Rebuild, Replace or Scrap?

98’F-150 XL 4.2L 5 speed manual before a blown head gasket had 241k miles. New tires and front brakes put on just 2 months before engine blew. Rebuilt engine for $2700, Replace w/salvage motor $1500-1700, Scrap for $450-500. I have even thought of having the top end of the motor rebuilt. any advice?

Take the money and run…

Yeah, I have thought that could be the best option. But the truck is really in good condition on the exterior. Thought it might be worth saving. Thanks for the input!

“But the truck is really in good condition on the exterior”

It sounds to me like you’d rather fix it & hold on to it. So then the first question is just about the rest of the truck. This comment suggests that it “looks” good. But what is everything like mechanically? How soon before you need suspension work? New brake lines? Clutch? Transmission? Cooling system?

I tend to fix things rather than scrap them (and with cars it often does pay off in terms of $$) - but there are limits.

Then on the question of what to do for an engine - my own approach would be to go on the low end. Either do the head gasket in the current engine or a salvage engine if you can verify it is healthy.

You’ll be putting more money into the repair than the truck is worth. So the smart money is to sell it. But, if you plan to keep it for a bunch more years then fixing it pays off. The key factor is you have to keep it for quite a long time, like 5 to 10 years.

So do you see yourself still driving the truck 6 or 7 years from today? Yes, fix it. No, dump it.

I’m going to disagree with UncleTurbo about the time it takes to basically break even on a major repair like this. If you take, for example, the salvage motor purchase and install, break it out by monthly expenses, you’re looking at a little over $100/month for a year. If you’re looking at buying something else you’re looking at a lot more than that on a monthly payment, especially if you include higher insurance premiums and property taxes if applicable.

If the rest of the truck is in good condition and no other major work is looming around the corner then I’d say it takes more like a year to “break even” on the decision.

I don’t think it will take 6 to 7 years to recoup expense. I still am researching the top end rebuild.

I thank you for the input.

i would try to get a rebuild done frist that whats i would do

Glad I read your post before I replied to UncleTurbo. 10 years to recoup $1700 ? More like a year.

Depreciation in Any Period = ((Cost - Salvage) / Life)

Let Salvage = 0.

Otherwise you’re talking about replacing with a used vehicle with unknown maintenance history.

“You’ll be putting more money into the repair than the truck is worth.”

Seems to me this truck is worth about $3,000, i.e. double the repair cost.

I am confused by your post. Did you have the head gaskets replaced and thereafter “blow” the engine. Or are you referring to a blown head gasket as a blown engine? With 241k miles I wouldn’t rebuild the top end, you would probably lose a bearing shortly after.

Actually,what had happen was the engine overheated while I was driving on the interstate. I lost power in the engine right before the temp gauge spiked. I quess, at that point, with the high mileage I suspected a thermostat, initialy, then started thinking maybe,head gasket had blown. I took to my shop and pulled the plug, which 2 or 3 were soaked and the bottom of plugs (ignitor?) were badly damaged. We took off the air/fuel components and the intake manifold, to the head gasket to check for damage. We found both gasket, intake and head, to be bad. We turn the engine to see if their was any lockup in the block and it didn’t seem too. I am concerned about the miles on this engine.

If you’re going to keep the truck…

buy the rebuilt engine, with warranty, and keep on truckin’.

In these cases, I use ten cents per mile driven to try to determine if I can reasonably amoritize my repair costs. That is an old figure I still use, so one could argue that it could be higher.

So, not only how long do you intend to keep the car, but also do you plan on driving the car about another 15,000 miles? Or, 27,000 miles?

The usual tendency is to look at all decisions as money issues with pure logic and a calculator. Emotions are also important. If you really like that pickup, then emotions become important. And, the dollars involved, unless you hover near bankruptcy are not great, even at $2700.

It might logically make more money sense to scrap and get another one. But, if you really like it, and IF the body and mechanicals are solid, then consider fixing it, simply because you do like it. It it is a mistake, it’s only a $2700 mistake. It will not be the biggest mistake of your life.

We get posters from time to time who miss cars they got rid of for logical reasons.

When I have a decision to make that involves money, I tend to compare it to something extremely stupid I did back in 1966. If it is going to be cheaper, then it can’t be the biggest mistake I ever made, so I don’t worry about it. You WILL make mistakes; work through them and move on with your life.

I had an old Pontiac station wagon, seemed to be in good shape. I had a first class engine rebuild. Right away the body turned to rust, and the rubber gaskets deteriorated.

However, I drove that car for a year or two, then sold it to my best friend for a dollar, and he drove it several years, then gave it to his stepson, who drove it a few months, then it failed on the highway, and he walked away from it.

So, in the end, we got the $1700 use out of it.

I told him I could see I should have charged him $2.

You already have the heads off, a gasket set isn’t expensive, why not check the heads, manifold. and block for warpage and replace the gaskets. Also do an oil change and find out if your head bolts can be re-used.

I still wouldn’t rebuild the top end without replacing the rod and main bearings.