Automotive thread of the year

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, May 25, 2014.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    This isn't an automotive modification or an automotive how-to; just a showcase of the latest hole I've dug myself into:

    [​IMG]

    Last year my step father loaned his '94 Celica to my (now -ex)-brother-in-law. The XBIL said he was driving to work one day and the car just died on the highway with a loud bang. I went and looked at it and the engine was siezed. He said he had checked the oil and had it changed regularly, though he had no oil change sticker or receipt for any oil changes in the past 15K miles.

    So upon pulling the A/C compressor I found this:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    <that's a flattened/battered connecting rod end cap in my hand; I reached my hand through the giant gaping hole in the block and pulled it out.>

    I figured it wouldn't be too hard to swap the engine; I've done that before on old (50's-70's) trucks and it was no big deal. I had him order an engine off E-bay, claimed to be pulled from an identical previously running/wrecked 1994 Celica GT, and warrantied for 30 days. I figured all the wiring and sensors on this newer model would slow things up, so I have been waiting on a 3 day weekend so I could get it all done in one go; preferred over getting half way through and then trying to pick up where I left off weeks or months previously.

    This was the weekend. I Pulled the "new" engine out of the back of the garage and looked critically at it for the first time. It wasn't the same. I checked the ID tags on it when it came in, and they matched, but the wiring harness was radically different. This did NOT come from an identical celica. Some of the sensors were different and ALL of the plugs were different.

    I decided that rather than try to make the new wiring harness work with my car, or trying to make my wiring harness fit the new motor, I would take the head, exhaust, everything off my motor and put it on the new block. That seems simpler, and plus my head is recently rebuilt. Given the inaccuracies of the ebay listing, and since I would alread have the new engine disassembled, I figured it would be stupid to not just go ahead and rebuild the new block before slapping my head on it. So now I'm in for my first engine rebuild and it isn't even my car. I couldn't get a rebuild kit on such short notice, so now I'm in that "limbo" that I was trying to avoid - of being in the middle of a project with no end zone and with my memories getting stale.

    So, there she sits, in my driveway with no engine, and two engines in my garage. I will put up some more pics of the carnage when I get the rebuild kit and start tearing into the block.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,410
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    Good heavens!

    Last week I had to replace the front turn signal lamp on my Chevrolet Uplander minivan. A looked at it a couple of times and couldn't figure out how to access the bulb.

    Fortunately, there is a youTube video with clear instructions on how to remove the headlamp first to gain access to the turning signal. I think that's as for as I will go these days. (Mind you I have replaced things like radiator, alternators, water pump and timing chain in the past.)

    Good luck on your auto mods. Don't attempt to modify the wiring or we'll have to close this thread.;)

    Edit: We have a 2000 Toyota Echo that's on it's last leg. If anything needs fixing it has to be a DIY job otherwise that's the end of it.
     
    PackratKing likes this.
  3. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    You talk about getting serious ,that must be your engine room ,you have shown your

    electronic lab before.
     
  4. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    The only times I've seen engines do that is when they were absolutely spanked and self destructed at very high RPMs! Does your ex brother in law have a habit of trashing other people's cars? :eek:

    I'd be worried about your head after that, you might have bent valves etc depending if it actually was spanked or not. :(
     
  5. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I did that once...on purpose.
    My employer gave me the raggedest POS in the parking lot. It was maxed out ugly, the engine was knocking, and it smelled so bad that I bought a bottle of orange oil and spread that around the back. After a week, I loaded a refrigerator in the back of it, came off the line in first as high as it would wind and let off the gas.

    "Clunk"

    end of that problem :D
     
    strantor likes this.
  6. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Not that I'm aware of; He has a habit of never being able to afford his own car no matter how much he makes, and only caring about himself.
    When I pulled the drain plug, only about half a cup of oil came out, and it was severely burnt and thick, smelled gross. To be fair, there may have been >1/2 cup of burnt black oil in the pan at the time of the failure; some of it could have sloshed out through the exit wound. The car had an oil leak and everybody knew about it. He was told/reminded of it several times while he had the car. Since it wasn't his car, it was just too much effort for him to check the oil level, even once, in 15K miles. That was a common theme for him, hence the "ex" part.
    Good point; I will have to check it out.
     
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    True. Some engines do not have valves that can hit the pistons, some do.
    Time to do some googling?
     
  8. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    A couple years ago, I ordered a remanufactured engine from a builder in Washington state, had it freighted down and sent to my mechanic. A week later my Jeep was running like a new car. Expensive, but dang worth it. Or and I got a 7 year warranty.
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Twelve years ago, a mechanic told me, "$3000 for a new engine" so I did it myself for less than $1000. $750 for the motor and a couple of hundred in tools and misc. It took all week, but the rest of the car died before the engine did. (I just can't abide a car that rains on the inside.)
     
  10. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    It gets easier to hit the valves when the pistons become disconnected from the crank at high velocity... ;)
     
    strantor and #12 like this.
  11. #12

    Expert

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    Good point, RB. All bets are off when the pistons disconnect from the crankshaft.
     
  12. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    some years ago, my X wife drove my 70 Alfa Romeo spider about 50 miles with the oil light on, the oil light comes on at 7 psi, the engine normaly holds 50 psi. not very good for the engine at all. blew off all the hoses and was making very unusual noises. traded in the car as is to a camping trailer dealer, and traded in the wife a little later.
    I have found since that the 70 Alfa spider had only 7 imported to the states. nice car. now I have a 74 Alfa Spider, I rebuilt the engine completly on it two years ago.
     
  13. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Could be worse.

    I have a matching pair of 99 Ford F250 Super duty four door 4wd's one has a bad engine that threw a rod and my wife took the transmission out of my pickup.

    Being my wife insisted I get a job opposed to staying home and working on our house project and other things I now have no time to get any of my stuff done any more. With that I did some checking around to see if I could hire someone to swap engines out for me.

    Yea that didn't go so well. Apparently the Ford 6.8l V10 is a monster of a pain to pull out. Lowest price so far is asking about $4500 to pull the two engines and transmissions and make one good one out of the pair. :mad:

    Seriously for that cost I could take two weeks off from my job and still come out financially ahead on the deal doing it all myself and thats giving up 200+ hours at oil field pay rates that start at time and a half after 8 hours each day:mad::mad::mad:.

    BTW for about $1500 more I could order a factory direct remanufactured longblock engine and heavy duty transmission that both come with 5 year 100K mile warranties.
     
  14. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Well, turns out I'm probably off the hook.

    The engine blew several months ago, and I had stepdad buy the ebay replacement a couple months after that (been sitting in my garage a few months), and I had him buy the rebuild kit, engine stands, new axles (cheaper and easier than refurbishing the CV joints), and motor mounts last week. Then I submitted the wish list for all those specialty tools needed to rebuild an engine (hone, precision straight edge, micrometer set, torque wrenches, compression gauge, balancer puller, ridge reamer, telescopic bore set, etc, etc, etc) and he pulled the plug.

    He saw a rabbit hole and I couldn't guarantee him that it would end there with the tools, so he decided just to sell the car and the engines and all the new parts to someone who is looking for a project.

    So now I have a project car for sale; anybody interested?

    I am going to go have one last critical look at the wiring harness this evening and evaluate whether or not it would be feasible to graft the old wiring harness onto the new engine. One last ditch effort to try to get his car back on the road.

    I feel really bad about about not providing an accurate picture of the costs involved up front. It wasn't my fault up until the point I had him order the rebuild kit and etc ($700); at that point I should have included the tools. I told him there would be more tools needed but I guess I failed to convey any idea of how much they would cost.

    Still, even after buying the tools (had he bought them), he still would have paid about the same (used engine:$700 + parts:$700 + tools: $600 = $2000) as if he had ordered a remanufactured engine, and much less than had he taken it to a mechanic for an engine replacement ($4000+). So I don't feel all that bad; I can point as many fingers at his penny pinching habits as I can at my failure to represent the cost. I was willing to do all the work for free.
     
  15. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    How about changing sensors from old/bad engine to new? If sensors are different the ECM probably won't work with the new sensors any way.
     
  16. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Those costs all seem very high to me here in Australia.

    A '94 Toyota Celica is an OLD car, I would expect you could pick up a complete car, registered and fully working, for a couple of grand. And a fully recond engine is about $1400, plus maybe $350 for fitting.
     
  17. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    That's pretty much what I was talking about doing in the above post. I looked at it last night and it should be possible, however I'm not sure if it's worth the time, especially since he's already given up on it. I know him, and once he's got something in his head, you can't get it out. If I were to ask him if he wants me to try it, he would undoubtedly say "no," so if I were to try it, it would be without his knowledge for a "surprise" fix.

    And it's a gamble; I have doubts about this "new" engine, which is why I was almost relieved to be rebuilding the block and installing a "known good" (maybe) head on it. It's obviously been leaking oil for a long time, the holes weren't plugged properly and who knows where it was stored (looks like it sat in a pick&pull yard for a while, several parts cannibalized), it looks like someone dumped a shovel full of kitty litter on top of it and then blew it off with an air gun so there's probably kitty litter all down inside of it, who knows how many miles were are on it and if it's ever been rebuilt, etc: I can think of a long list reasons why this this engine might fall on its face. I (my stepdad) paid for a "tested, runs nice, engine from a '94 celica GT" and that is NOT what I got. I can't guarantee this engine runs at all, much less that it isn't on it's last leg.
    I don't know all the differences between your economy and ours, but my idea is that it's pretty similar. From looking at this list of used '94 celicas, I estimate the average price for dependable direct replacement car is $3K-$5k, and $2K will get you something with >200K miles on it, probably already with, or soon to have serious mechanical problems.

    Automotive work around here isn't cheap, and it's a throw-away society. A remanufactured engine for this car costs >$2K if you shop around for the best price. If you have a regular mechanic install it, they will not warranty the work unless they supply the parts, so you don't have the luxury of shopping around for the best price; so unless you're willing to give up the warranty, you let them shop around for the best price, and they mark it up by 50% or more making it now a >$3000 engine, and the rule of thumb that I follow for any automotive work is that the labor will cost at least as much as the parts, usually more - so if we are considering having a mechanic replace the engine, we can save money by having it hauled off and buying another car.

    I see working, driving, cars on the road every day that are literally working, driving, totalled (total loss) cars from an insurance adjuster's perspective, simply because they are a >15 y/o unpopular model and have a dented fender and peeling paint. The minor body work and paint job needed, cost more than the what the car is worth (what someone is willing to pay for it). People literally drive cars to the junk yard. This is even encouraged by the government; a few years ago we had this "cash for clunkers" program where the government would pay you some subsidy for turning over your long-in-the-tooth but still running car, and they would fill up the block with some hardening silica compound, ensuring that nobody would ever see any value in restoring it to roadworthy condition again.
     
    THE_RB likes this.
  18. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Yeah I'd say 3-4k would be typical of advertised prices, with OK cars available for 2K or so private sale with some wheeling and dealing. I don't buy fron car yards, you just pay twice as much as private sale!
     
  19. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    3-4K? Methinks 10k USD is a good deal here in the US. You might be able to find an old clunker for half that.

    http://m.autotrader.com/cars-for-sa...9&endYear=2017&startYear=1981&searchRadius=25
     
  20. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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