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Hey all. First time poster. I realize this subject has been beaten to death. I spent hours reading posts here last night about it but I'm hoping for a little more current input than most of the threads I've been seeing. So with that said, the car is a 2007 Cayman (non-s) with 60k on it. I've already driven it and other than what sounds like a tiny exhaust leak, it's solid. I made an offer on the car contingent on Porsche giving it a once over and the buyer accepted. So it's mine for the taking.

So how worried about the IMS bearing should I be? I know on the older 911's it was a serious problem and I ultimately skipped out on one because of it. Is it just as prevalent on the 987? This will not be a track car for me, just a fun weekend car but I live in the Hollywood Hills with a lot of twisty roads so it will see some aggressive driving I'm sure.

If the bearing does fail what is the cost of having the repair performed? It's my understanding that the engine needs to come out so I presume it's not cheap.

When I take it to Porsche will they be able to inspect the bearing or otherwise tell me if it's going to be a problem or currently is a problem?

Lastly, I realize the 2.7 isn't a torque monster and it seemed to rev a bit slowly until it got in the higher RPMs. I just attributed this it lacking on power until it's wound out. Is this pretty much expected?
 

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The current prevailing opinion seems to be that imsb failures are relatively rare in the M97 and less frequent than the M96. My understanding is there is no way to inspect or determine the health of the bearing, and to replace it the engine cases have to be split (different from the M96). If the bearing does fail it's likely to be fatal to the engine since there will be metal fragments in the oiling system. For peace of mind you can go with a 09 or later which is the newer engine design MA1 with no imsb at a higher cost. Chances are for your use the engine and bearing will be fine, but not zero risk. And disclaimer- I'm no expert, just have read a lot here and other forums, Pano and Excellence tech columns etc. Best of luck!
 

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I am in the exact same boat as you. I am looking at a 2006 Cayman S, and at the point of waiting on the PPI to be complete, but now I am very scared because of all this IMS talk. I hope we can get some YAYS or NAYS here. I just wonder if it is worth it.
 

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My advice to you guys is, make sure your PPI is very thorough and I would definitely do an oil analysis. Those IMS failures are considered rare by some and not by others, when you're plunking down hard earned money for a car that might or might not have a problem, common sense dictates stacking chips in your favor. Mr. Raby has a solution for such an event, always proceed with caution as some might be tempted to say you're only getting worst case scenarios, BUT it's your money, not theirs, I've never spoken to Mr. Raby, I've never had business dealings either, but he seems to know what he's talking about. Take this as information for your perusal only. If you reach out to the community you'll get help.


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Each car, make and model year has its own individual issues. I have a gen 2 2010 and I am gingerly shifting every time I drive the car due to our poor and/or cheap shifter cable design. Sadly that can afflict your vehicle as well. That being said life is too short to be worried about what MIGHT happen. I still drive my car spirited but I am a worrier and am only concerned about the shifter cable issue. It's why I did decide on a gen 2 because taking IMS out of the equation just left one less thing to worry about. If the car passes PPI just drive it and be happy. Ultimately, I am. Extremely

Good luck.
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Each car, make and model year has its own individual issues. I have a gen 2 2010 and I am gingerly shifting every time I drive the car due to our poor and/or cheap shifter cable design. Sadly that can afflict your vehicle as well. That being said life is too short to be worried about what MIGHT happen. I still drive my car spirited but I am a worrier and am only concerned about the shifter cable issue. It's why I did decide on a gen 2 because taking IMS out of the equation just left one less thing to worry about. If the car passes PPI just drive it and be happy. Ultimately, I am. Extremely

Good luck.


Not in the same "Ballpark" as the OP's valid worry !

Cheers
 

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To some extent the lower prices on the 987.1s reflect the market's assessment of the chances of an IMS failure. In my view, if failure was even close to being "common" prices would be much lower. I'd be a tad leery of a super low mileage 987.1, or one that hasn't had oil changes by time rather than mileage if it's a full-on or semi Garage Queen, but one that has been regulary driven and well maintained is probably a pretty safe bet. To tip the odds in your favor, I'd add an oil analysis to the PPI (although doing this could mean a car from a dealer might be sold out from under you, it's less likely with a private seller).
 

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Not in the same "Ballpark" as the OP's valid worry !

Cheers
Tell that to folks it's happened to. Some merging into traffic no less. I'm amazed nobody has been hurt yet. I respect your opinion though.
I am NOT comparing catastrophic engine failure to shifter cable failure. Just illustration that each car has its own afflictions.

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If you find a M97 car you really like and want some peace of mind, there are IMS oiling solutions and also kits to change out the bearing without splitting the case.
 

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Of all the 987s that have been on this blog (don't know how many but I'll bet it's a couple thousand), there have been no more than a couple reported IMS failures. The industry seems to like the 1% failure rate compared to the 10% failure rate of the 986s. I've pretty much read everything there is to read on the subject. It's way at the bottom of my list of worries. I worry a little about shifter cables and I worry a little about water pumps. Other than that. I don't worry. I have a 2008 base 2.7 liter and you are correct. Not real strong on the bottom end and much better in the high end of the rev range. If it gets a good report on the PPI and the price is right and it's what I was looking for, I wouldn't hesitate.:cheers:
 

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Ahh, I forgot about water pumps. Oddly I'm not concerned as much about that though they do go quite quickly on these cars. I consider a water pump a "wear item" in this instance even though I probably shouldn't. In my 25 years of driving manuals I have NEVER lost a shifter cable...and I've had some POS's


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All such good advice. I think the PPI and oil analysis will be called for. Then will make my decision.
 

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Tell that to folks it's happened to. Some merging into traffic no less. I'm amazed nobody has been hurt yet. I respect your opinion though.
I am NOT comparing catastrophic engine failure to shifter cable failure. Just illustration that each car has its own afflictions.

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.
It happened to me on my 2006 CS, repaired without a repeat of the malfunction, at no expense to me. Different expense profile , as compared with a catastrophic IMS failure uninsured !

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Each car, make and model year has its own individual issues. I have a gen 2 2010 and I am gingerly shifting every time I drive the car due to our poor and/or cheap shifter cable design. Sadly that can afflict your vehicle as well. That being said life is too short to be worried about what MIGHT happen. I still drive my car spirited but I am a worrier and am only concerned about the shifter cable issue. It's why I did decide on a gen 2 because taking IMS out of the equation just left one less thing to worry about. If the car passes PPI just drive it and be happy. Ultimately, I am. Extremely

Good luck.
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PLN:

Just don't jam the poor thing into gears and you're fine. You don't need to baby it. 90+K on my CS with original linkage, original clutch and original IMS. Just did a wicked 3-day track event driving instructor sessions like there was a large, fast rabid animal in my mirrors the whole time. No issues.

OP:

That said, you do need to take precautions with these first generation cars. If you're thinking about track days, I'd get an '09 or newer car. The earlier cars have the following issues that were pretty much fixed in '09.

1. IMS bearing - That isn't so much a track day thing. Seems to affect the odd car that has been stored a lot and not revved much or had oil changed much. Automatics seem more vulnerable than sticks because they typically don't get the revs on a regular basis. This is all sort of hearsay, but I've heard it from multiple sources including my non-dealer tech who has seen many 987s flat-bedded to his shop.

2. Vapor-Oil Separator (VOS) aka Air-Oil Separator (AOS)- Two names for the same thing. This does the same work as a PCV valve on a more pedestrian car. The vacuum and pressure created inside the Porsche engine design plus the closer proximity of oil pan to the engine intake, created a need for a bigger capacity thing to do this work. Unfortunately, the stock one on the first generation cars is prone to failure or just getting overwhelmed during track days and autocracies. It can fill up with too much oil and then leak (gush?) oil into the intake tract during high vacuum situations (like when you're in a low gear at high RPMs and using engine braking to slow the car as you would in these sorts of situation). One instance of this can cause up to half a quart of oil loss, a big plume of ugly smoke coming out the back of the car and a black flag from corner workers. The cure is a GT3 or Cayman Motorsport VOS. I have a GT3 type. The Cayman Motorsport one is easier to install but costs more. I think Suncoast carries them as a regular item. They are otherwise rather difficult to source. The first guy had to go the Germany to find his.

3. Engine Sump - It's shallow and oil sloshes away from the oil pickup. One thing that helps a lot is a deep sump kit. You can buy these from LN Engineering or from Mantis (I have a Mantis). You get a ring of aluminum with bolt holes in it. You attach the bottom of the sump to one side and the bottom of the engine to the other side. You also get a CNC machined piece that extends the length of the oil intake to the new bottom of your new sump. Gives you more room to slosh. My car requires 10 quarts of oil for a change with new filter. If you go to track days or even sincere autocross, you need this.

4. More Engine Sump - Another issue with these engines is that they do not return the oil that's been used by the engine very efficiently to the sump. The right side cylinder head is especially vulnerable. Oil goes through the bearings and comes out up by the head. The exit for that oil is at the back of the right side head and it only uses gravity to return the oil to the sump. In a long hard turn at high RPMS, a LOT of oil is pumped and can't get back to the sump. The result can be low oil level in the sump. Another bad result is that the oil that collects in the head gets churned into a froth by the valves racing up and down like a blender. When the oil does come back to the sump, it's often infused with air bubbles. Pumping air into the oil system means you're not pumping oil, which is what bearings desperately need to stay healthy. Most of the engine failures in Caymans have been track day or just after track day failures. The connecting rod bearing farthest from the oil pump, #6, has the longest path and seems to be the first one to go...usually. Also, from the sound of the many posts about this, it seems that the problem happens over time...many short "no oil incidents" take a little bit off the bearing. As bearing clearance increases, the ability of the bearing to hold oil decreases. That makes the effective no-oil time longer because the bearing runs dry just a bit sooner on a bearing with increased clearance. Increased bearing clearance also causes hammering when the bearing hits bottom and top dead centers. All these things start to stack up and you get a failure eventually.

To mitigate this problem, I sent to Germany for a "TPP Oil-Safe Kit" and had it installed. It is a double oil pump. One side replaces the original pump. The other side is routed to the right side cylinder head cover in a spot near the front of the engine where it can suck out the used oil and return it to the sump quickly. This stops the churning and the low oil condition in the sump....on the right side.

The left side has its gravity fed oil channel in the front. That seems to work a bit better but I am still a little vulnerable on right hand turns. LN Engineering now makes a kit that covers both cylinder heads...3 pumps. If that had been around when I was upgrading, I'd have bought it. Oh well. Doing OK with what I have so far. Engine runs great and has been wailed on a bunch at Road America in WI, at Putnam Park, in Indiana and at Autobahn in Joliet, IL.

You can help yourself as far as engine longevity goes, with a few good practices: A. If you're cornering hard on a track, shift up a gear. Pretend your red-line is 6,500 instead of 7,000. That really helps. B. Fresh oil before an event and change it within a few hundred miles after the event. C. Don't overfill, but do keep the oil topped up throughout the weekend. Don't run low oil levels. D. Watch for excessive smoke. If you see it, I would not continue the track event until I had the VOS checked out. Upgrading the VOS is a very good idea.

5. Power Steering - Because of the unfortunate placement of the power steering pump, it's prone to overheating to the point where its plastic reservoir can melt and warp and then leak. When you lose that fluid, the overheating gets worse and you blow the power steering pump. A power steering cooler will fix this. There are several ways to do it. The articles section has some info and so does the forum. An under drive pulley (smaller diameter drive pulley that turns all your accessories slower...old NASCAR trick) will give you a bit more power and a bit less heat in your power steering. Change the drive belt to the next size smaller that Gates makes...1" smaller? I did that and the idler pulley ended up in exactly the same position as stock....perfect! There is one early version of the RSS brand of aftermarket under drive pulley that should be avoided. Don't buy a used RSS under drive pulley if you don't confirm that it is not that one. They had spokes for light weight. They broke a lot and the design was replaced in '07 or '08 but there may be some old ones floating around the system. Beware. No other types have had any problems to my knowledge.

Now, you can go ahead and buy that Gen1 Cayman or Boxster with both eyes open. There is a fairly big jump in price for an '09 or newer 987. The reasons are:
1. Direct Injection engine on the newer cars has more torque and power.
2. Both the S and Base Gen 2 cars have 5 oil pumps. This thing will just about run upside-down.
3. Ventilation is better in the engine box and the power steering has overheating thing has been attended to.
4. The suspension on Gen 2 cars is generally considered to offer a little more comfort without handling trade-off.
5. There is no intermediate shaft on these engines, so it follows that there is no intermediate shaft bearing to worry over.
6. Electronics inside the car are updated. You get hands-free phone and better navigation etc.

So.... Gen 1 cars are still a blast. Mine is the best thing I've ever bought for myself. I love the car and will drive the wheels off it. They are that good...and the prices are coming down on them. They are a great bargain and make great weekend or commuter cars. Fully upgraded, they are great track machines too, but it's gonna cost you.

Gen2 cars look almost the same as Gen 1 (great) and offer these mechanical improvements that you can't see.

If I were buying now? I'd hold out for a Gen2 but the right Gen1 is still a great deal. These cars are very well built. I've wintered mine of 6 years...with heated garage. No corrosion issues at all. Solid as the day I bought it, which is very solid indeed.

:cheers:
 

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I have had my 07 BS for my third summer now. I was at the point of considering selling it and buying a new one just so I didn't have to worry about the IMS, and then a light came on. I was letting fear get the better of me, I read everything I could find and 99% of things say the car is awesome and that is exactly what I think every time I drive it. For sure a very few people with 07's have had a problem but I also read hotel reviews where everyone loves the place but there is always that one guy that had a bad experience. So I put it out of my mind and I am going with the 99%, even planning on a long road trip this summer. So all I can say is I now have 50K on the car and other than tires and a head light bulb it has been flawless.
 

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PLN:

Just don't jam the poor thing into gears and you're fine. You don't need to baby it. 90+K on my CS with original linkage, original clutch and original IMS. Just did a wicked 3-day track event driving instructor sessions like there was a large, fast rabid animal in my mirrors the whole time. No issues.

OP:

That said, you do need to take precautions with these first generation cars. If you're thinking about track days, I'd get an '09 or newer car. The earlier cars have the following issues that were pretty much fixed in '09.

1. IMS bearing - That isn't so much a track day thing. Seems to affect the odd car that has been stored a lot and not revved much or had oil changed much. Automatics seem more vulnerable than sticks because they typically don't get the revs on a regular basis. This is all sort of hearsay, but I've heard it from multiple sources including my non-dealer tech who has seen many 987s flat-bedded to his shop.

2. Vapor-Oil Separator (VOS) aka Air-Oil Separator (AOS)- Two names for the same thing. This does the same work as a PCV valve on a more pedestrian car. The vacuum and pressure created inside the Porsche engine design plus the closer proximity of oil pan to the engine intake, created a need for a bigger capacity thing to do this work. Unfortunately, the stock one on the first generation cars is prone to failure or just getting overwhelmed during track days and autocracies. It can fill up with too much oil and then leak (gush?) oil into the intake tract during high vacuum situations (like when you're in a low gear at high RPMs and using engine braking to slow the car as you would in these sorts of situation). One instance of this can cause up to half a quart of oil loss, a big plume of ugly smoke coming out the back of the car and a black flag from corner workers. The cure is a GT3 or Cayman Motorsport VOS. I have a GT3 type. The Cayman Motorsport one is easier to install but costs more. I think Suncoast carries them as a regular item. They are otherwise rather difficult to source. The first guy had to go the Germany to find his.

3. Engine Sump - It's shallow and oil sloshes away from the oil pickup. One thing that helps a lot is a deep sump kit. You can buy these from LN Engineering or from Mantis (I have a Mantis). You get a ring of aluminum with bolt holes in it. You attach the bottom of the sump to one side and the bottom of the engine to the other side. You also get a CNC machined piece that extends the length of the oil intake to the new bottom of your new sump. Gives you more room to slosh. My car requires 10 quarts of oil for a change with new filter. If you go to track days or even sincere autocross, you need this.

4. More Engine Sump - Another issue with these engines is that they do not return the oil that's been used by the engine very efficiently to the sump. The right side cylinder head is especially vulnerable. Oil goes through the bearings and comes out up by the head. The exit for that oil is at the back of the right side head and it only uses gravity to return the oil to the sump. In a long hard turn at high RPMS, a LOT of oil is pumped and can't get back to the sump. The result can be low oil level in the sump. Another bad result is that the oil that collects in the head gets churned into a froth by the valves racing up and down like a blender. When the oil does come back to the sump, it's often infused with air bubbles. Pumping air into the oil system means you're not pumping oil, which is what bearings desperately need to stay healthy. Most of the engine failures in Caymans have been track day or just after track day failures. The connecting rod bearing farthest from the oil pump, #6, has the longest path and seems to be the first one to go...usually. Also, from the sound of the many posts about this, it seems that the problem happens over time...many short "no oil incidents" take a little bit off the bearing. As bearing clearance increases, the ability of the bearing to hold oil decreases. That makes the effective no-oil time longer because the bearing runs dry just a bit sooner on a bearing with increased clearance. Increased bearing clearance also causes hammering when the bearing hits bottom and top dead centers. All these things start to stack up and you get a failure eventually.

To mitigate this problem, I sent to Germany for a "TPP Oil-Safe Kit" and had it installed. It is a double oil pump. One side replaces the original pump. The other side is routed to the right side cylinder head cover in a spot near the front of the engine where it can suck out the used oil and return it to the sump quickly. This stops the churning and the low oil condition in the sump....on the right side.

The left side has its gravity fed oil channel in the front. That seems to work a bit better but I am still a little vulnerable on right hand turns. LN Engineering now makes a kit that covers both cylinder heads...3 pumps. If that had been around when I was upgrading, I'd have bought it. Oh well. Doing OK with what I have so far. Engine runs great and has been wailed on a bunch at Road America in WI, at Putnam Park, in Indiana and at Autobahn in Joliet, IL.

You can help yourself as far as engine longevity goes, with a few good practices: A. If you're cornering hard on a track, shift up a gear. Pretend your red-line is 6,500 instead of 7,000. That really helps. B. Fresh oil before an event and change it within a few hundred miles after the event. C. Don't overfill, but do keep the oil topped up throughout the weekend. Don't run low oil levels. D. Watch for excessive smoke. If you see it, I would not continue the track event until I had the VOS checked out. Upgrading the VOS is a very good idea.

5. Power Steering - Because of the unfortunate placement of the power steering pump, it's prone to overheating to the point where its plastic reservoir can melt and warp and then leak. When you lose that fluid, the overheating gets worse and you blow the power steering pump. A power steering cooler will fix this. There are several ways to do it. The articles section has some info and so does the forum. An under drive pulley (smaller diameter drive pulley that turns all your accessories slower...old NASCAR trick) will give you a bit more power and a bit less heat in your power steering. Change the drive belt to the next size smaller that Gates makes...1" smaller? I did that and the idler pulley ended up in exactly the same position as stock....perfect! There is one early version of the RSS brand of aftermarket under drive pulley that should be avoided. Don't buy a used RSS under drive pulley if you don't confirm that it is not that one. They had spokes for light weight. They broke a lot and the design was replaced in '07 or '08 but there may be some old ones floating around the system. Beware. No other types have had any problems to my knowledge.

Now, you can go ahead and buy that Gen1 Cayman or Boxster with both eyes open. There is a fairly big jump in price for an '09 or newer 987. The reasons are:
1. Direct Injection engine on the newer cars has more torque and power.
2. Both the S and Base Gen 2 cars have 5 oil pumps. This thing will just about run upside-down.
3. Ventilation is better in the engine box and the power steering has overheating thing has been attended to.
4. The suspension on Gen 2 cars is generally considered to offer a little more comfort without handling trade-off.
5. There is no intermediate shaft on these engines, so it follows that there is no intermediate shaft bearing to worry over.
6. Electronics inside the car are updated. You get hands-free phone and better navigation etc.

So.... Gen 1 cars are still a blast. Mine is the best thing I've ever bought for myself. I love the car and will drive the wheels off it. They are that good...and the prices are coming down on them. They are a great bargain and make great weekend or commuter cars. Fully upgraded, they are great track machines too, but it's gonna cost you.

Gen2 cars look almost the same as Gen 1 (great) and offer these mechanical improvements that you can't see.

If I were buying now? I'd hold out for a Gen2 but the right Gen1 is still a great deal. These cars are very well built. I've wintered mine of 6 years...with heated garage. No corrosion issues at all. Solid as the day I bought it, which is very solid indeed.

:cheers:
You should seriously think about turning this into a FAQ item and we could elaborate it into a used Cayman/Boxster buying guide for our members!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My advice to you guys is, make sure your PPI is very thorough and I would definitely do an oil analysis. Those IMS failures are considered rare by some and not by others, when you're plunking down hard earned money for a car that might or might not have a problem, common sense dictates stacking chips in your favor. Mr. Raby has a solution for such an event, always proceed with caution as some might be tempted to say you're only getting worst case scenarios, BUT it's your money, not theirs, I've never spoken to Mr. Raby, I've never had business dealings either, but he seems to know what he's talking about. Take this as information for your perusal only. If you reach out to the community you'll get help.


Home click on home for flat 6
The problem is that at that point I'm spending almost as much on an engine as the car is costing me and if I'm doing that then I may as well bump up to a 2005+ 911. I didn't see pricing on his site but I'm assuming it's 10K plus like everywhere else.

As an aside, the exhaust leak you mention could be corroded manifold bolts. An easy fix but time consuming.


Is that a garage job I can do through the hatch access port or more involved?

To some extent the lower prices on the 987.1s reflect the market's assessment of the chances of an IMS failure. In my view, if failure was even close to being "common" prices would be much lower. I'd be a tad leery of a super low mileage 987.1, or one that hasn't had oil changes by time rather than mileage if it's a full-on or semi Garage Queen, but one that has been regulary driven and well maintained is probably a pretty safe bet. To tip the odds in your favor, I'd add an oil analysis to the PPI (although doing this could mean a car from a dealer might be sold out from under you, it's less likely with a private seller).


That's not something Porsche can do on the spot though right? They need to send that out and wait don't they? It's a private party purchase.

Of all the 987s that have been on this blog (don't know how many but I'll bet it's a couple thousand), there have been no more than a couple reported IMS failures. The industry seems to like the 1% failure rate compared to the 10% failure rate of the 986s. I've pretty much read everything there is to read on the subject. It's way at the bottom of my list of worries. I worry a little about shifter cables and I worry a little about water pumps. Other than that. I don't worry. I have a 2008 base 2.7 liter and you are correct. Not real strong on the bottom end and much better in the high end of the rev range. If it gets a good report on the PPI and the price is right and it's what I was looking for, I wouldn't hesitate.:cheers:

That's what I like to hear!

If I were buying now? I'd hold out for a Gen2 but the right Gen1 is still a great deal. These cars are very well built. I've wintered mine of 6 years...with heated garage. No corrosion issues at all. Solid as the day I bought it, which is very solid indeed.
Lots of great info in your post, thank you. No track days here but as I mentioned, I live in the Hollywood Hills right off of Mulholland which is one of the nicest driving roads in the country. So my cars get beat up a bit there but nothing as sustained as road racing or autocross and I'd never do that. Just no time.

The price on this car is really right too. It would be the lowest price for a Cayman in the country at least as far as I can tell. So it's a crime of opportunity. But if there's a good chance it's going to grenade in a 6 months then even the best deal is a terrible one. I'm just trying to do all my due diligence before pulling the trigger.
 

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Then get a thorough PPI and if you can swing it an oil analysis would be great if possible.
 
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