Recon Engine Recommendations

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davemaccy
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Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by davemaccy »

Hi all!  I had an unfortunate Easter weekend that resulted in the alternator belt breaking on the M4, the water pump failing, meaning the engine overheating and I am told the head gasket blowing (by RAC ).  From doing some research it is possible to repair, but very labour intensive and you really need to find someone who knows the engine well. My options are find a loal mechanic who really knows the engine, who can take it apart and confidently repair, or replace the whole engine with a recon engine.

I was wondering what people's experience have been with VW Engine Company, Elite Engines, Vege Engines and potentially any others? And also if there were any recommended VW Watercooled Mechanics in NW London or surrounding area.

My van is a 1986 Caravelle, 1.9 Petrol WBX

Thanks!

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maxstu
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by maxstu »

After belt gave out did you drive camper at motorway speeds to a point of excessive steam coming out of the back? You have a temp gauge on the dash, you know!

Its either on one or both sides that the water jackets have failed. These are the rubber seals between the cylinder heads and main block.
How long have you owned the vehicle? How old is the engine? Has it been rebuilt before? Whats the condition of the exhaust system? How deep are your pockets?These are all variables to consider before deciding on rebuild or replacement.

First thing l would do is replace the lost coolant with plain water. Add a new alternator belt (are you sure waterpump has failed? Does it spin freely and quietly by hand?) and bleed the system. If it sounds okay on starting the engine then may be salvageable. If water pours from around jackets it may simply be the case of re-newing the jackets. If it pour water and sounds like a shaken bag of nails then its a gonna.

Not a difficult job. But can be beset with issues such as a stubborn exhaust system and corroded head bolts.

Not a lot of garages want the hassle to be honest. So often say get a replacement engine. Just like plumbers with central heating boilers :D

A BIG no to Elite. They are cowboys.
Last edited by maxstu on 06 Apr 2021, 19:53, edited 1 time in total.
MaxStu
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R0B
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by R0B »

Andrew. ajsimmo on here builds engines it might be worth contacting him.
2.1 LPG/Petrol Auto Caravelle

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davemaccy
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by davemaccy »

maxstu wrote: 06 Apr 2021, 19:25 After belt gave out did you drive camper at motorway speeds to a point of excessive steam coming out of the back? You have a temp gauge on the dash, you know!

Its either on one or both sides that the water jackets have failed. These are the rubber seals between the cylinder heads and main block.
How long have you owned the vehicle? How old is the engine? Has it been rebuilt before? Whats the condition of the exhaust system? How deep are your pockets?These are all variables to consider before deciding on rebuild or replacement.

First thing l would do is replace the lost coolant with plain water. Add a new alternator belt (are you sure waterpump has failed? Does it spin freely and quietly by hand?) and bleed the system. If it sounds okay on starting the engine then may be salvageable. If water pours from around jackets it may simply be the case of re-newing the jackets. If it pour water and sounds like a shaken bag of nails then its a gonna.

Not a difficult job. But can be beset with issues such as a stubborn exhaust system and corroded head bolts.

Not a lot of garages want the hassle to be honest. So often say get a replacement engine. Just like plumbers with central heating boilers :D

A BIG no to Elite. They are cowboys.
Thanks Max for the input, i'll do my best to answer all of these:

I drove probably half a mile, hard to say there was no where to pull in, but yeah excessive steam coming out the back, it really smelt bad. The temp gauge went to the far right, not good.

I bought the van June last year, it ran beautifully up until December, then due to lockdown i didn't drive until end of Jan, battery was dead, jumped her, drove her, battery died again. A few more tests and worked out alternator wasn't charging.  Spoke to a mechanic and they said the same, also checked in a service with the same mechanic and she hasn't been running the same since.  I've driven her around locally, but this was the first longer drive (probably 150 miles before the incident). 

Engine was replaced in 2000, previous owner had all the paperwork.  It has done roughly 100K miles.  Exhaust system 18 months old.  How deep are my pockets....hmmmm freelance photographer haha not that deep after a year of pandemic! But I can scrape here and there.  Love this van want to make it work.

Not 100% sure water pump failed but RAC guy said it had.  I can add the water and belt as said and report back.

(Thanks again!)


 

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maxstu
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by maxstu »

Okay. Consider spinning the blades on the water pump by hand before fitting belt and water. It should spin fairly silently. Twist the pulley to see if it has play. If so then likely knackered.
If the exhaust is new-ish and engine rebuilt 20 years ago then it should all come apart without any issues. Have you been using good quality coolant? It prevents rusting head bolts.
Dare l ask to see paperwork showing which company did the rebuild?
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spanishfly
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by spanishfly »

I had the same experience on the M4 around Swindon enroute to Bristol just after I got my first WBX van almost 16 years ago. I pulled off the motorway, the reservoir had water and phoned the guy I bought it from who convinced me it was fine so carried on albeit tentatively. The engine finally seized in traffic the other side of Bristol town centre over an hour later. That gives you an idea of how strong they can be. No idea if anyone else has had similar experiences?  I've since lost belts on two other vans on the M5 and M25 and had to coast and drive my way to exits and over heated on many a mountain pass in Europe so it may not be as bad as you think. Fingers crossed. 
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davemaccy
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by davemaccy »

maxstu wrote: 06 Apr 2021, 21:34 Okay. Consider spinning the blades on the water pump by hand before fitting belt and water. It should spin fairly silently. Twist the pulley to see if it has play. If so then likely knackered.
If the exhaust is new-ish and engine rebuilt 20 years ago then it should all come apart without any issues. Have you been using good quality coolant? It prevents rusting head bolts.
Dare l ask to see paperwork showing which company did the rebuild?
Can't seem to upload the image of the receipt - but it was installed in Germany by mechanic called Alfred Cogo:

http://www.meinewerkstatt.de/Werkstatt. ... eSupport=1

I've been using Just Kamper's "Original Formula Anti-Freeze VW T25 1979-1992 (Blue)"

davemaccy
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by davemaccy »

spanishfly wrote: 06 Apr 2021, 23:12 I had the same experience on the M4 around Swindon enroute to Bristol just after I got my first WBX van almost 16 years ago. I pulled off the motorway, the reservoir had water and phoned the guy I bought it from who convinced me it was fine so carried on albeit tentatively. The engine finally seized in traffic the other side of Bristol town centre over an hour later. That gives you an idea of how strong they can be. No idea if anyone else has had similar experiences?  I've since lost belts on two other vans on the M5 and M25 and had to coast and drive my way to exits and over heated on many a mountain pass in Europe so it may not be as bad as you think. Fingers crossed. 
This does actually fill me with some kind of positivity - much appreciated.  Will keep you posted!
 

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ajsimmo
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Re: Recon Engine Recommendations

Post by ajsimmo »

I have a rebuilt DG in stock, if required.

Sold on an exchange basis, £2200 delivered to mainland UK, plus £500 surcharge refunded on receipt of your rebuildable unit. 12 months unlimited mileage warranty.
PM or call me for more info.

My contact details in case you're on Tapatalk (won't see signature at bottom of post)
Andrew@thecampershack.co.uk
07813324365

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WBX Rebuilds, Upgrades & Engine conversions

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