Where to get used engines? and how to choose them?


#1

So, my car’s engine died… This was confirmed by a second mechanic. Those with experience with this… Can you give me an advice as to what to expect with engine replacements? How reliable were those engines… I am talking about used engines.

I asked a second mechanic where to get the engines. He said to go to engines world, but the place has terrible reviews. Or maybe I should just let a shop do it all because I have no experience with this whatsoever. Anyone knows an average estimate for labor and the engine itself?


#2

Any prices you get from complete unknown strangers on the internet are going to be just guesses. You are going to have to do your research or find a shop you can trust. Also if this is the vehicle I think it is you are wasting your money on an engine for it.


#3

@“VOLVO V70” Care to tell me why do you think it is a waste of money?


#4

Used engines as you probably expect carry some risk. But it seems like folks here report pretty good results in engines coming from the car recyclers. A car of recent vintage might be totaled by being run into from behind or from the side, but the engine is still likely ok. Mechanics have good sources for these kinds of engines, so your idea to focus on getting a good mechanic, and let your mechanic find you an engine is probably a good one. Make sure the engine and the install job comes with a guarantee that is acceptable to you. Prices for engine replacements reported here seem to run in the $3000 to $6000 range for common econo-box vehicles and the like.


#5

Used engines are a coin flip. It’s been my experience that roughly 35-40% of every used engine, transmission, or rear axle I’ve dealt with had issues from comparatively small to serious and in some cases outright scrap metal in spite of claims to the contrary.

There’s not a mechanic on the face of the Earth who can tell you that a used engine is good to go and will have no problems.
Knowing that an engine has had a verifiable compression done with good readings and if the shop is willing to stand behind that used engine for a certain period of time or miles can at least help the situation.

A used engine should also receive new front and rear crank seals before installation along with a new timing belt kit if applicable. Also throw in a new torque converter seal on auto trans models.

As to cost, there’s no way of knowing. The price can vary widely based on cost, markup, labor rates, locale, and so on. A late model Benz engine is going to cost far more than a late model Ford Escort engine as the type of car is unknown.
If the car is very high miles and has rust it may not be worth doing anything to at all.


#6

I know this is not a Porsche or a classic, but I have an emotional attachment to it, but yeah… looks like there is no guarantee whatsoever that replacing the engine will be the end of all my problems. Thanks for the replies. I think I will start calling junkyards then.


#7

I’m quite certain that OP’s engine uses the bucket and shim type of valve lash adjustment. Almost any used engine will have NEVER had the valves adjusted, and they will be tight, which causes lowered compression

Also, any used engine is probably way overdue for a complete timing belt job, anyways

That Mazda is probably only worth $1500 on a good day, with a running engine

That is why it doesn’t make financial sense to drop an engine in the car


#8

At some point the only economically feasible way to replace the engine in an older low value car is if you do the footwork on the engine and the labor yourself. Even then it can be iffy.

One thing you might consider is this. Not all salvage yards do this but some will install for a low nominal fee the engine they sell you. The bonus to this way of doing things is that if the engine they install is no good then they’re on the hook for swapping it out again or refunding your money and the fee charged for labor is considerably lower than any shop.

Again, the majority of yards do not do this but it doesn’t hurt to make a few calls to some larger yards.

I hate to come across as too down on used parts; it’s just that I’ve seen enough flawed ones that I would never, ever wager money on that “guaranteed good” part to actually be good.


#9

The risk with used motor is that if you are paying labor to install you will pay that portion again if motor is bad and cost of another engine.

Used motors without known history are for risk takers or shade tree mechanics. The issue at hand is you have such an old car that you’ll be acquiring another worn old motor


#10

Thanks a lot for all the replies. I already gave up the idea of an engine replacement. I will be out there shopping for used cars, will bring my own mechanic to have a look at those vehicles.

I am looking at 2003 to 2005 Mazda 3’s and Mazda 6’s. People say Fords are unreliable, and I read that the Mazda 3’s for example has Ford engines.

I personally think that it all comes down to how well you take care of your vehicle. What do you guys think?


#11

What’s your budget? are you looking for a 2 year old car or a 10 year old one?

Beyond a certain age (5 years?), the quality of a used car depends mostly on how well it had been maintained. Look for a car with maintenance records and receipts.


#12

If you live is rust belt that vintage Mazda 3’s have serious rot problems not present in other modern cars.

Get an issue of consumer reports annual auto issue and reality is ford makes winners and losers in terms of reliability. They make a lot different models so a generalization cannot be made.

The Mazda 6 in that vintage is more ford then Mazda.


#13

@“FXing Serious”

As far as those cars you mentioned . . .

The Ford Focus and Mazda 3 were on the same platform and used the same powertrain

The Ford Fusion and Mazda 6 were on the same platform and used the same powertrain

So you might as well save a few bucks and buy a used Ford Focus/Fusion, versus a used Mazda 3/6

I’m saying that because Ford seems to depreciate faster than Mazda


#14

Year, make and model, mileage of the car involved?? You want a cheap car with a long life and 100% reliability?? Try a Crown Vic. gas is cheap now…


#15

I think OP is talking about his 2000 Mazda Protege

He mentioned it in another discussion


#16

For used , here at my Gallup Ford dealer, we use LKQ. Their main offices are in Phoenix or Albuquerque but shipping is quick and for you they are nationwide so any office you call can ship in from anywhere.
They will tell you you options, like mileage, depending on their inventory and we get to pick from two warranty options too . . 6 months parts only, no labor . . or one year parts and labor.


#17

Kids 07 focus has Asian motor? Runs great


#18

For judging which cars are reliable and which aren’t, as used cars, one method is to rely on what owners of the car report. Consumer Reports publishes a used car guide with that information. As I recall they judge the Mazda 3’s of the past 7-8 years at least to be pretty good. Don’t take my word for it though, go to your local public library and read what the report says.