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Changing engines, how did it turn out?

I have only done 3 myself, but it was my labor ( free ) and since I lived in the rust belt, used engines were plentiful and cheap. All of the engines outlasted the car or truck they were put into. Even here cars last longer and emissions make engines more year specific so it is harder and more expensive to find good ones.

How many people here have changed engines on a obdII car, paying for labor and a new, used or rebuilt engine?

Was it worth it and would you do it again?

I’ve never worn an engine out even in over 1/2 century of car ownership and even with hundreds of thousands of miles on some of them. But I would not hesitate to replace an engine in a good car. In a modern engine, I’d want to swap the ECU with it.

The thing I’d be absolutely certain of, however, is that it really needed a new engine. Too often I’ve seen someone told they needed a new engine when they didn’t. Some “mechanics” suggest a new engine if they can’t diagnose the real problem. Some suggest a new engine for excessive oil use in engines that are still serving the owner fine but use more than 1 qt every 1,000 miles. The latter are just trying to generate a new boat payment. IMHO engines that are still performing well for the owners do not need to be changed solely for that reason.

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The only engine I ever replaced was my GM diesel. It was replaced with a GM Goodwrench reman at about 200K for about $2500. I got about 150K out of that and then put a used engine in for $1000. Maybe the first one was OK but I don’t think I should have done the second one. Considering I’ve always gotten 3-500K on engines without wearing them out, I would be very disappointed to have to replace one at 200K again. I guess depends on the car though. If a newer car and still good and just a catastrophic engine issue, I suppose I would.

Never changed engines since the bodies always went before serious engine work was needed. Since 1958 I have only done rings and valves on a 1948 Chevy and rings and valves on a 1957 Plymouth 6.

With proper maintenance engines traditionally outlast the bodies.

Changed the engine on my first car to a bigger version of the same 6 cylinder. I did the work myself and things went just fine as the car was very simple. Still running many 10s of thousands of miles later after I sold it.

Rebuilt the engine myself in my 100,000 mile Oldsmobile V6. Ported the heads, bigger valves, bigger cam. Ran great!

Everything else was done on race cars. I should have used wingnuts on one of them because the engine came out so often!

I helped and buddy do and engine and transmission swap on his 248K mile Chevy truck. Swapped out the complete powertrain with Jasper rebuilds and he got another 60K out of it before he sold it still running great.

i looked for a year and finally found a beautiful white 2004 BMW 325i wagon with a stick shift and sport suspension with 100k miles on it. Discovered soon afterward that it had the dreaded oil consumption problem that affects some BMW engines of that vintage. Tried all the usual fixes, then at 150k miles, bought a junk yard engine out of a 4WD BMW of the same year. My wife forbade me to do the swap in our garage, so I spent $2500 for the engine and $1500 labor for the install, plus a fresh clutch and some other preventative maintenance parts while it was apart.

225k miles now and it runs beautifully and consumes almost no oil between changes.


I (along with my dad, I was 15 at the time), swapped a 390 4bbl into a 74 F-100 that had a come with a 302 2bbl. And I helped a friend swap an LS1 into a Nissan 240SX, which wasn’t nearly as daunting as you’d think, he had a kit with some pre-fab’ed bits and pieces that really made things easier. He grenaded the rear differential two weeks later.

Your Vega engine didn’t wear out?

Mine did at less then 70k miles.

I rebuilt it. Had the cylinder walls bored out and steel-sleeved.

But that was it. Even my 84 gMC S-15 engine was stilling fine when I sold it at about 110k miles…the rest of it was junk though.

I guess I should have made clear that two of the vehicles were bought with known bad engines for close to junkyard prices and one of those I paid $50 for a salvaged slant 6. The other one, I bought a rusty car for $100 with a bad transmission.
The only car that I lost an engine on myself threw a rod out through the pan when the speedo had been showing past 120 for a while. I had been doing some street racing with it also.

The reason I asked the question, my daughter had a Rav 4 with only 70 000 miles that suffered sudden massive oil burning that Toyota would do nothing about.

She had a Jasper engine installed that had to be taken out and sent back to Jasper for them to determine if it really needed to be replaced before they would ship a new engine. This happened TWICE and she and her shop both regretted embarking on the project and the third one ran rough and the shop kept trying to fix it and the process had gone on for more than 6 months and she got rid of the car.

Not much experience on this topic myself, but I seem to notice by reports here that the results are better if a used engine from a wrecked car is used rather than a rebuilt engine, even if it is a assembly-line pro-rebuild. Not sure why that’s the case. You’d think there would be fewer problems w/a rebuilt engine as it should be like new.