Why You Should Consider Rebuilding Your Engine Rather Than Replacing It

The ICU (Internal Combustion Engine) is the heart of any car, and routine servicing and maintenance can protect and extend its life. An engine can fail due to overheating or due to wear and tear after running for a long time. Sometimes engines fail suddenly due to an auxiliary component not working, such as the oil pump or thermostat, which leads to an overheating engine that blows up very quickly. 

It would initially seem simpler and cheaper to replace an old engine right away when it causes a problem. However, replacing a failed engine with a similar one – even one from a car the same in make and model as yours – does not guarantee that the problem will not recur. There would still be a possibility that the replacement would not solve the issue entirely. It is for this reason that rebuilding your engine could be a more viable and economical solution than replacing it outright.

Most Common Causes of Engine Failures

If there were a single reason why an automotive engine fails, it would be overheating, although there are many causes to an engine heating up. Regardless of the cause, the after-effect is always the same – an engine failure. One of the primary causes of engine overheating is the improper functioning of the engine’s cooling system, which has the job of maintaining the engine at optimal temperature during operation. Low oil pressure due to oil pump failure or inadequate quantity of oil can lead to excessive friction between moving parts, increasing engine temperature and leading to sudden failure.

The first indication of an overheating engine is the burning out of the head gasket. It allows the coolant into the engine block within the oil galleys, which dilutes the engine oil and reduces lubrication or causes excessive heat. The mixing of coolant and engine oil is visible through the exhaust pipe. Finding the cause of engine failure is the first task while deciding whether you need an engine rebuild or replacement is the second. 

When to Rebuild an Engine and How to Do It 

The first step in rebuilding an engine is to remove it from the car, and then to tear it down from top to bottom. This process of engine removal and disassembly is commonly known as 'carb to the pan'. This old description applied to engines when they used to have carburetors instead of the modern fuel injection systems of today. So it is more apt to call it today as 'injector to the pan,' with the pan being the oil pan. After disassembling, cleaning, and inspecting the engine, you have to replace all damaged parts with new or refurbished replacement parts. You should only use replacement parts (including gaskets, seals, and lubricants used in the assembly) that comply with the OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer standards.

Most of the engine repairs are done by replacing small and inexpensive parts, including bearings, gaskets, O ringssealstiming belt or chain, valve springs, and the oil pump. If the damage is severe, then bigger parts that are more expensive must be replaced. These parts mostly involve the camshafts, crankshafts, and pistons.

If the engine is severely damaged, then resurfacing of the engine head, engine block and crankshaft alignment have to be done. You may need to bore the engine block to align the crankshaft's main bores. There may also be a need to bore the cylinders to fit new pistons. While it requires a lot of elbow grease, it will make the engine work once again. There are only two instances when this solution would not be a viable option. These are:

  • If the engine block has been damaged due to a broken connecting rod or crankshaft
  • If the engine block has developed a crack due to a defective internal component or a heavy external impact caused by an accident 

These are the only two conditions when you have to replace the engine rather than rebuild it.

Advantages of Engine Rebuild

One of the most important benefits of rebuilding an engine is the assurance that all the replaced parts are new and according to OEM standards. Rebuilding extends the life of an engine. How long this extension will last depends on the number of components replaced. Another advantage is that by recycling engine parts, you reduce the amount of scrap thrown away and impact on the environment.

The second importance of a rebuilt engine is its compatibility with the ECU. Your car's ECU was programmed to communicate with the engine originally installed in it. Introducing a new engine disrupts this communication. At best, an engine swap will require either a reprogramming of the ECU or replacement. ECU programming on a new version of a car might be possible, but if you are using a vehicle more than 15 years old, this might be a tough issue to resolve.

Engine rebuild might take more time – 3 to 4 days on the average – but the quality of engine rebuild and performance will be smooth without any problem. Of course, the icing on the cake is that a rebuilt engine is always cheaper than a new engine.

(Blog from carpart.com.au)

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