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Just Bought 97 Tacoma 2.7L with engine problem. Rebuild it or repair it?

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Old 04-19-2014, 02:44 PM   #1
boatboy63 [OP] boatboy63 is offline
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Just Bought 97 Tacoma 2.7L with engine problem. Rebuild it or repair it?

My son just bought a 97 Tacoma 4x4 regular cab with a 2.7L engine for $750. We knew it had an engine issue when he looked at it, but for the price and near perfect condition of the body, it was hard to pass up. Truck shows 260k miles on it. Previous owner claimed he knew nothing about engines and I believe it. He said a few months ago, it would shut off after running about 5 minutes and wouldn't start back until 30 mins to an hour later. He then said it got worse and would start, but die after a few seconds. I started researching and found a maf sensor could cause this and we were hoping for the best. He said he just spent over $500 for new A/C compressor, refrigerant, and labor. Also said he just put a new battery in it a few months ago, but it was dead from where it had been sitting for a while.

Needless to say, brought the truck home, charged battery, cleaned maf and cranked it over but it wouldn't start. Tried shooting some carb cleaner in throttle intake and it appeared to hit a couple times, but wouldn't start. Ended up pulling plugs, checking them, regapping, did compression and spark check. Compression was low at 85-120 and plugs he claimed to have just replaced appeared to have 30,000+ miles on them. This didn't surprise me as his "new" battery was made in 2010. After re-installing the plugs, decided to check radiator and found it was dry but had leak stop residue all over it. Makes me wonder now if it was stalling after 5 mins due to overheating if it didn't have coolant.

Filled radiator up with water and decided to crank it again. Engine fired up but had a loud knock to it. Shut it off and added a little more oil then started it again. Still had knock so we decided to let it idle for a little while. After idling for about 45 minutes and checking coolant temp, knock was still there and had not subsided at all. While it was idling, we tried to locate source of knock but were unable. It sounds like it is coming from the center of the engine and speeds up with engine rpm. I had a similar knock from a bad lifter in a Dakota, but it didn't start making the noise until it had ran for 15 or more minutes. The Tacoma is doing it from start until it is turned off with absolutely no change in volume during this time. You can hear it from over 50' away. We decided to drive it around on the farm for a minute, but still didn't change.

After reading a little more, I am wondering about a valve being the problem. With 260,000 miles on it, makes me wonder if they have ever been checked/adjusted. The engine was covered with dirt/grease just like you would expect for something with this kinda mileage so checking for leaks is about out of the question. I just feel, considering a dry radiator and evidence of leak stop, it had to be leaking somewhere or it wouldn't be in there.

We discussed checking the valves, but am now debating on just pulling the engine and rebuilding it instead. I told him that if there is a problem with a valve, the head would have to be pulled and if I was going to dig that far in it considering the time involved and current mileage, it would be better to just rebuild. We both have experience with rebuilding engines so that isn't a problem.

What would you do if it was your own? BTW, I posted a couple pics so you could see it.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:50 PM   #2
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I say If u know about rebuildin, just rebuild
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:23 AM   #3
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If you are prepared and able to do a rebuild there is no greater engine to rebuild. I love my 3RZ-FE and would fix it if it crapped out (hopefully won't). Anyway, mine knocks when it is below 30F and stops after about 30-45 seconds, think it is piston slap or a noisy lifter, however yours sounds like valves or rod knock. Hopefully isn't rod knock but if it is you can get the block bored over and have the crank ground for new pistons and rods. Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:11 AM   #4
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I can rebuild engines -

First - what kind of boat do you have?

I used to rebuild engines but, with this truck especially as there are so many of them around, I would first look around for a used engine to slide in there if it were me.

PHM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatboy63 View Post
My son just bought a 97 Tacoma 4x4 regular cab with a 2.7L engine for $750. We knew it had an engine issue when he looked at it, but for the price and near perfect condition of the body, it was hard to pass up. Truck shows 260k miles on it. Previous owner claimed he knew nothing about engines and I believe it. He said a few months ago, it would shut off after running about 5 minutes and wouldn't start back until 30 mins to an hour later. He then said it got worse and would start, but die after a few seconds. I started researching and found a maf sensor could cause this and we were hoping for the best. He said he just spent over $500 for new A/C compressor, refrigerant, and labor. Also said he just put a new battery in it a few months ago, but it was dead from where it had been sitting for a while.

Needless to say, brought the truck home, charged battery, cleaned maf and cranked it over but it wouldn't start. Tried shooting some carb cleaner in throttle intake and it appeared to hit a couple times, but wouldn't start. Ended up pulling plugs, checking them, regapping, did compression and spark check. Compression was low at 85-120 and plugs he claimed to have just replaced appeared to have 30,000+ miles on them. This didn't surprise me as his "new" battery was made in 2010. After re-installing the plugs, decided to check radiator and found it was dry but had leak stop residue all over it. Makes me wonder now if it was stalling after 5 mins due to overheating if it didn't have coolant.

Filled radiator up with water and decided to crank it again. Engine fired up but had a loud knock to it. Shut it off and added a little more oil then started it again. Still had knock so we decided to let it idle for a little while. After idling for about 45 minutes and checking coolant temp, knock was still there and had not subsided at all. While it was idling, we tried to locate source of knock but were unable. It sounds like it is coming from the center of the engine and speeds up with engine rpm. I had a similar knock from a bad lifter in a Dakota, but it didn't start making the noise until it had ran for 15 or more minutes. The Tacoma is doing it from start until it is turned off with absolutely no change in volume during this time. You can hear it from over 50' away. We decided to drive it around on the farm for a minute, but still didn't change.

After reading a little more, I am wondering about a valve being the problem. With 260,000 miles on it, makes me wonder if they have ever been checked/adjusted. The engine was covered with dirt/grease just like you would expect for something with this kinda mileage so checking for leaks is about out of the question. I just feel, considering a dry radiator and evidence of leak stop, it had to be leaking somewhere or it wouldn't be in there.

We discussed checking the valves, but am now debating on just pulling the engine and rebuilding it instead. I told him that if there is a problem with a valve, the head would have to be pulled and if I was going to dig that far in it considering the time involved and current mileage, it would be better to just rebuild. We both have experience with rebuilding engines so that isn't a problem.

What would you do if it was your own? BTW, I posted a couple pics so you could see it.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:15 AM   #5
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Thats a random place for a cat to sleep in on the first picture..
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:42 PM   #6
boatboy63 [OP] boatboy63 is offline
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The wife has about a dozen cats around here and they have gotten lazy. They think they own the place. We have a farm and the lazy sob's have learned that they can eat from the dog's bowl instead of hunting mice.

As for my boat, I have an 84 model Glasstream bass boat that hasn't been in the water in 15 years. Seperated top and bottom halves of hull back then to do repairs on hull and it's still sitting in a building I have. My son just bought a 17' Javelin with a 115 hp Mercury last fall and I have been working on the motor.

I am a certified marine technician and having been doing it off and on for the last 20 years. I was a service and parts manager for a local marine/4 whlr dealership years ago until owner had to close his doors due to financial/wife problems back in 98. Guess his wife meeting up with his g/f caused both of the above problems. Used to love working on cars, then realized it was easier to stand beside of an outboard and do repairs instead of having to lay under a car to repair it.

Had my share of rebuilds on outboards and automotive engines. Prefer the outboards to work on, but son's Toyota has an automotive engine.

I have bought used automotive engines in the past and have been lucky, but you never know how they have been treated. To me, half the pain and suffering is just having to pull and reinstall the engine. I would rather just go ahead and rebuild 1 instead of taking my chances with a used 1. True, some places may give a warranty, but generally the problems don't start until a week after the warranty expires and then you are back to square 1.

As I mentioned before, I had an 01 Dakota with a 4.7 V-8. First got the truck with about 70k miles and it ran/sounded great. About 6 months later, it started making a loud noise similar to the Toyota. Kept thinking it was ready to throw a rod but a couple years later, it was still running strong with the knock. It didn't do it when it was first started, but would do it after running a few minutes. Finally pulled the valve cover and found 2 bad lifters. Changed them and noise was gone. Got rid of the truck last fall. The Toyota reminds me of the sound it made. May go ahead and pull valve cover and check it first. I mean after all, 260,000 miles on a Toyota means it's just getting broke in.
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:12 AM   #7
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if you have the time and the inclination

If you have the time, the inclination, and the place to work - then I would rebuild the engine. But around here for $2000. or so the yards will swap in a low miles motor in two days. Pay and drive away - that was my thought. I'd enjoy the motor work itself - but pulling and putting back the motor would be a pita that I'd rather avoid these days. <g>

Although I would first check the oil pressure and pull the spark plug wires one at time to see if I could make the noise go away. And then maybe see if the compression comes up with oil in the cylinders. Because maybe with just lifters and a head R&R you could be back in business for another 100K or so.

BTW: feed those cats one of those vegetarian cat-chow products for a month or so and they will taste like a cross between rabbit and squirrel.

PHM
------



Quote:
Originally Posted by boatboy63 View Post
The wife has about a dozen cats around here and they have gotten lazy. They think they own the place. We have a farm and the lazy sob's have learned that they can eat from the dog's bowl instead of hunting mice.

As for my boat, I have an 84 model Glasstream bass boat that hasn't been in the water in 15 years. Seperated top and bottom halves of hull back then to do repairs on hull and it's still sitting in a building I have. My son just bought a 17' Javelin with a 115 hp Mercury last fall and I have been working on the motor.

I am a certified marine technician and having been doing it off and on for the last 20 years. I was a service and parts manager for a local marine/4 whlr dealership years ago until owner had to close his doors due to financial/wife problems back in 98. Guess his wife meeting up with his g/f caused both of the above problems. Used to love working on cars, then realized it was easier to stand beside of an outboard and do repairs instead of having to lay under a car to repair it.

Had my share of rebuilds on outboards and automotive engines. Prefer the outboards to work on, but son's Toyota has an automotive engine.

I have bought used automotive engines in the past and have been lucky, but you never know how they have been treated. To me, half the pain and suffering is just having to pull and reinstall the engine. I would rather just go ahead and rebuild 1 instead of taking my chances with a used 1. True, some places may give a warranty, but generally the problems don't start until a week after the warranty expires and then you are back to square 1.

As I mentioned before, I had an 01 Dakota with a 4.7 V-8. First got the truck with about 70k miles and it ran/sounded great. About 6 months later, it started making a loud noise similar to the Toyota. Kept thinking it was ready to throw a rod but a couple years later, it was still running strong with the knock. It didn't do it when it was first started, but would do it after running a few minutes. Finally pulled the valve cover and found 2 bad lifters. Changed them and noise was gone. Got rid of the truck last fall. The Toyota reminds me of the sound it made. May go ahead and pull valve cover and check it first. I mean after all, 260,000 miles on a Toyota means it's just getting broke in.
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