By on September 19, 2013

lolwut

This august publication has proven more than willing in the past to criticize Dutch Mandel’s writing. The Autoweek editor-in-chief has long been not so much a journalist as a junketeer and upscale-meal-consumer of the first rank, dispensing harsh words without fear unless the potential target for those words is an automobile manufacturer of some type.

It would appear, however, that Mr. Mandel is finally ready to take a carmaker to the woodshed over customer service and product reliability.


Porsche IMS and RMS failures have long been a painfully taboo subject in the car-magazine world. Although the Porsche owners’ groups have long discussed the issue, any attempt to bring it forward to a public discussion in general-interest “books” usually runs up against a fairly sturdy wall of Porsche PR goodwill. Although there was eventually a class-action settlement, Porsche managed to delay it to the point that very few affected owners will ever see a dime.

Which is where Dutch comes in. In a bold new editorial entitled Porsche whiffs on customer care, Mr. Mandel does not spare the rod:

From 2001 to 2005, Porsche sold 39,633 Boxsters and a whopping 51,375 Porsche 911 models (including rarer and unattached-to-this-suit GT2s, GT3s and Turbos). The point is, a lot of cars could be affected—and the cost to fix them could be high—but the cost to Porsche’s rep could be far, far dearer.

The heart of the matter is the heart of what matters: If you can’t trust Porsche to build bullet-proof engines and stand by their products, what can you do?

You bet Schoelzel has a bad taste in his mouth. The company he loved—the brand that showed the world he made it, a company to which over years he gladly, willingly wrote large checks—jettisoned and betrayed him. Schoelzel, a fellow dad whom I met at my son’s fraternity house a few years back, won’t buy another Porsche. That pains him. He figures he had another two or three cars in his future, as he’s been on a 10-year buying-and-owning cycle. Now, he openly believes that, yes, Porsche, there is a substitute.

Who can blame him?

Because it’s Dutch, there has to be a little bit in there about having rich friends and a kid in a fraternity, the same way I’m not going to let a sports-car test happen without putting some single mom or depraved adventuress in the passenger seat. But the man’s point is valid, and it’s being broadcast from one of the largest bully pulpits in American auto writing.

Had Autoweek done this ten years ago, when people started experiencing the failures, it would have saved a lot of people a lot of money and hassle — and probably sold a few extra Corvettes to boot. When I bought my Boxster more than eight years ago, I had no idea the failures were occurring, but a lot of people in the magazine business already knew. Their failure to share that information cost me money; a Boxster that cost $62,000 in 2004 is now worth $20K or less and has been for a while. But when it comes to finding your courage to speak up, now always beats never.

A few more articles like this, and I’ll subscribe to AW again, no matter how many “Gift Guides” I have to read between their pages.

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85 Comments on “Dutch Steps Up...”


  • avatar
    donyas

    Wonder why Dutch finally grew a set

  • avatar
    carguy

    I would have been more impressed if Dutch had written this 5 years ago but at least its an editorial step in the right direction for AW.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Bravo. We should laud this without any caveats. When a non-premium brand pulls a stunt like this they face an immediate death by firing squad, good to see cars with even less excuse (due to price) being held to a similar standard.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    “Because it’s Dutch, there has to be a little bit in there about having rich friends and a kid in a fraternity, ….”

    I’m not familiar with Dutch or AW, but my run-ins this type suggests that he probably frequently mentions his expensive shoes and watches in his articles as well. I’ll bet he writes the Gift Guides too.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      “I’m not familiar with Dutch or AW, but my run-ins this type suggests that he probably frequently mentions his expensive shoes and watches in his articles as well.”

      …hah!..touché, indeed: at least jack’s brand-dropping tends to be backed up with substance…

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        I realized when I made the comment that this could be seen as directed towards JB and his writing, but I don’t know him, so I didn’t include a guitar reference. I was directly referring to the type of investor/business type / daddy’s boy that buys high-end German cars.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    I can’t help but notice the Road and Track piece you posted earlier (The Mayhem Mustang piece was part of a 3 way with a FR-S and Boxster) enthusiastically recommended a used Boxster with no mention of prohibitively expensive IMS or RMS failures. There was a brief “oh, sure, you can’t really run a Boxster for the price of a Toyota, stop acting like a poor person” but it does seem like a useful bit of information about just how expensive going with the out of warranty used Boxster might become.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      @Jellodyne –

      I read the R&T piece also, and came away with the very same thoughts. “Are you willing to pay a little more to have the car of your dreams?” The problem is that Porsche failures can make a dream machine a nightmare.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        I assure you that the IMS failure was the subject of much discussion internally. In the end, I chose to recommend the 2009-forward cars, which have a completely different engine and one which Mike Levitas at TPC believes to be considerably more stout.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Has anyone ever seen Dutch Mandel and Scott Oldham of Edmunds in the same place at the same time? Because I strongly suspect it’s the same person.

  • avatar
    David Walton

    JB,

    In fairness the Porsche-specific press – especially in the prone-to-exaggeration UK – has been all over the shortcomings of the M96/M97 lumps.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Excellence, a mag I’ve subscribed to for years, often talks readers/owners through the first gen water-cooled engine IMS/RMS issues and fixes. Subject pops up a couple times a year. They’ve even shown the brave do-it-yourselfer the tools and parts needed to re-seal the engine in step-by-step pictorial guides.

      Granted, Excellence Magazine is Porschephile centric, to say the least. Most people subscribing are already neck deep into the Porsche ownership experience. And by no means, do articles there (however well done) end up as source material in the brag mags aimed at the general car enthusiast. Too Inside Baseball and technical for one. And too upsetting to a major OEM advertiser for two. But the information is out there, and has been.

      Making friends with your local German authorized independent repair/tuner shop is also good for the pocketbook, for the technicians there can tell you if the 02 Porsche 911 you’re about to write a check for has had the IMS/RMS issues already resolved, or if you’re going to have to do it as the new owner – at considerable expense.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        To replace the RMS and the IMS at the same time without doing any other work (such as the clutch which you might as well do, since the labor is paid for already) should be no more than $2000. Not a minor sum, but an average ’02 996 (as you referenced) would retail somewhere in the low to mid 20′s, so not that big of a deal either in the scheme of things.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    If you know he has been a lying sycophant for all this time, why trust this article now? Why ever trust his articles again? Why ever pay?

    You should be, for the sake of journalism and car lovers everywhere, asking what the real motive for the story was. Did Porsche serve the wrong wine? Did he need to write something, anything, to show he still had some independence in order to keep his johns from reducing their fees as he has aged and his reputation fallen? Was it simply a scream from the depths of his super ego?

    These, Jack, are the questions we want answered.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    For us ignorant schlubs that drive mainstream cars, what is the IMS / RMS?

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      IMS = intermediate shaft (bearing)
      RMS = rear main seal

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        Just curious – When the IMS bearing fails, do the timing chains stop moving, thereby causing just a bit of interference between whichever valves remain open and the still moving pistons?

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I have a picture of my friend’s Boxster IMS bearing in a pan. It is in a bunch of pieces of random sizes, and they would do other engine parts no favors by their disassociation. Fortunately, after a few beers I asked him if his car’s engine had been updated, so he knew to shut off the second he saw the Change Engine Light.
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/62724074@N06/9829039713/

        • 0 avatar
          WalterRohrl

          No, the bearing literally disintegrates and spreads metal throughout the engine, requiring complete disassembly and rebuild at a minimum.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Vodka McBigbra > Dutch “Habsburg” Mandel, Jr.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    The fuss here is that Porsche has seen an influx of nouveau riche amateurs buying their cars. Said group just doesn’t understand that bad cam bearings and the like (and paying for the repair, warranty be damned) are simply part of the “experience”. Buy a VW if you want reliability. *smirk*

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Perhaps this all part of a conspiracy hatched by journalists/Porsche to strike fear into the wallets of the nouveau riche riff-raff who have been diluting the exclusivity of Porsche ownership for years. Let’s scare those plebs with good credit ratings from trying to join our private little club with horror stories of horrendous repair bills and exploding engines… I, for one, will not be fooled and plan on going Boxster shopping this weekend *sniff*

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Colonel Baruth, it’s guys like you that have held me back from grabbing a Boxster. The horror, the horror

  • avatar
    Travis

    My reaction to this article, after reading it last night, was pretty much the opposite of JB. I was sitting there with my mouth open wondering why the hell this guy thinks it’s a Travisty that his decade old well out of warranty car should be afforded the same care and tender touch it would’ve gotten 5 years or even 1 year earlier. I like how it doesn’t mention the model years that came before 2001. Like, seriously, we’re just now willing to talk about the Boxster/996 elephant in the room? Too little too goddamn late. Maybe his friend should go buy another 996. They’re certainly affordable. I can’t imagine why.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Part of the answer to your question is that Porsche sold racing heritage and durability together. The first gen water boxer engines had no connection to either attribute, unlike previous generations of air-cooled engines. It took Porsche three tries to come up with a bearing that -maybe- could do the job. I put maybe in there because the post 2005 engines may not have enough miles on them to have started failing in large numbers. Supposedly their failure rate is under 1% (how much under? – beats me). Meanwhile I’m enjoying mine and hoping for once to be a 99%-er. There is one guy who claims 275kmiles on his so there is hope.

      His friend should buy a 993, preferably a Carrera S with full service records. He will still spend big bux on various and sundry but the engine won’t blow up short of a bad money shift. Think of a vintage Porsche as transportation like a sailboat is transportation, not like a real car.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Fifteen or twenty years ago, I subscribed to Autoweek because it was like $9.95/year for 52 issues. When the carpocalypse hit, Autoweek went to 1 issue every two weeks. They didn’t change their name, though, I guess they didn’t want to admit that they were “bi”. I stopped subscribing, because it wasn’t worth $.50/issue. I’m surprised that they’re still in business.

  • avatar
    Silvy_nonsense

    TTAC could have gift guides, too, if Derek et. al. would quit writing juvenile take downs of custom printed coffee mugs, digital tire pressure guages and unfairly highlighting the sub-standard quality of pre-production roller ball pen sets in a cardboard presentation box. So what if the fabric coated elastic band holding the pens into the box was a little askew? Don’t you know what “pre-production” means?

    TTAC got itself banned by the Gift Industry PR flacks and it had nothing to do with Autoweek or anyone else. Take responsibility for your own actions and quit crying about all the other auto media outlets’ gift guides.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Does anyone know of a credible source that has a credible estimate as to what % of 911s and Boxsters produced in the relevant time period have been affected by either IMS and/or RMS issues?

    • 0 avatar
      mitchw

      Unreliably, I hear 1 in 5. But don’t think the engines are otherwise sound. Feed the words “Boxster dchunk” into your browser to see a whole nuther world of hurt to your nethers. And if you’re still drooling, think about this; there were no bearings for the camshafts, as the heads and valve covers were machined. Run far away, that’s me up the road, bent over.

      • 0 avatar
        kvolkan

        Almost 9 yrs ago my 1998 out of warranty boxster had the d chunk problem at 34k miles. Or maybe it was the ims – Porsche wasn’t forthcoming about the problem. The techs and others at the dealership were completely close lipped about what went wrong. I called the Porsche NA west coast rep everyday for two weeks to complain (I got his number from my friend who had severe problems with his Cayenne). Eventually Porsche coughed up almost half the cost of a new engine, my dealer sold after market warranty coughed up half and I paid $1500. I could never get a straight answer from anyone if the new engine was more reliable. Frustrated I traded the boxster for the much more powerful Infiniti g35 – a car that was handed down to family members and has over 100k miles on it now. It has NEVER had one problem other than eating up front rotors (fixed by installing Hawks rotors).

      • 0 avatar
        kvolkan

        Anecdotally, the couple of guy I knew who had boosters all had failures of one kind of another. None of them will ever buy another porsche. I count myself among them except, if I found a boxster for 4-5k I’d consider getting another and spending $3500 to upgrade the ims with the LN kit. Or I could just get a vette..

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      The lawsuit settlement stipulated that the lifetime failure rate for the IMS bearing for ordinary 911′s and Boxers assembled between early 2001 and mid-2005 was “4 to 10%”. I am guessing it has been closer to 10%. Otherwise, it was said to be “about 1%”. I am currently playing the 99% (I hope) roulette with a 2000 996. If you hear anything better concerning my odds, please let me know.

      A pre-emptive IMS bearing fix (using heavy duty aftermarket parts) is less than $2,000 all in. You can sometimes spot incipient failure when you see little bits of metal in your oil filter during oil changes. The RMS seal failure is far less catastrophic in its consequences and easier to spot in advance.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Thanks to both of you.

        Jim, in cases like these, data pertaining to catastrophic failure of a particular component is very much exclusively known by the manufacturer, as warranty claims are submitted (regardless as to whether they’re approved or denied) through their dealer network.

        Therefore, the only way that info typically gets into the public domain is via the discovery process that is ancillary to formal litigation, so that statistic you cited is probably the best one in terms of accuracy, even if it seems to be a very broad one. My guess is that plaintiffs claim 10% failure rate, while Porsche claims something much closer to the lower 4% one.

      • 0 avatar
        joeb-z

        The strange thing is that earlier Boxsters (I have a 2000 Boxster S) have a two row bearing that according to documents in the lawsuit have a less than 1% failure rate. So on top of a sketchy design (a sealed bearing washed in hot oil) they made the design worse in 2001 with the single row bearing. Then the proceeded in 2006 or so to make the bearing somewhat better but requiring engine dissassembly to replace! I have an IMS Guardian installed that tells me there has been a failure early on. I will replace the IMS bearing when the clutch needs replacement. Looking at the odds, a $2000 bearing install for a 1% problem is worth it for a $200,000 car but not a $15,000 car. By the way, the new ceramic bearing needs to be replaced at 50K mile intervals so even that is just a patch.

  • avatar
    graham

    JB, your cause and effect argument regarding the precipitous drop in resale value of your Boxster doesn’t make sense to me. You state that the value dropped steeply (and quickly) due to the IMS/RMS problems inherent in the engine design, which presupposes that a majority of potential buyers are already aware of the problems are therefore are not willing to spend as much to purchase a used Porsche, thereby lowering the resale values. But then you crucify AW and other “buff books” for having remained silent on the issue, thereby encouraging buyers such as yourself to purchased an affected model, unaware of the problems lurking in the shadows. If anything, the silence should have *helped* resale values, not hurt them. My hypothesis is that the values declined for same reasons all expensive German vehicles suffer from—once the prestige factor wears off in a couple of years and the manufacturer-supported leases start coming to an end, they are discarded in large numbers and it’s simply a matter of supply and lack of sufficient demand.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > My hypothesis is that the values declined for same reasons all expensive German vehicles suffer from—once the prestige factor wears off in a couple of years and the manufacturer-supported leases start coming to an end,

      All you have to do is look at the residuals for the 993 to know that isn’t the case. Information spreads quick, regardless of buff books or not. See also residuals of the 964 vs 993 and the 3.2 before it.

    • 0 avatar
      WalterRohrl

      The drop in resale is largely due to supply and demand. 986/996 were built in much larger numbers than the 993 and 964 before it. Porsche was also pushing aggressive lease programs.

  • avatar
    setsail26

    Jack, what have you done about the IMS situation in your boxster?

  • avatar
    jmo

    All this bitching and moaning about a failure that impacted 2.5% of their cars?

    I assume the issue isn’t the failure but the fact that they didn’t just do a Honda and own it and make amends.

    • 0 avatar
      Travis

      The numbers are hard to come by, so 2.5 may be inaccurate, too high or too small. Even if it was as little as 1%, this was an issue that cropped up VERY early in engine life. If you make it to 80k+ miles, your engine isn’t going to die because of an IMS related failure.

      Even still, 2.5% is absolutely HUGE when you’re talking about total engine failure without the guarantee of cost recuperation.

      • 0 avatar
        kvolkan

        it’s larger than that. Just go to a PCA meeting and talk to other boxster owners. Also when combined with the fatal problems in the older cars I would guesstimate something more like 20-30%

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Finally, after years of keeping us all in the dark, Stuttgart’s mouthpieces have stipulated a “4 to 10%” lifetime failure rate for IMS bearings for ordinary 996′s and Boxters assembled between early 2001 and mid-2005 (wanna bet on 10%). Whoopie! The lawyers (damn them all) still insist on a lifetime failure rate of “about 1%” for other examples, earlier and later. If you believe that, I have a bridge I wanna sell you.

      If anybody knows better data about IMS failure rates for 996′s assembled in April of 1999, please let me know. I am currently playing IMS failure rate roulette. My mechanics have a sure pre-emptive fix for under 2k USD, so I have all the options available. I just want better data.

  • avatar
    graham

    So if information spreads so easily and quickly, then what’s the issue with the buff books having not made a big issue out of the engine problems? Apparently everyone (except JB) already knew about the problems and factored that into the amount they were willing to spend when making a purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Very few people knew about this when the cars were new.

      • 0 avatar
        graham

        Ok, the “new” aspects puts things in a different perspective. But Dutch et. al wouldn’t have know about the problems at that point either then, right?

      • 0 avatar
        MK

        This is not an accurate statement jack. When I bought my used 996 in 2004 I did a lot of prior reading on rennlist and renntech and the RMS “problem” was already very well known and discussed in depth along with the various seal replacement fixes (at the time I think Porsche was on the third iteration of the rms seal and install technique).
        What was unknown was the true failure rate, which was guessed at ad nauseum. Also the fact that PCNA didn’t do anything for you if it was out of warranty (which is a bigger issue withIMS admittedly).
        I went in eyes wide open and with 93k on the clock now it’s been the most fun daily driver I’ve ever owned. Wish I could’ve sprung for the turbo but no regrets other than that.

        For the record my car developed an RMS leak….but so fucking what? Oil leaks are part of the automotive experience, right? Damned near every car I’ve owned has developed a leak.

        I had the rms fixed on my dime at a little over 50k miles when I replaced the clutch and it only added a fee hundred bucks to the repair bill. Truly trivial in the long list of other things I’ve spent money on with the car (tires being the biggest single expense).

        Auto-journos Obfuscate and glad hand their readers???? Next thing you’ll be telling us is that there’s no tooth fairy.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    I saw a puff of white smoke ahead of me recently on the interstate. I assumed it was locked up tires and the ensuing smoke. It turned out to be from the single center mount exhaust pipe of a boxster. As I rolled by I also saw flames leaping up out of the pipe.

    • 0 avatar
      WalterRohrl

      Yes because every one knows that white smoke means fire.

      • 0 avatar
        korvetkeith

        You’re right, I didn’t see a silver boxster on fire on the side of I55. Silly me.

        It’s painfully obvious you’re some sort of paid shill.

        • 0 avatar
          WalterRohrl

          No need to be so defensive, I’m neither paid nor a shill, but a puff of white smoke and a fire are two different things. You could have said the same about a Camry and I would have said the same answer. White “smoke” is caused by adding water to a fire, it’s called steam. It also generally causes the flames to be extinguished.

          You may have seen a silver Boxster on fire, certainly possible, however that is not what you said in your original post. But what exactly is IN an exhaust pipe that would cause it to have flames coming out of it and nowhere else at standstill as you did state (actually the standstill part is from your secone post)?

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        I thought white smoke meant we had a new Pope.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Oh, quit with the gratuitous ad hominen, Jack. All you guys are whores. Or did you start up with that competitor of yours as a distraction in hopes of avoiding retaliation from Porsche?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I think at this point I’ve suffered all the retaliation Porsche can dish out, I ain’t scared, yo. I suppose they could send a Panarabia full of thugs to my house or something.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Just put an LS in it: http://www.renegadehybrids.com/

  • avatar
    WalterRohrl

    Jack, I get that for some reason you have a beef with Dutch. Pretty much all the buff book journo’s are the same and many bloggers no better.

    I also get that you feel wronged by Porsche for ex-communicating you after dissing one of their cars. Whatever, it’s their car, you learned that you can only say what you want when you paid your own money for it, a la CR. No big surprise there. How much credibility do you give ANY source of information about any product wherein that source is being paid by the ad dollars from the same entity? You’d have to be naive.

    What I don’t get is the continual cheap shots at Porsche regarding an engine family that they no longer build. Were there problems? Sure. Did some people get screwed? Most likely. However, plenty of people have been on the receiving end of goodwill engine replacements well after the official warranty expired, which I am fairly sure you are aware of but never mention.

    Anybody buying a used 996/Boxster, at this point in time, or probably any time since the mid-2000′s, easily could have done some basic research to A) see that there were issues and B) found that there were relatively inexpensive fixes for the RMS and IMS bearing.

    When you bought your Boxster(s) I’d guess that you read up on them and did not feel that they’d be as reliable as a Camry. I’d also guess that your real opinion about anyone else who just buys one on a whim and then complains when something known goes wrong is less than charitable. Sure, Porsche advertise their racing heritage yada yada yada. Big deal, it’s advertising. Pretty much everyone knows that Ferrari has been in F1 forever but nobody buys one thinking nothing will ever go wrong. Will slamming a couple of Red Bull’s before a race make you win it? Doubtful, you’re more likely to jitter yourself into a wall.

    I’m sure you well know that several companies make replacement IMS bearings, the replacement cost of which varies slightly but even if replaced without replacing anything else at the same time is generally under $2000. $2000 is a big deal for someone with a 10-year old Civic, not nearly as big a deal for someone who could swing 30-40k 7 or 8 years ago for a Boxster or 996. That cost is MUCH cheaper if you time the replacement for when you need a clutch for example as then the incremental labor is next to nothing.

    RMS leaks are nothing new either. Porsche has released several upgrades over the years and the most recent one seems to have fixed it. Do RMS leaks exist elsewhere? Sure, our family hauler Odyssey is leaking all over the street right now until I take it in. The Saab I used to have leaked as well. Whatever, an RMS leak will not kill the car. Any that leaked within the warranty period were fixed, as were IMS bearing failures. Many were fixed AFTER the warranty expired, albeit it helped if you had the dealer service the car since purchase. That is also how the Class-Action settlement reads, more assistance for people who bought their cars as CPO or new and had them dealer maintained vs people who bought off Craigslist and went to the corner gas station for repairs. If I were Porsche I’d agree to the same thing, no more.

    I have a hard time feeling particularly sorry for anyone who bought one of these cars on a whim without doing any research and went into the purchase without their eyes open. I bought one, I did a lot of research first, and I feel (I know) I got the performance car bargain of a lifetime. If it all goes wrong, so be it, I won’t be whining, I’m a big boy and know what can go wrong. But I also know that not every car was affected, non-garage-queen cars are unlikely to fail anymore, and there are remedies.

    However I do feel annoyed that you keep bringing this up without mentioning the fixes.

    I am sure you also know that the 964′s had many early problems with leaks due to the factory using a new technique without gaskets between the heads and the block. Most were fixed under warranty but some were not and now owners face considerable expense to correct it. Dual-mass flywheels were also an issue on 964′s. If you buy a low-mileage example and experience a problem will the factory help yo? Hell, no.

    Early 993′s apparently have problems with the Secondary Air Injection pump, frequently firing off the CEL which then causes issues at smog-check time. It is a difficult fault to fix that seems to often come back for owners. Is Porsche stepping up to help these people? No. Should they? No, the cars are over 15 years old, Porsche is not in the cradle to grave warranty business.

    So Jack, please either lay off the whining or actually do some journalism and give both sides of the story, i.e. the fixes and things that can be done. You’ll be more credible on other issues you report on for those of us who know the truth.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      It seems either most of you guys, or I, are completely missing the point of the article.

      To me, the article is about a specific instance of a known problem – auto journos failing to disclose faults in products in order to avoid cutting off their gravy train and access to cars. This problem is compounded by the manufacturers brazenly cutting off critics.

      The actual problem is just evidence, it’s not what the story is about. That Jack has been cut off, is just evidence, it’s not the story.

      The story is that a specific player in this long time conspiracy finally broke with SOP and ratted out a manufacturer.

      I have no problem shunning or banishing journos who prove a lack of integrity. It’s not like a journo banned from writing in the press won’t likely make more money with their skill set in the corporate world. They certainly won’t be in the soup line. I just don’t get why the public thinks these guys deserve a second chance. Their integrity is what they are selling and if its known to be worthless, why buy?

    • 0 avatar
      kvolkan

      I bought a boxster 9 years ago from a porsche dealer. I researched the car and didn’t find any information that suggested the car wasn’t reliable. There are a lot of other options besides Porsche for a kick ass sports car these days. If I known about the ims I would have been happy to spend 2k to prevent the problem. It’s one thing for a car to have expensive maintenance, it’s another for it to randomly need a new engine every 30-90k miles. Especially when a new engine costs 12k. This is not excellence it’s a major fail.

  • avatar
    WalterRohrl

    Comment either did not take or was caught up somewhere, apologies if this is a dupe…

    Jack, I get that for some reason you have a beef with Dutch. Pretty much all the buff book journo’s are the same and many bloggers no better.

    I also get that you feel wronged by Porsche for ex-communicating you after dissing one of their cars. Whatever, it’s their car, you learned that you can only say what you want when you paid your own money for it, a la CR. No big surprise there. How much credibility do you give ANY source of information about any product wherein that source is being paid by the ad dollars from the same entity? You’d have to be naive.

    What I don’t get is the continual cheap shots at Porsche regarding an engine family that they no longer build. Were there problems? Sure. Did some people get screwed? Most likely. However, plenty of people have been on the receiving end of goodwill engine replacements well after the official warranty expired, which I am fairly sure you are aware of but never mention.

    Anybody buying a used 996/Boxster, at this point in time, or probably any time since the mid-2000′s, easily could have done some basic research to A) see that there were issues and B) found that there were relatively inexpensive fixes for the RMS and IMS bearing.

    When you bought your Boxster(s) I’d guess that you read up on them and did not feel that they’d be as reliable as a Camry. I’d also guess that your real opinion about anyone else who just buys one on a whim and then complains when something known goes wrong is less than charitable. Sure, Porsche advertise their racing heritage yada yada yada. Big deal, it’s advertising. Pretty much everyone knows that Ferrari has been in F1 forever but nobody buys one thinking nothing will ever go wrong. Will slamming a couple of Red Bull’s before a race make you win it? Doubtful, you’re more likely to jitter yourself into a wall.

    I’m sure you well know that several companies make replacement IMS bearings, the replacement cost of which varies slightly but even if replaced without replacing anything else at the same time is generally under $2000. $2000 is a big deal for someone with a 10-year old Civic, not nearly as big a deal for someone who could swing 30-40k 7 or 8 years ago for a Boxster or 996. That cost is MUCH cheaper if you time the replacement for when you need a clutch for example as then the incremental labor is next to nothing.

    RMS leaks are nothing new either. Porsche has released several upgrades over the years and the most recent one seems to have fixed it. Do RMS leaks exist elsewhere? Sure, our family hauler Odyssey is leaking all over the street right now until I take it in. The Saab I used to have leaked as well. Whatever, an RMS leak will not kill the car. Any that leaked within the warranty period were fixed, as were IMS bearing failures. Many were fixed AFTER the warranty expired, albeit it helped if you had the dealer service the car since purchase. That is also how the Class-Action settlement reads, more assistance for people who bought their cars as CPO or new and had them dealer maintained vs people who bought off Craigslist and went to the corner gas station for repairs. If I were Porsche I’d agree to the same thing, no more.

    I have a hard time feeling particularly sorry for anyone who bought one of these cars on a whim without doing any research and went into the purchase without their eyes open. I bought one, I did a lot of research first, and I feel (I know) I got the performance car bargain of a lifetime. If it all goes wrong, so be it, I won’t be whining, I’m a big boy and know what can go wrong. But I also know that not every car was affected, non-garage-queen cars are unlikely to fail anymore, and there are remedies.

    However I do feel annoyed that you keep bringing this up without mentioning the fixes.

    I am sure you also know that the 964′s had many early problems with leaks due to the factory using a new technique without gaskets between the heads and the block. Most were fixed under warranty but some were not and now owners face considerable expense to correct it. Dual-mass flywheels were also an issue on 964′s. If you buy a low-mileage example and experience a problem will the factory help yo? Hell, no.

    Early 993′s apparently have problems with the Secondary Air Injection pump, frequently firing off the CEL which then causes issues at smog-check time. It is a difficult fault to fix that seems to often come back for owners. Is Porsche stepping up to help these people? No. Should they? No, the cars are over 15 years old, Porsche is not in the cradle to grave warranty business.

    So Jack, please either lay off the whining or actually do some journalism and give both sides of the story, i.e. the fixes and things that can be done. You’ll be more credible on other issues you report on for those of us who know the truth.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      This is the most comprehensive answer I can give you.

      Porsche apologists keep trying to recast this as a problem that happens with old cars. “People should know better! They should do their research! Porsches aren’t mean to be perfect!”

      You’re deliberately misleading people when you say that.

      The issue is this, and I hope I am spelling it out for you clearly enough: Porsche knowingly sold a flawed design for twelve years. Some percentage of their engines blew up at extremely low miles. The company claimed to have no knowledge of the problem. The company stuck their customers with the bill time and time again. The company refused to fix the issue properly in the NEW cars, band-aiding bearing solutions two separate and distinct times.

      This is not a case where it was recently discovered that 1997 Boxsters blow engines. This is a case where Porsche apparently knew from 1997 to 2007 that they were selling a faulty product. Instead of fixing it, they blamed the customers. Instead of spending money on a new design, they built trucks. Instead of standing behind their product, they stood behind attorneys. It takes a MASSIVE case of Stockholm Syndrome to believe anything else.

      How long did Porsche wait to fix the gasketless 964?
      How long did Porsche wait to fix dual-mass flywheels?
      How long did Porsche wait to address CEL issues on the OBD-II 993?

      In all cases, there was a fix and it appeared in far fewer than twelve years.

      Furthermore, it’s highly disingenuous to say that

      * the information’s out on the Internet, so if you buy a 996 it’s your own fault;
      * shut up about the problems.

      You get to pick ONE. Either we shut up about the problems and accept that someone will buy a 3100-pound paperweight-to-be because he doesn’t know, or we keep talking about it until everyone knows.

      Your choice.

      • 0 avatar
        setsail26

        I think Porsche could have done better, but understand that you can’t know a fix is a “band-aid” until you fix a bunch and wait a while. They made changes at least three seperate times to fix the problem. And in 2009 is was fixed for good. When something happens to 1-5% of your products, it may take a while to figure out why (bad batch of parts, track use (which I know it should be capable of), poor design, wrong oil, etc etc.) If Porsche is really that bad, sell the boxster and drive something else. If your car blows up at this point, you can’t complain because there are fixes availible to prevent this. And if the point is to imform people, why rip on Dutch (who I admit comes off as pretty useless)?

      • 0 avatar
        Delta9A1

        Is there an example of ANY car manufacturer providing a lifetime warranty on its engine? JB’s article makes a good point about the auto press being afraid to speak truth to power, but Porsche is no different than other manufacturers. How many people bought used Chysler minivans and had to replace the weak and defective transmission? Same goes for Mazda and the known problems with its automatic transmissions. Head gaskets on 1990′s Tauruses and Sables, anyone?

        What is the fix you mention for the SAI problem on post-1996 OBD II 993′s? According to the technical writers at Excellence magazine, the SAI problem is usually only fixable with a rebuild, the cost of which on air-cooled cars can equal the cost of a swapped M96 engine after an IMS failure. As mentioned in this thread, issues with the M96 block were the worst in 1999 to early 2001, and Porsche continually improved the engine design through the life of the engine model. For those buying used “M96″ 911′s and Boxsters, the cost of replacing the IMS bearing with an LN Engineering or similar fix is about $1000 extra when you replace the clutch. When modern performance tires can easily set you back $1400/set, used 996 911′s are a performance bargain, IMS issues or not. I hope you find the Ferrari 360 you are looking for, as a real-life comparision of Porsche/Ferrari maintenance costs would be very interesting!

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          There are plenty of manufacturers who have offered some sort of relief past warranty when it becomes apparent there was a manufacturing defect. I think exploding bearings would fit that description.

          Another example would be failing radiator seems on OEM replacement parts from Ford, who has had the gall to simply blame the failures on the age of the truck. I have heard this story, but almost don’t believe it.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        Quote: Furthermore, it’s highly disingenuous to say that

        * the information’s out on the Internet, so if you buy a 996 it’s your own fault;
        * shut up about the problems.

        You get to pick ONE. Either we shut up about the problems and accept that someone will buy a 3100-pound paperweight-to-be because he doesn’t know, or we keep talking about it until everyone knows.

        Your choice.
        End Quote

        No, my point is that I don’t care if you repeat the problem re the IMS bearning ad nauseum, HOWEVER there is a preventative solution that is available for circa $2000 worst case and as low as $100 for a DIY’er. Incremental cost over a normal clutch job would be around $700 at an average Porsche indie.

        SO you have two choices:

        1. Keep saying that the engine will fail and then it’s a $20k+ tab for a new one and sound like a typical internet parrot OR

        2. Say that the engine has a fault that can cause it to go boom, however there is a preventative maintenance fix as stated above. That fix has been available for a LONG time now, to ignore it as you do is wrong and besmirches your credibility.

        However, I agree it is less sensationalistic and probably gets less discussion than option A. “Gee, there is a problem and there is a cure for it. OK, nothing to see here, move right along…” Come on, Jack, the average Porsche owner thinks nothing of a four-figure repair bill, an extra $700 repair part (the high end for the parts) every 50k miles is not significant.

        Also, what is the cure for the 993 SAI issue? I’ve been reading the same literature as everyone else and have not seen a solution. At this point I’m like you are regarding the 996 but opposite, i.e. I think the 993 will cause me tons of grief, hence not interested. 996 issue is preventable. You see it the other way, but please share the 993 fix. Maybe values will rise more, who knows.

      • 0 avatar
        kvolkan

        Well said Jack! I completely agree with you. BTW Porsche’s trucks ain’t that reliable either

  • avatar
    Arnaldo

    This post amused me. I was in Dutch’s son’s frat, know Schoelzel, and know Dutch.

    In any event, I don’t see Porsche’s blunder any worse than the tons of other cover-ups that have happened in the industry. Porsche certainly isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) automakers that’s had severe defects with their cars and gotten off easy.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Give Dutch a break, he stepped up, and admit it, we’ve all got our little foibles.

    For gawd’s sake, JB seems to think that John Mayer has some actual musical talent, and we all keep reading what he writes!

  • avatar
    SimRacingDan

    Yeah, the IMS bearing thing was absurd. A friend of mine got hit with it and had his engine replaced under warranty.

    I just bought a 2011 Boxster Spyder… Its engine has been around long enough now that it looks like it’s reasonably reliable. I guess a couple people have had problems with the high pressure fuel pump, but it sounds like that’s pretty common among the recent batch of direct injection engines from several makers.

  • avatar
    kenwood

    JB,
    Has your Boxster had an IMS or RMS failure?

  • avatar
    Bocatrip

    Planet 9 forum has quite a few issues with the current 981(Boxster,Cayman) that are going unresolved with techs scratching their heads with some electrical gremlins. Even 911S owners have complaints about their PDKs. After the trashing the owners of the IMS issue had received prior to the lawsuit, I’ve decided to steer clear of considering purchasing a 981 for the time being. Porsche doesn’t seem to rush and get things sorted out when complaints come in.

  • avatar
    Vettelife88

    Damn……glad I bought a Vette instead!


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