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Discussion Starter #1
I joined the forum to get some feedback on a project I am considering, this seems like the right place to ask.

I have the opportunity (or nightmare) of bringing back to life a 2006 Cayman S. The car has a spun rod bearing, I plan to bring it back to life as a street car with 4-6 track days and 5-10 auto x days a year.

Looking at a few options I'd like to see if I have my facts right:

1. Swap in a stock used 987.1 motor. These seem to be going for 9k+ for well sorted examples on ebay, I am again taking on the risk of running into a similar issue as these motors don't seem to hold up very well. This is also the cheapest option.

2. Swap in a stock 987.2 motor, on paper this should be lower mileage, however more expensive, and it doesn't seem like a straight forward swap. At least not from the info I was able to find.

3. Swap in a LS motor, this is the most intrusive and most expensive, but all things considered between the motor and the renegade hybrids kit I'd be just over the cost a 987.1 motor and the rest of the cost (a few grand) will probably be spent on all the misc things that add up. This gives me the most power and potentially reliability with relatively cheap maintenance cost into the future.

I plan to keep the car so resale is of low importance, of high importance is reliability over the long term.
 

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Welcome to the forum, interesting avatar name BTW... I think a couple of the other parameters that might help when people answer are, your mechanical ability and how deep the pockets, the last isn't meant to be personal just hard to know how deep you want to get into this!

Personally I would opt for a 987.1 motor, as for reliability it is tough to tell with these. some can fail others just soldier on...
 

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Welcome LastNight. Switching to a 987.2 engine is a pretty big hassle as so many of the electronics need to be swapped to work effectively. A used or rebuild 987.1 engine is the easiest as it is just a swap one for the other.

I had a car burning a lot of oil from what turned out to be a couple of bad valve guides. I ended up doing an engine swap from my M96.24 3.2L engine to a M96.03 3.6L engine that was resleeved to a 3.8L with LN Nickies. This was not a cheap option even after getting a killer deal on the engine. The R&R along with upgrades and additional parts to make the swap add quite a bit to the costs.

I think what it comes down to is 1) doing an engine swap and getting an engine that will give you better reliability or 2) selling the chassis and using that same money to get a 987.2 car.

I went option 1 and am pretty satisfied with my choice. I got an engine with most all of the weaknesses of the M96/97 engine corrected and over 50 more HPs. I've got a car that can outperform almost any 911 (turbos and GT3s not included). I've turned my car into a long term project building it to my vision of a high-performance canyon carver.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the response, that is great feedback. Based on some additional research looks like there is an additional option

4. Send the engine to be rebuilt by Flat6Innovations type of shop for ~$8k which should net a reliable engine and probably one of the most straight forward solutions?

edit: looks like the 8k estimate I had was $10k shy. Rebuilds go for $18-$22k
 

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Thanks for the response, that is great feedback. Based on some additional research looks like there is an additional option

4. Send the engine to be rebuilt by Flat6Innovations type of shop for ~$8k which should net a reliable engine and probably one of the most straight forward solutions?
I am sure that you would have checked on this, you show as being in Canada, and the rebuild shop is in the US right, verify with Canadian Border Services, the rebuild engine will likely have a decent amount taxes and duty applied when it comes across the border?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Option 5: Rebuild it yourself like this guy did who posted the entire footage on youtube, wow

 

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Welcome to the site! Have you looked at the side of your engine block for blue paint? I bet it is there. Those engines fail, all of them, eventually. They make for good paperweights! You would be MUCH better off if reliability is your goal to get whatever $ you can out of this car and get a 987.2 with a 9A1 engine in it or even a 981 instead. Anything else you do, including sending to Flat 6 Innovations, will just be band aid, it will not be and can never be a reliable long term solution as sooner or later you will have problems with it. If it isn't a spun rod bearing it will be a rod failure, or a piston crack, or cylinder scoring or oil starvation in the heads, the list goes on and on. Do not waste your time or $ trying to apply a band aid solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Welcome to the site! Have you looked at the side of your engine block for blue paint? I bet it is there. Those engines fail, all of them, eventually. They make for good paperweights! You would be MUCH better off if reliability is your goal to get whatever $ you can out of this car and get a 987.2 with a 9A1 engine in it or even a 981 instead. Anything else you do, including sending to Flat 6 Innovations, will just be band aid, it will not be and can never be a reliable long term solution as sooner or later you will have problems with it. If it isn't a spun rod bearing it will be a rod failure, or a piston crack, or cylinder scoring or oil starvation in the heads, the list goes on and on. Do not waste your time or $ trying to apply a band aid solution.

That definitely took the wind out of my sails.

Is it really that bad, I mean from what I am reading it seems most cars prone to this are from colder climates. Assuming the car isn't driven in the winter and is rebuilt properly it should last no?
 

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It is hard to escape the reality of the M96/M97 engines without having to spend a bunch of money. And yes, these engines are probably terminal. The question is how long will they last before they become terminal? People drive these engines - a lot. I had 145k miles on mine before I did the swap. And in reality I could have just rebuilt the heads and kept going but I was looking for something more.

It really comes down to how you want to use the car. If you are just looking for spirited driving, then getting your engine rebuilt or buying a rebuild with quality parts is a decent option and should last you a long time (with proper maintenance). However, if you are looking at tracking/DE/high performance driving then you will need to do more. Oil starvation is the killer weakness in these engines and people go to great lengths to solve this.

This presents the dilemma and why it may be best to just get a new car. The money you will spend trying to fix these weaknesses could get you a 987.2 for similar cost. Just something to think about.
 

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Please, Ken, stop with the unsubstantiated blue paint engine conspiracy theory.

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
Well at least the recommended solution wasn't a Tesla! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Great feedback, thank you all for posting.

I’ve gone over hundreds of pages of threads on various boards and will put up my thoughts as they are to summarize where I stand. Make the assumption I am getting this car for free on the condition I can make it into a viable fun car and it stays in the family, which is why selling it isn't an option and this is pretty much the actual situation.

Going back to my original post, here are the updated options as I see them:

1. Swap in a used stock M97.21 motor
2. Have original motor rebuilt by Flat6Innovations
3. Rebuild engine yourself.
4. Swap in a used 9A1 motor and transmission from a 987.2
5. Swap in an LS3 with Renegade Hybrids kit
6. Swap in a 4.2L Audi V8

For context, there were a few questions up above that I didn’t answer. I am not a mechanic, but I’ve done my fair share of engine swaps on prior cars so I am no stranger to wrenching or fabrication. With that said I prefer wrenching with minimal fabrication. Now to address the options above.

Option 1:
Cheapest option ($6k-$10k), no guarantee the engine will last, it seems to me this is simply not worth it as I am most likely to be back at square one, not having achieved anything.

Option 2:
$18k - $20k (with shipping) for a stocker rebuilt. Good reputation, long lead time from now, expensive, but stands by his work and is a viable alternative. The price point however is what makes other options more attractive.

Option 3:
There is a lot of information on M96 rebuilds and there are things that can be done to prevent the oil starvation issues, but again this doesn’t guarantee that this doesn’t happen again. In theory there are some things that could be done such as using a deep sump/better baffles/high temp oil/monitor oil/etc. I haven’t been able to find a good source for parts cost to rebuild, but between the available “kits” available (4k) and machine shop time, misc parts (2k-4k), I am going to assume a rebuild on my own will come in at close to 8k. This is viable because it lets you diagnose the engine, potentially address problem areas, etc. On the flipside there is margin of error to be built in upon reassembly as this isn’t something I do daily. On the flipside it seems many shops that do this aren’t successful on their attempt either, but I feel this is a much longer conversation due to multiple variables.

Option 4:
All responses online state not to do this, however I’d like to spend more time exploring this alternative. There are significant pros to this solution: you get a proper engine that addresses the terminal issues of the M97.21, you also get an engine and transmission that’s a direct bolt in to the Cayman, no fabrication needed (this is a massive plus). Engine and transmission can be sourced for $12k maybe less if you are patient (just did a quick look on ebay).

With that, compared to the next best alternative (20k rebuild), there is 8k to play with, it seems that this is ample enough money to solve the wiring/DFI issue to get the car wired up properly. Can someone explain if my thinking here is completely wrong or if I am missing some critical component of this swap? What’s appealing at face value is that I maintain a Porsche engine, there is no intrusive fabrication and it’s a matter of rewiring the car to an extent.

Options 5 & 6
Both great options for the right person/car, my biggest drawback here is the fabrication required to make everything fit, and to date it still seems this is a less than ideal solution especially with the lining up of the axles, having the engine come into the cabin (LS3), and its own set of issues.

Thoughts on #4?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Option 7 enters:

Local guy has front end collision Boxster S, has been sitting in his garage for 6-7 years wants to sell the whole car. 27k miles

I would have to buy the whole car and part out whatever is salvageable and keep the motor.
 

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Option 7 is the same as option 1. Used motor.

I think your goals are a bit contradictory: You want a solid, reliable motor to do quite a few track days with, but you don't want to spend a lot. That's not likely to work out. If you want a racing motor, you'll need to pony up and spend quite a bit (option 2). If you go with a used motor (good choice IMHO) and beef up the oiling/AOS/PS cooling, you'll have a good motor at least for AX. Maybe even some track days if you shift at 6K.

Swapping in a 9A1 motor is probably easy-ish from a fitment standpoint, but would be a nightmare with the electrical/computer issues. I'm sure it's possible, but there's a reason that "all responses online state not to do this".

The same with putting in an LS or Audi motor. Completely unrealistic IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I think option 7 is a significantly better option because I have the complete running car and can check everything including hearing it run, compression test/leak down test/check cylinders/etc prior to buying, something I can't do with a pulled motor easily especially if it's not local. It's also low miles.

In terms of my goals I am not sure what makes you believe I am trying to save money (even if I was it would still be justifiable considering the price of these rebuilds). I've already accepted this will be a 20k throwaway one way or another, what I am trying to do is ensure I've exhausted all options and that the 20k is one time expense and not the first of multiple like a ton of people seem to have experienced. I guess I am trying to save money by doing this once (hopefully).

As far as the 9A1 motor and the "internet responses" being what they are 95%+ of those are replies parroting someone else who said it, and there goes the internet conclusion taken as fact on something I can't find definitive answers to. Yes it will require the rewiring of the entire fuel system, but considering the alternatives of more blown motors or hacking up the entire chassis to fit in a v8, maybe dealing with the wiring mess is something worth exploring. I can't see it being more labour consuming in terms of man hours to fitting out the car with a v8.

In other words, putting in a 9A1 into a 987.1 is more work than replacing it with a stock motor, however where does the "total amount of work" stand if compared to doing the LS swap (which I am seriously considering). If the amount of labour hours between both is the same, but with one I maintain a porsche motor and don't hack up the frame then I would pick that all day over the more powerful LS. I hope that gives more context in terms of how I am thinking about this project. I am willing to bet that rewiring the whole car is a fraction of the man hours needed than to hack up and fit out an LS in these cars.
 

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Your option 1/option 7 are really the same, it's just where you source your engine.

I think you should also consider selling your shell and buying a 987.2 as one of your options. That gets you the 9A1 engine already installed and ready to go in a car that is very similar to the one you have now (with some slight, well-needed upgrades - think AC buttons, stereo, etc).

Personally, I went option 2 with an engine from Vision Motorsports with a Softronics tune. For my 20k I got a 3.8L engine with nickies, replaceable and upgraded IMS, racing crank, deep sump. I've also put on a IDP plenum and GT3 throttle body, desnorked airbox, Soul Performance exhaust with catless headers, and a few more performance mods. I'm sitting around 340hp to the wheels.
 

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OP- a true 3.8 engine from a wreck would be worth the effort. As Lesmuray reports, you can see 340hp at the rear wheels. However, for the rest of us who currently have 987.1's and actively use them for autocross, DE's, tours, and daily drivers, there are sweet spots that can be found. Option #1. If you get a used junkyard engine, before you install it, a couple of additional mods, will get you as close to that target. I am suggesting electric pumps at the opposite ends of the heads to return aerated head oil to the sump or the FVD option below. A deep sump (additional 2 qts with windage plate and x51 baffle (LN version). Those two items and a dash recorder to plot the oil pressure and oil temps that will show how certain high RPM corners need to be approached with caution. Once you have those items figured out, bore scoring and IMS can be risk reduced by knowledge of what causes those problems and how to avoid them (see the 4 videos from Jake Ruby, flatsixmotorsports). See the attached FVD dual oil head scavenger pump with oil baffle. (No windage plate though and not a deep sump). This system is a European solution.

The Spec Cayman still race the M97 motor and usually get at least 80 hours, many getting double that from junkyard engines. Its less costly to buy a junkyard motor and modify them externally, race them than rebuild them. Others in Spec Boxster's use a dry sump to solve the oiling problem, but its complex and expensive. Google, Chris Cervelli dry sump.

LN Bilt currently have a number of 987.1 Caymans in their racing stable. You certainly can call them to get their ideas on how to race your car while preventing a repeat rod bearing spin. I am using a 996 oil/water heat exchanger, a third center radiator to reduce the oil temps and Motul 300 v Power 5W40 oil, while others use Driven XP-9 10W40. Both have very high boundary layer protection and heat protection. My engine rates about 308 hp at the rear wheels with a Softronic Race Plumen kit and Soul long tube catless headers.

Let us know if you need more info about the use of junkyard M97 motors.
265772
 

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I swapped a LS3 into my Cayman S. The car is a lot of fun. Weighs 2939 wet and has 442whp and 455wtq on our dyno. So well over 500 at the crank for both. Gets 30+ mpgs on the highway.

I built everything myself. Didn't use anything from Renegade. I'd suggest talking to some Renegade kit purchasers before going down that road.

I would strongly suggest a Porsche motor or if you really want a V8 an Audi 4.2 from an RS4. These bolt up to out transmission and fit in the car.

Feel free to hit me up if you have questions.
 

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I blew my 06 Cayman S motor (missed shift over rev not any of the many problems mentioned here) and faced much of what you are but I never considered that many options as you are putting forth.
I called Flat6 and thought about their quality product but didn't like the 20-25k price tag.
Could have replaced it with a dealer installed same factory engine but that was too much for too little.
I good take out engine from a race shop for about 8k would have been a great option and I think given the usage you intend I would recommend it to you just add some preventive items like Motorsport AOS, deeper baffled oil pan, 3rd radiator, better oil (I use Joe Gibbs) and IMS solid bearing with external oiling.
I wanted more and went for the 3.8 x51 400 hp factory engine at 15k plus 1700 installation.
 

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I wouldn't waste time and money rebuilding it or going for another M96/M97 engine again (or even rebuild with better parts, etc.) after all the consistent engine horror stories I have read for past years, time to move on. Good Luck to the OP. This engine is not a hit and miss but obviously a design and material flaw.
 
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