Bearing already failing?

The IMS Retrofit and IMS Solution procedures are intended for PROACTIVE installation and not REACTIVE measures only and should be considered a preventative maintenance item, like a timing belt on many modern engines. Once your original bearing has failed it is too late. Performing an IMS Retrofit or IMS Solution procedure after a failure will not “save” your engine.

Foreign Object Debris (FOD): One of the most common sources of trouble in bearings is wear and pitting caused by foreign particles and is responsible for 70% of all early bearing failures.

With tens of thousands of IMS Retrofit procedures having been carried out since 2008, we have enough experience to confirm that foreign object debris can and will compromise the replacement IMS bearing. We have confirmed and documented failures of the IMS Retrofit bearing after it was installed as part of a reactionary procedure when the original bearing had already started to fail or had failed completely.

The only way we have seen an engine saved is if it had been fitted with an IMS Guardian or LN Engineering full-flow Spin-On Oil Filter Adapter AND only if caught in the earliest stages of bearing failure. The spin-on oil filter adapter by design prevents oil and debris contained within the filter from bypassing the filter, unlike the factory arrangement that has a bypass located in the base of the filter housing, where debris collects, which is then re-introduced into the engine during normal operation.

This is especially true at start up, when oil pressures are high due to cold oil, and are great enough to open the filter bypass. Unlike other engines that may bypass oil back into the crankcase when the bypass opens, the M96/ M97 factory bypass simply allows the additional oil/ pressure to bypass the filter, where it is then sent directly to the rod and main bearings. Any debris that is suspended in this oil will create additional wear that will also become suspended in the oil and the issue will become progressively worse.

Now for some technical information from our bearing engineering team:

“There are many reasons for bearing failure, and usually each failure is due to a combination of causes, not just a single cause.  Spalling occurs as a result of normal fatigue where the bearing has reached the end of its normal life span but this is not the most common cause of bearing failure. Spalling detected in bearings can generally be attributed to other factors. A common cause of bearing failure is due to contamination from tiny metallic particles left over from a previous mechanical failure.  These particles are suspended in the oil and if they are allowed to get into the bearing, the result is tiny dents in the hard steel raceway.  Often the dent is surrounded by a microscopic raised area (or ‘lip’), and when the ball rolls over this lip, the ultra-high point loading exceeds the strength of the steel and it fractures, leaving behind a jagged depression (or ‘pit’).  Once this cycle begins, wear is greatly accelerated and the bearing will fail prematurely.”

By no means should an IMS Retrofit procedure be carried out if the original bearing has started to fail as the intermediate shaft will be damaged by such failure. If the IMS bearing needs to be cut out of the IMS bearing tube (shaft) to remove it, by no means can a new bearing be installed! The engine will have to be disassembled and intermediate shaft replaced.