Super Piston Slap: Kickstarting a Porsche IMS Lawsuit?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
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Robert writes:

I just replaced the engine in my 2005 Porsche 911 due to the failure of the INTERMEDIATE SHAFT. I would like to know just how widespread the problem is with 911’s and other Porsche models too. Why?

I am considering filing a lawsuit against Porsche to recover the costs associated with replacing the engine. If you have had an INTERMEDIATE SHAFT failure and have an interest in joining in my lawsuit or simply sharing your experience please contact me:

Sajeev Answers:

While Baruth (HINT-HINT) preps his remarks, let’s look back: since the dawn of the automotive era, many a niche car builder received a free pass from their colossal mechanical failures. That’s part of the game: Ferraris is (sometimes?) known for fixing production mistakes well after customers take delivery. We recently saw just that with the Corvette ZR1, too. Even Deloreans were known to…well, perhaps that’s beating a dead horse.

Porsche prides itself on mechanical perfection: selling it lock/stock/barrel in their expensive iron, loading it to the hilt with additional expenses like leather wrappings, Sport Chronos and fancy Porsche Design accessories. But the “grin and bear it” part after spending thousands on repairs and maintenance bothers me. That is, after I worked in a shop where RMS (rear main seal) failures on pre-loved, out of warranty Porsche boxers were more than a little common. It left a mark on me.

But the IMS problem is a rarer, far more painful beast of burden. The YouTube video above does a good job explaining the problem. And while that particular IMS failure came from a Spec-Boxster street car cum weekend warrior, isn’t Porsche engineering up to that task? I know plenty of mainstream shitbuckets that do quite well as purpose-built racers in the 24 Hours of LeMons, accomplishing much more with far, far less from the factory.

So it’s a shame, and you can search many a Porsche-intensive forum to see the problem firsthand. And judge for yourself. My thoughts are as follows: shouldn’t this problem require an announcement from Porsche like this? Wouldn’t a brand so proud of their engineering decide to take a significant hit on their balance sheet to make loyal customers happy? Maybe going 50/50 on the repair would be just enough to smooth things over. But I guess the April Fools in the above link applies solely to Porsche owners.

So the lawsuit, or threat thereof. If this comes to fruition, the real winners will be the lawyers. And that’s fine, I’ve seen plenty of injustices go unpunished. So who better to fight back than the stereotypical rich jerks in their Porsches? We wouldn’t mind owners of IMS failures chiming in too, just to gauge this lawsuit’s potential reach.

Seriously: Best and Brightest, what are your thoughts on a possible class action lawsuit for Porsche IMS failure?

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

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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2 of 43 comments
  • Longislander1 Longislander1 on Feb 25, 2011

    Sajeev and Robert, thank you for exposing this mechanical defect for potential Porsche buyers to see. If I had known about the IMS problem and Porsche's tepid response to it, I would never have bought a car from that company. A lawsuit is a waste of time and money, IMHO. Victims and others with cars containing the affected M96 engines need to reach out as a group to major news media -- 60 Minutes, NBC Dateline, Wall Street Journal, etc. There is power in numbers. National publicity brought Toyota to the table to fix its problems and, as you can see, Toyota is so sensitive to the issues that it is now doing voluntary recalls. It may also be useful for victims to get together and report the matter to the National Highway Transportation Safety Adminstration. Any engine that fails on a major superhighway at high speeds certainly constitutes a safety issue. Only with this kind of bad publicity can you get Porsche to act and not sweep this problem under the rug. Victims need to be properly compensated and the rest of us with M96 engines need substantial extensions to our warranties. Keep up the fight!

  • Longislander1 Longislander1 on Feb 25, 2011

    A couple additional points: 1. Porsche, according to reports, did not address the problem in '05, even though incidents were becoming widespread and you think they would have taken steps to remove these engines from production. There is supposed to be a partial fix for '06, but the consensus among many is to stay away from any car built before '09. In fact, I just read a report of an '06 Cayman failing at 30K miles. My question is: given Porsche's response to this problem and its disinterest in compensating post-warranty victims, why would anyone think the situation is different with post-'09 cars? Why should we trust them now? 2. There's a Facebook group, "Porsche Boxster IMS Failures," and I would suggest that victims pile on there and then approach the national news media.

  • MaintenanceCosts So there is no Sonata trim without some type of Theta engine.It seems like they've been doing a bit better when attached to a hybrid system, so that's probably the one to get, but they're going to have to go several years without further engine troubles before I'd trust a H/K ICE product again.
  • Lou_BC Full sized sort of autonomous RC's. Cute.
  • Art_Vandelay Autonomous capabilities are being deployed (or planned anyway) in multiple combat vehicles. Should be fun from my perspective
  • Drew8MR Interior is trivial now you can get repro everything in various levels of quality. Getting the top sorted will be a couple grand, but I'd drive it as it. I drove a $1500 67 GTO convertible for 20 years, not every old car needs to be like new.
  • John Not everyone pays that much for power. Mine is 10 cents per kw…..