Engine rebuilding remanufacturing FAQ

Engine Rebuilding
Engine Rebuilding

Engine rebuilding remanufacturing FAQ. What is the difference between engine rebuilding and engine remanufacturing?
Typically a rebuilt engine will have a much shorter life than a remanufactured unit because the process is much less precise and, therefore, less predictable.

Here are a few of the key differences:

Engine Rebuilding is done mostly in local shops.

Each job relies on the judgment and skill of the individual mechanic. Since the mechanic usually only replaces broken or worn parts you are taking some chances. If reused components subsequently fail or break, diagnosis and repair can be very costly.

Engine Rebuilding can cost less than replacing it. Most of the savings comes from the labor you put into tearing down the engine and then reassembling.

The tools required to rebuild an engine are minimal:

Normal hand tools, some feeler gauges, a torque wrench, a ring expander and ring compressor. Furthermore your local machine shop should be able to do any major work required.

Most important if the cylinders are worn, they will have to be bored to accept oversize pistons and rings. You may be lucky and only have minimal wear, so you can run a glaze breaker down the bores and just rering it. If you don’t have valve and seat refacing equipment, you’ll have to send that out, too. You will need to send out jobs like head resurfacing, line boring, crank refinishing, etc. Therefore you should find a reputable local machine shop that you can use for this type of work.

Remanufacturing is a factory process.

It starts with a sound, undamaged engine core that is carefully cleaned, conditioned and machined to OEM tolerance specifications. All wearable components are systematically replaced with new parts including pistons, rings, valves, lifters, etc. Remanufacturing is similar to building a new engine – including standardized procedures and quality controls- and final factory testing before shipment.

The following is a list of common questions and answers to help you make that important decision:

Q: What are the Typical Symptoms for having your Engine Rebuilt?

  • Excessive smoke from tailpipe
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Knocking or tapping sounds
  • Low oil pressure
  • Low compression
  • Water mixing in oil
  • Oil getting into the air cleaner and/or radiator

Q: Typical Causes to have Engine Rebuilding?

A: Normal mileage wear and tear; lubrication problems; excessive overheating.

Q: How do I Find Out what can be Done to Correct the Problem?

A: Take your vehicle to a reputable service shop, dealer or installation center and get a second opinion. Not all engine problems call for engine replacement – often the problems are not serious and may only require relatively minor repair or maintenance.

bare engine block
bare engine block

Q: If the Problems are Serious, What are the Alternatives to Engine Rebuilding?

A: Whether you plan to keep or sell your car, continued operation in this instance will require engine rebuilding or replacement.

The basic options are:

  • Rebuild the same engine
  • Replace it with a locally rebuilt engine
  • Install a factory-supplied remanufactured engine
  • Put in a new engine

New engines are not always available for all makes/models and are much more costly than remanufactured units.

Q: Should I Invest in an Engine or Buy a New Car?

A: That depends on your financial situation, the overall condition of the car and your personal preferences. Engine replacement is more affordable than many people realize. As a rule, replacing the engine only makes good economic sense if the rest of the car is in relatively good condition and will have a market value close to blue book after installation.

Q: Do I have to Go to a Dealer for Engine Replacement?

A: No. While dealers generally install quality remanufactured engines, the cost is usually high. A specialized engine replacement shop carrying the same or better quality engines will almost always give a better overall value – in terms of quality, service and price.

Q: What are the Typical Costs and Savings?

A: Installation of a quality remanufactured engine will usually cost about 10-15% of a typical new car cost.

Q: How do you Know if the Engine is Rebuilt or Remanufactured?

A: Be sure to ask the installer before you commit. Warranty for a rebuilt engine is normally provided only by the local installer and is usually short in duration. A remanufactured engine should carry a nationwide or regional guarantee backed by the engine maker for a longer period.

Engine Rebuilding
Engine Rebuilding

Q: Are all Remanufactured Engines Built to the Same Quality Levels?

A: No. As for every product, some manufacturers are better than others, and some are far superior Quality suppliers conform to strict manufacturing and testing standards, use only OEM quality components, and back their products with solid warranties. Only a relatively small number are fully certified by original car makers. For example, of dozens of suppliers in the US, only five are fully certified under Ford Motor Company’s stringent Q-1 program.

Q: How Important is the Installation Process?

A: Very important. For a good quality remanufactured engine, the chance of a defect is well under 5%. The risk of problems can increase to over 50%, however, with improper installation. Replacing an engine is a skillful and complex task requiring knowledgeable and experienced people. Be sure to check on the experience of the installer before investing in a replacement engine.

Q: How Long will the Replacement Engine Last?

A: A quality remanufactured engine, with proper maintenance, is capable of lasting as long as a new engine. Rebuilt engines or lesser quality remanufactured engines are less predictable.

Q: What Warranty Period should I Get?

A: A minimum to look for is 12 months/12,000 miles with some suppliers providing 24 months/24,000 miles or longer.

Finally, This is important to consider. There usually is a correctable reason for engine failure. Make sure you find out why the original engine failed. Make the necessary corrections so you do not have a second failure.