Jump to content

Cayman S 3.4 engine reliability

Recommended Posts

Hi everybody! Name's Roma, i'm n00b :)
I always dreamed of having cayman, cuz mid-engined perfection, n/a revving engine etc. I earn 2.5 grand, don't have mortgage/kids, so i can spend big part of my salary on a hobby. And here is why i'm telling this.

I can buy cayman s 987 gen1 (2006-2007) - it costs approx. 20k in russia. I scavenge forums for an info about engine reliability. Our top russian porsche forum has many coolstories about 3.4 engine failures - scratches on cylinder walls (don't know how to say it in english), low performance of lubrication and cooling system. But no youtube videos like 'how to buy a used cayman or boxster' address this issue - and porsches are in top in reliability charts. So i assume it's all just forum scary stories and it's much more reliable than STI or BRZ i own now.

So is the probability of engine failure really that high as our forum says? I don't want to give up on my dream and regret the rest of my life. 

Thanks in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I find scratches during scoping and they are recent and still shallow - i heard you can insert sleeves (tubes, my damn e-dictionary doesn't know that word) and fix the problem for a very long time, and many people did this on 996 and cayennes. How true and helpful is this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're much better off saving a little longer for a 987.2 and not having to deal with the 987.1's reliability issues.  By no means is any engine perfect, but the .2 has a lot of refinements over the .1.  The IMS bearing, for example, has been deprecated on the 987.2 engine.


If you hypothetically do get a gen 1 that produces issues, you can be assured it'll cost more to resolve those issues than it would be to have bought a gen 2 to begin with.  And then you're still stuck with a gen 1 at the end of it all.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having just bought a Gen 1 I did a lot of homework and this was my opinion on it!

cylinder score seems to have effected a low percentages of the 3.4 engines, still admittedly a risk regardless.

The IMS bearing it seems was pretty much upgraded on the 3.4 engine around the time early Gen 1 were being produced. Again there remains a risk.

when looking for a car I won't buy miss treated and obviously abused examples of any brand. So to find the Gen 2 I wanted I was looking at £22k plus and a whole load of time and distance to just see the vehicle.

therefore I found what I believe is a mint Gen1 for the right money and have money in my reserve to rebuild the engine and resolve the cylinders score if needed!

i still won't have spent the money a mint Gen2 would have cost.

my reasoning might not be to everyone's agreement but this is my toy and not an every day vehicle and I will keep it for a lot of years

its also my beliefs that eventually like 911 the Gen1 (as is with dozens of other makes and models) will increase in value before any other Generation of 987 .


be interested in any thoughts on these points! 


Cheers and and good luck Banners 


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Banners, sure, if stretching to the gen 2 isn't an option and you never get any of the issues then the bargain has paid off undoubtedly.


It was a 981 S or 987 R for me and I went with the R solely on potential resale value in a few years time.  It all comes down to how you perceive the purchase and what you choose to determine its value.


Personally speaking, in my opinion, a car costs:

Initial purchase cost + servicing + repairs - resell price = actual cost


I wasn't willing to buy a plain 981 S or 987 S as I feared I'd be ruined on the resell price at the end of it all.  The R should hold its value well judging by most limited or special edition Porsche cars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fair comment Aaron, that's is a good point!

i suppose if you can afford the better model then it's a complete no brainer. 

Yours will no doubt gain value significantly if you keep it long enough and maintain it as an investment. 

The GT versions are the car to have but wow they are big money now and will always be big money. 

Will be taking mine to Hartec soon as I can to get the gold service to see what's what and dealing no with the issues if any asap. 


Happy motoring. Regards Banners

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a difficult choice to make, I was in the same situation when I bought my cayman a few months ago.


I ended up going for a Gen 2 Cayman over a Gen 1 Cayman S - mainly for the bore scoring issues mentioned online. Obviously, you only hear of the bad stories online and not the good ones. In the scale of everything, IMS issues affected a very small percentage of total cars sold so unlikely you will ever have an issue, but still a possibility.


On paper, the Gen 2 Cayman (2.9) PDK is a very similar performance spec to the Gen 1 Cayman S (3.4), more reliable, slightly better looking (in my opinion) and lower running costs - although I suppose you don't buy a Porsche for economy!


At the end of the day I think it is just a case of biting the bullet and going for what you can afford although as Banners said, it's a good idea to keep some money aside just for the worst case scenario.

Edited by UKtom
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrators
2 hours ago, Opposer said:

is S 986's engine more reliable than 987's if you change ims regularily? Cylinder scratches occur?


You only need to change it once on a M96 engine.  It’s not really an issue on the M97 engine. 


Not a choice you’d have to make for a Cayman mind...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Forum Admin said:

987 is the Cayman and Boxster post 2005


986 was the original Boxster 


Is 986's engine safer to buy if i gonna change ims regularly? Does it suffer from scratches?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All this talk of issues and no talk of remedy. 


At at the end of the day, it’s just an internal combustion engine. 

Its not full of complex springs and wheels and widgets. 


With a little confidence and research a rebuild should be within the capabilities of a home mechanic. 


All I’m trying to suggest is, instead of researching the problems, mentally prepare for a good self rebuild and the whole buying process takes on a new perspective. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you ever rebuilt an engine?  I wouldn't consider any modern Porsche engine a rebuild prospect for the average DIY mechanic, not by any means.  Especially with all of the proprietary electronics bestowed before you.  Not to mention the time required and the car may be a daily for some (I know it is for me).


Personally, I don't agree with planning for failure; the simplest way to avoid solving problems is by not creating them in the first place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve built many engines. It’s hugely rewarding and , once you understand the principles you stand a good chance of a better end result. 


I agree entirely with shopping to avoid failiure but, if you’re equipped to cope with every eventuality then all the better. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.