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A story of how an inept mechanic ruined my engine and how God answers prayers (long)

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by The_Dude, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Nov 28, 2010 at 11:19 PM
    #1
    The_Dude

    The_Dude [OP] Well-Known Member

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    About two years ago I was having a problem with my truck (a used, 1999, V6 Tacoma, with 93,xxx miles on it)

    What it looked like when I bought it:



    [​IMG]



    At about 155k, a small oil leak developed under one of the valve covers, causing oil to drip onto the exhaust manifold and burn from the heat:



    [​IMG]

    The problem became more and more evident. I would drive the truck into the garage, close the garage door and come inside. After 5 minutes, I would walk back into the garage and it would be pretty smoky from the burnt oil. This happened just as I was getting ready to leave the country for 10 months.

    10 months later when I returned, I decided that I was going to try to get it fixed with my limited funds. My dad recommended a "good, cheap" mechanic, so I gave him a call. He came to my house and started looking at my truck. He diagnosed it with a bad valve cover gasket. He then gave me a price and drove my truck away. A few hours later, I get a call from him saying that the valve covers are completely covered with sludge, along with the valves and block. He wanted to show me how bad it was, so he put it back together, drove it back to my house, and removed the valve cover. He was right, it was loaded with sludge. He started scraping the crap off the engine to show me: "look, look how bad it is". Instead of taking all the crap out that he loosened up, he left it in there and put it back together....Long story short, because of my trust in an inept mechanic, I blew my engine.

    My dad recommend getting a used engine out of a junkyard rather than having mine rebuilt - his experience says the right used one is better than a rebuild. Seeing as the mechanic ran off with the last of my money, my dad offered to loan me whatever I needed to get it running. Seeing as Tacomas are quite common in southern California, it's easy to find them in junkyards. I called several places looking for an engine out of an '04 Tacoma as they're almost identical to the one in the '99. One guy told me: "oh yea, I got one with 50k on it, out of an '04 - it runs like a Rolex!" only to have Carfax say that it was out of a completely different truck ('98 4runner) and last reported at over 200k miles! Needless to say I told him "no" and continued shopping.

    Finding what I wanted (an engine with 40k - 60k true miles) was becoming increasingly difficult and the lies were just piling up - Carfax kept proving these guys wrong. I started praying: "God, please help me find a good engine". Over a month into my search, I called a junkyard which is about 35 minutes away from where I live and the conversation went something like this:


    "Hi, I'm looking for an engine out of an '04 Tacoma" - "Yea, I got one"
    "Is it still in the truck?" - "Yea"
    "Where was the truck impacted" - "it was a roll over"
    "How many miles are on it?" - "Fifty-six hundred"
    "You mean fifty-six thousand?" - "No, fifty six hundred"

    "I'll be right there."

    My dad and I drove over there and right away and this is what I saw (the engine is missing because this picture was taken after I told them I wanted it):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Notice the engine compartment is hardly touched. The electrical system was still good so the guy turned the key to power the cluster 5622 miles on the odometer. My dad and I inspected the engine as best as we could and everything checked out. He wanted $950 dollars - a bargain. We charged it on a credit card (a little insurance policy) and asked them to remove the engine so I could come back and take a better look at it:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Everything looked great! A friend recommended a mechanic in Riverside. He gave me his number and I called. The mechanic wanted $450 to remove and replace but I asked for a better price :D He did it for $400. I made the arrangements and had my truck towed (free - thanks AAA) to the mechanics shop.

    After all was said and done, I blew my engine, found a used one with less than 6,000 miles on it, swapped the engines, installed a new clutch plus other misc parts for $1,800 total. A rebuild would have cost closer to $3,000.

    GOD had my back...

    It's a long read but, in my opinion, a good story. I just wanted to share with you guys...

    And what my truck basically looks like now:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Nov 28, 2010 at 11:40 PM
    #2
    Tacomadude89

    Tacomadude89 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, great story, thanks for sharing it! Yes, God did have your back!:) He does wonderful things for us.

    That's really cool to say the least how low miles that engine had when you pulled it out. I bet it gave you the feeling like your truck is brand new again in a way.

    Regarding the sludge issue, you might consider wanting to switch oil's from what you were using before if that was the cause.

    That Tacoma you pulled the engine out of was hammered hard! Don't think I've ever seen one that totaled before.

    Your truck looks great by the way!:thumbsup:
     
  3. Nov 28, 2010 at 11:46 PM
    #3
    THExBUSxDRIVER

    THExBUSxDRIVER Victory is reserved...

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    Not enough.
    Shweet! Looks like will and faith helped you get through this one.

    Good looking truck too, enjoy the practically brand new heart your truck has now buddy!
     
  4. Nov 29, 2010 at 12:26 AM
    #4
    tacosupreme54

    tacosupreme54 Well-Known Member

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    that's a great story and worth the read! GOD had your back on that one.

    Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.
     
  5. Nov 29, 2010 at 12:40 AM
    #5
    Trap

    Trap Well-Known Member

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    Well since you got it now use synthetic oil in it and that black tar will never form. I realize you bought it used but now it's like a new truck all over again. That tar is burned up additives. Synthetic oil does not really have that problem.
     
  6. Nov 29, 2010 at 12:57 AM
    #6
    TACOMA TRD

    TACOMA TRD Well-Known Member

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    Good story, glad it worked out.
     
  7. Nov 29, 2010 at 1:03 AM
    #7
    brutalguyracing

    brutalguyracing BIG DADDY

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    F.U> GUYZ
    broken mods
    glad it all worked out for you...
    looks great
     
  8. Nov 29, 2010 at 1:09 AM
    #8
    MaTt98

    MaTt98 Well-Known Member

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    Runner SR5, xeon headlights, 6inch kc spotlights, cb in ashtray mod, roof rack, 2.5 inch lift in front with dodge 1500 coils in the rear and skyjacker shocks
    Wow man what luck! congrats on the great find!
     
  9. Nov 29, 2010 at 1:26 AM
    #9
    L.V.T.

    L.V.T. jackalope killer

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    Good to hear your engine situation is resolved, but how is engine sludge (your original problem that caused your engine to crap out) the original mechanics fault? I've been a mechanic for a while now and engine sludge is always due to lack of maintenance. If you use non synthetic, as long as you change it every 3,000 miles, you won't have sludge. synthetic will go longer, but if not changed, will also sludge up.

    I dont mean to be a hater or anything so don't think I'm attacking you. I just see mechanics always getting a bad rap because people think engine sludge is some how their fault or something they caused.
     
  10. Nov 29, 2010 at 1:33 AM
    #10
    Trap

    Trap Well-Known Member

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    By the description of his observation I'd say before he bought it somebody missed a few oil changes. That is the only way that kind of problem can show up. Man he sure was blessed with a good deal now if he takes care of it. Like a bran new truck.
     
  11. Nov 29, 2010 at 5:06 AM
    #11
    mx04taco

    mx04taco Well-Known Member

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    i am also a mechanic by trade and have been for several years. I can say from your description that the guy made a mistake by disturbing the engine sludge. Once sludge is already in the engine, you leave it alone or, as you have experienced, catastrophic failure will occur. On the other hand congrats on finding such a fresh motor for such a great deal! God is good!
     
  12. Nov 29, 2010 at 5:27 AM
    #12
    jivewalker

    jivewalker me gusta pechos firmes

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    Great story. Glad you got it worked out.
     
  13. Nov 29, 2010 at 5:45 AM
    #13
    iSTIZO99

    iSTIZO99 Well-Known Member

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    Nice, good to hear you managed to find a replacement engine. Now to squeeze 200k out of that one. Are you going to be switching to synthetic?
     
  14. Nov 29, 2010 at 7:54 AM
    #14
    vantaco

    vantaco Well-Known Member

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    nice find with the motor but there's always the risk of oil starvation with a roll over engine....is the car/truck rolls over and is on it's lid and the motor keeps running, that's a very bad thing

    but if you've had no issues with it since the swap then it was a great find
     
  15. Nov 29, 2010 at 8:09 AM
    #15
    luk8272

    luk8272 Poodoo

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    Thanks for sharing that story.
     
  16. Nov 29, 2010 at 8:14 AM
    #16
    zeeya2000

    zeeya2000 Cajun Taceaux

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    :woot:congrats ive got a '99 and i love the 3.4
     
  17. Nov 29, 2010 at 8:14 AM
    #17
    ilg

    ilg VanCity Taco.

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    Great story dude. Glad to hear you got your truck back in running order.
     
  18. Nov 29, 2010 at 8:20 AM
    #18
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Great story!
     
  19. Nov 29, 2010 at 8:25 AM
    #19
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    or just change the conventional every 5k miles at most and there will be no sludge.

    Awesome story OP, sounds like you lucked out.
    On a side note, do you know exactly what went wrong in the motor?
     
  20. Nov 29, 2010 at 8:36 AM
    #20
    skunk

    skunk what did I miss?

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    Fanatastic story with a happy ending! Hopefully this low mileage wonder proves to be relaiable for many more miles!
     
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