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SOLVED! Post 2853 Leaking Injectors, Dealer Techs Rock! Extended Cranking after Engine Swap 3.4L 5vz

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by lovemytacolots, Dec 5, 2014.

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  1. Dec 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM
    #1
    lovemytacolots

    lovemytacolots [OP] Show your Taco some love every day!

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    [FONT=&quot]Hi fellow Taco fans, newbie here, would appreciate input on my Taco. Last Sunday our 1998 4wd TRD Off Road automatic 3.4L V6 Taco w/195,000 miles (5vzfe) began mildly lurching at interstate speeds, then making a knocking/tapping noise. No check engine light was thrown. Towed to Toyota - service tech dx’d spun rod bearing [/FONT][​IMG][FONT=&quot] based solely on the noise (didn't open 'er up at all - we declined further dx due to $$$). They also said possible blown head gasket, but we don’t see obvious signs of this.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Towed her home, pulled the NKG spark plugs, and found one of the coil pack plugs (#3’s) nickel center electrode was completely missing from its porcelain surroundings (not corroded or broken, but rather just completely gone)[/FONT]:confused:[FONT=&quot], and the inside of the boot it rests in was coated with carbon build up. Both ground (side) electrodes of that same plug appeared normal and intact. All other plugs looked fine. Could that missing electrode be bouncing around inside engine components and causing the noise/damaging stuff along the way, instead of a spun rod bearing? What could cause that electrode to go MIA? [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Other things we've tried at home in an effort to pinpoint the problem were:[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1) Drained the oil - pretty sure we're seeing tiny metal specks in it. Not chunks or pieces, but shiny specks. [/FONT][​IMG][FONT=&quot] Pic attached.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]2) Put a borescope down the bad plug's boot and beyond, and think we’re seeing a hole in the top of the piston - not certain. [/FONT][​IMG][FONT=&quot] Pretty sure we saw shiny specks like what we saw in the oil. Can try to post borescope video if helpful.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]3) Started twice for just a few seconds each time since initial incident, to see if any changes/clues. Noise is definitely changing. [/FONT][​IMG][FONT=&quot] Initially, the noise was a knocking/tapping in an inconsistent pattern/rhythm. Mid-week, it was more of a consistent tapping. Last night, no tapping/knocking initially (we assume due to oil change), but a mild squeak/squeal was present for the 1st ~5 seconds, then that went away and the knock/tap noise came back within 10-15 seconds of starting it. A neighbor revved the engine at the accelerator line under the hood, which caused the noise speed to increase to a fast inconsistent rattle. Will try to attach videos.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]We've certainly used and abused her since we got her in 2004 (occasionally hauling/towing heavy loads; countless miles of windy, mountainous, pot holed, rocky, washboard, dirt/gravel road driving while weighed down w/tons of coolers/gear/dogs/etc [/FONT][​IMG])[FONT=&quot], but at worst we’ve only flirted w/weight capacity limits, and we’ve taken EXCELLENT care of her – although who knows what her care was like during her 1st 70,000 before us. On one hand, she's 17 yrs old w/nearly 200,000, and in virtually any other type of vehicle, I’d expect major prob’s like this and would lean heavily towards replace. On the other hand, WTF, she's a TACO!?!?!?!?? Theories as to why a Taco w/195,000 would have severe engine prob's? We are totally shocked. [/FONT][​IMG][FONT=&quot] Also, what kind of life span might we expect on the tranny? Average costs for tranny rebuild (if our luck was actually that terrible after doing an engine repair)? [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]If the missing center electrode is the culprit, thoughts as to what engine components might be damaged and what kind of repairs we'd be looking at? If it is a spun rod bearing, only options are to have our engine rebuilt, or have a reman or used one dropped in - sound right? Which is better? Oregon folks, can you recc' good Taco mechanic for engine prob? Looking at Toy Doctor (Tualatin), (EDITED SEE BELOW), and a few others…good/bad feedback on either? My husband would love to do it himself and save serious $$$ (it's rare that he lets anyone else work on her) but fears he'd be in over his head [/FONT][​IMG][FONT=&quot] w/an engine prob, plus w/no garage, constant rainfall, and limited time/tools for something this major, we're leaning towards someone else doing it. Any advice on how big of an undertaking engine overhaul on this old girl would actually be if he decides to go for it? Any amateurs attempted it and been glad/regretful after? How tough is it to pull the engine, have it rebuilt at a machine shop, and put it back in, vs. rebuilding it start to finish? Any other diagnostics we could try at home to help us determine whether it's really a spun rod bearing or other problem????? What to look for in terms of possible blown head gasket? [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Many thanks for reading. Any and all thoughts and opinions would be much appreciated.[/FONT][​IMG]

    P.S. Anybody ever sue a spark plug company?[​IMG]

    EDIT: Anyone who's reading this thread because they have a similar problem, I will post a start to finish summary of everything at the very end - not quite there yet, but hopefully soon! Guessing no one will want to read this many pages of stuff!

    EDIT: I've deleted the name of the business that replaced our engine from this post, because problems developed with the truck after the work they performed, and those problems are still in the process of being diagnosed as of today 2/4/15. Until I have a full clear picture of what these issue are and what caused them, I do not want to recommend or speak poorly of their business. Thanks.

    DSCF1797.jpg

    EDIT on 5/15/15 (conclusion - solved!): Post #2853 is where a brilliant dealer tech borescoped our intake manifold and saw our fuel injectors leaking, even though they were passing on injector testing machines. We basically replaced every part under the sun in an effort to fix this problem prior to finding this guy. Yeah, we're pretty damn happy we finally DID find him - our Taco starts like it should again! :)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  2. Dec 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM
    #2
    koditten

    koditten Well-Known Member

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    I have a hard time no codes were thrown. With a dead plug, you will definately have a cylinder missfire code present.
     
  3. Dec 5, 2014 at 4:44 PM
    #3
    BamaToy1997

    BamaToy1997 Wheel Bearing Master

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    First off, welcome to Tacomaworld! You will find a host of information here. Read and read, then read more. Listen to advice, and also listen to those who say someone is giving you good, or bad advice. You will find it everywhere.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the little spots of "silver" that I see in that oil photo look to be pieces of metal. Normally a regular amount of wear can be present, and anything you see there would tend to be more of a fine "fuzz". Small pieces like that are usually the result of a bad, or most likely in this case a spun, rod or main bearing. Step one, DO NOT DRIVE IT. The longer the engine is running at this point the more damage you are going to cause, and the higher the chance you may cause catastrophic damage. You don't want to push it.

    You do have several options, depending on you and your husband's skill level, tools, and willingness to take on this project. The key is to find out how severe the damage really is. If there is a hole in a piston, then you have significant damage, and are in need of a full rebuild. However if the pistons are in good shape, you may be able to do a "lower repair" which consists of replacing/machining the crankshaft, and replacing the rod and main bearings, as well as the oil pump. Sometimes repairs like this can get costly, so again, read, read, and research.

    Hunting around on eBay, and Craigslist will sometimes net you some luck. You might find a wrecked Tacoma that the engine is being sold out of, or even find one in the salvage yard. This is a risk of course, because you have no idea what condition it is in, however on average, this is the lowest cost, and fastest way to get your truck back on the road.

    Another good option is to find a longblock. This is the lower section of the engine, with the cranks and pistons, as well as the upper part, or cylinder head. They are completely rebuilt and have no miles on them. You simply remove your engine, swap over all the outer parts to the replacement engine, and put it back in. It is a bit more expensive, so I would suggest only doing this if you plan to keep the truck for several years.

    If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask me. I am an ASE Certified Master Tech, with over 20 years experience in the field.
     
    EB Group likes this.
  4. Dec 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM
    #4
    CD20H

    CD20H Well-Known Member

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    Wow lots of questions.

    First thing you need to do is pull the head on whichever side the spark plug broke on. Determine the damage and go from there. Everything else is irrelevant until you pull that head. It could be bent valves, hole in piston, bend connecting rod, hole in head....who knows?
     
  5. Dec 5, 2014 at 4:50 PM
    #5
    BamaToy1997

    BamaToy1997 Wheel Bearing Master

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    Just doing a quick check, here is a used one on eBay for $950, plus freight shipping that is usually about $300, depending on distance.

    Here is one that is a full longblock, ready to go for $1395, $200 shipping, and a 2 year warranty.

    And here is one from JIS engines in Texas for $1800 plus freight. While it is more expensive, I have bought and installed engines from JIS in my customers cars and trucks, and even have one of their engines in my Tacoma when mine failed a little over a year ago.
     
  6. Dec 5, 2014 at 4:55 PM
    #6
    keakar

    keakar Well-Known Member

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    yep, that's metal but not yet to be concerned, maybe its aluminum which isn't as serious. if a magnet sticks to it then its steel and that's not good at all but since a little light dust is all I see it may not be a total loss and something easy to fix albeit not necessarily cheap.

    see if it sticks to the magnet and report back.

    you said tranny rebuild :confused: I assume you mean engine not tranny since you never talked about tranny issues.

    as to why? well most times these engines are bullet proof as long as you do regular oil and filter changes but anything can happen. also the plug electrode getting in there may have dug into the cylinders or cracked the rings causing a chain reaction of stuff.

    short answer is if that's steel shavings in the pan and your not inclined to send it to the shop $$$ or rebuild it yourself over several weeks, then the best solution is to source a replacement engine from the salvage yard with around 100k miles and your back on the road after spending the weekend putting it in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  7. Dec 5, 2014 at 5:05 PM
    #7
    BamaToy1997

    BamaToy1997 Wheel Bearing Master

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    Keakar, good advice, but I disagree with you on the magnet test. The bearings are made of a non-magnetic alloy. So if that metal is a worn/destroyed bearing it won't stick to a magnet, but it still is serious. Especially with the noise mentioned.
     
  8. Dec 5, 2014 at 5:11 PM
    #8
    keakar

    keakar Well-Known Member

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    well my thoughts were bearings could be spun or trashed but still no damage to crank journals since steel is tougher then other metals but I defer to you on that.

    my frame of mind on what I call serious is it would mean unfixable with a rebuild (new bearings. rings, maybe pistons, honed cylinders,and rework heads)

    from the description, I don't think there is any way this wouldn't require these things done anyway but if the crank was shot then I don't even try redoing an engine and I just move on.
     
  9. Dec 5, 2014 at 5:13 PM
    #9
    BamaToy1997

    BamaToy1997 Wheel Bearing Master

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    Got ya. I know when my rod bearing started to knock on my engine I ran it less than 20 miles to get it home to the shop, and the crank was worn already. Even though steel is stronger than the bearings, it can't hold up to HEAT, when there is a lack of lubrication.

    But yes, still need to confirm from the OP as to the piston, and it if is damaged.
     
  10. Dec 5, 2014 at 9:25 PM
    #10
    lovemytacolots

    lovemytacolots [OP] Show your Taco some love every day!

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    Thanks so much for all the replies. [​IMG]

    Koditten, we don't have a code reader. Although check engine light did NOT come on w/this incident, your comment got us thinking. [​IMG]We kinda remember it coming on once or twice in past 6 mths, and I’m pretty sure we chalked it up to loose gas cap (that’s happened A LOT over the years). Very glad you brought it up, cuz we certainly will be buying a code reader and using it if we do the engine repair!!:facepalm:

    Bamatoy, thanks for the welcome and all the helpful info. "Another good option is to find a longblock. This is the lower section of the engine, with the cranks and pistons, as well as the upper part, or cylinder head. They are completely rebuilt and have no miles on them. You simply remove your engine, swap over all the outer parts to the replacement engine, and put it back in. It is a bit more expensive, so I would suggest only doing this if you plan to keep the truck for several years." That sounds like something that could work for us, as we'd like to keep her for a very long time, but any ballparks on what kind of additional costs might we be looking at beyond the long block itself? My impression is that things like water pump, oil pump, timing belt, head gasket, etc, would all be additional parts we'd have to purchase and install - is that right? Plus I'm guessing there'd be some hefty costs in getting the specific tools/equipment to swap the engines.....any idea (ballpark) on the big ticket costs there? We briefly considered a used engine for the $$$$ savings, but ultimately don't want the risks that come with it - we want her to be solid enough to take into the middle of nowhere again w/confidence! And thanks for the magnet info - someone else mentioned the magnet test, so we did that last night and nothing stuck, which left us wondering - so it's good to know it wouldn't have anyway, due to the composition of the bearings.

    Keakar, thanks for the input. I did actually mean tranny, cuz w/nearly 200,000 miles and sudden shocking engine prob's, we figure we should educate ourselves on any possible future $$$$ tranny prob's before making a final $$$$ engine decision. Would hate to go through $$$$ shock again soon[​IMG] so at least if we are informed on tranny $$$$ before engine decision, we take the sticker shock away if faced w/unexpected tranny prob's soon after engine repair.

    Keakar & Bamatoy, your last comments really made me nervous. Didn't realize there could be a scenario where the engine is "unfixable" and just 20 miles could do that much damage. At what point is the crank considered "shot"? I've been told by lots of mechanics [​IMG]this week that they'd machine the crank, but is there a limit to what machining it can accomplish? I probably drove ~3 miles at most after lurching started, and knock started sometime during those 3 miles. We've started her 5x since, for ~10 seconds each time (including Toyota dealer start) while parked, just to listen for clues - I hope like heck we haven't crossed a line of no return by doing that!! Scary to think we might tow to a mechanic, get $$$$ into diagnostics, then find out we're beyond repair. Yikes. Crossing fingers and toes now.[​IMG]

    At the moment, we're leaning towards a rebuild of our engine with The Toy Doctor (local Toyota mechanic), based on price and his character, and wanting to avoid the miserable, rainy, cold, lack of garage long term project route. He's saying $4000 w/2 yr warranty to rebuild our engine, and said he'd expect us to get 90,000 miles out of rebuild, and be able to drive to middle of nowhere with confidence (the main goal, in case you haven't figured that out yet!). He doesn't use OEM parts - how big of a concern is that? He said he'd resurface crank, recondition cylinder heads, replace oil & water pumps, timing belt, head gasket, and I think said (sorry for the very dumbed down summary) he's "redoing the short block". He'd pull our engine and send it to Aluminum Head Rebuilders (local machine shop) to rebuild, then he'd pop it back in. He said a blown head gasket would definitely explain the center electrode MIA from that #3 spark plug - does that sound right? Can anyone advise me on specific questions I should be asking him? Any red flags you see in what he's proposing? Also, should we expect the drive belt and power steering pump to be replaced w/what's he's doing? Husband mentioned concern w/power steering "stuff", so I asked this mechanic about power steering "stuff" being included w/our engine rebuild and I'm pretty sure he said nothing w/power steering would be included....sorry to be so vague, still got a lot to learn! :notsure:

    For comparison's sake, 2 Toyota dealers [​IMG] have said ~$7-8000 for reman w/3 yr warranty (HA!!! N[​IMG]O WAY!!), and another private shop (EDITED - SEE BELOW) said $4500 to swap our engine w/a reman (or could reman ours for same price, longer turnaround) and he claims to use all OEM parts, and be sort of a Toyota expert/god. When I asked the (EDITED - SEE BELOW) guy the tranny lifespan question, he said he sees the flex plates go out a fair amount, and was the only one I've spoken to that had something specific to say about tranny - anybody agree/disagree w/what he said? Worth replacing that, and/or other tranny parts while in there?

    CD20H, thanks for the info. I suspect husband could do this - "First thing you need to do is pull the head on whichever side the spark plug broke on. Determine the damage and go from there. Everything else is irrelevant until you pull that head. It could be bent valves, hole in piston, bend connecting rod, hole in head....who knows?" - but I'm confused [​IMG] as to what that would tell us exactly. Ultimately choosing from each option on how to proceed from here comes down to $$$$ and time, so trying to understand how specifying which of those nasty sounding problems would help us w/the $$$$/time factors. Want to understand better what kind of $$$$ differences we might be looking at if we are able to pinpoint which one (or worse, several) of these issues we have going on. I realize this may be yet another less than brilliant question, but being a newbie I’m hoping you’ll forgive me.[​IMG]

    Sincere thanks for the replies/interest everyone - very cool to feel some support on such a crappy issue from fellow TACO lovers!!! She will run again, one way or another - go TACOS!!!!!!!!!!! Will share pics of some of her best adventures soon, so you guys can see just how super awesome she is - she's the fun-mobile in this household, period! :taco:[​IMG]Go TACOS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    EDIT: I've deleted the name of the business that replaced our engine from this post, because problems developed with the truck after the work they performed, and those problems are still in the process of being diagnosed as of today 2/4/15. Until I have a full clear picture of what these issue are and what caused them, I do not want to recommend or speak poorly of their business. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  11. Dec 5, 2014 at 10:57 PM
    #11
    CD20H

    CD20H Well-Known Member

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    How much damage was done to the cylinder, piston, head and valves if any. These are all crucial.

    A engine swap with similar 3.4 v6 and same fuel injection would be simple. Unbolt/unplug......bolton/plug in. I think with you helping your husband it and the necessary tools could be done in a weekend.
     
  12. Dec 6, 2014 at 12:14 AM
    #12
    DSMJRV

    DSMJRV Well-Known Member

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    spark electrode is small enought it should just be shot out through an exhaust valve, doubt that is your noise
     
  13. Dec 6, 2014 at 11:43 AM
    #13
    keakar

    keakar Well-Known Member

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    well the tranny is completely on a separate planet from the engine so trouble with one means nothing about the other. I would just do a complete tranny flush and new synthetic fluid as described here: http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/1st-gen-tacomas/354245-diy-how-flush-auto-tranny.html

    as to the engine damage question, for me its about $$$ so if you start needing a crank then to me its cheaper and better to just replace the engine with a good working one from the salvage yard out of a wrecked truck. no repairs needed and a one day swap out and your on the road again usually for under $1,000 so its a no brainer instead of lots of time and money and headaches rebuilding yours finding all those little problems along the way that always come up like stripped threads or broken bolts.

    you are doing this the smart way because before even wrenching on it, you know its better to add up the cost of gaskets and parts you "know" you will need and then on top of that you should double that price for what you will likely end up really spending on it.

    then compare the cost you come up with to the cost of buying a good working engine with say around 100k miles on it from a wrecked truck.

    also figure in down time of not having the vehicle and if you are doing it yourself, will you need to borrow or rent special tools or send some parts out for specialized work like the heads.

    my rule of thumb is if its a coin flip buy the salvage yard engine because of the time savings factor alone and avoiding the "uh-oh I wasnt expecting to see that" or "I wasnt expecting that to break" when you take it apart.

    if you don't need the truck for a few months and there isn't major damage to anything when you have it all apart then 100% its better to rebuild your own motor "new" again, that's a no brainer even if it costs a little more then you were expecting but most of us need our vehicles so its not optional to turn our trucks into a "project" to make the engine new again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  14. Dec 6, 2014 at 11:56 AM
    #14
    keakar

    keakar Well-Known Member

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    if he was lucky, yes, but it is also small enough to get stuck between the piston and cylinder wall doing serious damage digging into both including possibly cracking the rings that in turn might have sharp metal gouging edges doing more damage. and the resulting damage to things can be the source of his noise
     
  15. Dec 6, 2014 at 12:32 PM
    #15
    lovemytacolots

    lovemytacolots [OP] Show your Taco some love every day!

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    Thanks all for the replies! This might be a dumb question, but you guys have been kind so far so I'm gonna ask it! Would there be any point in pulling the replacement spark plug we stuck in where the bad one was and starting it, to see if the noise is still present or not? Meaning, would the noise being gone/being present give us any worthwhile info, or is it pointless anyway?
     
  16. Dec 6, 2014 at 12:50 PM
    #16
    keakar

    keakar Well-Known Member

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    I suppose there is no harm in trying but most crank knock is from the spinning over motion having play in the moving parts and not necessarily just from the detonation pressure pushing on it but it should make "some" difference in sound enough to "maybe" assign the noise to one cylinder over any other.

    I think step one to see where you are at in all this and help you decide what to do next is:

    drop the oil pan and check for what crankshaft to block and crankshaft to rods connections have play and you will be able to see the lower half of the cylinder walls to see if there are signs of gouging in them. wiggle and tug on each rod to crank connection. if there is nothing obvious pull each rod cap off one at a time and see if there is play between piston and rod connection. this should pinpoint the problem spot and will tell you where you stand based on how bad it looks. there should be no noticeable change in the flat surfaces where the bearings go, if there is the crank cannot be reused in that condition and its time to have it replaced or reconditioned by a machine shop
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  17. Dec 6, 2014 at 5:47 PM
    #17
    BamaToy1997

    BamaToy1997 Wheel Bearing Master

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    You M'Lady are the epitome of how questions should be asked. You give high details, and ask pointed questions. Kudos to you! :D

    I will do my best to break down what I can and answer everything. Part 1:

    If you plan to replace the engine, the only real tool expense you could expect would be an engine hoist. These can be bought all over for less than $200. Harbor Freight has them for $150. A long block should come with a new oil pump, as the front timing cover IS part of the oil pump. Timing belt and head gaskets, etc are also part of a long block. Really all you would need would be things such as intake and exhaust gaskets, which are pretty low cost there, and I would suggests a water pump, yes. Again, a small cost overall. I would say that you would be looking at less than $400 additional, and that includes the engine hoist.

    Consider this. At an average speed of say 45 MPH, for a 10 minute drive, running approx 1500 RPM, your crankshaft would spin over 15,000 times. On a bad bearing, that is a LOT of friction. A bad bearing, depending on the severity, can score a crankshaft within 100 RPM or less. It all depends on the severity of the damage. A worn crank can be "machined" but the problem is finding oversized bearings for the Tacoma engine is difficult. Hence the desire for a crankshaft to be in best possible shape. Any crankshaft that requires machining over .030" is worn too much, and would be considered "shot". That being said, it is a RARE occurrence unless you really hammer on the engine. I would say most likely the biggest concern would be the electrode, and if it has punctured the piston or not.

    Promising 90k miles out of a rebuild here is my only concern. If done correctly you should get well over 200k out of a properly rebuilt engine. There is a Tacoma in Alabama that I rebuilt the 3.4 on and he has over 150K miles on it, and last word was that it runs just as good now as when I rebuilt it! that was some 3+ years ago!

    If you crunch the numbers he gave you, I would say you are looking at a CLOSE (but not exact) breakdown here:
    Labor time estimated for FULL rebuild---34 hours---cost at $80 per hour->$2800
    Remainder in parts ---> $1200

    More than likely more of that is labor. $1200 is a high amount for parts.

    So if you want to crunch numbers, getting your own totally rebuilt longblock, done by professionals that do just this for a living, using all of the latest tools and equipment, as well as TEST the engine before you get it, is around $2k, as we saw in earlier post. So if you were to tackle the job yourself with say $400 in parts and tools, you could save yourself $1600! Not only that but it would be a great learning experience, and you know that the engine has had everything done to it that this guy has offered to do, and then some!

    Thought, ask him how much he would charge if you brought him a complete longblock and asked him to install it.

    oh, and by the way, you mentioned "short block" So I should clear some of that up for you.

    A short block is just the lower end. Basically if you were to "rebuild" a short block then it would be the pistons, crank, rods, and bearings. Nothing at all having to do with the heads. A long block is both the lower end, AND the heads rebuilt.

    Short block:

    [​IMG]

    Versus a Long block:

    [​IMG]


    In a rebuild of the engine, only the engine components will be services. No accessories. So the power steering, alternator, AC compressor, etc, none of those will receive any attention.

    Any more questions just ask away!
     
    Brie likes this.
  18. Dec 7, 2014 at 6:18 AM
    #18
    Mod

    Mod Well-Known Member

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    stock
    Probably a bad spark plug installing socket caused this whole problem. There is a reason there is a insulator cushion down inside that socket and that a person need to take his time when installing spark plugs. If you lay that socket wall against the insulator,,and leverage it out of straight-line plane as you tighten,,Snap goes the delicate porcelain!! or center electrode. And now you have a missfire(or worse) that is extremely hard to find. Ask me how I know.
     
  19. Dec 7, 2014 at 10:36 AM
    #19
    lovemytacolots

    lovemytacolots [OP] Show your Taco some love every day!

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    It starts correctly now, thanks to the best dealer tech ever.
    Hi all. Thank you thank you thank you everyone for your input, I can't tell ya how helpful it's been!! Thanks in large part to the helpful, encouraging info I've received on this thread, we're now considering swapping the engine ourselves, which would save lots of $$$$! Been reading a ton, watching Youtube videos, and discussing the heck out of it w/anyone that will listen, so while we still have lots to learn, swapping an engine is sounding less and less scary.

    A mechanically inclined friend recc' considering a JDM motor - he said it'd be a low miles engine from a car in Japan, and could be a better price than buying a reman. Although then we'd still have the question mark of how that engine was treated before we acquired it, which is why I ruled out a used engine right off the bat. But that was when we looked at engines w/100-150,000+ miles....a brief search of JDM's this morning revealed engines w/less than 50,000. Hmmm. Thoughts?

    Husband is reading Haynes manual engine chapter right now. Initially he was 99% opposed to doing ANY of the work ourselves, due to a gravel driveway in the rainiest climate in the US being his "garage". :crapstorm:Aside from it being a miserable work environment, he's mostly been concerned about what if things under the hood get water/dirt on them. BUT, we do have a decent sized shed/workshop - so we've now visualized buying engine hoist and engine stand and setting up the stand in the shed (where there are lights/heaters, and shelter from rain/dirt) - then we'd just have to figure out how carry a 500lb engine ~75' from driveway to shed. Wonder if we could get some heavy duty tires onto a hoist or stand somehow? I feel like I'm painting a really amusing picture right now......:laughing:

    But if we could figure that out, then the idea would be, he could start taking stuff apart, and strip down to short block, inside the shed. My impression is that things we could gain from this would be:
    1) Perhaps finding the cause of the problem - that'd be BEYOND satisfying after going insane from guessing![​IMG]
    2) Perhaps realizing that we only need a short block, rather than a long block, or dressed long block, and saving some $$$. Right?
    Things we could lose would be:
    1) Time. Which is totally worth losing for something we care this much about, and that costs this much $$$$ for the fast mechanic route!
    2) Cost of engine hoist & stand, and perhaps something for equipment to move it from taco to shed. And maybe more plywood to reinforce shed floor - you guys think the current single layer 1/2" thick ply floor would be enough to support the 500lb engine on a stand, plus 2-3 average sized people? Not positive on ply thickness - will check now, but could be 3/4" (hoping not 1/4"!! Previous owner who built it seemed smarter than that though)

    We watched a YouTube where a guy w/our same engine (in a 4 runner) stripped everything down to the short block (or at least that's what it looked like, but video was posted in fast forward), THEN once it was stripped he hoisted it out, brought a new short block back (or maybe just had his machined?), then put that on a stand and started adding stuff, til it became a long block, then a dressed long block, then hoisted it back in. Question - do you HAVE to strip it down to a short block before hoisting out old one, or is it optional but easier, or ????[​IMG]

    Thanks everyone! I honestly think if it wasn't for this forum and the support we're getting, it'd already be at a repair shop. And we'd be severely stressing over how we were going pay $$$$, and praying that shop was honest and did good work - seriously agonizing whether we did the right thing, especially since 99% of the crap life throws at us, we DIY our way through - so why should something this special to us be any different!?!?! I would MUCH RATHER be where we're at right now than be in that situation. Might be the :turtleride: route, but that's OK, the other car is running (knock on wood!). Even if we still chicken out and go the mechanic route, at least we'll have no regrets, cuz we'll know we thoroughly explored all less expensive options, done by people who actually care about the outcome (us!), and not someone we may not be able to trust.

    Point being - you guys rock!!:bowdown: Please keep all that great advice coming, and promise you'll still be there if we start hoisting stuff out, since I'm guessing that will open up a whole new level of questions!!!
     
  20. Dec 7, 2014 at 11:30 AM
    #20
    Indy

    Indy Master of all I survey.

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    20130930_224154_zps38eea63f_041d06e81279f2d0afc9391bb87b578fcbbee1b6.jpg

    20130930_224244_zps5bd2e6c2_ce287f30d3d4d51345bc75ba872c077b4ee79114.jpg

    ^spark electrode in a running engine, cracked the head. Piston showed a couple little dings, nothing serious. This was out of my $200 taco thread.

    If OP was closer, I have a bottom end with just a couple dings in piston #3 :laugh:

    It actually ran pretty well in that condition, no idea when the previous owner did the damage. I bought a 'new' engine after I pulled the head thinking it needed a new head gasket.

    I've got a new head gasket available too!


    I just did plugs in my 'new' 2000, I don't know if NGK were the original plugs but these things looked like it. Gaps could be measured in inches and both electrodes burned to about nothing. No codes, ran fine, 110k'ish miles. I picked up 1-2mpg with new autolites.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
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