New Engine in Old Car??? (OT but value ST opinions)

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Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 10, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
OK so rather than keep spending $800 here and then $700 there, how worth it is it to put a new low mileage engine into an old car?

I got a 4x4 Toyota Tacoma with 253,000 miles on it. No dents. No cracks. No rips. Manual windows. Manual locks. Everything works. Manual transmission. Love it! But the engine is pretty much done. Nobody seems to know how to fix the issues. Wife just got the new vehicle so no new car for me for another 5 yrs... So...

A) New Engine
B) New "used" engine (low miles)
C) Keep pouring $ into it until someone gets lucky and fixes it
D) SOL

any experiences with new engines in old cars?

rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Feb 10, 2013 - 06:48pm PT
Drive it to the Circle K in Joshua Tree and take the ID number and plates then abandon..RJ
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 10, 2013 - 06:53pm PT
How's the trans?
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Feb 10, 2013 - 06:55pm PT
First of all , what mechanical problems have you been experiencing?

I have a rebuilt 22re (famously solid reliable Toyota engine) in my 90' 4Runner. It was a great investment for me because I have so many other off road modifications and money into the truck ...

...second , I am almost positive your only options would be to rebuild that 3.4 liter engine ... That is to say , you cannot go out and buy that engine brand new , zero miles , and drop it in . The latest generation Tacomas use a different motor ... Toyota no longer makes the 5 vze that you have in there...

... So once you decide to pull the trigger on a rebuild , your biggest hurdle would be finding a reliable mechanic , and settle on a decent price . My guess is 4 - 5k on a full top and bottom rebuild . But those motors get rebuilt all the time because they are so solid , it's kind of a surprise to me you only got 250k out of it ...

Best of luck , love your guidebook work
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Feb 10, 2013 - 07:11pm PT
Finding a good mechanic...Now there's a challenge...!
WBraun

climber
Feb 10, 2013 - 07:14pm PT
Drop a rebuilt in give them the core ......

http://www.karking.com/index.php/rebuilt-96-04-toyota-tacoma-v6-5vze-3-4l-engine.html
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Feb 10, 2013 - 07:26pm PT
^^^^^
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 10, 2013 - 07:51pm PT
The imported used motors are good. I replace the head gasket in them and get new hoses.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 10, 2013 - 08:01pm PT
As long as your other problems are not electrical (sometimes electrical systems start just going bad across the board.. then you are toast) and you get a good price on the swap engine it can be a great way to go. Especially if you do the swap yourself.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Feb 10, 2013 - 08:18pm PT
+1 what Climbski said... if your problems are truely mechanical, not electrical than engine swaps onto the same platform are pretty straight forward ("same platform" meaning not 302 Ford into a Miata)

That said, I'd like a bunch more detail on what work's been done and what's on the horizon before recommending a course of action.... Leaky valve guides and low compression = burning oil and poor performance, but frankly the money for an engine swap or rebuild can buy a whole lot of oil.

A couple months back I asked my mechanic a similar question about my wife's old-version VW Jetta TDI Wagon, which is not only showing its age but had been cut in half after an accident and welded back together with the back half of a different Jetta Wagon (all on the Insurance's dime)... His response, as an old-school car guy that cuts no corners and grew up on a racetrack (fairly well known around here as the go-to-guy for quality race engines), was that the cheapest car you can own is the one you already have. So sure, an engine swap might fix things, but if the problem is actually electrical that's just one more expense and a whole 'nother set of mechanical problems you don't know the history of.

Then again, when I go looking for an old car (I'm into 1950's-60's British stuff) I don't pay much attention to the mechanicals and drivetrain... The expensive part to repair is usually the body, as it'll rust out before the drivetrain wears out.

So yeah, would need more info.
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2013 - 10:13pm PT
Not leaking any oil, totally solid.
Ran perfectly until about 3 months ago.
No when I put it into 4th gear, (does fine up to 4th) it bogs - works really hard - and the car shakes, and when I put on the smallest trailer to pull a motorcycle... it was ridiculous in 4th gear. Noisy, shaking, mushy. 4th used to be my passing gear, that baby would hum past anything at 65 in 4th, quick to accelerate. Now... forget it.

I've not replaced the transmission yet.
The battery does pull 14 volts (or is it amps??? I forget) when totally off so...???
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 10, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
Your motor is probably fine, it could well be something external to the block and heads. Distributors go bad, plug wires and cap? Are you getting a Check Engine light?

You do have a lot of miles on it. You are due for a blown head gasket.

I would pull it, go through the heads, replace rings and bearings and drive it for another 100k. If you have to pay the labor to it done it might not be worth it.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Feb 10, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
Slater,
The symptoms you describe don't match an engine failure or failing.
Sounds like you need a tune-up. Could be any number of things, but likely it is an ignition misfire.

As long as the compression is good and oil consumption (burning) not excessive, your engine should have some life left in it.
John M

climber
Feb 10, 2013 - 10:49pm PT
Not leaking any oil, totally solid.
Ran perfectly until about 3 months ago.
No when I put it into 4th gear, (does fine up to 4th) it bogs - works really hard - and the car shakes, and when I put on the smallest trailer to pull a motorcycle... it was ridiculous in 4th gear. Noisy, shaking, mushy. 4th used to be my passing gear, that baby would hum past anything at 65 in 4th, quick to accelerate. Now... forget it.

I was going to say it sounds like 4th gear is going. If the engine is fine in the first three gears, then I can't imagine what would be different about the engine in 4th. But I ain't a mechanic.
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2013 - 10:58pm PT
I replaced the cap and wires, plugs, and starter motor.
No check engine light.

I'm wondering why it works OK in gears 1-3 and not in 4th?

chalkfree

Trad climber
Claremont, CA
Feb 10, 2013 - 11:00pm PT
Take it to your mechanic, tell them something has changed and no power. Agree this is not an engine failure thing.

Could even be a clogged exhaust system? Do you hear rattling in exhaust? Catalytic converters can fail, break up, and clog muffler(s). Gives the feeling of no power, but may idle okay.
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2013 - 11:04pm PT
There is a slight clanging (like the tips of the fan are hitting the side of metal just barely... they're not, that's just the sound) and sort of squeaks. I just figured... hey, that's what cars sound like at 253,000k.

I just figured if I was gonna spend 2-3k letting some mechanic trouble shoot until it is fixed, I could have bought a new used engine by then.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Feb 10, 2013 - 11:07pm PT
Lots of good advice above, and agree that's not pointing to engine swap. Only other thing I'd suggest looking at is the distributor, and making sure the advance mechanism is working properly and there's not too much play in the shaft bushing (both of which would lead to an intermittent misfire).

BTW, should be easy enough for your mechanic to determine if the engine's ok by inspecting the coolant (for oil), the oil (milky-ness, which indicates water), spark plugs (too much/too little fuel) and a pressure/leakdown test on the cylinders. That's par for the course with my Little British Convertibles, and shouldn't take more than an hour including coffee break. If all those are in the ballpark, it likely isn't mechanical since it would show up sooner than mid-rpm 4th gear.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Feb 10, 2013 - 11:24pm PT
x2 on checking your exhaust system . Look for a pinched pipe ... Ask your mechanic to run a simple exhaust pressure test to check for restrictions ...
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:27am PT
check the cat converter, and check all the rubber: motor and trans mounts plus all the driveshaft mounts.
hillrat

Trad climber
reno, nv
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:38am PT
A simple compression test, as many have advised, might tell you a lot very quickly. Something that's often overlooked in the modern age is hooking a vacuum gauge to the manifold and watching it. That can tell you a bunch too. Just about any old repair manual would cover both in detail.

Both tests would be pretty cheap and easy, and could tell you right away if you're looking at a failing engine or maybe just a simple repair. Heck, for that matter it could be something as simple as an O2 sensor. Anyway, do the compression test at least. You probably have a buddy with a gauge that can help. If it comes up weird, then take it to a pro.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 11, 2013 - 06:42am PT
Check the cat converteer. Sometimes the ceramic crumbles and cloggs up the exaust.
BuddhaStalin

climber
Truckee, CA
Feb 11, 2013 - 10:54am PT
Or you could just do a preemptive strike, throw a japanese used engine in there with a new clutch, gaskets (i never did head gaskets in any of mine), tuneup parts, timing belt water pump, etc. Its worth it, Ive done many in Hondas, Mazdas, Toyotas, etc. You wont find a 22re used anymore, but a 3.4 you will. So easy to put all new parts on the engine before it goes in, and virtually no break in period. You probably wont want to get rid of your truck ever then. Dunno what year your truck is, but if its a v6, 3.0 or3.4, a 3.4 will swap in there fine.
this just in

climber
north fork
Feb 11, 2013 - 11:06am PT
Sounds like you need a new carburetor, bwahahaha.
Hope you get it fixed at minimum price Tom. Do a compression check or it could be your transmission. Go to a mechanic.
storer

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 11, 2013 - 11:40am PT
My sweet '85 Toyota PU with a 22re has the dreaded timing chain slap problem. Runs great but worried that it will chew through its cover into the water channel. Getting ready to fixit with new metal tensioner, chain, oil pump, and water pump. Some say that pan must be dropped, others say not. Anybody have experience here?
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Feb 11, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
why not take it in and have a diagnostic done? (BTW find a place where the mechanic takes the car out for a drive and doesn't just hitch it to the computer)

I had an old Ford Ranger that was doing something similar to yours. I could drive around town pretty well but on the freeway no go (I guess it couldn't pull the bigger gears). I took it to 2 shops and the dealer. Everybody kept saying the computer code said it was the smog sensor. Had it replaced twice. Still didn't fix it. So I just used it around town for about 6 months. Finally, out of frustration, I took into the corner gas station and asked them to look at it. They had this crusty old guy for a mechanic. They call me about 2 hours later telling me to pick it up, it's fixed. The guy drove it and thought the timeing was off. A quick turn of the distributor and BINGO! That truck ran great for a couple of more years. Nobody else ever took it out of the shop, just plugged in the machine and looked at the codes.



Think about it, you drop a couple of Ks in for a new motor and it's the transmission. That would hurt.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Feb 11, 2013 - 12:07pm PT
http://www.cartalk.com/

storer

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 11, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
I'm cut from the same cloth as Werner. Much cheaper to fix 'em than junk 'em and get newer. More expensive registration, unknown problems lurking in the replacement, and you can't find equals with smogged-up, plastic-covered invisible engines with more silicon than metal. For example, the alternator on my '02 Passat (never again couldn't clear a softball underneath) went bad. Replacement required removal of the front bumper, radiator and all that entails. A $800 shop job for what used to be a $60 rebuilt and 15 minutes. Older Toyota trucks, in particular, should be cherished.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 11, 2013 - 08:16pm PT
I was on my way to a meeting in a suit, driving my 86 Toyota SR-5. Pitched the belt on the freeway and found an auto parts store. Bought a new belt and borrowed a 14mm wrench. Had the job done in 3 minutes. The guy was amazed when I brought the wrench back and had no grease on my white shirt. Made it to the meeting on time.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 12, 2013 - 02:01am PT
I just figured if I was gonna spend 2-3k letting some mechanic trouble shoot until it is fixed, I could have bought a new used engine by then.

And you might still be in the same boat.

Get a "leak down" test and verify the cam timing before chucking the motor...


John M

climber
Feb 12, 2013 - 02:13am PT
I just figured if I was gonna spend 2-3k letting some mechanic trouble shoot until it is fixed, I could have bought a new used engine by then.

Missed this statement.

The problem with this thinking is that if you don't know what the problem is, then you could spend 2 to 3k putting that used engine in and still not fix the problem.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:38am PT
Generally problems internal to the engine come on slowly over a long period of time. An exception is a hanging or burnt valve, those will show on a compression test. Leakdown will give you an idea of how the rings are, more of a hassle to do and requires extra equipment.

Eliminate the external parts before loading the parts cannon. Cat converter mentioned above is a good place to start.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:53am PT
You said you replaced the plugs... a buddy with the same truck replaced his with Bosch and had similiar issues. That engine doesn't like certain plugs. The friend's plug had broken and he had to have a heli-coil done.

in any case, try googling your issue, 9/10 times you aren't first person it has happened to.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 12, 2013 - 04:14pm PT
Jon says...

Generally problems internal to the engine come on slowly over a long period of time

Ever had one just "GO BANG"?????

Slater... Think about it this way.... It runs now, if it was something internal to your motor it wouldn't run - at all.

Low power/performance is usuly associated with the external bits, like the fuel injection, Cat, O2 sensor etc.

You could disconnect the Cat at the manifold and see what happens... it will sound like a B17.

O2 sensor... check with a volt meter.

But think about this.... If the truck is in as good condition as you say it is..... I will bring you $1,000 cash for it.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Feb 12, 2013 - 05:00pm PT
Sometimes just lubing the centrifugal weights at the bottom of the distributor cap assembly can make a hella difference in acceleration and top end performance. Leaky vacuum hoses after 200,000 miles are also often implicated in performance issues.

Hook that baby up to a diagnostic meter run by a mechanic who knows what he's doing and run out a report on the mill. Before you go yanking the engine, test don't guess. With an old engine, sometimes the tiniest electrical problem can really adversely effect engine performance.
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Feb 12, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
Hey Slater,

I JUST went through the same thing in my 03 Nissan Super Crew 4x4 Frontier. Up until D-Day (aka the day the engine completely blew up) it was a fantastic ride. I was quoted ~$4-5K for a low mileage / refurbish engine, not factoring in the 1-2K for labor, and was getting ready to do it, until I thought about it. I never replaced ANYTHING on that Truck. Of the 10 years I had it, it was in the shop I think 1 time for something other than a smog / oil change. Eventually, something would've broke, then something else, then something else... I figured if I did it, I would be having this same issue happen periodically from then till whenever I decided to buy a new truck after sinking unknown amounts of $$ into it.

I broke down and bought a new truck. Totally worth it as it is back to new, much better electronics, more comfortable ride, better gas mileage, and I got a long bed instead of short, which is something I always regretted in my initial 03 purchase. Basically, I am under warranty and brand new. All good, no worries about the next blow up, cause if it does, it is on Nissan!
BuddhaStalin

climber
Truckee, CA
Feb 12, 2013 - 05:43pm PT
Which engine in the Tacoma? V6 or 4? Check to make sure its breathing properly, intake and exhaust, change all the tuneup parts (plugs, wires, filters, pcv valve, cap and rotor if it has them). Run some techron through it. If it hasnt improved after that, Id pay someone to spend an hour checking it out. If its core engine related, id japan engine that thing, if not fix the problem and start researching engines for when it goes.

Ive done lots of them on my own cars and when I was mechanicing in the bay. Its a good way to get basically a new car, you change all the seals and gaskets if you want, new clutch, tbelt and water pump all while its out. No breakin period either, just a couple oil changes and youre good.

That said, everything intake, computer and exhaust and smog wise has to be in good working order. Perhaps you need a new maf sensor or an egr valve.

Definitely get a bottle of techron and pour it into a tank of chevron super, run it all the way empty, get ready for potential sumbles as it cleans, then run another tank of super chevron. That will hopefully clean out your fuel system. Stuff works.

willybeamin

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Feb 12, 2013 - 06:02pm PT
This really doesn't sound like an engine problem. If it has a shitfit going into 4th gear, but does well in gears 1-3, sounds like an electrical or tranny problem. I was dealing with OD shifting and overheating issues on my '88 cherokee because my Throttle Positioning Unit (TPU) was out of adjustment. Toyotas are different, but they have an avid following online. I'd search the Toyota forums and if unlucky, post. You'll have much better luck there than here. Also, a better description of the symptoms. Will it go from 3rd to 5th gear (assuming it has 5th gear)? Goodluck
froodish

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 12, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Do you have a multimeter?

;-)
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 12, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Was there an issue before you replaced the cap, plugs and wires? Did you replace the rotor? If not - go replace that right now, with the same manf as the cap.

Maybe you f*#ked up this tune-up. Did the symptoms change in any way before/after you did this work? Something as simple as an unseated wire will cause the symptoms you are talking about. So will cheap, sh#t wires. In fact, after reading this thread, this is where my money is - the ignition system. I'd also check your timing belt/chain - 2nd most likely.

Electronic or vacuum advance? In either case, check the advance with a timing light. If it's off, go right to the belt/chain because it's probably off too.

Lots of generally sound advice in this thread otherwise... If you think diagnostic time is expensive - try buying a new engine and *still not fixing the problem* - I've seen it. You should know exa-fuking-xactly what the problem is before swaping out a motor.

EDIT - so, you recently also had a bunch of work done elsewhere? What's the before and after on this as well? Really, I have to agree with most posters that the core of your engine is probably fine. A blown engine basically smokes or has loud internal noises - one of the two - at all RPM's and loads.

EDIT2. What motivated the Cap/Plugs/Wires ? If these parts are bad, they will kill your coil, too.

Basically, everything you say sounds like misfiring - for whatever reason. A computer will change the advance for a variety of conditions. This combined with a weak or mistimed spark.
treez

Trad climber
99827
Feb 12, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
Clean the throttle body?
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Feb 12, 2013 - 10:00pm PT
^^^^^^

Run a can of Sea-Foam through the damn thing.

Cleans like a coffee enema and the smoke show thrills the hell out of the downwind neighbors!
bajaandy

climber
Escondido, CA
Feb 12, 2013 - 10:03pm PT
My money is on the catalytic converter. I'd for sure have someone look at it before throwing a new engine in it. Keep us posted if you find out.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Feb 20, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
Any update on the truck ? Just curious , I love Toyota's ...
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