Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Need to rebuild engine or buy a used one, anybody have any input?

  1. #1
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1986 DX 5-spd
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    30
    Rep Power
    1

    Question Need to rebuild engine or buy a used one, anybody have any input?

    Hey all,

    Just got my LE 5-speed running after it sat for 3 years. 240k miles on the clock. It needed a head gasket, and a whole new braking system, as well as several sensors (tps, ect, maf, o2). After all of that work I took it on its first drive yesterday, and it's in rough shape. It has a WICKED lifter/pushrod knock that's ridiculously annoying, it runs super rich, and it's hard to start cold. It ran fairly decently when it was warm and everything else feels strong, but the engine just feels old and weathered. It's a little underpowered and it feels like it's just not running optimally/reliably. It has an exhaust leak at the rear of the manifold (broken stud) and it has leaky exhaust valves (I know, i should've taken care of that initially when the head was off.)

    I have decided that I'm going to stop wasting time trying to scoot by without doing an engine overhaul, since it's obvious that this engine needed more than a head gasket. I have sunk only $350 or so into this van, and it has a ton of sentimental value to me.

    My issue is this; is it more financially feasible to invest some time, grunt work, and cash into the engine that's already in this van (particularly the cylinder head), or would it be a better idea to buy new/used/rebuilt? There aren't many vans where I live in Phoenix, AZ, and it looks like a new engine from Ebay is gonna cost a good 2-3k plus time and other various parts I would need. I am capable of doing almost ALL the work that would need to be done (excluding magna-fluxing and other machine shop business), and I would have a budget of 200-1300 at the most. Other than the engine being shot and the lack of functional shocks on the front/rear, this van is in good condition. Anybody here think I would be able to get by with replacing/lapping the valves, replacing valve seats, valve springs, pushrods and lifters, and all the other tidbits that would be done in a basic cylinder head overhaul, or going all the way and completely rebuilding?

    Also, I know there are others on this forum whose vans are getting up there in the 250k+ range who might be in this kind of situation, so I thought it would be best to bring this here so that it's available for everyone to discuss.

    Thanks for reading my wall of text, it's hard to figure out how to phrase all this and keep it short without skirting details and such.

    Megadysart

  2. #2
    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
    My Van(s):
    Lots of them
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    SW WA ST
    Posts
    6,202
    Rep Power
    10

    Re: Need to rebuild engine or buy a used one, anybody have any input?

    What needs to be done will depend entirely on the condition of engine components. You will not know for certain how bad things are until you take it apart. If you are lucky you might be able to get by with just rings and bearings, but based on miles and your description, it sounds to me it will likely need more. If the max you can spend is $1,300 then it might make more sense to seek out a good used 4y engine to install (even then you'll almost certainly go over budget).

    Keep in mind these vans develop other issues besides internal engine wear. You will likely need other parts and these cost money. Here's a short list of things you will likely need:

    Exhaust manifold.......................................... .......$175
    Gaskets, seals, freeze plugs...................................$150
    Injector service........................................... ...........$80
    all molded hoses............................................. .....$100
    Fuel pressure regulator (OEM)................................$130
    Fuel pulsation damper (A/M)....................................$35
    Misc tune-up parts............................................. ...$150
    Motor mounts............................................ ............$50
    Throttle position sensor (A/M)..................................$35
    Radiator service (baked out and pressure tested)....$120
    BVSV.............................................. ......................$40
    Belts............................................. ........................$40
    Fluids............................................ ........................$30
    Misc.............................................. .......................$150
    Total............................................. ...................$1,285

    Keep in mind, other than gaskets/seals, these are all things external to engine. If you tear into it then the list gets a lot longer. If you're lucky, and all you need is rings and bearings then these parts alone will add another $150 or so. But how can you stop there? With all the effort to pull engine, tear down, reassemble, & reinstall, why put a worn timing set back in? (another $75 or so). Then there's the oil pump ($75), water pump ($35), camshaft/lifters ($250), & possibly more. If you need pistons then that's at least another $80 or so. Then of course the machinist will want his cut too.

    There's all sorts of compromises one can make while doing a job like this, so nothing is etched in stone. What you can get away with will depend on the current condition of things. I've documented an overhaul here: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...ngine-Overhaul & a complete rebuild here: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/e...rt-2&goto=prev

    Buying a used engine is hit & miss, but if you're on a tight budget it might be your best option. I would advise against purchasing a rebuilt engine. I've seen a lot of these as a mechanic and as a general rule I can tell you the ones I've seen are junk. When you think about the time and effort it takes to do the job correctly, considering the price they charge, there's no way they can make money unless they cut corners (tolerances are crap and they use the cheapest components they can find). If you do the job yourself I would also advise against the average automotive machine shop. I'm sure some are good, but many do not do quality work. I've found that you're better off using a performance oriented machine shop (shops that build race engines). These shops tend to charge slightly more, and may have an "attitude" about working on a lowly van engine, but as a general rule they pay more attention to detail and will hold closer tolerances. If you plan on keeping your van for another 100k miles or more this will pay off. Good luck with your project and please post your project here on TVT. Tim

  3. #3
    Van Enthusiast
    My Van(s):
    87 4x4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    264
    Rep Power
    1

    Re: Need to rebuild engine or buy a used one, anybody have any input?

    My engine has always been noisy. I always thought it was the lifters, Until I changed the lifters, and it's still noisy. And now at 250k mi, getting noisier. I ran 10-30 synthetic for a while. Now I'm using 15-40. Its difficult to pin point the noise with a mechanics scope. But its definitely in the back.
    Noise can be described as a clicking, squeeking or tapping. Takes about 1 - 2 minutes to quiet down. Yes I use a oil filter with anti Drain back valve.
    My concern is it idling noisier.

    I'm thinking Main / Rod bearings furthest from the oil pump.
    Oil pressure is good. (20 psi idle / 60 psi @ 3000 rpm warmed up) But I'll throw in a new pump while i'm in there.
    Compression was great 1 year ago.

    Noise could come from worn cam lobe / bearings. But that seems harder to tackle with out pulling the motor.

    Has anyone put new bearings in with the motor in the van???
    Can the thrust be replaced?
    Last edited by coronan; 10-12-2015 at 11:10 AM.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •