Engine Replacement Services

If you are considering an engine replacement, you know that this can be a terrific way to keep your comfortable, familiar vehicle, while increasing its reliability.  There are three main ways to update your old worn or damaged engine:

  1. Partial or full teardown and rebuild of the existing engine
  2. Replacement with a salvage engine with limited warranty
  3. Replacement with a crate (remanufactured) engine with extensive warranty

There are pros and cons to each of these choices.

Engine Options

Partial Rebuild of Your Existing Engine

  • Included: Customer has choice of top end rebuild (heads, valves, as needed), or bottom end (bearings, pistons, rings, etc, as needed).
  • Warranty: Only applicable to the portion being rebuilt, and only if the customer can show that our break-in instructions and subsequent maintenance have been correctly followed.
  • Pros & Cons: This option can be the least expensive if only the top end is damaged, meaning that a full rebuild is not needed. The risk is that the improved performance can bring forward new failures of the next weakest link. Hints as to the applicability of this option come from the different types of noises the engine is making, the testing of the fluids, and possibly compression and leakdown tests.

Full Rebuild of your Existing Engine

  • Included: Fairly expensive option but main benefit is that it enables introduction of performance enhancements such as oversize pistons, aggressive cams, etc.
    • This option has the most choices for the customer. 
  •  Warranty: Applies to new components added to the engine, and only if the customer can show that our break-in instructions and subsequent maintenance have been correctly followed. Engines with performance modifications are not warrantied. 
  • Pros & Cons: Advantage is that the top end and bottom end are improved together, bringing consistent improvement. Disadvantage is that this is the most expensive option.  For rare engines or numbers matching vehicles.

Salvage Engine

  • Included:  This is a like-for-like swap, unless the customer has requested otherwise. Peripherals used in the completion of the job may be from the salvage engine, the original engine, or complete replacements depending on which we believe upon inspection to be most cost effective and reliable at the time we are doing the install.
  • Warranty:  We try to source engines from salvage yards that offer warranties and where the mileage on the engine is within a reasonable range. Warranties are typically 2 to 3 months. Warranties do not include labor. The customer is responsible for additional labor charges.
  • Pros & Cons: Advantages are that this cheaper than a full rebuild and that the top end and bottom end are of the same age, so have compatible wear. This eliminates the extra risk that one will overpower the other and cause a failure.  Another pro is that most of the time you can get an engine with lesser miles than your current engine.  Con would be the limited warranty.

Crate or Remanufactured Engine

  • Included:  Multiple choices exist in terms of performance level and included peripherals. Other peripherals are transferred from the old engine. 
  • Warranty: Vary per supplier, but this option tends to have the longest warranty. We have been able to source some engines with as much as 3yr, unlimited mile warranties.
    • For performance-modified engines, this is the only option that has choices for warranty from our vendors. 
  • Pros & Cons:  Engine is completely new or remanufactured by the supplier.  Offers the best warranty option available.

Engine packaging terminology (general):

Cylinder Head

 This is the portion of the engine above the pistons that contains the valves. In an overhead cam engine this also houses the camshaft(s). In a pushrod engine this houses the rocker arms since the camshaft is located lower within the block. The cylinder head(s) are bolted to the engine block, and sealed to it with a Head Gasket.  

Short Block

 A purchasable engine option containing the pistons, crankshaft (rotating assembly), fitted with rings, bearings, and other bits to make it a complete assembly. It does not come with cylinder heads, timing set, or peripherals 

Long Block

 Same as Short Block except it also includes the cylinder heads, pushrods (as applicable), other internally lubricated parts, which are already pre-fitted. It does not come with peripherals.

Complete

 Same as Long Block but also includes the valve covers, water pump, timing set, pulleys, intake manifold, distributor, fuel injectors (as applicable) or carburetor, spark plugs, oil pan, flexplate. It does not include peripherals. 

Peripherals

 Examples are: Starter, Alternator, A/C compressor, Power Steering Pump, sensors, wiring harnesses, Air Cleaner, Filters, Hoses, Cooling System, Exhaust System, Torque Converter, Transmission. These are generally not included in any engine option and are transferred from your old engine or purchased separately, depending on condition 

Variations

There is some variation in the above, depending on vendor or engine type. We can verify these details when discussing your estimate.

Additional Information

General warranty provisions, except for additional exclusions above:

Warranties for engine rebuild or replacement across the industry are different from the general service warranties. They also vary depending on the engine choice from above and the type of component that fails. We warranty new parts that we have supplied through our shop as OEM or manufactured to OE specifications, for normal street use, and installed by us. This warranty does not cover failures in such parts that are the result of other issues in the car or improper maintenance. Internally lubricated parts are not warrantied. Warranty claims must be accompanied with documentation of maintenance. 


We remove your old engine, source the replacement engine, and install and test it. We do not accept customer-supplied engines or parts. Your old engine must be complete and assembled. Engines that have been disassembled by another party may have missing parts, improperly stored parts, or can incur additional complications. Also, by not having the ability to run your old engine, we are not able to always determine what issues led to its failure.


The customer assumes the risk that costs can escalate if peripherals or other components need to be changed rather than transferred from the original car. Keep in mind, those peripherals were as old as the engine if they were original, and some may have contributed to its failure. Peripherals from the old engine that are not serviceable, or that break during transfer, will be replaced at the customer’s expense if they block us from properly running and standing behind our work on the replacement engine.


Repairs that are against our advice are not warrantied. Repairs using performance parts are not warrantied.

Other Considerations

A word about estimates: They are simply that; best effort estimates. As the development of a detailed estimate is a significant effort in of itself, often requiring us to examine the car in person, a detailed estimate is developed only after we have discussed a budget with you. 


If your car has been suffering or disabled for extended periods, it likely has other issues that will need to be fixed before the car can be test drive safely. For example, failed brakes, compromised lighting, weak suspension, would make it difficult to road test the engine replacement. Some of these are not known in advance. Repair of these and other such examples can be arranged as well. If not addressed, we will test the engine replacement up to the limitations of the surrounding vehicle before final invoice and release of the car to the owner.

Conclusions

Engine replacement can be a great way to add modern technology and power to your classic, or just to breath new life into it and enjoy life without a new Car payment. Making the choice for Replacement that most fits your needs is key. We have Replaced, Freshened, or Rebuilt engines in Classic as well as Modern Cars, ranging from classic Chevy, Dodge, AMC, and Ford, to modern BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Jeep, Ford, Chevy, GMC, Chrysler, Mazda, Buick, Volkswagen, Subaru, Volvo, and others.

  

Hopefully the general guidelines above will help in your decision.