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Need a motor

So I have been told by my car guys that I need a new motor. They have had the car for a month already trying to diagnose the issue and finally come back with , it needs to be replaced. Now, I do trust these guys as far as the mechanics go (they are all VW employees with a mini-shop on their own time) but I think that they are planning to charge WAY too much.

So far I’m in for $300 during the diagnostics, however much a used motor will cost (guessing between $2000-3000), and then they want another $1200 to install it, plus who knows what they want for a timing belt and all the other bits that would need to be replaced on the new, old motor.

Under normal circumstances at a regular shop or a dealer, this may be an ok deal, but they would get it done quickly. With these guys, it will probably be another 2 months before I get to take it home. In my mind, what I trade in wasted time should directly correlate to the money that I save on the repair. Am I being naive? Should I just shut up and pay them, or get a tow and have it done someplace else?

If you trusted them completely, you wouldn’t be here asking us about it. So, now that we’ve realized you don’t trust them completely, tell us what they said when you asked them why the motor needs to be replaced.

The reason I’m suspicious is because it kind of sounds like they screwed around with it for a month, couldn’t figure out what was wrong, and now figure it’s easier to just throw a new motor in there rather than keep trying to figure out what’s wrong with the old one.

No, really I do think they know what they are doing mechanically, I just think they don’t feel like doing the swap and so they are giving me sucker price hoping I’ll take it elsewhere. But in terms of back story, here it is…
Had a loud clatter at the top of the engine (kinda sounded like a diesel.) First, they suspected cam adjuster, that wasn’t it. Then checked the oil pump, lifters, valve heights and it wasn’t any of those things, so they pulled the head. Then #4 piston was loose in the bore so they pulled it and it was super obvious then that there was a defect in the block and everything was all torn up. (They sent me pictures.)
So now what do you think?

$3000 for a used VW engine??? What kind of VW?? Year, model??

Hard to say, but it might be easier if the pics were available. Any way you could throw them on a photo site (photobucket/piccasa/etc) and link them here?

Here is the picture…
It is a 2002 Passat wagon with a 1.8T
These prices are crazy for a decent long block see this website as an example–>

Well, there’s no doubt by the looks of that piston that you need a new engine. I’m guessing this was caused by severe overheating and/or a chronic, ignored pre-ignition rattle judging by the hunk missing out of the piston crown.

As to whether they should be allowed to do this job that’s up to you. There’s no excuse for taking a month or so to get the job done though and if the car were mine I’d want it done a bit quicker. There’s also no excuse for taking a month to diagnose a bad engine.

Look closely at that piston OK, there is not a mark on the crown or rings…Only the skirt is ripped up…The edges of the rings seem to have varnish on them…They should be shiny and bright or have aluminum smeared over them. I’ve never seen a piston damaged like that…I think the crown is okay…The notch is part of the casting…

Hey Motorless, what kind of oil do you use?? How often do you change it?? How much oil was in that engine when it quit?

You’re right. After a closer look that does appear to be a notch instead of a missing chunk of piston. I was thinking turbocharged engine, pre-ignition rattle, etc. and the piston crown is the first thing to go.

I’ve seen piston skirts damaged like that and it’s generally due to lack of oil and/or severe overheating; likely the latter.
No matter, it’s scrap metal.

Think about it this way: it took them a month to do 4 hours of billable work. You already know the answer.