Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

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Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby sarahandthebear » 08 Jul 2018, 18:02

So we know that at some point in the future, hopefully a very long way off that our 1984 1.9 dg petrol engine will need to be either taken out stripped down and rebuilt or we can by a recon engine online. But I was thinking and it's something we would both love to do, how about we by an old engine on eBay a 1.9 dg and fix it up ourselves slowly until we need to use it. We both have the basic mechanical skills but to strip and rebuild an engine is something far more advanced. It's something we would do together and learn though. But would this be a cheaper option to fix it up over the year slowly rather then spending the mo ey out right on a recon one already. And is stripping the engine just like opening up a can of worms and non stop intense swearing until bolts and stud move :ok
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby itchyfeet » 08 Jul 2018, 18:14

Ask yourself is 'cheap' the most important thing about getting a new engine?
This will give you the answer to your question.
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby sarahandthebear » 08 Jul 2018, 18:34

itchyfeet wrote:Ask yourself is 'cheap' the most important thing about getting a new engine?
This will give you the answer to your question.


Yeah you are right we have only bought the best for our van and would like to continue that. this van is going to be with us hopefully a long time
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby 937carrera » 08 Jul 2018, 19:09

If you rebuild an engine yourself you know what has been done to it, any decisions you make about not doing some aspect is a decision made by you, not someone else.

If you think you have the patience / ability to do the job properly then parts cost is the same whoever rebuilds it, you will save on labour cost which is probably significantly more than half the cost, done right.

Have a look at itchyfeets links in his signature, plenty of information there as to what is involved. I'm doing one at the moment, there's no rush, but this isn't my first engine rebuild either. Bigbadbob76 has also just done one.

Some jobs you will not be able to do yourself, depending on your toolkit, so you will probbaly need to have a decent engineering shop you can rely on to do the specialist work.
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby itchyfeet » 08 Jul 2018, 19:56

Don't expect to be able to rebuild every engine economically
sometimes you buy a second hand engine and its really shot to bits.
in this case cut your losses and buy another.

studs are the biggest problem you don't know whats in there when you buy it
as its a lottery don't spend too much on a second hand engine.
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby itchyfeet » 08 Jul 2018, 19:59

on the other hand if you have £4k going spare you would get a decent rebuild.
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby JeffRoo » 08 Jul 2018, 20:29

My ‘84 1.9dg let go 18 months ago, so I was in exactly the same place as your fears. Looked through the lots of posts and decided against a self rebuild. This was mainly due to time and specialist tools required. I’m not afraid of the work as I used to be an aircraft engineer in the RAF. I also looked at conversion but the cost was over £5k and using a secondhand engine. Eventually went to ‘thevwenginecompany’. Went for a turnkey option with eventual cost coming in at £2700. This included changing the water pipes to stainless steel, changing the clutch, engine mounts and some other stuff. 2 years unlimited mileage warranty also. So far had a tour around Cornwall and this year went to the Outer Hebrides without a hitch (we live in Somerset, so quite a journey for Flo).
Hopefully this gives you some idea of price for a comparison
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby itchyfeet » 08 Jul 2018, 20:50

JeffRoo wrote:decided against a self rebuild. This was mainly due to time and specialist tools required.


specialist tools come in at about 200 quid and are resaleable.
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby sarahandthebear » 09 Jul 2018, 06:27

itchyfeet wrote:on the other hand if you have £4k going spare you would get a decent rebuild.


We wish we had 4K laying around :rofl we hardly have 1k but I guess that's why we were thinking of either saving for a recon or fixin one up ourselves. Knowing that we have done everything ourselves and everything that has gone into the engine is a big plus but like you said you only know how bad it is once you get in there and with no experience I wonder how we would find it. Saying that nothing is impossible and a willingness to learn makes us think it may be a good option that and I really would love to know where everything went :ok
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby itchyfeet » 09 Jul 2018, 07:10

I wasn't born woth the knoledge.
I read build threads on here and the manuals and asked questions.
Just needs a methodical attidude, attention to detail and basic mechanical skills.

Ask yourself another question, do you want to rebuild an engine?
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby T25Convert » 09 Jul 2018, 10:26

Build you own, no question.

You then know every bit of it to fix in the future. You also know which bits are new, which bits are bodged or a bit worn, but you get to make the decisions.

I built one, never done it before (there's a thread on here somewhere) and it went well. They are not complicated.

There are very few specialist tools you actually need.

The cheap 'recon' engines can't have many new bits in, look at prices of parts the whole package doesn't add up.

I'd buy a second hand engine and starter building it, then swap it into the van. Then flog the one you have...
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby sarahandthebear » 09 Jul 2018, 10:40

Totally agree with a recon engine and not knowing which parts are bodged and to be honest I am very interested in building the engine as I would live to know every part of it. We already read the wiki and manuals so there's no reason we could not build one up your right. So next question is where's best to start looking for a second hand engine. We started on eBay this morning and have to say there's some questionable looking 1.9 dg engines on there being they look like they have all sorts of other parts fitted onto them.
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby ajsimmo » 09 Jul 2018, 10:54

937carrera wrote:If you think you have the patience / ability to do the job properly then parts cost is the same whoever rebuilds it, you will save on labour cost which is probably significantly more than half the cost, done right.

I don't think either of these statements are necessarily correct. It depends on the judgement of the rebuilder which parts they replace, and with which brand/quality of part.
In a fully reconditioned engine the parts cost would almost certainly be significantly more than the labour charge. For example, a recent DJ rebuild of mine used over £2,400 in parts, and £1500 labour (fitted).
It's important to differentiate between rebuilt (could mean anything), reconditioned (returned, as far as possible, to manufacturer's original specifications), refreshed (just replace the stuff needed to improve compression and oil pressure) and repaired (er, replace what's broken!). Many suppliers of engines use these terms loosely and it's important to ask them to clarify.
IMHO any engine retailed at under £3k cannot be fully reconditioned.
A home rebuild, using good quality parts and done carefully and methodically, will almost certainly be cheaper and better than any off the shelf cheapo rebuild. Itchy's rebuild threads are of a very high standard, and I'd recommend any home rebuilder to use these and the Bentley side by side. If followed carefully anybody with a little mechanical knowledge/ability/common sense can do a good job. And it's rather satisfying when you've done it!

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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby itchyfeet » 09 Jul 2018, 11:41

ajsimmo wrote:Itchy's rebuild threads are of a very high standard, and I'd recommend any home rebuilder to use these and the Bentley side by side.


Thanks :ok

all here with a load of others, link in my signature
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Re: Cheaper to rebuild or buy recon

Postby bigbadbob76 » 09 Jul 2018, 12:45

having been faced with the same conundrum myself recently, I decided to re-build.
A big part of the decision was that there are no re-builders in this part of the country and buying one from down south would be costly on shipping and I wouldn't be able to just nip back to the garage if anything wasn't right.
tbh it was somewhere between a re-fresh and a re-condition rather than a total re-build.

I itemised my costs here- http://forum.club8090.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=159419&start=120 as a guide only, yours could be cheaper if you don't need some of the parts I did and if you live somewhere that's cheaper on postage. equally it may cost you more if you need new pistons and barrels, new con rods, find broken studs or need to get work done by an engineering company.
I did it in 5 weeks, working most evenings and weekends when I wasn't waiting for parts to be delivered.
I didn't swear much during it (except when I drove it off the ramps and onto my front grill that I'd left lying on the ground) and the satisfaction is definitely worth it.

In your position and if you feel your mechanical knowledge is up to it, and you can afford the time necessary, then I'd buy a used engine and re-build it yourselves slow time so you have it when you need it. I lost 5 weeks of the best weather we've had for years as I was stuck in the garage every night.
I also couldn't have done it without the help I had from guys on here, I'm mechanically able and have access to precision measuring equipment but wasn't familiar with the specifics of these engines. I am now. lol.

On the flip side, if you can afford the money to buy a re-built engine you get a guarantee and can get it sorted if it's not fit for use. bearing in mind that some companies may do a re-fresh on the cheap to keep costs down and appear competitive. If you buy are-built one, don't be shy with the cash.
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