M96 Engine Rebuild

I’m in the market for a replacement engine. Why should I rebuild rather than buy a factory replacement engine?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions we receive. Another commonly heard phrase is that the factory includes upgrades and fixes for commonly found problems, which isn’t completely true. Yes, they do include the most recent revision of IMS (also known to fail), but factory rebuilt (or even new) engines suffer all the same problems found in MY97-08 Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models.

Price wise, a factory replacement engine will cost about as much as properly rebuilding your engine, including the products and services offered by LN Engineering, which will result in a more durable engine with greater performance (due to increase in displacement). Also, if your core engine has any damage from a failure, you likely won’t get your core charge refunded to you, which can over double the cost of a factory replacement engine to well over $30,000 to $40,000.

The only downside to rebuilding your engine is turnaround time. A factory crate engine can be ordered and installed within a week’s time. Doing a proper rebuild can take several months from start to finish, but the finished product is far superior.

What improvements will an engine rebuilt and upgraded with LN Engineering components have?

Depending on how you intend to use your vehicle, you have several options. For street use, the bare minimum required is our Nickies and the IMS upgrade (in some cases a Retrofit kit is sufficient on engines with the factory dual row IMS). A rebuild on an engine with these upgrades usually runs about $15,000 from start to finish from the time you drop the car off until the time you drive off. This is a rough estimate depending on labor rates and if additional parts are needed to replace failed or unusable components following an engine failure. Plan on investing a minimum of $20,000 for an engine that is prepped for track use.

As a shop owner, we don’t rebuild M96 engines? Why should we? It’s too much of a liability.

We hear this all the time. Most independent Porsche mechanics prefer to work on the old aircooled models and many believe that the ’88 or ’89 3.2 Carrera model was the last true 911, but regardless of this belief, there are hundreds of thousands of MY97-08 Porsche Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models with M96 and M97 based engines that will need serving and repair. As of 2005, there were over 383,000 vehicles worldwide sold based on this platform.

It is true that for now that crate engines from Porsche on exchange provide instant gratification. A shop can order an engine and the customer can be back on the road within a week in most cases. Shop makes good money on the installation, a small margin on the crate engine, and the customer is happy (as happy as they can be having needed to purchase a new engine). However, most do not realize that the replacement factory crate engine does not have a warranty unless it is installed by a dealership, leaving the shop owner to foot the bill if there are problems within the warranty they provide to the customer.

But like with anything, there will come a date where Porsche will not offer these crate engines for sale and already, the price on them has been ever increasing, as already mentioned above. Furthermore, many shops have been left footing the bill for un-refunded core charges since Porsche won’t refund core charges on an engine that has suffered an engine failure. Shops that do not embrace these newest Porsche models and don’t learn how to rebuild the M96/M97  engine will have dwindling customer bases and will sell themselves short by not specializing in them.

As long as the customer understands why they have to wait for you to rebuild the engine and that they will be getting a far superior product to any crate engine, most customers are willing to wait and even pay more for those upgrades. Yes, there is some added liability, but no more than with any aircooled engine rebuild if you use the proper tools and don’t cut corners. Many choose to attend a Worldpac Training Institute class taught by Jake Raby and Tony Callas as an introduction to the M96 engine followed by our engine rebuild class co-taught by LN Engineering and Flat 6 Innovations, so as to learn why the M96 engine shouldn’t be feared and how to rebuild them successfully and make money while doing these repairs.

Do you offer rebuilt engines?

No, LN Engineering specializes in providing the required products and services to properly rebuild and upgrade the M96, M97, and 9A1 engines for both dealerships and independent shops alike. However, we do offer a hands-on engine rebuilding course co-taught by Charles Navarro of LN Engineering and Jake Raby of Flat 6 Innovations, at their Cleveland, GA location. Contact Flat 6 Innovations to reserve a seat in our next class:


Engine rebuild class

Engine rebuild class at Flat 6 Innovations

Our engine rebuilding classes are unique in that we will build, from start to finish, a complete running engine during the class. All participants are invited (and required) to participate in all aspects of the rebuild, allowing for hands-on practical experience that many return home with and successfully rebuild an engine.