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Streetracing.co.za • View topic - A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
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 Post subject: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:24 pm 
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Someone asked about the do's and don'ts when choosing an import engine, so I decided to put together this little guide. Please feel free to add any tips you might have.

First and foremost, don't ever judge a book by it's cover...
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As long as it's not to banged up or anything major is broken off.
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This exhaust manifold hasn't seen much heat, but that's not always the case and don't be to worried if it's a little rusted.
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Pressure plates are always a good indication to see how much a motor has been driven. This one shows very little wear where the release bearing touched the pressure plate fingers. If these marks are very deep, either the motor was driven a lot in traffic, or it's done a lot of kilometres.
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If you can see between the pressure plate and the flywheel, check how deep the wear lines of the clutch plate still is. On this one they are still very deep, almost like new. If they were much shallower, say under 1mm, then you know the clutch has worked a lot, once again an indication of lots of traffic or high kilometres.
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Then remove the oil filler cap. This should be as clean as possible, here you can see this one has very little discolouration and the inside of the filler neck is also very clean. If it was sludgy then it would indicate infrequent servicing or lots of town driving where the fuel that bypassed the rings never get evaporated and causes the oil to get dirty, causing sludge.
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Then look down the neck inside the tappet cover, it should be as clean as possible inside there as well. This one is as clean as you can wish for, once again, very darkly coloured aluminium with sludge all over is not good.
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Here is an example of an engine with thick black sludge build up, if you see this, move on...
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Then look at the cambelt. While some cars might wear their belts sooner than others, the belt should never be worn shiny, that could indicate that it was never changed or that it might have been over tightened. High revs also tend to wear a cambelt down much faster. This one as you can see is an OE item and still has much of the lettering remaining, indicating that the agents must have serviced and changed it or that it's still the one it came from the factory with.
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Remove the plugs and have a look at them. These you can see has a very nice even colouring, possibly a bit rich, but that's not a completely bad thing. The ends of the electrodes are burned white which would indicate that they were still working ok. Wet oily plugs could possibly indicate blowby caused by block wear and/or worn rings.
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These are also still OE plugs, a good sign. It's worth it to find out what they came out with from the factory, since if the ones in there are some no name brand then it could indicate a negligent owner, which is not good. Non OE plugs aren't all bad though, as long as they are a good well known brand.
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Then if possible remove the tappet cover and peak inside. This one is very clean, any white sludgy residue could indicate a blown head gasket or water that had gotten in the engine oil somehow. There mustn't be particles or flaky black stuff stuck in here either, that's a sign of an engine that had a hard high RPM life which caused the oil to become very hot and bake onto the covers.
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Then peak inside the head, it should be as clean as possible. No thick sludgy residue should be sticking in corners or on the cam caps. This one is exceptionally clean inside, but a slightly darker tint would not be an automatic disqualification, it could just mean that the motor has slightly higher kilometres on. As long as there's no thick black sludge.
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Check the cam/s closely. These shouldn't be pitted or badly discoloured with a darkbrown/black tint, all indicators off high rpm and heat. Ideally like this one you should still be able to see machine grinding marks on the lobes, a sign of very low kilometres. If those aren't visible then it should at the very least have a shiny and smooth surface.
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If all the above conditions are met, given that the importer might not allow you to remove the tappet cover but you can do it yourself at home, then you can buy the engine with an open heart. When you do, and if you are going to use the engine for a conversion with aftermarket ECU, try to get as much of the original harness as possible. The salesmen are normally very helpfull at this point since they know you found what you are looking for and would gladly offer up wires and other smaller bits and pieces. Those plugs and pieces of wire are very valuable and help make the wiring job much easier, it also gives you the option of joining the wires where you want to. You also don't need to be looking around for plugs to fit the OE sensors. Also if they strip off a gearbox from the engine, try to get all the bolts and other things they loosen from them, you'll never believe how handy an extra bolt, clip or clamp can be when you need it. Remember anything you don't need to buy, help keep you project in the black.
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Use this only as a guide. Most of these tips are very general and might not be true for every type of engine, but they are still good indications of the type of life an engine might have had.

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Last edited by Boksie on Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:04 am 
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Very nice write up Boksie! Seems you got yourself a nice motor there!!!

Were you able to do these checks at the importer?


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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:10 am 
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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:07 am 
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Normally i just kick the tyres. o wait this is a engine! very nice Thread! ;)

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:29 am 
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that for a flywheeled motor is in a better than new condition... so jy het reg gekom daai kant... ek was gister by Boston, hulle se so R4000 ~ R5000 hulle sal so in 2 weke hulle container inkry...

I always aim for engines with flex-plates, IE that was automatic, purely because the chances of the engine being mis-treated on an auto box is very slim. The box just wont allow the driver to get all cocky at a traffic light, not to mention that the racer types won't be seen dead in an auto anyway, :)


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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:17 am 
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I must admit, I got one on Saturday morning that also looked good, better outside, but not as good as this one inside. When I got home I removed the zorst manifold to squirt some oil in the zorst ports so the pistons can be lubricated. I then turned the engine over, but all the exhaust valves then decided to stick open, and the parts that stuck out of the guides were a bit rusty. So I sprayed them with Q20 and eventually they came loose, but they weren't closing properly. So yesterday morning I took it back and insisted on going through a crap load of engines, I saw this one but initially passed over it because it was a bit dirty on the outside. Once I checked everyone I could reach I decided this one was the best and took it. You can literally still see the chatter marks the cam grinder made on the cams, that's how low km's it must have done.

Ja dankie Michiel, ek't maar gedink ek sal sommer hier gou net gaan loer, en Nadeeme en Darryll was gaaf genoeg om my te vergesel. Het maar gebargain met hulle en uiteindelik die enjin vir R4750 gekry. Dit het darem die flywheel en starter ingesluit.

There were a bunch of auto engines, and some of them looked in good condition, but none of them was as clean as this one on the inside, so I thought, if it's this clean and it is a manual motor, then the guy must have looked after it. I was very happy when I got home, opened the tappet cover and saw how good it looked inside.

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:18 am 
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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:54 am 
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Hey Boksie

This is a really good thread especially when it comes to novice buyers!

It will serve many people very well!

I will definitely use the tips given in this thread when I go to buy my engine in future!

I hope that I will be able to find one as nice as the one you've found here!

Thanks for the great writeup & it was only a pleasure to accompany you to find an engine!

Regards
D-MON

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:52 pm 
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where did you buy this motor?

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:47 pm 
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so thats what u did all weekend :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Bought it at Mike's Place.

Noooo, how do yo know me, that was just yesterday afternoon when I got home and lifted the motor out of the trailer... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:03 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:49 pm 
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Very nice write-up. You should consider sharing your D.I.Y. tips with AutoModified.co.za so that more people can appreciate it. :thumb:

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:45 am 
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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:47 am 
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@Boksie, did that motor come with ps or ac? Notice some things on there that is not on my silvertop

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:50 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:00 pm 
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Updated to add example of engine with sludge inside...

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 Post subject: Re: A dummie's guide to choosing an import engine
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:18 am 
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Alternatively buy a "Boksie" Original!!! Like i did ;)

Nice post boksie!


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