Texassoles 2010-08-17 07:03:55
Desperately seeking advice!
I’ve got an ’88 Ford Bronco II that is gonna need a new engine.
(During a tropical storm flood, water got in the air intake under the
headlight, then I messed up and tried to start it the next day, bent
two rods. Live and learn.) No flood damage to the truck though —
water never got up to the undercarriage, engine was never submerged,
no electrical got wet, etc. I wouldn’t call it “flood damaged”, if it
was, I would junk it. Aside from the engine, which never gave me any
trouble for 225K, the truck is in fine shape.
And I’ve been letting it sit covered for a couple of years now. I
checked prices at the time and it looked like the best option for
keeping the truck was to go with a remanufactured engine from a local
dealer: they tow it, pull it, replace with reman engine, 3yr/36k
warranty and I’m on the road. The reman was about $2300 then.
Now I’ve got to decide what to do with the truck, and would seriously
appreciate any advice and experience. The way I see it, I have three
1) Get a junkyard engine and get my mech. to drop it in. According to
him, any engine we find will be just as old (88, early 90s) with high
miles, and it would be hard to find the engine anyway. My fear is,
why trust someone else’s engine – how do I know that junkyard engine
won’t c*** out in 15 minutes, leaving me *exactly* where I am now,
minus $$$ and needing a new engine?
2) Rebuild the engine in it. About $3000.
3) Remanufactured engine, installed about $2300. What I have in mind
is Roadmaster or Thunderbolt, installed there, not AutoZone etc.
or, 4) buy something else. Unfortunately I can’t really afford to
upgrade or take on a car note. What I get for my $2300-$3000 in used
truck, again will be around the same age with high miles, again what’s
keeping that replacement truck from having a worn out engine, leaving
me where I am now.
I’m sentimental about the Bronco II, but I don’t want to go with an
option that leaves me with more trouble. I’d rather put up to $2500
into it and drive it for at least another 100K over taking $120 for
scrap and picking up a 80s POS. Oh and even better, it’s got to pass
California smog check next year (which I guess is easier with the
reman than a used engine).
Ideas, advice, horror stories… I need ’em!
Mistercmk 2010-08-17 07:03:57
Have you thought about dropping a 302 into it?
Katmandu 2010-08-17 07:04:03
I’m in the EXACT scenario as your describe right now myself. Although, my
truck is a 87 F150 w/300 inline 6.
The BEST price/warranty package I came up with is from Advance Auto Parts.
They have my engine for $999 w/15 month Unlimited Mileage warranty. For an
additional $75, they will extend the warranty to (3) years/36
I don’t think I’ll be able to beat that!!
I would pay a LOCAL “good” backyard mechanic (around $150-200) to R&R the
engines or you could save a bunch and do it yourself.
If you go to a Dealer or Garage the will charge you out the A** for labor
costs!! Expect to pay $65hr+ !! Maybe about $500-700 Labor!
I Emailed every Engine Rebuilder I could find (including the one’s you
mentioned) and they were ALL at least $1200 – 2000 with LESS of a warranty
PLUS you will need to pay FREIGHT BOTH WAYS on the Rebuilt engine PLUS your
CORE!! I say BS!
My dilemma is whether or not to go ahead and buy the rebuilt engine from
Advance or just get rid of my truck altogether and buy something else….
89 5.0 LX Vert, Cobra long block, 2.5″ O/R H-pipe, 2.73s w/Locker
40 Series Deltas and some kinda Wild Assed Cam!
Check out the Ford Engine Heaven!
Bob 2010-08-17 07:04:15
By all means buy the engine! Then find yourself the cheapest guy you can to
install it for you, I’m sure their are plenty of really sharp guys
collecting unemployment right now who would gladly swap it for $150. Please
post back and let us know how it goes, I can’t wait to hear the saga that is
sure to follow. Morons like you cost yourselves more money than you could
ever hope to save.
Texassoles 2010-08-17 07:04:17
Thought about it, was advised that Calif. smog could be an issue as I
would have to pass as though I had a V6, would be harder to do with
bigger engine, could get into “modified” legalese BS, etc. Anyone
from Cali know?
If I went with the 302, any ideas on how much more available they are
and what I might pay for new, rebuild, reman or junkyard?
Texassoles 2010-08-17 07:04:19
From poking around on Google, I got nervous about some of the
rebuilders. I asked my mechanic about an engine from say AutoZone,
was that an option. I’m definitely not up for doing this myself (I
wouldn’t trust a vehicle that I put an engine in 🙂 ) and my guy
basically said he would decline the work involving these engines,
saying he did not want to get in the middle of it, that trying to use
your warranty was a real battle between the owner, mechanic and
seller. He personnally doesn’t have any long-term warranty beyond 12
months, so that attracted me to the reman option with the 3 yr/36K
warranty. On the other hand of THAT, a mechanically inclined friend
said not to put too much stock in the longer warranty for the same
reasons my mechanic gave. Basically, the reason the warranty doesn’t
cost so much is because they don’t plan to redeem it.
I haven’t checked Advance yet. Sounds good but again, I get paranoid
when its what I want (cheaper). Anybody got any experience going this
Mark olson 2010-08-17 07:04:21
By far, your best course of action is to buy the highest quality engine
you can, and forget about the warranty. The best warranty is the one
you never have to use. Ask around, get a consensus answer from
independent mechanics you can trust, on who does the best rebuilt
engines in your area and buy one of theirs. Do *not* shop for a rebuilt
engine primarily on price or warranty, it is false economy.
Katmandu 2010-08-17 07:04:27
Hey Bob…. F*** OFF!!
Mombu 2010-08-17 07:04:32
I own a 90 Bronco II for which I paid $800, and proceeded to give it a brake job
and new tires. I’ve been driving it all over creation with no problems for
three years now.
I recommend you shop around for another vehicle. I’ve seen Bronco II’s in the
papers and on corners with “for sale” signs for much less than the costs you
seem to be finding for rebuilt engines.
Once you get another car, you can advertise your old Bronco II as a parts car,
for which I’m sure you can find a buyer, thereby offsetting the cost of the
If you happen to find a vehicle similar to yours, you can swap some parts around
to get whatever is best of both.
My recommendation is to retire the car with the bad engine.
Gerard’s Automobile Book, Video, and DVD Store
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Bob 2010-08-17 07:04:33
I’ll bet you were up all night to come up with such a witty comeback.
Steve 2010-08-17 07:04:35
I think you’re overly fearful of the junkyard engine. For one thing,
most junkyards offer a short warranty (3 month, 13k miles or similar) on
the complete engines they sell- long enough for you to determine if it
has mortal wounds. Also, a lot of junkyards will let you look over the
engine before you buy. If the truck you’re getting the engine from was
rear-ended or broadsided, odds are that the accident is what put it in
the junkyard and that the engine was running perfectly at the time of
the accident. There’s always some risk, but this would be BY FAR the
But if you’re sentimental about the truck, just fix the existing engine.
I personally have a very LOW opinion of “remanufactured” engines, and
wouldn’t trust one any further than I could throw it unless I took the
time to disassemble and inspect it myself before I installed it (or
installed a short-block instead of a long-block so that I could see and
measure everything before I put my heads and accessories back on it). If
you do go that way, the company I probably distrust the LEAST is Jasper.
Or, as someone else mentioned, drop a 302 in there 🙂
Jeff gross 2010-08-17 07:04:38
I lived in Cali for 14 years (moved away 2 years ago) and as of 2001,
you could put whatever you want in a smogged vehicle as long as:
1. It was within a couple years of manufacture. Putting a 92 or an 86
engine in an 88 is fine, putting a 58 engine in is usually not.
2. No matter what engine you use, all the smog equipment that was
originally used with that engine is installed as if it came from the
factory that way. I got away with a severly built 2 litre engine in a VW
squareback because the same year the VW was made there was a 2 litre
engine w/ dual carbs available in a Porsche. This is what the referee
told me at the state-run smog station, not a private garage. You won’t
have to pass V6 requirements as long as Ford sold a Bronco or similar
truck with a V8 from the factory, and AFAIK, they sold plenty.
3. It passes a visual as well as function test for the year of vehicle
Call the Cal DMV and ask about smog regs for engine replacement. Get the
number of the local “State Smog Referee” and tell them what you need and
ask them what you can get away with. They’ll be happy to give you the
straight p***. You can search the official website of the California
Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) at http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov/
You could also hang onto the Bronco for another 15 years and you won’t
have to smog it. That’s probably not likely though.
– Jeff G
Jeff gross 2010-08-17 07:04:40
Here’s the excact page you need. I was slightly off on a couple issues
(like years), but the main points I made are all here:
– Jeff G
Alvinj 2010-08-17 07:04:44
That’s what I did and it worked like a charm! 🙂
I’m an aircooled VW and motorcycle engine rebuilder but didn’t trust
myself with my ’75 FE-360, I wanted the best I could get the first
time. Also I got to pick out the cam “compitition enonmy cam” and
the re-builder recommended an Edelbrock timing gear/chain set. He
was recommended by a cowboy friend of mine because the guy rebuilds
farmer’s truck and irrigation pump engines in the area. He knows
what he’s doing and doesn’t take chances. It’s been great, better
running, idling, starting, more power, more drivable and better gas
milage -all those- since I bought it new in ’75. No kidding. 🙂
Me and some friends pulled it and replaced it, and while it was out
I worked on the pickup, a whole mess of stuff, one was steam
cleaning the frame. Got the seat re-covered too, the naugahyde was
so thick the gal said it was like sewing innertube and wasn’t ever
going to work with anymore of it, was going to sell off what she had
left of it. Re-worked the pickup’s wiring harness that included a
Dana speed control I installed in ’76 and got rid of the 3M box type
connectors that were always failing. (there’s a few more pages of
stuff I did while the engine was out but won’t bore you with it;)
The buying another vehicle then swapping parts and then selling
yours sounded like a good idea too, but I’ve never done that.
OP, Bob got you confused with the guys that ask a one line question
like… “my engine’s gone what should i do?” 😉 Somebody needs to
make fun of them, it’s like a newsgroupers duty or something. 😉
Alvin in AZ
Nm5k 2010-08-17 11:33:10
Me too, so far. I haven’t had any trouble. But I did do a local survey
of the shop I bought it from to get an opinion. They seemed to pass
the survey, so I bought it. When I replaced mine, I had no choice but
to go with the low end price. I only had a certain amount of cash to
spend, which was not that much. But I did buy it from a company that
does nothing but rebuild engines, “lots of them” and I bought it
direct from them.
Myself, I’d skip the autoparts stores unless there is no other option.
You don’t want to deal with a “middleman”. Deal direct with the
rebuilder if you can. With the engine I have, “300 six”, rebuilding it
is not rocket science. Or at least compared to some of the newer
hi-tech engines. So the way I looked at it, if it runs good after I
install it, and sounds normal, “I have very good ears to what is
normal”, it will probably be ok. Installing the engine is half the
job. You can have the best rebuild in the west, but if you are a lousy
or sloppy installer, you may have problems. You also need to be a
decent mechanic to begin with , if you are going to install an engine.
I DO NOT recommend for anyone that doesn’t have experience working on
engines. The place I bought my engine from requires the installer to
be a certified mechanic in order to use the warranty.
“That was a good sign to me”
I am not certified, but I have plenty of friends who are, to ask
questions from if needed. So I felt fairly safe. You have to take your
time installing an engine unless you do them every day. I took 7-8
days to do mine, but I did it all myself including the hoisting.
Taking it slow can save a lot of problems. EVERYTHING must be done
right. My warranty has come and gone. My engine is running just fine
so far. And it sounds no different now, than when I put it in. IE:
valve noise, knocks, etc, etc…It has none. I have no problems with
junkyard engines in general, but, I didn’t want another engine that
might end up needing a rebuild itself after a short while due to
rotted out seals, etc. If I were flush with cash, I’d buy a “factory”
crate engine. But I didn’t have that kind of cash when I did mine.
Replacing an engine IS like spinning the wheel, but doing it on the
cheap doesn’t have to spell disaster. But I would be very careful. Ask
around from people that buy from the rebuilder. MK
Alvinj 2010-08-17 11:33:15
In my case the re-build was better than the new engine it came with.
First the cam… an “enonomy cam” that’s like a hotter version of a
60’s cam instead of the “smog cam” that came with it. It’s not an
“rv cam”, if I remember right were rated tt pull at 2300rpm and my
enonomy cam is rated at 1800rpm.
Before, the stock engine couldn’t pull up an incline at below 31 mph
in forth gear it was like some sort of line it couldn’t cross. The
top end was not defined that way.
With the new cam there seems to be no bottom line… it can pull an
incline at 20 mph, same gearing and tire size. The top end seems to
have a feel to it now tho, at about 85 mph and above I can feel it
backing off. (I think?)
The new cam is perfect for me and my tall gearing (3.25) and tall
tires (235/85-16’s) and ~2100rpm at 60 mph.
Second, no exhaust gaskets and other small stuff like that, that are
small but still improvements over the stock engine. You know, like
everything is sealed with silly-cone now. 😉
Third, the heads were milled flat again, but just enough to flatten
them also the block and a re-bore is supposed to be rounder than
stock, along with an improvement in the heads that way too.
The heads were cut and hardened valve seats installed, originally
they were only surface hardened to allow un-leaded fuel to be used.
And valve seals that actually seal! What a novel idea huh? 😉 The
factory seals leaked right from the start, the engine always used
oil, not as bad as an old chevy but still too dangged much. :/
Couldn’t use Mobil 1 like I can now.
Forth, Edelbrock timing gear and chain and lifters that match the
cam because they were made by “Competition” also.
I could have done it cheaper but didn’t want to do it over for a
“numbers are for lawyers and courts not needed for individuals in
the real world” -alvin
Alvin in AZ