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Motor swap payment question

I took my jeep to a shop to get a used motor that they got from LKQ. The motor they got they put in and ran it and coolant went everywhere and they said the water pump was bad and head gasket is bad because the water pump. Well I can verify the water pump was bad but the head was already at the machine shop when I arrived. Well I don’t have to pay for the machine shop and extra labor but I do have to buy the head gasket and water pump. Should that be right? They picked the motor out and it wasn’t my fault they we’re bad. Thanks for the help

Did you also pay for a new water pump, or did you expect them to use the old one?

On many engine swaps, they keep your engine accessories and mount them on the new engine. Your used (new to you) engine might not have come with its own water pump.

My old one was replaced so it’s good but they said since they have a bad
history of leaking we cant use your old one because if it starts to leak
they will have to get me a new water pump and change it out for free. I
understand that I guess but should I really have to pay for it since they
picked out the motor? And the head gasket went bad because they failed to
check the water pump on the used motor so I don’t see why I should have to
pay $200 more for that on top of my $3400 tab.

Is there a written estimate for the work? If so, it might discuss engine accessories in enough detail to tell whether it is their responsibility or not. Your post implies that they have accepted responsibility before because they change water pumps for free. If the pump came with the used engine, I think they should be responsible because that still means they chose the water pump. It seems like it was up to them to check it. I’m not a professional mechanic, and maybe some of the guys here who are or were pros can give you better insight.

You should have paid for a new water pump when the engine was installed, the water pump and thermostat should have been replaced before installing the engine. It is had to believe the mechanic operated the engine without coolant until the head gasket failed.


It’s a used motor.
They can’t tell much about it until it is installed.
I’m betting there is verbiage in the quote regarding it being used and the caveats associated with unknowns.
At this point, they are making good on it in my estimation.
They are paying the lion’s share of the expense, which is labor.
You’re getting new parts on a used motor so that’s on your dime.
It’s fair.

I also struggle with a head gasket failing due to a water pump unless it was run in unattended. That would be their negligence and I’d be arguing that point with them.

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I agree @TwinTurbo, if the head gasket failed due to the failure of the water pump whoever was driviing the vehicle was negligent. The post I deleted was made on the mistaken assumption that the OP took possession and was driving when the failure occurred. But I guess even an experienced professional can continue to drive thinking that a few more blocks won’t matter.

And it has been my experience that the Jeep 4.0 engines rarely had head gasket failure.

Sounds to me like what’s being said is that the used engine had a bad water pump & blown head gasket when installed .

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I would imagine the water pump and head gasket were faulty from the start. Generally speaking, with outfits like LKQ, Pull A Part, etc you seldom see any wrecked vehicles in their yards.

This means the cars are there because the engine is wasted or the transmission has been fried; or both. It’s been my experience that roughly 35-40% of salvage yard engines. transmissions, or rear axles have some issues of some sort.

This is why there needs to be a very serious meeting of the minds before any used engine is purchased as to who is going to be responsible if things are sour. A shop should not proceed with any repairs at all unless authorized in advance.

This brings up another issue. If the water pump failed and this led to a head gasket giving up due to severe overheating then one has to wonder about cylinder walls and piston rings also being fried. Once back together with a redone head and head gasket you could be left with an engine that smokes badly and loses oil like a run aground tanker.

This might turn into a real snafu. Just my 2 cents and good luck.

Sounds to me like what’s being said is that the used engine had a bad water pump & blown head gasket when installed .

Correct me if necessary–I’m not a pro mechanic–but wouldn’t a compression check, at least, be in order before dropping the engine in place? I mean, it’s not that hard to do, and it saves a huge PITA if some part of the engine turns out to be broken. I mean, especially on a “sight unseen” used engine!

My guess is a compression check, prior to installation, was OK, and then the engine got damaged after installation. (I guess somebody could have “taken a chance” and installed the engine without, but that seems a stretch.) I know, as a shadetree, I’d do a compression check, fire it up briefly on primed gasoline, and see if it produced oil pressure, all before install.

A compression check wopuld have verified that you had compression, but would not test the head gasket for coolant leaks. A coolant pressure test would, but that could only be done with the entire cooling system installed and coolant filled.

As far as paying for a new water pump; I wouldn’t have put the engine in without a new water pump. Why cheap out on something that could result in hours of more work… if the pump ended up to be bad.

New water pump, radiator hoses and heater hoses would be new if it were my job.



A leak down test might find a failed head gasket and it would be worthwhile to do it but often the leaks only occur due to the 500+/-psi present when running. And while I’m sure I’ll get some flack for this there is a distinct odor change in glycol antifreeze when hot exhaust gas has been mixed with it.

It’s definitely unfortunate that the water pump problem wasn’t detected early on, so the head gasket didn’t then become an issue. Whether it should have been detected or not, hard to say without hearing the shop’s side of things. But if all you are out $$-wise is the extra parts cost of the new head gasket and new water pump, I think you are being treated fairly for the most part. Those parts shouldn’t cost much, less than $250 together I’d guess. You might propose that you’ll agree to this extra part cost if they’ll increase the length of time of their engine warranty by 6 months. The transaction is governed by the laws of the state where you live and the wording of any agreements you have with the shop. But suggest to not go there. Life is a flea market, so strike a bargain.

Were you driving the car after the replacement of the engine? if so how long?

the engine was probably like that when they got it,i guess they didnt check it out very well, but on the bright side you get new head gaskets installed for no labor charges, thats a lot of money.

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