The Pros And Cons Of Engine Rebuilding

When should an engine be rebuilt?

What is an Engine Rebuild?

When you rebuild an engine, you’ll often remove the engine from the vehicle and take it apart completely. Engines can also be rebuilt “in frame,” which means they are rebuilt without being removed. If you’ve heard of a vehicle getting its engine “inframed,” that was a reference to an in-frame rebuild.

After the engine is completely taken apart, it will be cleaned and check for issues. Any damaged parts can be replaced. Then, when the engine is put back together, all new seals, gaskets, and lubricants are used.

The parts that are replaced tend to be things like gaskets, bearings, O rings, seals, oil pump, cylinder heads and oil coolers. Sometimes, more major parts may also need to be replaced. These can include the crankshafts, pistons, and camshafts.

If the engine was seriously damaged before being rebuilt, you might also need to do more intensive work. For example, you might have to bore the engine block or the cylinders.

How to Know when the Old Engine has to Be Rebuilt

In addition to stalling out in traffic and leaking fluid, there are a few telltale indications of an engine that is about to die.

The Car Won’t Start

If the car simply won’t turn over, the first thing you want to do is calm down and check the battery. Make sure that all of the wires in the engine are properly attached. Loose wiring can cause many an engine problem.

Make sure there is nothing wrong with the starter motor. The starter motor is a simple apparatus that carries a tiny gear wheel that attaches to a large gear ring that sits around the rim of the engine’s flywheel. It costs around $350 for parts and labor if you should need to replace it.

If the battery is working and there is nothing wrong with the starter motor, your car probably has a serious problem.

Exhaust Leaks:

If a dark cloud of smoke follows you where ever you drive, the pipes themselves may be damaged or the engine’s seals may be falling apart. Loose seals can often cause the oil in a car to burn too hot. Those seals may be located at the bottom of the engine and the engine might need to be removed in order to replace those seals.

You Hear a Knocking When the Car Starts

If your car knocks and clatters when you start it, it normally means that the pistons in the cylinders are loose and moving around a lot. The only way to fix this is to have the engine rebuilt piston by piston.

A Broken Timing Belt

A timing belt is part of the internal combustion engine. The device contemporizes the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft. This causes the valves of the engine to open and close when they are supposed to. When the timing belt breaks it can destroy the interworkings of an engine. Replacing the belt requires a good deal of labor.

Is The Cost of Repairing An Engine Greater Than The Cost of Your Vehicle?

You thought all you needed was routine maintenance, but you’re going to need an engine rebuild. Your truck isn’t as powerful as it used to be and there’s a cloud of blue smoke out the tailpipe. It might be a very sudden thing – a clunk and a bang, then your engine stops running with a certain finality.

When your engine goes, you know. It can happen in a bunch of different ways, though. The mechanic could let you know your engine is all sludged up when you go for an oil change, which is why it’s been knocking more and more.

With just these few examples, but you get the idea. Engine failure comes in all different forms. Often, the same repair, an engine rebuild, can take care of your engine problems. But take note: it’s not an inexpensive repair. And in the end, you might find out that a complete engine replacement is necessary after you diagnose your engine.

Reinstalling the Engine

Complete other projects which might be necessary in the rebuild. If you’re doing a complete overhaul, it’s likely you’ll want to do other jobs at the same time while you’ve got the chance. Likewise, it’s usually inadvisable to hook up your freshly-rebuilt engine to a transmission with 200,000 miles (320,000 km) on it. You might want to:

  • Install a transmission
  • Replace the air conditioner
  • Change out the radiator
  • Get a new starter

Prep the engine. Fill the new oil filter with motor oil before installing, and with break-in oil recommended by the engine rebuilder. Prime the oiling system by manually operating the oil pump. Fill the cooling system with a 50/50 mixture of new antifreeze coolant and distilled water. You’ll also probably need to install:

  • OEM spark plugs
  • new distributor cap, rotor and spark plug wires
  • new air filter, fuel filter, crankcase filter and PCV valve

Lower the engine with the hoist. It’s important to keep the engine level while lowering it into place. Use caution, and help. Fasten it to the mounting brackets and reconnect all the hoses, pipes, and wires, having ensured that they’re all compatible with any new parts you’ve installed. Reinstall the radiator and hood, being sure to keep anything meltable clear of the exhaust headers.

Go through a careful initial start-up. Set the emergency brake and block up the wheels before you start the ignition.Turn the ignition. If the engine doesn’t start, check the fuel delivery system.

  • Make sure to monitor the oil pressure gauge and the temp gauge. If you notice full oil pressure, cut the engine immediately and check for fluid leaks. If you notice anything unusual, stop the engine immediately.

Break it in. After you get the engine running reliably, rev it to 2000 rpm to thin out any oil on the camshaft. You’ll want to run the engine at various speeds between 1800 and 2500 rpm for at least 20 minutes.

  • Pull the radiator cap to check for adequate flow or leaks before it gets too hot. Check that the battery is charging.

Change the oil and filter after your first 100 miles (160 km). It’s important to ease the engine into its life, and it’s common to change the oil after about 100 or 200 miles (160 or 320 km) initially, then every thousand miles for at least the first three months of use.

New Engines

New engines are factory manufactured replacement engines. They contain all brand new parts, and as long as you purchase a brand new engine that is the same type/size as your previous engine, the engines will be completely identical to your old engine and will work perfectly with all the parts in your vehicle.

New Engine Considerations

A newly purchased engine is guaranteed to arrive in perfect condition and run well as long as it is installed properly. New engines are almost always covered by warranties. The downside to a new engine is the cost, however. New factory engines will often cost you several thousand dollars ,and higher end, more powerful engines can cost well above $10,000 as of 2011.

Rebuilt Engines

A rebuilt engine is an engine that has been used for the majority of its useful lifespan and has been completely overhauled to extend its lifespan. A rebuilt engine has been taken apart completely and had its internal components either repaired, refinished or completely replaced with new parts. A rebuilt engine is not a new engine, but when an engine is rebuilt properly it can significantly extend the lifespan of your vehicle. A rebuilt engine is not the same as a re-manufactured engine. A re-manufactured engine has all new parts and has been completely overhauled to original factory or high performance specifications.

Rebuilt Engine Considerations

Rebuilding an engine takes a decent amount of mechanical skill, and not all rebuilt engines are built equally, which can make buying a rebuilt engine or having your existing engine rebuilt a bit of a gamble. To ensure success, verify that the person or company you are having rebuild the engine or are buying the engine from has a good reputation for rebuilding engines and offers a solid warranty on its work. You will also want to ensure the engine was fully rebuilt; sticking a new head gasket on an engine does not constitute a full rebuild as the pistons, rods, crank and cam will still have 200,000 or so miles on them. Rebuilt engines are often significantly less expensive than new engines, but you need to do your research ahead of time before you make a purchase.