealership going to the mat for a loyal customer. This doesn’t address the larger issue of the faulty intermediate shaft bearing. How many people have had one of these fail only to be SOL for something that would have no bearing on the IMS failure? Pun kind of intended.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s some consolation to see that in cases where normal use and dealer servicing can be proven that Porsche deems it fit to look after it customers. However, the IMS fiasco should have been handled by Porsche with a recall or with an extended engine warranty and not the selective acts of mercy from Porsche’s management.

    • 0 avatar
      tkewley

      Agreed. Porsche’s approach in general on the IMS issue seems to be that, if the car is in warranty or is still owned by the original owner, they will replace the motor. If not, you’re out of luck. No one seems to have been able to determine the true IMS failure rate (Porsche hasn’t released stats – what a shock!), but how the company has avoided a class action suit is completely beyond me.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        @twekley Too many fanbois of all ages.

        Because of the good reputation, Porsche gets a pass on many things other companies would get fried for. If they do this enough though, things will change. I suspect we are getting closer to that point as they increase their market share, more mainstream people are less willing to put up with these types of “hiccups”.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      And a lot of the folks are second or third owners: the original buyer goes “Crap! Expensive Problem!Sell!” and the next owner gets stuck. Case in point: my son bought a “bargain” Boxster… only 60,000 miles… but the Check Engine light was on. He took it to his mechanic: the motor was bad. Luckily, my son is a businessman, and had the seller sign a contract saying “Car may be returned within 5 days if it does not meet with mechanic’s approval”, so he trailered the car back to the original owner, and the guy gave him his money back. After that, my son said, “I am NEVER again buying another Porsche!” Gee, how many OTHER 25 – 35 year olds have had the same experience? Does Porsche think those guys– the young dudes who have gotten burned– will EVER buy another Porsche? I think not. Oh, and as a postscript: my son now owns 3 vehicles: Toyota Highlander, Jeep CJ-4 and a late model Corvette.

  • avatar
    daviel

    That is not good customer service; that is customer abuse. Porsche counted their dimes, and in complete disdain of the customer let the bearing go before fixing it – if the customer made them do it. What a crock.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This smacks of the Toyota oil sludging issues in the 3.0 V6 97-02 model years. Lexus customers who had fully dealer maintained vehicles, at the proper intervals were having repairs denied.

    I too am left wondering on how old the Porsche in question is. My dealings with Porsche were in the 80′s and I had no issues (beyond how expensive everything was).

    If I tap into my own experiences – the ex-wife and I had a Subaru Legacy that had the whole HVAC system installed wrong from the factory. It wasn’t discovered until about 10K miles out of warranty by a dealer chasing down fan noise. They told us they couldn’t believe the system ran at all. Regional rep came out, looked at car, covered everything and paid for a nice rental during the repairs. It would have been the kiss of death for the car otherwise as it required gutting the dashboard to make everything right.

    In my eyes when you’re talking about commodities that get north of $50K and can get north of $100K in the case of your car there is the letter of the law in a warranty, and the spirit of the law. Considering your low miles and dealer service, and the fact that this is a well know catastrophic failure point for Porsche, they should do the right thing – or at least make a reasonable offer like, hey, we’ll cover 50% of the cost, or we’ll pay labor and you pay parts, or some other SOMETHING to make you whole and happy.

    I would suggest using the power of social media – go to Twitter and getting onto Piston Slap probably helps – a little.

    If anyone from Porsche is reading this, the well known IMS issue has kept me out of the fold for the better part of a decade. I would love to own another Porsche, but this is exactly the reason why I will not consider a new or used one. I adored my 944S

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    At 18K miles, an IMS bearing failure has caused a catastrophic engine failure in my Porsche 911… I am not a litigious person…

    A 2003 Porsche is out of warranty.
    Period.
    Full Stop.
    Mileage, whether 18K or 180K is not relevant.
    Nice touch leaving the model year (2003) out of the original note.

    …with a repair cost of $19k, I cannot afford to get my car fixed.

    The writer can’t afford to drive an out of warranty 911.

    Porsche did not have to step up, but they did in this case so props to them.

    These Cars have issues. The dealers who sell These Cars have issues. The salesmen who sell These Cars have issues.

    A dealer that doesn’t recommend an IMS Bearing replacement sotto vocce at the time of purchase speaks volumes. A good indy mechanic is required to drive a used, out of warranty Porsche.

    • 0 avatar
      Matthew Sullivan

      “The writer can’t afford to drive an out of warranty 911.”

      This. Very ill-advised on the writer’s part.

      Further, the writer’s declaration that he will buy Porsche in the future is simply madness. Not only should he not buy any more Porsches, he should sell his current car as soon as he gets it back from the dealer.

      I myself opted out of buying a CPO Cayman specifically because of the IMS issue. The Subaru BRZ is currently on my radar. An entire car for only 50% more than the price of a Porsche’s engine.

      • 0 avatar
        harshciygar

        I also find it interesting how the writer cries poverty, claiming he can’t afford a $19,000 engine repair bill…but he plans to buy another Porsche in the future?!

        Boohoo.

      • 0 avatar

        Making monthly payments on a Porsche motor replacement isn’t exactly easy to swallow, even if your credit limit is that forgiving.

        We are a society built on credit, give the Porsche owner stereotypes a rest. Nobody deserves to have a POS motor explode after 13,000 miles of use.

      • 0 avatar
        jonnyguitar

        So, if you can’t afford to replace the engine in any car, no matter what car you have, you shouldn’t be driving it?

        I detect a little porsche envy.

      • 0 avatar
        Matthew Sullivan

        @Sajeev:

        Yes, I understand that a monthly payment on a car is much different than paying for major repairs. I drive an Evo X; I would not want to pay for a new engine or gearbox or t-case in that bad boy.

        I thought the issues with these cars were widely known. I found out all sorts of horrible stuff when researching Porsches. But I saw what you and other Porsche owners posted in other responses about the IMS issue not being widely known. So I have a little more sympathy for the guy driving an 8-year-old Porsche.

        That said, this event should be a learning experience for the guy. And what he has apparently learned is “Buy MOAR Porsches!”.

        Sorry, that’s just ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Harsh but true, and I agree. You can’t play ‘rich kid in a Porsche’ unless you have the cash. You’ve got to realize up front you paid huge money for a car, dealer, situation, and durability less desireable than an econobox Hyundai.

      • 0 avatar

        It is indeed harsh, but I also agree, because once upon a time in younger days I was that guy who owned a high-end enthusiast car that needed more than I could afford to give it. (I sold it to someone who could take care of it and roughly broke even on the experience, and count myself very, very lucky — I owned and drove a vintage Aston Martin for 3 years and didn’t lose my shirt.) I personally think that a 911 aspirant with a modest budget should limit themselves to exploring the (many) virtues of the ’80s 3.2 Carrera — a car that one could spend the rest of one’s life happily learning to drive well, and a car that just might last that long…

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Yep. never buy any kind of enthusiast vehicle that you can’t afford to simply throw in the garbage and buy another one.

      • 0 avatar
        Lokki

        Harsh but true indeed. I’ve been able to afford to BUY a low end Porsche for a dozen years or so. However, even without knowing about the IMS problem, I ‘ve known enough about Porsche not to buy one no matter how much I think I’d enjoy the car. The short warranty and costs of routine maintence are an obvious warning. It’s pretty easy to see that, like the cover charge to get into a strip club, getting in the door to see some beautiful girl is just the beginning of your expenses.

        Yeah, I could afford the cost of most repairs if I needed to, and (if there were anything left after the divorce) I could probably swing the cost of an engine replacement. However, it would be stupid to do so. She may be pretty but the only one who is going to enjoy the screwing you get is her.

    • 0 avatar

      Answers like this always come across as dickish to me. That said, I agree.

      Analogy: replace Porsche with house and engine for roof. When you buy a house, you start a saving account for home expenses. The air conditioning WILL go out on the hottest day of summer. The plumbing WILL fail when you have a house full of Christmas guests. The roof WILL come off during a spring of high winds. You just have to be ready, and as a homeowner with direct deposit set up to dump $200 a month into such an account, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for other home owners, especially those who have overbought, who can’t afford to take care of their property.

      My wife and I have three cars. A 2002 Camry with 140,000 miles that had its valvetrain replaced due to sludging exactly 250 miles out of warranty, a 2007 Fit with 80,000 miles and 20k of full extended warranty remaining, and an 1982 Alfa Romeo GTV6. Obviously, the commuters are for commuting and the Alfa is for fun.

      My recommendation to the author, if he truly can’t afford the worst case scenario repair, is to sell the car and buy something old, cheap but cool. if it breaks, park it until you can either learn how to repair it yourself or afford to have someone do it for you. As it is, it sounds as though a 911 is the equivalent of too much house and not enough income.

      But I also accept that being asked to drop almost $20k on what is probably a $30-40k car is downright silly. The hubris displayed on Porsche’s part is why I don’t think I could ever drive a new exotic, even if I could afford it.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I completely agree, but seriously, if anyone else than us did this, there wouldn’t have been a world-wide economic recession going on since 2008…
        Still, kudos to the dealer for doing the ‘right’ thing, even if the bosses in Germany probably relieved him of a finger for doing so…

      • 0 avatar
        jeffzekas

        Comparing a house to a Porsche is an apples-to-oranges comparison: houses INCREASE in value, whereas a Porsche DECREASES in value. Also, house repairs are relatively inexpensive, and can be done by the home owner, in many cases (not true of a Porsche). Having your defective motor blow up is comparable to having your house burn to the ground because the builder used faulty wiring– which is why houses have home owner insurance, the equivalent of an automotive warranty. It should also be noted the famous statement made by Porsche execs: “The entry-level Porsche… is a used Porsche.” Many, many Porsche owners buy their 911 used, when it is out of warranty, but still has a known defect. A $50,000 car (Boxster) is hardly an “exotic”… expensive? Yes. Exotic! Nope. The fact is, Porsche AG is too indifferent to care about customers, because a new sucker is born every minute. As for problems with Honda and Toyota: these defects made the headlines PRECISELY because they were so unusual, given both brands many years of reliability. This is in direct contrast to Porsche, which has consistently tried to cover up any problems with their products.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “houses INCREASE in value, ”

        Really? You must have just woken up from a coma.

  • avatar
    wallstreet

    Maybe Gary Fong will finally greenlighted Jack Baruth access to press fleet. Ha !

  • avatar
    grzydj

    What’s with Porsche engineering as of late?

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/super-piston-slap-cause-it%e2%80%99s-9-8-7-on-a%e2%80%a6/

    Also, what’s up with Porsche owners who can’t afford to repair their super expensive cars?

    • 0 avatar

      Monthly payments are much different than a lump sum.

      Is that really a difficult concept to grasp? I’m a little surprised that multiple commentators are hammering on the usual Porsche ownership stereotypes.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        I think there are lots of people who can afford to buy a Porsche, but not as many who can afford to repair them and maintain them.

        I think when people see posts like these, they’re kind of bewildered that somebody actually bought such an expensive car, but doesn’t have the coin to fix it. I think that’s a pretty normal reaction.

      • 0 avatar

        It used to be that a younger guy who wanted to own and drive an exotic on a budget would learn to maintain it himself — and you always had a beater car in case the beast was off the road for a while while you saved up for a transmission or whatever. You could do that with something like a 930 or a Turbo Esprit or a Ferrari 308, but it’s a lot harder with modern iron. Personally, I think there’s still much to be said for seeking out 930s or older Turbo Esprits or 308s, but those are the cars I wanted when I was a kid and I get that guys who are in their 20s now have very different points of reference.

      • 0 avatar
        smokingclutch

        It is quite simple – the IMS issue is depressing resale values. Late model Porsches look like great values used. I almost bought a Cayman S until I heard about the nature of the IMS issues I decided not to pull the trigger.

        996s are going for under $20k. Most ten year old cars don’t usually suffer catastrophic engine failures, so if a buyer doesn’t know of the IMS issues, they might think a 996 is a reasonable alternative to, say, a C5 Z06 at the same price. The differences are that A) Corvette motors don’t self destruct at 18k miles and B) if it did, it could be repaired for a quarter of the price of th Porsche. Most know B but if you aren’t aware of the IMS issue you might think failure rates are minuscule enough to roll the dice.

        Baruth and TTAC saved me from that fate and for that I am grateful.

      • 0 avatar

        grzydj: “I think there are lots of people who can afford to buy a Porsche, but not as many who can afford to repair them and maintain them.”

        Nobody expects a problem on the scale of IMS failure…you make it sound like the guy can’t afford a tune up/engine out service.

        grzydj: “I think when people see posts like these, they’re kind of bewildered that somebody actually bought such an expensive car, but doesn’t have the coin to fix it. I think that’s a pretty normal reaction.”

        That’s truly tragic. And depressing. The moral of the story is that Porsche is to blame for forcing a $20,000 LUMP SUM repair on people who expect to pay maybe $1000-3000 a month to own/operate/insure a Porsche from the IMS failure era.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        Sanjeev, you nailed it. I don’t get why people refuse to understand the world of difference between a $20k engine and, say, $500 oil changes that can be planned for. I mean c’mon peope, he was planning to spend $2k on the preventative repair before they discovered it was already catastrophic, so it’s not like the guy was trying to run it on Corolla money.

        And btw I own an airplane so I know something about $20K engines. But mine has to be replaced on a regular interval that I plan for and build a reserve account for. I would be pissed if my engine blew way prematurely and it’s not because I can’t afford an airplane. Plus I’ve never heard of car owners requiring a new engine reserve. Well not until I heard about the Porsche IMS problem.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        @Sajeev

        Exclusivity has never been cheap and regret is expensive. There shouldn’t be anything depressing about having to fork over major money to fix a flaw in Porche’s wunderbar engineering if you didn’t do your research about the car first. This has been a known issue for quite some time now. I don’t know what there is to feel sympathy about.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        “Monthly payments are much different than a lump sum.”

        Quite true. Nobody driving a Hyundai Elantra wants to replace their engine, either. These commenters are just pushing Porsche class envy. I agree with Sajeev on that point.

        However, “Sam” is out of bounds expecting Porsche to repair an 8-year-old engine that’s 3-5 years out of warranty, regardless of its mileage. On this point, I must agree with ihatetrees.

      • 0 avatar

        grzydj: exclusivity has NEVER been this painful. The line has to be drawn somewhere, colossal engine failures at 18k are where I say the manufacturer is to blame for building a sub-par product.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        gslippy” I can’t disagree more. Any engine that has pattern failures like the IMS issue indicate a poor design or crap materials. I don’t care that it is several years past warranty. No engine should fail in 18K miles, even if it is still running on the factory oil fill. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I can’t believe how many people think this guy should be able to cover a $19,000 repair if he wants to own a Porsche. This isn’t a Ferrari we are talking about – the majority of Porsches aren’t all that high-end and I think there is a reasonable expectation of durability with them. At $19,000, that repair is probably 20-25% of the car’s original MSRP.

      Is someone driving a 9-year-old Focus expected to cover a $4,000 repair, otherwise they should just take the bus?

      • 0 avatar

        “Is someone driving a 9-year-old Focus expected to cover a $4,000 repair, otherwise they should just take the bus?”

        I like that analogy. Just make sure to include the $4000 repair is for a major powertrain component that’s only covered 20,000 miles of driving.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        Is someone driving a 9-year-old Focus expected to cover a $4,000 repair, otherwise they should just take the bus?

        Ford would probably step up and cover a 9 year old, out of warranty, low mileage engine cratering. But to avoid setting a precedent, they’d probably make it somewhat difficult and ask for maintenance documentation, etc…

        Oddly enough, a Chevy Cavalier in the same situation would get you nothing from the current Government Motors… Liabilities were tossed in bankruptcy, right?

    • 0 avatar
      jmccauley

      Hey, I’m that guy.

      I’m happy to say that my car is being repaired as we speak. I fought with Porsche for a long time, but they are not willing to step up to the plate. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t see any new Porsches in my future. Whatever, I will take my losses, sell the car when it’s fixed, and move on to the next cool car in my life.

      As Sajeev said, lump sums are very different than monthly payments. Do I have the money? Sure. Even if I didn’t have it in cash, I could get it. Even though the economy has hammered my savings and my job (which were both much better when I bought the Cayman), I could swing it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to bitch about it. It certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t think Porsche should have built a better car.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    Honestly, this whole thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    Defective part or not, an out-of-warranty car is still an out-of-warranty car.

    I’ve never owned a car with a warranty, but as I understand it once you are past either the mileage or the year limit, well, tough nuts. I can’t imagine the Ford dealership offering to fix a part on my dad’s truck for that kind of scratch, defective part or not.

    But ah, Mr. Porsche who has the means to afford a toy car, and knows of other wealthy fellows with the same problem…well that just smells like a class-action lawsuit with some high-powered lawyers involved, don’t it?

    My thoughts? If you can’t afford to fix the car, don’t f-ing own it.

    For Porsche’s part, they’re obviously smart enough to know that a $20k engine is cheaper than a class action lawsuit. At least they fixed the problem, but I don’t think they owe this guy anything.

    Shit happens. Cars get bad parts. A 10 year old toy car needing a $20,000 repair really isn’t all that surprising to me. Is it to you?

  • avatar
    hreardon

    It may be wishful thinking, but maybe – just maybe – some of the German brands re realizing the necessity of owning up to problems when they affect a wide swath of your owners. Case in point is Audi, who in the last year has issued four extended warranty notices on the 06 – 08.5 FSI 2.0T: one for the PCV, one for the high pressure fuel pump/cam follower/camshaft, one for the intake flap motor, one for faulty coil packs.

    The only two other items I wish they would cover are the Denso AC compressors and the thermostats. Both of which have failed for just about everyone I know that is past the 75,000 mark.

    Point being – this is a pretty extraordinary move on Audi’s part, and a welcome one. Granted, they’ve definitely waited quite a while to issue these reimbursements, but in my experiences Audi has been very fair in providing goodwill support if you ask nicely and present them with some good evidence. It also helps to have a dealership who works on your behalf.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Wow, I totally misread this story, wish I could delete my previous post.

    So the car in question was a 2003 with 18K miles and the owner got a new engine.

    Well good on them – that is pretty amazing customer service and pretty damning on how crappy the IMS bearing is.

    I’m surprised at some of the replies here from people who think that the average person can cough up $19K in one lump sum (versus on payments). $19K pay today or tomorrow would devastate many American households, even high earners with significant, but ill-liquid savings/investments (retirement funds, 401K, real estate). Dumping liquid stock assets still results in a capital gains hit that far exceeds the $19K they would have needed to cough up (it’s not chump change). Even for the, “well off,” Porsche driving set, hwarfing up $19K in liquid cash isn’t an easy task. Even if the properly managed e-fund with 6 months living expenses in it had that kind of Cheddar, it would leave it empty for many people, while going to the repair cost on an expensive toy.

    You don’t realize how hard it is to cough up that kind of cash…until you have to.

    Hypnotoad – who once had to hwarf up $78K in liquid assets in a 9 month window of time – still don’t know how I pulled it off without robbing a bank, but I did it.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      I’m surprised at some of the replies here from people who think that the average person can cough up $19K in one lump sum (versus on payments). $19K pay today or tomorrow would devastate many American households, even high earners with significant, but ill-liquid savings/investments (retirement funds, 401K, real estate).

      Such a thing IS difficult. But these are difficult cars.

      Many people like the certainty of a monthly payment. I wonder what the Extended Warranty market is like for an ’03 911… $300/month? $500/month? $700?

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ………there are some odd aspects to this story, but in the end the manufacturer anted up for a 9 year old car many years out of warranty. Admittedly, this car had ridiculously low mileage, so it is somewhat clear why they bent the rule in this case, but it still sets a dangerous (and potentially expensive) precedent for future, and less clear-cut, equipment failures. Hopefully they will continue to make good on the cases where owner neglect or misuse is not obvious. It’s just a matter of generating the best possible PR in a bad environment, and another thing is certain…….if any maker can afford it, Porsche can.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      but it still sets a dangerous (and potentially expensive) precedent for future

      Costly, it’s good PR. Like Honda extending the warranty on their poorly designed V-6 automatic transmission combos.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I keep looking at older Boxsters, but I’ve read the horror stories about the engine. Even though I live close enough to a specialist Porsche mechanic, there’s just no way I’m going to bite at a 10 grand Boxster(they’re cheap for a good reason). I’ll keep the Miata, thanks.

  • avatar
    Toad

    “OK, he hit me but maybe I deserve it. I know that he loves me, and I just can’t stop loving him. I’m dropping the charges” she says to the assistant DA through black eyes.

    “Sure, my Porsche blew an engine at 18k miles after nothing but dealer service, then Porsche denied warranty coverage. But, lucky me, after begging and pleading they put another engine in after all. I can’t wait to buy another Porsche!” says the fanboi to the Best and Brightest.

    Apparently masochism is not gender dependent.

  • avatar

    IMS isn’t the only dirty little secret the company is aware of. Go look up air-oil separators, among other things.

    I have owned 5 Porsches and frankly, after my latest fiasco with my Boxster S and the KNOWN TO BE DEFECTIVE air oil separator on track, I’m done with the company.

  • avatar

    “My Porsche dealer (who has done all of the Porsche recommended service on the car since new) just told me that there is nothing that they or Porsche can or will do, and that it is an isolated incident.”

    -So the dealer LIED to you.

    But, I guess they’re not that terrible between them and Porsche for an out-of-warranty car.

    Back 10(?) months ago, Bertel had _By-Far_ the most intelligent response to this [same/similar?] issue, instructing the asker on the Exact protocol to follow, why, and how the internal watchworks would function.

    -That response by him, (that I cannot seem to find/search right now) should be Quoted/Cited here as Reference-Grade material.

    PS: Aw, fu**it, I hit up The Googles, and here is the post with Schmitto-San’s response: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/super-piston-slap-kickstarting-a-porsche-ims-lawsuit/

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    Let’s remember that Porsche almost went broke making “good” cars, the last being the 1998 993. They stopped over engineering their cars with the 996 and 986. All of the German makers went that route in the 1990s resulting in pathetic Porsches with IMS/RMS issues and miserable Mercedes’ with electrical gremlins. If they made the 993 quality car today they’d have to sell it for $150,000 to recoup their cost.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Maybe part of this lean here is the fact that the 911 is more of a show-off, retro, P-magnet (and this guy can’t walk the talk). For a long time, a very long time, the 911 has been been passed up in the all-around performance-per-dollar equation, so the mention of it clearly labels this ‘clientele.’ On public roads with a Cobalt SS, if I didn’t get the better of one (and their typical owner) I’d at least be able to keep very close to it.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    I don’t get the logic of owning an older car if it’s possible to face the choice of either paying out $19,000 for repairs, or dumping it for pennies on the dollar. That’s an untenable position to potentially put yourself in, especially if you’re not loaded. And if you were loaded, you’d likely buy or lease a new one and hold it only until the warranty expired, no? Like many others, I suspect this fellow is living beyond his means. Time for a Miata.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s assuming everyone knows about IMS failure. For most people, even car guys, the prospect of owning a 996 is very doable to their finanaces.

      I talk about IMS failure to a lot of “car guys” and am amazed that I’ve yet to meet someone who knew about it.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        I don’t think Porsche is talked about or revered as much as we think anymore, in any automotive circles. The great Internet can spread the bad news fast, and that certainly knocks the false gods down to earth, doesn’t it? A friend of mine is a wealthy Porsche technician, and he has endless stories (and the cash therein) of neglect among the Porsche owners. Simple things like lack of changing timing belts before they break, too. So the surprise of an IMS failure (whatever the heck that is… ha-ha) does not surprise me.

      • 0 avatar
        mitchw

        Word that, Sajeev. A while ago I was talking to an owner of a Boxster during a car show. He also owns an NSX. Somehow the conversation turned to me getting a Boxster. He had no clue about the IMS issue. You should have seen his face; I still feel bad.

      • 0 avatar
        jeffzekas

        Hi Sajeev, we didn’t find out about the IMS failure problem until AFTER my son went through all the drama with his Boxster…and you can bet that Porsche is doing everything in its power to bury those negative articles, as far down on Google search as possible, with internet schlock and rave reviews! Whenever I meet a Porsche owner, I mention the “IMS Problem”– so far, I have found little awareness among the faithful… which probably makes the Lords of Stuttgart happy.

  • avatar
    Mervich

    One must understand the German mindset. It is very difficult to admit a mistake. Much more palatable to cover-up/hide the mistake than to admit it. The German automobile industry has been practicing this for many years. There have been many examples of a of defect being discovered (sometimes, a major defect) where dealers are quietly instructed to not tell the customer, simply do the repair when the car is brought in next for a scheduled service. If you have your car’s service done away from a dealership, you just don’t get the repair unless the defect causes a failure during the warranty period.

    • 0 avatar

      I dunno if that’s so much a German thing as it is, you know, a large automotive corporation thing.

      http://www.autosafety.org/mitsubishi-motors-admits-decades-long-defect-cover
      http://www.thestreet.com/story/11335553/1/gm-seeks-volt-fix-congress-sees-possible-coverup.html
      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,587221,00.html

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Read up on the corporate and homes of officers raided at Mitsubishi in Japan where they had a secret file room where they hid decades of defect data in order to avoid issuing recalls – including trucks where wheels fell off hitting and killing bystanders.

      • 0 avatar
        trod

        This is true, the Mitsubishi VR4 and the GT would leak their transfer case oil and lockup. A very bad thing. After much time the issue got noticed and a recall was issued. By then I had sold the car. Reguarding Porsche I was not aware of the IMS failure, my bad, had I become aware of this with a little research I would never have gone near the 05 911S I now own. This is now becoming more open thanks to the internet.

  • avatar
    jaje

    If Honda bit the bullet and admitted their $30k Acuras and other similar v6 powered Hondas had catastrophic and expensive transmission failures ($4-5k) with a failure rate of possibly 30% and Honda still provided a transferable 100k / 10 year warranty (quietly) on affected cars, why can’t Porsche provide the same support and stand behind its quality in a $70k “German engineered” sports car that has a failure rate of < 1%?

    A little history to help: Porsche hired ex Toyota production / design engineers to consult in the creation of the 986 / 996 models including parts sharing and design changes to make engines cheaper to make – that then led to the creation of the Cayenne (it has a well known coolant tube issues that fail and cause overheating and engine damage as well).

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    Sajeeve – I keep reading this (and the comments) to make sure I am not missing something, but a few things keep sticking out. To whit:

    First, hooray for this guy. Many of us have been in similar, “Oh crap” circumstances for one reason or another, and this seems like an abstract moral victory – big company helps out little dude for no good reason.

    However, my initial impression was someone very clearly out of his depth with the car. I am trying to come up with a reasonable case where someone with the $$$ to buy a VERY low mileage, VERY old (in terms of dealer service) 911 does not do the research to know of this standing problem, cannot afford the repairs when they come up, and is at all justified in sticking Porsche on the fork for this one. I don’t care if Porsche designed the engine with a grenade in the oilpan that goes off when the warranty dies, this person very much so made a bad decision with their purchase and was bailed out by a company that had no reason to do so.

    It is downright embarrassing more than anything else for an engineering problem of this magnitude to come to light, even more so than for “lesser” cars’ more publicized issues (ahem, rear subframes disintegrating) – but guess what? It has a Porsche badge. It will still sell in crazy numbers. It’s sad that effectively a generation will forever be tainted and a trap for posers who don’t read up before they spend a large (to them) chunk of change – but Porsche does not make money from them. They make money from new vehicle sales, and merchandising. And neither would be terribly dented if they had not given this guy a new engine.

    So I hope he had enough stress to reconsider the terrible original investment, because it, and millions of similar decisions like it have given us the mess of a financial quagmire we have today – and EVERYBODY, whether we want to admit it or not, is getting bailed out in some fashion.

  • avatar
    daviel

    “The moral of the story is that Porsche is to blame for forcing a $20,000 LUMP SUM repair on people who expect to pay maybe $1000-3000 a month to own/operate/insure a Porsche from the IMS failure era.” That is exactly right – as the photo says, “call somebody who cares” Porsche does not! …and so far as the “car payments” or the “high-dollar cash” customer, it does not matter how much money the customer has, Porsche should not be selling them POS cars. The fact that Porsche does sell POS cars should be fair warning; and thank heavens for TTAC.

  • avatar
    wallstreet

    Since someone is comparing Porsche to a house, is there any extended auto warranty that will cover older Porsche? I have always bought new and sold prior to OEM warranty expiration because I don’t trust those 3rd party warranty provider. Does anyone here have experience with 3rd party warranty provider?

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      if you buy an air-cooled Porsche that has never been modified, with a decent history, from someone you can trust, you’re probably in the clear. (wait for a proper ‘fanboy’ to confirm it, I’m just repeating rumuors ) Like old well kept houses, their value should increase with time :)

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I’m pretty old so I remember when porsche was a hot rod vw with somewhat of a reputation for being reliable. At least as reliable as an air cooled beetle.

    What nobody here is talking about is why is porsche selling trash. I really don’t care if this guy can afford $20k for an engine or not. His business. I care a whole bunch about porsche unloading this trash on us. They may not care about 60 plus years of reputation, and I guess it is caveat emptor, however, our government gets involved in a lot of stuff less crappy than this.

    I’ll go with the miata. I’ve been driving japanese stuff for years and articles like this reinforce why. I think if I met a porsche driver now, I might check for lobotomy scars.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    So is there an aftermarket prophalactic fix for this issue? Seems like it would be worth a couple grand to ensure NOT getting a $20K bill. These cars are actually quite affordable when they get to be 8-10 years old.

    This article also points out the fallacy of “only dealer serviced” as some kind of positive thing. Dealers HAVE to toe the party line. A good specialist independent mechanic will tell you the truth.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      LN Engineering has two or three options for the bearing replacement depending on whether the engine is earlier or later in the production cycle. There is also a monitor to check for metal fines in the oil – an indicator that the IMS is ready to cut loose.
      People who track them also have problems with oil starvation in long high G corners and the air-oil separator sometimes doesn’t. I have another 18 months left on my warranty and I think this spring will be time to sell my Cayman S when it comes out of hibernation. I don’t think the IMS is a widespread failure, but its like a nuclear accident – rare but catastrophic.
      At planet-9.com, a mostly Cayman site, there is a thread detailing how to join others in filing a NHTSA complaint on safety related grounds – they have, IIRC, 20 or so. If the Infiniti M45 fuel gauge is safety related because it allows you to run out of gas, then having your engine blow up at an inopportune moment ought to be considered safety related too. The M45 investigation affects only ~8000 cars, so numbers are similar.
      Will I buy another Porsche? Not if its newer than a 993, a car with a 250K mile engine if properly maintained.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        If the Infiniti M45 fuel gauge is safety related because it allows you to run out of gas…

        Whatever shit they’re smoking at the NHTSA to justify the above thought process – I want some.

        Sheesh, what’s next? In car commodes, to reduce the times when you have to speed to drop an emergency deuce?

      • 0 avatar
        Michael7

        Let me add my name to the list of Boxster owners with IMS problems.
        Just bought a used 04 with 32,000 miles and found silver bits in the oil filter.
        Mechanic recommended immediate IMS change.
        OH Well. $1,700 but glad to have found the problem and glad there’s a fix and glad to have a CC!
        Anything else to look at while it’s being changed?

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Two things you do if you ever buy a 996 or 997 or 986 / 987: Get the LN Engineering IMS bearing (unsealed so oil in the engine lubricates and cools it [versus great filled factory bearing that the seal fails and oil gets in and mixes with the grease causing the failure]) and do the Rear Main Seal as that is prone to failure as well puking in seconds all the oil out of the $20k engine as well. Buy a 996 right now for $15k but then spend the $3k to get this work done (as well as getting all the maintenance up to date) and then the car should be good to go for many miles.

  • avatar
    skor

    The cars have serious issues, but Porsche made good in this case. Compare and contrast this with GM.

    Back in 1992, my neighbor bought a brand new Cadillac Seville. This was one of the first cars to use a LED tail light….the high mounted tail light was a strip of LED’s that ran across the width of the trunk lid. This Seville cost my neighbor $38K new ($38K in 1992 dollars). As it turns out the failure rate for these LED lights was nearly 100% within 5 years. This LED lamp assembly failed on my neighbor’s car ONE MONTH AFTER THE WARRANTY PERIOD ENDED. He was told by the dealer, “Sorry, you’re SOL”. The dealer refused to budge on warranty repair. Cost to replace the LED lamp assembly was over $500.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      That sounds about right actually. LEDs were pretty expensive back in ’92 for automotive use. BTW, Dealers can’t eat the cost of all faulty parts, they actually go through a claim process with GM and GM will advise if they will pay for the part or not, so it’s not just the dealer that’s the bad guy for expensive new technology.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Yes, I understand that the factory pays for warranty claims. My points are: 1) Almost every single one of these LED lamps failed, it was a known design issue with these parts. 2) The failure happened a month after the warranty expired. GM outright refused on making any concessions to help these people. That’s bad business.

        BTW, almost ever one of the instrument clusters installed in 1992 Sevilles also failed due to faulty power supply components. The instrument cluster in my neighbor’s Seville failed out of warranty as well. Again, no help from GM even though they knew these parts had such a high failure rate. The repair would have cost close to $1K…the replacement cluster was something like $400 dollars. My neighbor took a big hit and dumped the car instead. Interestingly enough, he went on to buy a new Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        See the post from a few days about about instrument clusters issues with GMT800 pickups and SUVs. It’s quite common with those as well. It’s about $500 to have the dealer install a remaned cluster, which is a comparative bargain compared to your friends’ Caddy.

  • avatar
    ccd2

    When you buy a car, you do your homework. One of the best ways to do that homework is to frequent sites like TTAC or a website devoted to the car you are considering. You do that homework and you know that Porsche finally fixed the IMS problem in MY2009. You would also know that other manufacturers have had issues with carbon buildup in DI engines and that, if that PDK transmission ever fails, you are probably looking at a five figure repair.

    Also, Porsche makes very expensive cars, but the Cayman/Boxster is relatively affordable. You can find a 3yr old CPO Cayman for $40-45k with low miles. Not exactly chump change but not really expensive either as cars go today, which makes a used Porsche no worse a car purchase than LOTS of other cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      Didn’t they try numerous fixes for this issue and even now the only recommended fix is an an aftermarket one? So factory supplied replacement engines still have the potential to fail, that’s not reassuring.

      They finally fixed the IMS problem by removing the IMS.

      Whether these post 2009 newer engines are more reliable remains to be seen, these cars typically don’t run up a lot of miles so it might be a long time before we know.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd2

        It’s been 3 years and no widely reported problems with the new engines. There has been concern expressed about carbon buildup in the DI engines based on what has happened with other manufacturers like Audi, but no reported problems so far on the Porsche site I frequent.

        This in no way excuses the time it took for Porsche to address the IMS issue. But the new engines seem to be running without major reported issues.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Threads and posts like these make me want to go out to the garage and hug my Miata…

    • 0 avatar
      cee4s

      Threads like this should happen to more awesome sports cars with >1% failure rates so I can snatch them up and “save” people from low probability theoretically catastrophic failure and financial ruin!

      Shirt cockin my way to the nearest 996C4S for sale with a print out…

      • 0 avatar
        jeffzekas

        Hope you are lucky at Russian Roulette as well… cos all it takes is one bullet to kill ya.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        “Shirt cockin my way to the nearest 996C4S for sale with a print out…”

        Papers won’t help. High probability of a problem if its been tracked. Lower – and unknown – probability if its a garage queen. Later model year is better as the last go around on the bearing was one that was about 3x the capacity of the first one, but none of them work well without lubrication, hence the LNE ceramic bearing fix that works better under those circumstances. Babying it won’t help as driving it like a ‘murican car means the oil pressure isn’t great.

        Do yourself a solid and get a 993C4S with papers and a very few enthusiast owners. It will cost more but as the last of the air-cooled Porkers, it will hold value much better. I miss my 964C4 and the 993 version is better yet. The 996 isn’t.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    I was glad to get rid of my Boxster – it felt like a ticking time bomb.

    And just because they came through for one guy doesn’t make them all that great – there are plenty of people out there that were screwed because Porsche never made it an official policy and basically did it when they felt like it.

    If they had stood behind it and offered to cover the issue when it came up, I’d be driving a Panamera now…

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Yep… I dreamed for years of buying a Porsche… After a 28 year career, I had enough money to pay cash for a 911… We bought a retirement home instead… and we’ll just keep driving the Bronco and the Subaru… Hey, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG: you blew it.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        problem is porsche is one of those top 10 brands that has ‘cult of personality’

        no matter what they do there will be people who will buy their stuff… they can release diesel SUVs and 4,000lb ‘four door’ sports cars and still people line up

        so they alienate a few people with bad product and some patchy QA… i know all this and i still like the GT3s of the world

        even if they wanted to fix every car and make a decent product… so what? what does that get them over what they have now? would it make them grow 5%, 10%? doubtful

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    Most people may not have $19k in cash on hand for a repair like this.

    Then again, most people don’t own cars with engines that cost as much as a compact car.

    I CAN replace an engine in any of my cars, should the need arise, for less than a grand. Same for the transmission. Since I can’t afford a new car, this is pretty much my only option.

  • avatar
    A is A

    Why Porsche manufactures junk?.

    Why?. I do not understand.

  • avatar

    …has been infected with a deadly disease known as “MBA syndrome”.

    Hey now! I resemble that remark!

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I am surprised at the amount of people seemingly siding with Porsche on this. So if one can’t afford 20 grand worth of repairs on a 20,000 mile car they shouldn’t buy a Porsche…really? I am curious if these posters would be so sympathetic if this guy was writing about a catastrophic failure of this nature in his Corvette.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Heck no I wouldn’t waste 20K on another junk Porsche engine. Good thing about Porsches is you can always swap in an LSX engine like it’s sandrail. Kits are available that make it a virtual plug-N-play operation so you’re not breaking any new ground here. Full telemetry, AC, ABS, emissions with the same center of gravity and looks 100% stock. Then you can drive the ballz off it without a care.

  • avatar
    bobby b

    “Comparing a house to a Porsche is an apples-to-oranges comparison . . . ”
    – - –

    True. At least in a good windstorm, my house is mobile. My Porsche seldom was.


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