Buying second hand engine

Big lumps of metals and spanners. Including servicing and fluids.

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zoona
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Buying second hand engine

Post by zoona »

My engine is broken. (Dropped a valve seat into piston. Piston sized)

I am going to look at a replacement tomorrow morning, and wanted some advice.

Engine is an SP (special for Swiss market, but seems to be almost identical to DG). Way too expensive to rebuild it here.

They are virtually non existent it seems, which means I am going to look at a190k km engine that is already out if the van so I can't see it working. Not happy about it, but seem to have little choice.


What do you suggest I look for to make sure I don't buy a complete turkey?
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davidoft1
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by davidoft1 »

There’s no real way to know with a non runner, it’s a gamble

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zoona
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by zoona »

That's what I feared... Thanks for reply.
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Stesaw
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by Stesaw »

That's unlucky, sorry to hear of your recent misfortunes.
Not sure if you could even swap out the broken piston and barrel and replace the head.
Maybe one of the engine gurus could give you some advice?
:ok
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maxstu
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by maxstu »

How did you get to conclusion valve seat has dropped and seized piston, Ian? Have you removed valve train or taken head off?
If you have time, room and basic skills (lm sure you have) then consider rebuilding original engine. It may well work out more economical; unless the unknown replacement engine is impressively cheap, that is.
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maxstu
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by maxstu »

Another thing in my opinion...unless donor engine has been comprehensively serviced with recorded history, then by 190km, or approx 120k miles, it is likely getting tired.
As already pointed out it will be a gamble.
Did seller remove engine? For what reason?
Otherwise look for rebuild clues. Such as an asterix after engine number. Or stamp dates on two halves of engine block.
Check colour of oil on dipstick. And underside of oil cap for any emulsion.
Make sure pushrod tube engine covers are removed and religiously check both heads all around and seals underneath if you can for faint pink staining or any coolant marks.
Not sure l should be giving any advice to you really. I once bought an early DG 1.9 that l was led to believe it was a rebuilt upgrade from 1.9 to 2.1 but without the oil cooler. When l opened it up......it deffo wasn't a 2.1! :oops:
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by Mocki »

Have you looked in the classifieds .... I’m not sure shipping to Switzerland is a option, but ..... 
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zoona
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by zoona »

Thanks for all the advice.

I have just bought a local SP engine.

To answer some of the questions...
Head has been off, and valve seat was in pieces in the top of the piston. That and sleeve were dead.
Yes, thought about replacing. However labour from garage prohibitive, and I don't have the time to get into that at the moment. More importantly, without knowing where all the bits of the valve seat have gone it's a bit of a gamble as well.
Image

It is from a vw specialist here who took it out of a van. They area pretty good about maintaining engines here because the mfk being so strict. So a gamble, but not as much as in the UK.

If I could have fitted a DG, then there were a few options for me, and shipping would have been ok. But I can't unfortunately.

One of the goals for me was too get the thing back on the road. We have missed the entire winter so far, so we want to get it working as quickly as possible.

So, I have it in the back of my car right now, and I need to find some friends to help me lift it out!
It is not perfect... And I need to do some tidying up before taking it to the garage. So we will just have to wait and see if it is good or a complete disaster. But I think I am due some luck.

I think I will either rebuild the old one myself at my leisure and sell it, or even get it back in my van.

Thanks again for the posts.
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mrhutch
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by mrhutch »

more out of curiosity than anything else but what do the swiss authorities do when they look at your engine? Do they just want to see the correct engine code stamped on the block?

if you were to put in a "normal" 2.1 how would they know it's not an SP engine?
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zoona
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by zoona »

They check for the SP code on the front of the engine number.

It has been suggested by my garage, that they could accidentally modify the engine code on the block, but I don't want to ask them to do that.
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by mrhutch »

:D :D that was going to be my suggestion!

so in theory you could ship your engine to someone like Mr Holman, have the internals upgraded to a 2.5, with new FI system, ship it back and install and the swiss authorities would just want to see the "SP" stamped on the block?
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zoona
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by zoona »

Yup.

But if you ever got caught, I imagine the fine would be HUGE.
It's all about the fines here.
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by maxstu »

Then likely best move considering local regulations. Least buying from a reputable garage gives you some peace of mind.
Good luck with the exchange.

:ok
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maxstu
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by maxstu »

Any news, Ian? Back on the road again?
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zoona
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Re: Buying second hand engine

Post by zoona »

Hi, sorry - we went skiing for a week. The joys of not being in the UK...

Yes, it is back in the road. New (190k km...) engine installed while we were away, and seems to be running fine. In fact, it is much smoother than the old one. Perhaps the problem that killed it was a problem for a while?... I am new to these engines, so difficult for me to tell, as they all sound like a bag of spanners to me...

I stripped it down as much as possible and cleaned it up at home to try to save some money, but it still cost 5.5k to fit. Labour costs and the one thing I forgot to order from the UK - a 580chf clutch!

After I bought it, I found out that a decent engine refurber in the UK chould have supplied me an SP (or even rebuilt mine). I actually think this would have been more cost effective as a lot of the labour went on getting old exhaust studs out and things like that.
Ho hum. Might still get it rebuilt and fit it later. See how this one goes

Going to Lugano this weekend, so I may be updating this thread from the side of an Italian/Swiss motorway very soon...
1987 Westfalia High Top Joker. DG SP
1993 MX5 turbo track car

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