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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still a lurker at this point but torn between a base Cayman with some miles in the high $20's or a 996 with less miles in the lower $20's. I know they're different beasts and we had a '71 911T. I love both cars(Cayman and 911). I will be buying soon. My latest worry is this intermediate shaft problem. I would be devestated if I had a catastrophic engine failure. I've done some research here and Rennlist but I want to hear more. I would probably be looking at '99 996's. Comments please. Thanks, C.
 

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Caymans are not typically subject to the intermediate shaft failure as they have the upgraded components. Unless a 1999 996 has been fixed/upgraded with newer components it would be more likely to get such a failure, although it may never get the failure at all as well.
 

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In terms of the "RMS" umbrella of problems, newer is going to be better as a general rule for all the M96/M97 engines. You will need a good PPI regardless.
 

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I would shy away from a '99 996. I've seen several in the last year come into a local shop with the motors totally locked-up due to IMS failure. To fix these cars is far more expensive than they are currently worth. They also were the poster children for RMS problems. '01-04 cars were much better. Any car from '05+ with the M97 motors are better yet.

brad
 

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The '99 996 is 10 years old (maybe 11). How many miles on it? The vast majority of them didn't succumb to IMS failure, but the internet hysteria over it is exaggerated. If this car were to be one of the relative few that did, surely it would have done so already.

If it were me, I'd opt for the Cayman over any year 996, but that's just preference.
 

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I'm certainly no expert and my opinion means nothing, but Porsche sure seemed to have a lot of 996 test mules out there in the mid '90's while testing the then new 996. If these motors were to fail on a regular basis from intermediate shaft issues or RMS issues, wouldn't they have found this out on the mules? However, I bet these test mules got a lot of miles very quickly and never sat around. Porsche could never test how these RMS and intermediate shaft failures could appear on a car that was only used on weekends and for only a few thousand miles a year all spread out over many years. Are there acurate ways to test that type of "non" use?

I grew up on the farm. We had 9 tractors. The ones that sat around never ran really well. The one tractor we used everyday, 365 days a year, never had running issues (and my dad is still running it today after 44+ years of insane use). There are enough posts on the internet boards of very high mileage (well over 100k) M96 based Porsches that run perfect with constant daily use.

I still think these cars do not benefit from sitting around. Especially the water cooled cars. I feel you gotta keep driving them. At this point, unless you must have a 911 (which I completely understand the need for a 911), it might be a wiser choice to buy the Cayman with more miles on it that was used and maintained regularly verses the 996 which might have spent most of it's life in a garage (which I understand too).

I also spent quite a bit of money on a 2002 base Boxster fixing oil leaks. I bought a 7 year old '02 with 32k on the clock not long ago and ignored the internet hype of leaking RMS and intermediate shaft failures. The records showed it sat quite a bit over the years before I bought it. It was great initially, but then I made the mistake of chasing the oil leaks. These cars get expensive when you open them up. The RMS seal itself is cheap, but the labor to drop the transmission is expensive and once you're in there, especially at this age, you can find other things to do like a fresh clutch, flywheel, intermediate shaft seal, IMS flange, IMS flange bolts, case bolts, etc. It all adds up and you can blow $2,000 to $3,000 in a hurry while replacing a $13.50 rear main seal...

In summary, for a reliable daily driver, I'd choose the newer Cayman, hands down, even with the higher miles. The changes in the RMS and intermediate shaft designs would be reason enough for me. For a show car or seldom used toy that you don't have to rely on to get you to work, maybe the aging '99 911 is worth the gamble (they are still beautiful cars). The aftermarket is just starting to come on line with fixes for the major weaknesses on the M96 motors. In another 10 years, I bet these aftermarket fixes will really have been tested and proven and the intermediate shaft issue of the M96 motor will be reduced to nothing more than dropping the trans and installing the update.

Good luck!

Jay
08 987
90 911
84 911
 

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FYI and sidebar:

The 2005 and 2006 Boxsters have the M96 engine with final evolutionary advances from 2004. The Boxster did not receive the M97 engine of the Cayman with all of the Cayman upgrades until MY 2007. In addition, the only difference between the 2005 and 2006 is the addition of TPMS.

IMS failure is still a potential of all M96/M97 motors. All things being equal as a general rule the newer the car the less likely the problems. If you are really concerned about IMS then you could always have Flat6Innovations replace the IMS bearing with LN Engineerings ceramic version (while doing clutch, flywheel, RMS seal, etc.). I understand they have perfected a system for removing the bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thank you all so much. This is the kind of stuff I need to hear. This is a one-shot deal for me as I have a perfect window of opportunity. I like the Cayman better; I think it's one of the most beautiful and balanced looking cars out there (I know it is literally). I was a little interested in the rear seat with one kid left in the fam but I can work around that. I actually prefer the smaller car. And newer is better too... I don't care to take the chance on a failure. I've done all the work on all my cars for 35 years from radiators to tail pipes and everything in between. Maybe a newer 911 later. For now, I see a Cayman in my future and I'm getting really fired up.. Thanks, C.
 
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