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Tips on buying a junkyard motor


toms.abpg

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Decided after finding my ranger 2.3 had a cracked block I would swap the motor, it wasn’t very hard to pull so I’m willing to drop another one in. Obviously I can’t hear the motors run before I buy them and most have over 150k in them, what are things to look for? I was going to change the plugs, water pump, timing belt and tensioner, clutch, while the motor is out and drop it in assembled pretty much. Thanks for any help guys
 


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adsm08

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Look for one in a truck that was wrecked. It means there was a good chance the engine was running when the truck died.

I think I'd probably change the head gasket too while it's out. It isn't hard, but it is easier while it's out.
 

snoranger

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:agree:

I usually look for a truck with front end damage... it ran good enough to drive into something.
 

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:agree:

I usually look for a truck with front end damage... it ran good enough to drive into something.
I have a friend that bought a cheap wrecked Mustang that thought that.

Turns out the guy must have tried to drive home afterwards without coolant and toasted the engine.
 

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I check any junkyard engine like i would if buying a used car. Examine the oil closely for signs of sludge indicating it wasn't maintained. Check for any signs of coolant in it and smell it for any odors of fuel contamination. Then do the same with the coolant. Check for sludge and sediment. If they will let you, pull the plugs to see how old and neglected they are or if they are oil soaked or if one is magically cleaner than the rest meaning a blown gasket in that cylinder.
A 40 dollar borescope will also let you look into the cylinders to get an idea how badly the cylinder walls are worn, if any valves look questionable, or if its loaded with carbon.

check for any ghetto repars like electrical tape holding vacuum lines together or snapped bolts all over or just basic signs whoever worked on it was a moron.

See if they have paperwork stating when the vehicle was brought in to make sure the engine wasn't sitting in the yard for years with god knows what protection from the elements.

Ask if they have a warranty/return policy so when you get it home and can do more in depth checks on it you can return it if it proves to be a pile of crap.

If it was a front end wreck examine all the pulleys and accessories for damage, most importantly to verify none of the mounting points on the block were damaged.

If they aren't interesting in letting you give the engine a good look and annoyed by questions dont be afraid to walk away. 2.3's are a dime a dozen you'll find another one somewhere less sketchy.
 

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i run it on the ground for an hour. mechanical oil pressure gauge and temp gauge.





if i cant do that...

if they have a pile of whatever particular engine it is and a 30 day exchange i will take a chance and just drive away.


otherwise the oil pan and valve covers come off and things get inspected/gauged before it leaves yard.


common sense replaces the general maintenance wear items and seal up before install.
 

kimcrwbr1

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If you get lucky find one that has burnt wiring melted on it. A car fire means it was running and died. Be sure and put all new gaskets and seals timing belt and circ pump.
 
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Is that sarcasm? Surely a hot engine fire would warp the head...

I make sure the oil looks like oil and not chocolate milk, oil cap for sludge, put a breaker bar on the harmonic balancer and check that it has compression and doesn’t get caught anywhere in the cycle, as well as the spark plugs and coolant (as previously mentioned)
 

kimcrwbr1

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A wire fire will not damage the engine and the engine just stops unlike a wreck when it gets stuck full throttle a burns the engine up.
 

tomw

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I kind of like a vehicle that has had a small fire as I don't think it can affect the engine internals. OTOH, if you have the remains of a full vehicle fire, where the seats are gone, the steering wheel looks real skinny and the dash has melted or is gone... No thanks.
Most times if the whole thing has not gone up, you can still see the paint, intact, on the engine and covers. That's one I'd really consider.
tom
 

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Well there is also the old question.... Why did it catch fire? An electrical short? Or an engine so badly neglected it was pissing every fluid imaginable and overheating.... :popcorn:
 


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