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Thinking of buying a Porsche? Read this and think again!

mholznermholzner Posts: 3
edited December 2013 in Porsche
Here is a story that I need to share in hope I can spare someone else the same experience:

My 1999 Boxster was recently diagnosed with the apparently very common intermediate shaft failure (IMS failure). The big surprise came when I heard the only way to fix this, is a complete engine replacement; $12000 for the part alone! Add the hours needed to put it in, and this is more then the cars current value.
The car has 62000 miles on it and had every scheduled service, done by Porsche certified shops.
When I approached Porsche to help me out, they had a good laugh and told me that the warranty expired 6 years ago. Even after I pointed to the "Implied Warranty of Merchantability and Fitness of Purpose" regulation in this country, and told them that nobody would buy a car knowing that it's engine will disintegrate after 62000 miles, they had nothing to say. I guess my fault for trying to keep the car in good shape and not driving it enough so that the failure would occur within the warranty period.

On their website, Porsche boasts with statements like:
“With the ‘Made in Germany’ cachet, and because of it” and “What counts here are quality, environmental protection, safety. And, naturally, fascination.”

Needless to say that I was fascinated until this happened.

I'm left with two options: donate the car, or get a lawyer. Neither is remotely what I'd like to do.

It is beyond me how Porsche can act this way. They want to make a profit out of this and sell me a new engine. An engine that I need to replace due to a design flaw that they built into it. They didn't even offer to give me a new engine at their cost.

I hope many people read this post and it shows them how Porsche treats its customers. I know, I'll never buy one again. And believe me, it hurts to say that: I loved to drive my Boxster.

Read up on the IMS failure and think again if you think of buying a Porsche. The user forums are full of people with similar stories. Don't make the mistake I made. Don't buy a Porsche!

Comments

  • looking at a 2001 Boxster S w/36K miles. warned about engine failures - oil mixing w/coolant. scared me off. anything to this? enough to not buy if everything cks out?
  • This is a worthwhile forum for anyone wanting to purchase a Porsche built from 1997 through 2008 that contains the infamous M96 engine subject to IMS failure. I have read many such episodes as the one posted above. I have read two episodes where owners had this happen on two different cars that they owned. I have read an account of a failure as low as 6,000 miles. I have read another where the owner had the failure on a crowded high-speed freeway and was lucky to get the car to the side of the road without being killed. An owner in Toronto bought an '05 Boxster just out of warranty and had the problem soon after he bought the car. He's trying to pull together a class action suit against Porsche. I recall reading about an owner in Britain who won a case against Porsche. The judge said that Porsche should be building engines that go 200,000 miles, not the crap that ends up in an IMS failure.

    From the accounts I've read, Porsche replaces the defective engine with a rebuilt one if your car is still under warranty. If your car is slightly out of warranty and the dealer service manager likes the color of your tie that day, Porsche may throw in only a few thousand dollars and you're stuck with the rest. And if you're like the poster above, you're simply stuck. Boxsters have been subject to some real head-spinning depreciation already, so when you add on the bill for an engine replacement, it's a major financial hit. A lot of people will have to pay more for a new engine than their car is worth.

    Because Porsche has not addressed this issue publicly and will not grant potential victims an extended warranty or a free mechanical fix of the problem, many otherwise good used cars are now tainted. It is certainly affecting resale value. If you want to read more, just Google "Porsche" and "engine failure" or go to sites like rennlist.com or ppbb.com. After you do the free registration on the sites, you can search for engine failure information and find plenty of hair-raising stories.

    My advice to owners looking for a Porsche built with the M96 engine: buy a Corvette. The folks at Chevy look like customer service gurus compared to the people at Porsche, where the attitude is that -- for $50,000 or more -- you should consider yourself privileged just to own one of their defective products.
  • I couldn't agree more. Not that a Corvette would be my first choice, but Porsche needs to be taught a lesson.
    To top it off, get this: I had a Porsche staff member reply to one of my posts about this issue in another forum, basically telling me to suck it up. If I REALLY love the car, I shut up and pay.
    The reason I know it was a Porsche employee is, because the post had details about my claim that I never mentioned in the forum, so only I and the Porsche employees that worked on my claim had that knowledge. The person claimed to be a Willi x, but turned out to be lady with the name Heather.

    I was speechless when I read the post.
  • About 1 1/2 years ago, my Boxster's engine had the same intermediate shaft problem other Boxsters have. I had my car towed to the local Porsche dealer and they agreed to replace the entire engine under warranty. Not only did they complete the job with $0 out of my pocket, but they gave me a 2 year warranty at no additional charge. My car had only 22K miles and I didn't drive her too hard. I have hit 155 mph and she felt good. I don't think I was abusing her, Porsches are suppose to go fast! If this would've happened out of warranty, my dealer told me that Porsche would've paid for 1/2 the repair $15K including labor or $7,500 out of pocket. That's a lot of money and I'm glad the engine blew while it was under warranty. The dealer told me the engine they put in had been upgraded and should not throw the shaft through the side of the block, like this one did. I love my Boxster and I'm glad the dealer took care of me, unlike Mitsubishi and their EVO problems.
  • das10das10 Posts: 2
    Same thing happened to me, however the car's warranty had expired. The cost is prohibitive to me. Porsche offered nothing, not even willing to split the cost. Where is your dealer?
  • That's really unfortunate. I am a much bigger fan of the newer Porsches than I am of the older ones, but that's just me. The newer Boxter's are pretty tempting with the additional HP that has been brought up to 310hp. If they were just 200lbs lighter, they would be pretty awesome cars, but I suppose that's why they make aftermarket CF products.
  • I took a Porsche Boxter into "Porsche of Destin" on Monday, July 12th, for a routine oil change and asked them to check for the cause of an intermittent "check engine" light.

    The lady service advisor called me the next day and told me, repeatedly, that we "NEEDED" a 30,000 service. She priced it at nine hundred and eighty something dollars. She also said we needed a transaxle service for about three hundred fifty dollars. This car is garaged and is in MINT condition with only 25,900 miles on it (nowhere near 30,000 miles).

    After thinking about it for a while, I called back and complained to the Service Manager that she had LIED to me about the car needing the 30,000 mile service. THe apologized for her telling me that and said that it was "recommended" that the service be done now. I rejected his advice and told them to do only the oil change and fix the "check engine light". They were to drop the car off at the house on Wednesday (about 2 miles away) and hide the key, where specified, when done.

    I received a call on Wednesday saying we needed a new air filter due to the foam falling apart. I agreed to that. On Thursday they called and said the bill would be $541.61. I arranged for immediate payment over the phone and they were to take rhe car back to our driveway, (hiding the key in the pre-agreed location, in a waterproof zip lock bag). I told him that I'd have to drive 130 miles to come and put it away in the garage, but wouldn't be able to do it until Sunday. They said they wouldn't be able to drop it off (about 2 miles) until Friday morning. I told them that would be fine but reminded him to put the key in the waterproof bag (for abut the third time) and reminding him that I'd be driving 130 miles to come and put it in the garage on Sunday.

    On Sunday, July 18th, I drove the 130 miles and (you guessed it) NO CAR. Frustrated with their lack of consideration ... in not at least having the courtesy to call and inform me that they hadn't delivered the car as promised ... I drove to the dealership to see if there was a phone number on the door that a person can call after hours. They don't have a phone number on display any where on the premises.

    Monday, July 19th. The car has been in their custody for a 8 days and still no delivery and no courtesy to call and explain why.

    Tuesday, July 20th. I finally called the Service Manager and asked why they hadn't delivered the car as promised. I told his that they'd cost me to drive 130 miles for nothing, and now I was going to have to do that again. The Service Manager then LIED to me, saying that I hadn't told him that I was coming to put the car away on Sunday. (I'd told him at least three times and reminded him that it often rains here when it's not forcasted to do so ... so reminded him to be sure the key was in a waterproof bag.) He hung up on me.

    At this point, I called back and asked for the owner and was told by the sales department that he wouldn't be in. The saleman with whom I spoke was very courteous (unlike the lady service advisor and the Service Manager). He took notes with which to inform the management.

    I doubt very seriously that I'll ever have the car serviced at this dealership again. I drive to Mobile, AL to have the Lexus serviced, and maybe that's the best choice for servicing the Porsche. That's a real shame. The facilities are great. The sales department is courteous. But the Service Department??? Well ... maybe the reader would do well to read the other Service Department Reviews and then ... make up your own mind.

    Oh ... by the way ... the check engine light" The connection was not making good contact so they cleaned it (for a couple hundred dollars). Had I not stopped the Service Department from running "ABSOLUTELY WILD:" ... our bill would have been over $1500 (using the prices that they'd quoted me."

    I agree with the review that said something to the effect that he thought they'd not be in business long if they kept up their rudeness and lack of professionalism. I expected more from Porsche. What a disappointment!!!
  • twsarchtwsarch Posts: 3
    edited November 2010
    Yep, I am thinking about buying a Porsche with the M96 engine in it. I am sorry to say but the only reason I can entertain the idea is because the engines suck. This caused the value of the car to plummet making it remotely possible I can afford one. I am fairly confident I can replace the IMS bearing with a ceramic retrofit if I find a car where it hasn’t yet blown ($600 kit, plus new clutch just because we are already there). If I find one with a blown engine a rebuilt cost $6K to $8K depending on what you get and where you get it, and they come with new cylinder sleeves (Nickies) to prevent D-Chunk failure. I figure if I can put a VW engine in a bug (old rear engine kind) in 30 min, which I have done I think I can replace a M96 in a week or so. If you have a boxster with a blown engine give me a call. Apologies to those that took the deprecation hit.
  • I am looking at a '98 Boxster with 17000 miles on it. How concerned should I be about this IMF problem? I will likely drive it a little more than the previous owner. Should I be more concerned about a car that obviously has a long history of remaining idle for long periods? Any other issues I should be aware of?
  • minisfminisf Posts: 2
    Wow... thanks for the post. I was actually in the market for a new Boxster, the Spyder to be exact. (Getting rid of my tank, a 2008 BMW 7 Series).

    Like all my cars, I was considering getting used too. But I always search the Net for issues cars have and also to see how the manufacturer and dealer backs up the car, expecially on major design defects (such as the CVT on the MINI Cooper, 2001-2006, basically a $6,000 repair for a defective transmission).

    I won't go on further since based on your post I am passing on getting a new Spyder or a used Boxster.

    Thanks again for the detailed post.

    P.s. For other readers (since your post is so old) I am an attorney and while I understand your not wanting to retain counsel, this can probably be pursued as a manufacturing defect. As you say, engines should not require replacement at 60,000 miles.

    The dealer and manufacturer know this and are simply seeing if you will go away.

    Note: on some warranty law claims you can recover attorneys fees and costs, so there's an incentive for an attorney to take the case.
  • I am close to "pulling the trigger" on an 03 boxster S with 49000 miles. Any input on whether I should do this or not please let me know. I appreciate any honest feedback on any issues that I should look out for. I have owned a BMW in the past and did not have an issue with a "german born" car.
  • johrenjohren Posts: 1
    Hi all,
    I'm thinking of buying a 2007 boxster (11000 miles). By this year and model, has Porsche taken care of the ims problem? It's the one thing holding me back. I guess I've been rather spoiled having had a Z-3 for the last ten years that hasn't given me a bit of trouble. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    thanks!
  • seanbeckseanbeck Posts: 2
    Do you have any update to your 1999 Boxster? What have you done since then? Were you able to get any kind of resolution from Porsche? I also saw a class action law suit might be happening...
  • mholznermholzner Posts: 3
    Porsche had no intention of doing anything. They told me that I bought the car used and it was out of warranty, and that they don't see why they should do anything. Case closed. I guess they don't usually deal with people that actually have a budget ....

    I traded the car in at a different dealership not letting them know anything about the issue, and their Porsche certified mechanic didn't spot it. I almost felt bad; almost. I'm driving a BMW now, and so far the experience is very different.
  • seanbeckseanbeck Posts: 2
    I am glad you were able to get rid of it before it got worse...I am sure the dealer you've traded it in can rebuild and upgrade Boxster and sell it at hefty profit :-) ..if that makes you feel any better.

    This whole handling of the IMS issue is bad for Porsche, ...for sure they lost your business forever, I'm sure.

    I myself own 2001 Boxster S and am getting increasingly concerned about a potential IMS failure. I travel often and drive very little as it has only ~16K miles on it. I'm pondering whether I should sell it or not...

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    If you like the car and want to keep it for a while, why not just install the LN Engineering upgrade?
  • abrams1abrams1 Posts: 1
    Thanks for all the information, I was very close to buying a 2001 Boxer convertible with 56K miles. My wife and I took the car out and just loved it. But after reading the reports on the engine and the expense involved with maintance we have deceided against it and instead will look for another make of automobile.. It is sad that Porsche will not stand behind its owners. In checking for buying an extended warranty this beautiful car does not qualify so I'm sure it will be sent to the auction. Thanks again people for your honest input . You have saved this Senior citizen and his wife a lot of money... Blessings to you.
  • tlecotleco Posts: 34
    How many people who actually own a Porsche with IMS failure?
    I am sure there are a few out there but the forum make it sound worst than what it is.
    I have had a few Porsche.
    my Porsche mechanic is doing about 1 pre buy inspection for Porsche every week. He is working on many Porsche also. He have not seen 1 with IMS failure yet.
  • kate63kate63 Posts: 1
    edited October 2013
    Everything I've read estimates the failure rate to be something like 5%. I've been looking at buying a 996, and the IMS problem is definitely reflected in the prices, along with the looks that many don't like. $15k for a 911!! Anyway, there is an IMS retrofit on the market that supposedly fixes the problem.

    As to the original story, the car in question is worth far more than nothing. Parted out could net you more than a complete functioning vehicle. There are also plenty of mechanics who love to buy it and shove a junk yard m96 into it.
  • I feel very stupid. I just bought a used Carrear and now I find out about this ims problem. I am selling this thing ASAP. I will never think about buying a Porsche product again.
  • atpyeyoatpyeyo Posts: 1

    I'm considering buying a 2007 Boxster. Is the IMS failure possibility something you can detect in a pre-purchase inspection of the car?

  • nagog2nagog2 Posts: 1

    For all of you current and former Boxster owners, there has been a class action lawsuit won dealing with the IMS failure. Only applies to USA citizens. Too bad it doesn't apply to future owners, but maybe it will be enough to get Porsche to start being nicer to their customers with IMS issues. imsporschesettlement.com/

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