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Author: Subject: Who has rebuilt an engine and how did you learn?
bi22le

posted on 16/10/21 at 05:27 PM Reply With Quote
Who has rebuilt an engine and how did you learn?

I am pretty mechanical savvy (my friends may disagree!) but I have never built an engine. The most complicated engine work I have done is tuning a Honda Red Genny engine for go-karting.

Part of what is putting me off turbo or supercharging my striker is that the cost of rebuilding is a fortune.

I think if I watched someone where I could ask questions / read a decent book / watched some YouTube videos, I think I could give it a shot.

Is this a wise idea or am I likely to ruin a decent engine?!?

My main concern is plastigauging shims and all of the intricate stuff, not the torque / spanner work.

Thoughts.

[Edited on 16/10/21 by bi22le]





Track days ARE the best thing since sliced bread, until I get a supercharger that is!

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nick205

posted on 16/10/21 at 05:44 PM Reply With Quote
I've stripped & rebuilt a Ford SOHC Pinto (Sierra) engine for my MK Indy. Learnt from my Dad who's rebuilt a number of Jaguar engines.

I had the parts reconditioned by a trusted engine specialist. New bearing shells, pistons, piston rings etc.

It went together well and then I had it setup with carb jetting on a rolling road by a trusted tuner.

There's books out there, YouTube videos and specialists around to help.

Get stuck in!

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snapper

posted on 16/10/21 at 05:59 PM Reply With Quote
Iíve bought 1 pinto, built another, rebuilt ( refreshed) both as they are relatively simple.
Iíve now rebuilt a Duratec proper crank out rebuild.
There are plenty of people on here and other forums that can guide you.
The big deal is knowing when you need to get stuff machined and what you can do at home.
Measuring accurately is important and Iíve mostly been lucky enough to only need to replace big ends and mains, deglaze bores and fit new rings, anymore than this and I get a machine shop to do the work.





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David Jenkins

posted on 16/10/21 at 06:07 PM Reply With Quote
I have stripped and rebuilt a Ford crossflow engine, with some professional reboring and stuff in-between. It was a bare crankcase, a reground crank, new pistons and rings, and several boxes of bearing shells when I got it back after the rebore, and I worked it up from there. The biggest advantage of this engine is that it is a grown-ups' Meccano set, with everything easy to locate and fit. All you need is a decent manual and a reasonable amount of mechanical ability - knowing how to use basic tools, etc. plus a big dollop of common sense.

Modern engines are not quite so easy as tolerances are far tighter. But, even so, nothing's impossible. You may find that you need specialist tools though, and they may be hard to find (or to find substitutes).

It's very rewarding when you get it running though, and a whole lot cheaper!





The older I get, the better I was...

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nickm

posted on 16/10/21 at 06:44 PM Reply With Quote
Hi
I have stripped and re-built a 2.0L zetec e if you are going to strip and check everything before rebuilding it must have been second hand so what have you got to lose.
All i used was a Haynes manual not sure how accurate some of my measuring was but i got it back together and it ran on bike carbs some of the parts your probably going to change for brand new just because you are in there anyway.
Give it a go its very satisfying (as long as it runs after ! )

Nick M

PS I would always consider rebuilding or buying brand new but for me i would never just drop an unknown engine in my car, but thats just me (OCD I reckon)

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bi22le

posted on 16/10/21 at 07:41 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks for the early comments. It seems that many have cut their teeth on older engines which may be more forgiving.

For the record I am looking at rebuilding a 4age blacktop 1.6 from 1995. I think it's quite advanced for its age with aluminium 20 v head, VVTI 11:1 CR, ITB, lightweight rods etc all standard.

The engine is fine, it sings and performs faultlessly. I'm just itching for more power and my brain keeps asking questions. . . .





Track days ARE the best thing since sliced bread, until I get a supercharger that is!

Please read my ring story:
http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/forum/13/viewthread.php?tid=139152&page=1

Me doing a sub 56sec lap around Brands Indy. I need a geo set up! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHksfvIGB3I

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Oddified

posted on 16/10/21 at 09:05 PM Reply With Quote
These days it's quite easy with youtube and google to look up/research what's what. Granted older pinto's, crossflows and rover v8's are easier and more tolerant of less than perfect tolerances, more modern engines are still fairly straight forward. Just make sure you have a manual covering the engine, tolerances, torque specs etc and take pictures as you take it in bits for reference later can make things easier.
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harmchar

posted on 16/10/21 at 09:11 PM Reply With Quote
None of us were born mechanics and all had to start somewhere. If you go for it and you have the space and tools, just take your time and don't jump any of the recommended steps. As mentioned above, there is a ton of videos and books available and plenty knowledge on here. This is one of the best forums for non-judgemental advice going. I have only seen a few instances of people getting bitchy.
There was a guy building a 4age big turbo engined kit car on YouTube. I will edit in a link if I find it later.

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perksy

posted on 16/10/21 at 09:47 PM Reply With Quote
Done a few, my advice would be take your time and make sure everything is scrupulously clean

Plenty of videos and websites to view on the internet

Use quality components

Double check everything

If you have to stop for any reason part way through something, make sure you make a note and take photos if needed

Sense of achievement when its all finished

Slight twitching and sweaty moments when its on the rev limiter on the rolling road and your wondering if you checked and tightened everything

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JMW

posted on 17/10/21 at 08:43 AM Reply With Quote
Engine stand

If you haven't already got one, definitely get an engine stand so you can rotate it to suit the task at hand, worth every penny.

I've rebuilt a 16v 4A-GE, quite straightforward, but I did get an engineering shop to install the cams into the head and set the valve clearances. If you do the same, you can get them to 'lock' the cams where you want them for timing purposes. They locked the cams by putting a piece of paper in one of the cam bearings.

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jelly head

posted on 17/10/21 at 08:55 AM Reply With Quote
CCC used to be a goldmine for such information, over the years i'd cut out the articles by Vizard and Walker and they cover the issues you're asking about, really useful stuff.
If you're anything like me and prefer reading to youtube perhaps one of David Vizard's books might be worth a look. They used to have a selection in our local library (remember them?!) available for free.

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Slimy38

posted on 17/10/21 at 09:08 AM Reply With Quote
I did my motorbike engine, it had suffered a gearbox issue but the design of the engine meant it had to be completely torn down to get to the box. On the way back I replaced the 'consumables', and the bike carried on running until I sold it a few years later so I reckon I did ok.

I also worked off the Haynes manual and it was a fairly logical process. The only thing that really bugged me was that there would be a line saying something like 'install the clutch, see section 5', and section 5 was 20 pages of work! By the time I had finished I'd worked my way through almost the entire manual.

The one bit of advice (as echoed above) is take your time. It took me probably 10 hours in total, over several days. For a garage that would have been unacceptable, but it meant I could get everything right.

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macc man

posted on 17/10/21 at 10:03 AM Reply With Quote
I remember rebuilding an Opel Kadett engine. All went well until I found a bolt left over after I had put the sump back on.
I was fairly sure I had put everything back on but could not risk it, so I took the sump off again. I never found where the bolt had come from and the engine ran fine. Just something to be careful of when you take something apart.

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nick205

posted on 17/10/21 at 10:57 AM Reply With Quote
Fairly standard advice, but your phone (camera) will be your friend. Take loads of pictures throughout dismantling so you have visible cues for rebuilding.

Make sure you have the tools you'll need, torque wrench any measurement devices etc.

Clean work space.

I did mine on a Black & Decker workmate not an engine stand. An engine stand may well be useful, but is something you may only use once.

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Deckman001

posted on 17/10/21 at 02:51 PM Reply With Quote
I've rebuilt my crossflow several times now, probably been out of the car four times. This was all done on my own using an escort manual and a good selection of tools.
When tuning an engine, I'd seriously get advice from a tuning expert as with all engines, not all parts are interchangeable from the same engine !! I know this from bad experience.
I'd probably start with getting a donor engine so that you can take it apart and play with that instead of your toy. You could then have bits sent away if needed without inconveniencing yourself.
I too would recommend an engine stand, as your engine will look a whole lot better while being built, rather than on a couple of work mates like i did. The only down sides are that yes, you might only need it once, but also you'll need to adjust the engine on it to fit the flywheel and clutch.

Good luck.

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JMW

posted on 17/10/21 at 07:24 PM Reply With Quote
Bearings and other engine parts.

OP, if your 20v is like my 16v you will find numbers stamped into the underside of the block referencing the bearing sizes for mains and big ends. On mine at any rate they made no sense. I refreshed the bearings using the references on the installed bearings.

For my 4A-GE I have got engine parts from Hurley Racing (I think he/they are on here) and Tuning Developments Warrington who are local to me. Both excellent service and the odd bit of advice.

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JeffHs

posted on 18/10/21 at 02:49 PM Reply With Quote
Over the (many!) years I've rebuilt mopeds, scooters, bikes, Austin A30, several Mk1 Minis,2 pre-crossflow Cortinas, 2CV. None of them were worth much at the time so I had nothing to lose but everyone was successful. All of those were done with standard DIY tooling at least cost only using professionals for machining work.

The last rebuild was an aircraft engine, a Blackburn Bombardier. I personally stripped and rebuilt that with the oversight of a licensed engineer. It required last nut and bolt removal, meticulous cleaning, measurement of everything in the engine and NDT testing of every component. These engines are rare but we had some luck. Nothing measured out of tolerance except the cylinders. We managed to source some low life ones which were professionally honed and measure in limit after honing.
Just before rebuild the engineer scrapped our crankshaft because of microscopic corrosion at the edge of the machined section of the journals. Again we were very lucky. We found another engine in a sorry state but the crank was perfect.
We ended up with a real bitsa but the crankcase still bears its original number so that's its identity and the overhaul was passed as zero timed, i.e. as new.
It's still flying.

This project required masses of measurement using micrometers from 0 to 4 inches, internal and external, dial gauges etc. and plastigauge to check journal clearances. It was several orders of magnitude more careful than some of the early cheap and cheerfuls but of course the consequence of a subsequent failure is so much more serious than an old Mini stranded at the side of the road.

Give it a go. Take your time. Be careful. Have fun!

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bi22le

posted on 18/10/21 at 04:40 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks for all of the comments.

I'll see if I can find a rebuild manual for my engine. I'll buy it as it will be good casual reading if nothing else!

I only have a small garage but will make sure I have the tools and space needed.

Regarding head and cams, I'm not intending on touching these. I will mark up and lock the cams before removal. It's the bottom end I want to work on.

Conrods and piston change, that's it really. Although and port and polish sounds appealing 😂





Track days ARE the best thing since sliced bread, until I get a supercharger that is!

Please read my ring story:
http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/forum/13/viewthread.php?tid=139152&page=1

Me doing a sub 56sec lap around Brands Indy. I need a geo set up! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHksfvIGB3I

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sdh2903

posted on 19/10/21 at 03:03 PM Reply With Quote
I'm doing this just now. First time breaking down an engine beyond doing timing belts etc. I didn't pick the simplest one as a first go as its a quad cam v6. I got all the manuals and info I could find together and had a good read and watched a few YouTube videos on bits I was unsure about.

Really enjoyed pulling it apart, loads of pics taken at every stage. I'd suggest pulling it apart to check it before spending money on parts just incase you find anything major. My view was this engine was scrap anyway (using lots of oil) so if I fecked it up it wasn't the end of the world. Was a bit panicked when it ended up like this.



So far I've had the block rebored and honed as I had scored bores, crank has been checked and polished and bought most of the bits to complete the rebuild. Check that oversize bits are available for your engine just in case. Just be aware all the little bits like gasket sets can really add up cost wise. If your engine was available in the states then look there for parts, even with import duty I was around half price for all bearings, seals, new pistons etc and I only bought decent brand stuff. Rockauto is brilliant and all my stuff arrived in 4/5 working days.

Project creep can get a bit pricey, I set off just wanting to find where the oil was going and a std refresh. I've now gone for forged rods as they are the known weak link of the engine and I think I've settled on getting some headwork done aswell. Well be rude not to whilst it's apart.......

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The Knobs

posted on 20/10/21 at 06:46 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bi22le
Thanks for the early comments. It seems that many have cut their teeth on older engines which may be more forgiving.

For the record I am looking at rebuilding a 4age blacktop 1.6 from 1995. I think it's quite advanced for its age with aluminium 20 v head, VVTI 11:1 CR, ITB, lightweight rods etc all standard.

The engine is fine, it sings and performs faultlessly. I'm just itching for more power and my brain keeps asking questions. . . .


If you go forced induction buy rods and pistons from the US. Just be clean and precise when putting things together and you cant go wrong.

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SteveWalker

posted on 20/10/21 at 10:03 PM Reply With Quote
It's all easy enough - as long as it's not your daily driver!

I've had it where I've stripped down the engine (still in the car) on a Friday evening/Saturday morning, knowing that I need it for work on Monday morning. It's totally different when there is no time pressure.

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Big T

posted on 21/10/21 at 07:13 AM Reply With Quote
There is something amazingly satisfying about that first start up on an engine youíve built. Immense concern that the thing is goring to throw a rod through the roof turns to utter delight once the thing starts up.

Think my first engine rebuilds were in vauxhall engines, then A series mini engines. After that did a rebuild on my R1 engine, did a few shells with the engine in situ on old 200SX motors. Donít get me wrong, I made a total f@ďk up on one of my first rebuilds, thought ďitíll be fineĒ and guess what, it wasnít. Lesson learnt.

Whatever you decide to do, I have a spare, unused engine stand in the garage youíre welcome to borrow. You know where I am.

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Westy1994

posted on 21/10/21 at 01:11 PM Reply With Quote
Who has rebuilt an engine and how did you learn?


like many of us, i started on motorbike engines as a kid, 2 stroke then 4 stroke, once you understand the basics you can apply that to almost any engine. in the last 3 years i have built 2 xflows, one for my car and one for a mates , lost count on the bike engines must be 20 or so, obviously being just a amateur i farm out the machining of bores etc , but the rest i do myself.





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