By on March 20, 2013

Was it this guy? Who knows? But somebody finally decided to sue Porsche for their hilariously (if you don’t own a Porsche) failure-prone M96 watercooled boxer engines. Of course, the M96 has more than one known reason for going “pop” unexpectedly and turning on that “Drive to workshop and buy $11,750 Remanufactured Engine” light, but the IMS is the most frequent offender.

Now Porsche’s been forced to say that they’re sorry in that most American of ways — the class-action settlement. But since Porsche is Porsche, the devil is in the details. And there’s a hole in the list of covered VINs big enough to drive my 2004 Boxster S “550 Spyder” Anniversary Edition through.

You can read the whole thing at Rennlist, but some of the salient points are:

  • Cars through 2001-2005 are covered.
  • But if they were put in service more than 10 years or 130,000 miles ago, they’re not covered. So unless you bought your 2001 Boxster as a four-year-old dealership dust bunny, you can go directly to hell.
  • If you bought it used and failed to pay for a Porsche warranty, you are not covered.
  • The amount of financial assistance from Porsche is limited and may amount to less than half of the actual costs.
  • All the usual Porsche warranty exclusions apply as well.

I happen to lightly hurdle over all of those requirements, so I’m very excited. But what’s this? There’s a list of affected VINs being passed around, and there is a hole in the WP0CB29894U range. (Yes, my Boxster was assembled in Finland. VALMET M76 FOR LYFE, bitches.) Hey!!! What happens when my IMS fails? I guess it’s true that Porsche never forgets a dissenter, huh?

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35 Comments on “Porsche Settles IMS Class-Action Lawsuit, Excludes My Boxster S...”


  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    So the class action lawyers get paid, and Porsche doesn’t have to fix too many cars.
    Win win for the previously mentioned. Not so much for the excluded owners. The judge who allowed these exclusions was not standing up for the class here.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      But are the excluded owners part of the class at all?

      This might be a good time for a Boxster owner to have a quick chat with a lawyer. In any case, you get a limited amount of time to opt out of any class action settlement. Perhaps ALL excluded owners should opt out immediately just in case they are considered part of the class. This keeps the option of another lawsuit open .

    • 0 avatar
      mklrivpwner

      It may be as simple as a judge not understanding VINs and, therefore, being unable to decode them to fully understand the exclusions.

      My dad got a summons about a stripe he alledgedly left in a parking lot (divorce squabbles, cop friends, whatever). Cop accused him of “Leaving a single 50 ft tire mark while speeding out of the parking lot in his Bronze GMC Sierra Pickup Truck.”. The “oberver” was not the cop, or my mom. Dad presented two facts, 1) an “observer” would call the truck gold or brown, not “bronze” and 2) His VIN included a code for a Trailering package (Limited Slip rear diff) so if he left a single stripe, his truck would have much bigger issues (namely a snapped rear diff). Case dismissed.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Limited time offer, residents of Central Ohio excluded, not valid on Sundays or any day that ends in “y”, leases and imports are excluded, see dealer for details.

  • avatar
    amca

    You’re referring to the intermediate shaft bearing problem?

    I went into my independent mechanic, who recommended replacing the IMS bearing during my 911′s ($4800!) clutch replacement with an aftermarket part. Avoid the factory part – it’s worse, and more expensive.

    I poked around the interwebs a bit and confirmed that the aftermarket part my mechanic was recommending is a markedly better piece at a better price. Gave me big confidence in my mechanic.

    And on to the topic of the class action: it wasn’t the judge who failed here. It was the plaintiffs’ lawyer. As usual, the defendant in a case like that dangles a settlement involving juicy attorney’s fees and the plaintiffs’ lawyers quickly forget they are supposed to be looking out for the interests of the actual plaintiffs. Don’t blame the judge. Blame lazy and greedy plaintiffs’ counsel.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “And on to the topic of the class action: it wasn’t the judge who failed here. It was the plaintiffs’ lawyer.”

      Any settlement has to be approved by the judge, and the judge can independently rule whether the settlement was fair or not.

      • 0 avatar
        amca

        It’s easy to sell a judge on fairness. The fairness hearing rarely gets the attention of plaintiffs who are getting screwed. And the judge is all about getting the danged case off his docket, so when he sees big dollars, and there’s a brief in front of him giving all sorts of good reasons to exclude all these people – he’s going to approve the settlement. The rare objecting plaintiff is an obstacle for all parties – plaintiff, defendant and court – to overcome.

        The real failure here is the plaintiff’s lawyer. He’s supposed to represent the interests of his putative clients (I say putative, because by the time he’s pushing a settlement, he’s busily pushing away whole classes of his clients). In a ordinary lawsuit he would virorously push the interests of the excluded, and in these cases he should. But he wants to wrap it up and get paid. So he sells various classes of plaintiffs down the river, pretty much without a thought except how he can get away with it.

        It’s an f’d up system.

    • 0 avatar
      blowfish

      quite often they just bite at the low hanging fruit and sold u folks down the notorious river so do speak.
      he went home with a Bugatti veyron and yours will be dropped down from the end of Dr Hook.
      U be grateful that she can sail home under her own steam.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Damn you make me feel good about my 2600 dollar clutch replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      @amca
      My mechanic in Dallas (the best indie Porsche shop in town) quoted $1,800 w/o the clutch – with clutch it’s plus parts in addition – much less than a thousand USD more. Various aftermarket IMS bearings are available, and my mechanic says some of them are much better than Porsche replacement parts. It helps on the price to wear old clothes and plead poverty.

      Since my wife’s 996 was assembled in 1999 it has a stronger IMS bearing than the later models. Does anyone know the lifetime failure rate for these earlier IMS bearings? It must have come out in the lawsuit. Right now we are playing IMS roulette and looking for metal shavings during oil changes.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    So this is confusing… 2001-2002 cars are covered, but not if they were sold in one of those years? So that means only 2003-2005 is covered? You sure it is not backdating covered claims for people who already paid for repairs, meaning the failure had to occur when the car was less than 10 yrs old and had under 130k miles?

    So if I had a 2001 Boxster that had the IMS failure back in 2009 at say 80k miles, I would get reimbursed…

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    What is an IMS?

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Ucucccch!! Porsche is acknowledging the problem? Heimlich me, I’m choking.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      …in the most non-binding way possible, it seems.

      It’s sort of like pleading guilty to murder as long as you don’t have to go to jail, face any civil liability for the act, have to make any form of restitution, and do only minimal community service provided it doesn’t interfere with your regular tee-time at the club.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      This feels a lot like the BMW 7-series display issue from ’00-’01, only a lot more impressive (and expensive) when the IMS goes.

      The manufacturer will not admit a defect in the design or part, but will ‘help’ pay the cost of replacement if you fall in a relatively select group of customers. What I find amusing is that the window is so old, they really aren’t buying back goodwill from people who buy porkers new – they have already moved on at least once (and likely twice) to newer models.

      ’01-05, boxsters, mostly original owners, slightly lower milage, this might as well be named “The .Com Trophy Wife Rehabilitation Program” since that strikes me as the only real beneficiaries of this (other than the lawyers, of course!)

  • avatar
    mcarr

    Ah, so this is why I saw a nice looking 2002 Boxer convertible with 76k miles for ~$12k in the local listings this morning.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Nothing new for Porsche. I had a 911 Carrera 4 which had the ‘pre-LUK’ dual mass flywheel. The damper part ruptured and puked hydraulic fluid all over the thing nearest to it – the clutch. Had to replace both. Big $. Porsche response, too bad, car is out of warranty at 6 years and 40000 miles…..

    • 0 avatar
      blowfish

      please enlighten yours truly about these issues even though owning a recent yrs of Porsche and me is very much a total mutual exclusive, but we never know as what the luck can bring us some day.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    “If you bought it used and failed to pay for a Porsche warranty, you are not covered.”

    What does this condition mean exactly? Does the warranty not transfer automatically to the new buyer if it’s still in place? Or is this some additional warranty specifically for used buyers?

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      To add to the confusion, CPO warranties are often underwritten by a third-party company. Is it really a “Porsche” warranty then? Also, a dealer could have been sneaky and sold the buyer a completely unrelated warranty. (Not that a Porsche dealer would try that, but one of those “used car superstores” often attached to auto-malls.)

  • avatar
    blowfish

    i bet only three owners get anything from this settlement, rest of mulla will go back to Porsche.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    And this is why I will never own a Porsche I love them could afford a used boxster or 911 ( but really want a 944 ragtop) but can not afford when something blows up oh well at least I can admire from afar hell that is why The Lord made the mistake or Honda s2000 for poor folk like me

  • avatar
    noxioux

    I just love these stories about all this superior German engineering grenading to the tune of a couple thousand dollars per.

    Used to look at Boxers and think, that’s kinda cool. . . Now I look at them as the rapidly depreciating, fragile garbage that they really are.

    I may be an automotive ignoramus, but that kind of fragility in an $80,000 ‘superiorly engineered’ car ought to have you guys burning down Porsche dealerships, not saying, “$2600 clutch replacment. . . $11,000 rebuilt engine, ah well. . .”

    Thanks, but I’ll take an unrefined, cheap but durable Corvette over that crap any day of the week. Maybe it’s the Pro Keds compared to your Sauconys, but at least it doesn’t come equipped with that feeling of impending doom.

  • avatar
    Atomicblue

    Jack, If you’re thinking at all about selling your Boxster, I’m in the market. I’m looking at ’03-’04 S models but a 550 would be even better.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    At least Stuttgart has been forced to reveal some form of failure rate number associated with their little design misadventure. Failure rates of between 4 and 10% have been experienced for Boxters and 996′s (except non-turbo and GT models) built between May 4, 2001 and February 21, 2005. Supposedly, failure rate on pre-May 4 versions has been less than 1% – they used a heavier duty part.

    There are two fixes I have heard of. The first is replacing the IMS bearing with a superior aftermarket part – $1,800 at my (best in town) independent Porsche mechanic in Dallas. The second is supposed to be cheaper. It involves some sort of oiling gizmo for the offending bearing.

    I am thinking this might be a GOOD time to buy a used Boxter of that vintage. Buy your straw hats in the Fall.

  • avatar
    timtimjax

    Just got my class action packet today. Interesting that if you purchased from a porsche dealership, you would be refunded 100% cost of replacement if covered. Everyone else gets 25% if covered. Had my problem 2 years ago and every dealer I called asked that same question-did you buy a ‘Certifide’ piece of shit or did you buy you buy the shit from an individual person. If your bought your piece of shit(boxturd) from a dealership tthen they would take care of you. Now they propose to settle all of ones they have not taken care of with the little 25% refund for EXACTLY the same problem. Glad they finally had to fess up to some of their problems, but like several posters have mentioned, it really will not end up costing them much more than they have already covered. I HATE this company and anyone that continues to purchase any car in this brand deserves what is coming to them. I hope porsche execs rot in hell! Greedy bastards.

  • avatar
    patjames

    I feel very stupid. I just bought a used Carrear and now I find out about this problem. I am selling this thing ASAP. I will never think about buying a Porsche product again.

  • avatar
    dalaurent

    My 2002 Carrera with just over 34,000 miles just suffered IMS failure. Because the vehicle is over 10 years old, Porshe and the dealership I purchased the vehicle from last year have told me to go fly a kite! I am looking for others to join me in yet another class action lawsuit or at least a multiple party lawsuit. I could not be more disgusted with Porsche!

    • 0 avatar
      seanbeck0501

      dalaurent, I have an original 2001 Boxster S which I bought from a dealer and it has only 18000 miles on it. Based on the class action settlement, I was not covered. I am all for a new class action law suit for the 2001-2005 owners who are unfairly left out…I assume there are tens of thousands…

      My email address is seanbeck0501@hotmail.com. If you are interested, drop me a note. The following site is home of the Class Counsel, Stephen M. Harris.

      http://www.imsporschesettlement.com/


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