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Old 01-18-2013, 09:42 PM   #1
BobtheTechguy
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1995 SL2
Default Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

So I'm doing some rough estimates for doing a complete overhaul,

Full Gasket Set (Upper and Lower sets)
Piston Ring Set
Piston Set
Main Bearing Set
Rod Bearing Set
Thrust Washer (if needed)
Oil Pump
Timing Chain
Also a new crank

Just a rough estimate was about 800 bucks for parts and labor, the guy has a really good rep for being a great mechanic and machinist in the area.

I'm considering making this the car I finally fix up instead of the past 3 vans I've had where I sold it as soon as they broke down(trans failure etc)
Car has 247k miles and burns a little oil on full throttle high revving, top of valve cover between spark plug boots is oily and messy like leak possibly?

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Old 01-18-2013, 10:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

try these guys for engine kits, good prices on kits, u didn't mention yr model but they have most for saturns

http://www.westendengineparts.com/

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Old 01-18-2013, 11:16 PM   #3
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

Start with the price to purchase a low mileage engine and multiply it by about 3 times. Honestly if you find it enjoyable to correctly overhaul your Saturn engine more power to you. However, you absolutely cannot justify it financially. These cars are no longer worth $3,000 that would justify putting the kind of money into a rebuild to do it correctly. You can still get low mileage engine from reputable sources for under $1000. If you're planning on doing a 1/2 job of doing your overhaul, you'll still spend at least as much as the low mileage engine but end up with a much crappier engine.

-Robert

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Old 01-18-2013, 11:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

I know it's hard considering how good these cars still look after other makes of the same years have long since crumbled into rust piles.

At ~250k I'd say you are at a drive it till it breaks and then move on point though. Especially if you're paying someone else to fix it! You should also be getting close to the second half-life maintenance items as well (starter, alt, WP, etc).

...
1997 - SL2, barebones, 161k, Auto - Rebuild complete and.. burnt a valve 20k later Arrgh!
Purchased 114k 10/07
Added OEM CC

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Old 01-18-2013, 11:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

BTW: The $800 would probably just be wasted. These cars burn oil because of a flaw with the pistons. You're not going to get an overhaul worth anything without pulling the pistons, which then means machining the bores. Parts and machine shop services alone (assuming you do all the labor yourself) will run you a good double the $800 you are considering.

-Robert

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Old 01-19-2013, 12:05 AM   #6
Madness10
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
BTW: The $800 would probably just be wasted. These cars burn oil because of a flaw with the pistons. You're not going to get an overhaul worth anything without pulling the pistons, which then means machining the bores. Parts and machine shop services alone (assuming you do all the labor yourself) will run you a good double the $800 you are considering.

-Robert
If you look at his original post, he did include pistons and rings. Considering if he did spend 2000 on the rebuild, if he can get another 250,000 or more out of a better built motor than OEM, than he is saving money in the long run. Buying another used car equals to buying someone elses problems.

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Old 01-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #7
BobtheTechguy
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

Well I would be able to get a better than normal deal at the machine shop, my boss used to work for him, so that's savings right there

The insurance for this car is $40 a month
(I was paying 150 in a newer caravan sport before this)
So that's $110 a month ill be saving,

Considering I'm not even planning on doing it until Movenber/December2013 , I might find a creampuff SC2 or something that has a nicer interior with a blown motor.

-it's this or get a ricer Honda civic.

Last edited by BobtheTechguy; 01-19-2013 at 12:58 PM..

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Old 01-19-2013, 12:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madness10 View Post
If you look at his original post, he did include pistons and rings. Considering if he did spend 2000 on the rebuild, if he can get another 250,000 or more out of a better built motor than OEM, than he is saving money in the long run. Buying another used car equals to buying someone elses problems.
I'm spending less than 1000 on the rebuild parts AND labor , and yes that's what I'm saying, I'm tired of ending up with a car with someone else's problems, I'm finding it somewhat not too damn hard to work on these saturns and want a car that I KNOW has been rebuilt and wouldn't have to question if it would last long enough to get me to work the next day, I want it to last!

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Old 01-19-2013, 05:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobtheTechguy View Post
I'm spending less than 1000 on the rebuild parts AND labor , and yes that's what I'm saying, I'm tired of ending up with a car with someone else's problems, I'm finding it somewhat not too damn hard to work on these saturns and want a car that I KNOW has been rebuilt and wouldn't have to question if it would last long enough to get me to work the next day, I want it to last!
If you're truly getting the parts and labor for about 1/2 the normal cost then its probably worth going for it. Just be sure that its not 1/2 price because its 1/2 a job. The most important thing with rebuilding these SC's is getting the bores machined up right. You can't just put on new rings and reseat the pistons.

-Robert

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Old 01-20-2013, 11:43 AM   #10
Highmile
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

I'd say go for it.

Even paying full price for parts and machine work when I built a new engine for mine at 416k it has been well worth it.

You listed a timing chain but be sure to do the guides/gears/tensioner too.

Keep in mind that you are going to blow your $800 budget, or at least I would doing all the little things that are easy while it's out.

new plugs and wires
new axle seals in the trans
radiator hoses and heater hoses
torque mounts if they are the least bit worn
clutch
oil/filter
trans oil
new belt
pcv valve

In the replace unless it's fairly new category;
water pump
ETCS
thermostat
o2 sensor


I spent about $1700-$1800 on mine and like I said most people thought i was nuts. However, the new motor has about 90k on it and has been great. I can go 4k on an oil change and the oil still looks good and is dead on the full mark.

While you have it torn down also take a good look at power steering hoses, radiator, blow or flush out the a/c condenser from the back side, belt tensioner, etc.

Also a good time to replace the upper bolt in the starter with a stud/nut. Makes replacing the starter a ton easier if you ever have to.

Good Luck
Highmile
'95 SL1 505k and counting

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Old 01-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

I'm not sure how you're going to get it done that cheap. I would be highly suspect of anyone that offered to rebuild an engine for that amount of money, however, if you know and trust them, then it's a heck of a deal: go for it!

Engines aren't like brakes, though: there are a lot of ways to screw them up, and it may not be apparent at first. I would only let someone that I personally knew and trusted, and who had a lot of experience, work on an engine for me (well... I'd do it myself, actually, but if I couldn't...).

Also, beware: if you're using no-brand Chinese parts from ebay (or anywhere), there is a decent chance it will fail catastrophically. It may be fine, but it may not: I believe a lot of those parts are no good (particularly timing components, such as the timing chain tensioner). At least one member ruined a set of valves (and probably a few other parts) when a new Chinese tensioner failed almost immediately. Cloyes is affordable, for timing parts, and they're supposed to be pretty good. I would still go with a dealer tensioner, though (it's very important that it be perfect, and the dealer part isn't terribly expensive). (And as has already been said: you need to replace all of the timing components (chain, guides, tensioner, and sprockets). The sprockets wear to match the chain as it wears/stretches, so they will not match a new chain, the guides just wear, and the tensioner can get gummed up with debris in the oil--it's too critical a part not to replace it, when you have the chance.)

If you're using pistons that don't come with oil drainback holes, be sure to drill some (or have them drilled); this will prevent the oil consumption problem these engines are plagued with (most good pistons such as Sealed Power, etc, have been redesigned (vs OE) to include drain-back holes, but if you use OE style pistons, they will not).

...
High compression build: .033" shaved/ported head, flat-faced valves; gen3 rods, pistons, tie-plate; OE header, custom CAI, SDA street cams with adjustable sprockets, WBO2, SAFCII, LSD. ASE A1-A8+L1

Last edited by PlasticCarsRock; 01-20-2013 at 12:41 PM..

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Old 01-20-2013, 04:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

the engine kits I mentioned have the redesigned pistons, large oil return hole in the oil ring groove and the ring grooves are moved down like the early pistons DNJ parts, kits include pistons, rings, bearings, oil pump kit, water pump, timing set, complete gasket set, etc. all for $410 for 2000 to 02 engines, earlier engine may differ on prices, I do my on rebuilding, the machine shop I use charges $80 bucks to bore, $75 to clean, mill and pressure check heads.

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:58 PM   #13
Highmile
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

The only way I'd go....

Hastings or sealed power rings
Sealed Power or speed pro pistons
Felpro gaskets
Stant thermostat
Clotes timing chain and related

Don't skimp on the parts you do not want to have to replace

Highmile
95 SL1 505k and counting

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Old 01-20-2013, 09:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

speaking of quality timing parts, has anyone tried the sealed power timing set? it is only about $20 more than the cloyes but if I have seen right it has the spoked cam sprocket instead of the solid one from cloyes.

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Old 01-30-2013, 12:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

There have been a couple of unhappy campers with the Sealed Power set. May have been the sellers issue though.

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Old 01-31-2013, 02:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

I notice no mention of the head.... Bottom end rebuild is pointless with a 274K mile cylinder head bolted on top of it.

I may elect to inhieret a SL2 soon. Figure I can rebuild it ( engine ) for about a grand.. and that is REPLACING the crank and head with rebuilt units ( getting lazy in my old age ) along with all other required parts and gaskets etc...

On a side note, I have yet to see an "S" series block that required boring.

...
Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:53 AM   #17
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Default Re: Thinking about doing an engine rebuild this summer (pricing?)

As a general rule you re-bore a block when you have measurable out of round or taper or general wear greater than 0.004 diameter increase over the nominal max spec. The low pressure/tension rings will staunchly refuse to seat properly at much more wear than that. You can play with ring material and finish and go a bit larger but most shops will bore a bare block for $100.00 or less. With the older types of rings the piston skirts can be knurled and you can tolerate more wear. One of the advantages of re-boring the engine is the opportunity to upgrade to a piston that actually has proper oil control design.

I have seen blocks that had 1 or more cylinders with 0.005+ wear and the only clue was the presence of a fingernail detectable ridge at the top, crosshatch looked perfect. The crosshatch pattern should look perfect as it is cut much deeper than 0.0025 into the cylinder wall.

Engines habitually run with low oil level will show excessive wear when compared to engines run with oil level maintained at the full mark all other conditions being equal.

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