Not seeing my prior post come through, I’ll try one more time. Time has moved on, so we join this story already in progress…
My 1994 Acura Integra with 243k original miles on it apparently blew a head gasket a couple of weeks ago, overheated, and ended up at the mechanic’s shop with the head removed. He had it pressure tested, and they found a crack in the head’s coolant jacket. So, it’s toast. Wanting to keep the car (it’s in great shape otherwise), I was presented with two choices.
- Replace the head
- Replace the engine.
Choice #1, a new head, was quoted at $2,600 for the bare head, plus a lot labor to get the rest of the parts attached.
Choice #2 would be a used engine from Japan, with about 50k miles on it. $2,770. The registration laws in Japan are such that it becomes difficult or impossible to register a car after a few years, so they scrap perfectly good vehicles. Salvagers pick out the major parts and store them for later resale to folks like me.
So, for about the same price, choice #2 gets me a nice young engine, as opposed to #1 where I’d have a new head on an old engine, which “would put more strain on the older block”. Even though the block checks out fine, he says it could be at risk for failure itself. I really wanted to save the original engine, which after 243k miles and still not burning any oil, must have something right about it. But he convinced me to go for the used engine, and it’s been ordered. There’s a mule heading west from New Jersey right now, with my engine in tow.
My question: What do I need to make sure the mechanic does or checks out on the new-to-me engine, to be sure I can get another 100,00+ miles out if it? It comes with NO warranty, and there are no records of how it was maintained or driven by its original owner(s). It’s basically been “preserved” (how?) and sitting on a pallet in New Jersey for the past 16-ish years.
He says he’s had good luck with them in the past, but has not done very many. He also claims that it will be an exact match, for smog / registration purposes, or he “will send it back” (his words). But I’m still nervous. Have I made the right choice?