Jump to content
HybridZ

L28 Rebuild cost for mechanic recommendations


Recommended Posts

I apologize, I'm sure this has been asked before, I did do a little searching but nothing specific came up with the terms I used.

I took my car into my local mechanic this morning, and he said most likely I needed a head rebuild, and a clutch job, he quoted me at $1200 for the head rebuild, sounded a little pricey to me.

does anybody know roundabouts what I should be spending at a shop to have my head rebuilt? I live in Long Beach, CA any shops that you could recommend would be appreciated as well.

 

all cylinders are good except my 5th cylinder which is fouling the spark plug quite badly. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not in california, but my machine shop charged me 300$ for a PAIR of chevy heads to be rebuilt + parts cost.

In the end for all new retainers, seats, springs, hot tank, decked the head & 3 angle vavle job + 3 valves it was 600$ These parts were for a race motor too, not cheap oem replacements.

 

 

 

I strongly reccommend searcing your area for an actual machine shop and go there.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is your real question about the price of the head rebuild or whether you really need one or not?  The cost of the rebuild would depend on quality and quantity of new parts, how much time is spent, and the mechanic's valuation of that time.  Value of the job is what it's worth to you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I appreciate the responses guys I ended up taking the car over to Datsun Alley in signal hill, he told me that the 5th cylinder is running on low compression which I had kind of figured already, compression on 1,2,3,4,6 are all around ~150

while cylinder 5 is at 100. the low compression is most likely what is causing some hesitation, he said that it's most likely the piston rings on that cylinder, but that he won't replace just the one cylinders rings because I will end up having to spend more money when something else breaks. He recommended that I get either the engine rebuilt or swap in a new one. Here's the thing I'm having trouble finding an L28 for anywhere close to $400, and I have little experience knowing if an engine is good just by eyeballing it. What would be my next best step? @9rider I see you're in Los Angeles as well where would be some good places to look for an L28 besides craigslist?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you done a valve adjustment? I have trouble believing that one ring has gone bad while the others are fine. A rebuild is unwarranted until it's actually determined that it's necessary. If the valves are ok, I'd do a leakdown test before proceeding. I don't understand how all these "mechanics" diagnose these things without at least checking leakdown, unless you're leaving out information...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you done a valve adjustment? I have trouble believing that one ring has gone bad while the others are fine. A rebuild is unwarranted until it's actually determined that it's necessary. If the valves are ok, I'd do a leakdown test before proceeding. I don't understand how all these "mechanics" diagnose these things without at least checking leakdown, unless you're leaving out information...

The problem here is that the only information I get is what I'm asking for over the phone, I work 9-7pm every day so it's tough for me to talk to the mechanic face to face. I'm very inexperienced in what kind of tests need to be run to gauge what's wrong with the car. I agree with you I think a rebuild seems unnecessary for one cylinder, but I don't understand what I'm talking about in terms of labor.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like I said, do a valve lash check first, before doing ANYTHING else. Maladjusted valves can cause low compression. If it turns out to be a valve sealing issue (determined with a leak down test) then a head rebuild is in order. I have a receipt somewhere but from memory, my head rebuild was ~$250-300. However, this is only for parts and machine work as I'm putting the head together myself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Leon for the help, I believe I can attempt a valve adjustment myself I've never done it before but it doesn't sound too difficult, and I'll see if the mechanic I took it to did any other pertinent tests that he didn't mention when we talked yesterday and if not I'll try to get him to do a leak down test. If all fails someone was nice enough to contact me with a replacement engine for a reasonable price which I will be buying either way. It's hard to work on a car when it's your daily driver.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in the middle of doing a head rebuild myself. The only things I'm not doing that a head shop probably would, is taking about .001-.003 off the head deck just to get it perfectly clean again, and giving the valve seats a fresh cut. Instead I'm just going to lap the valves good by hand, and make sure the surface is clean. I'm spending MANY more hours on it than a shop would because 1. I'm anal, and 2. I don't have effective ways to do parts cleaning. I had to leave my valves in vinegar for 3 days to get all the carbon build up soft enough to take off with light scrubbing. Shops have ways to MAKE that happen, and much quicker.

 

 

Last time I asked BRAAP for a quote for a mild street head (which of course included a cam, springs, valve grind, port work, chamber work, etc), it wasn't far off from the figure in your first post.....

 

 

As far as the bottom end goes, if one cylinder has a bad piston ring, I WOULD suggest changing them all. But as Leon is saying, they need to CONFIRM that the ring is bad before they go ordering parts and doing the work.

 

And regarding finding an engine, this took me literally 10 seconds to find, and was the second ad in my results:

http://merced.craigslist.org/pts/3943211153.html

(for those reading this long after the link is dead, it's a whole motor for $200, WITH trans, WITH driveshaft.....)

 

Can't find a motor for $400? Maybe that's because he doesn't know how to look through anything other than part catalogs.

 

I'd suggest finding a new shop, or taking on the project yourself if you've got the ability to take your time to learn as you go.

Edited by Gollum
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks I appreciate the input, I'm a little ways away from Tracy about 7 hours it's not feasible for me to drive out there, in my local area there are engines and blocks listed from $1000 to $1200, I search l28,l28e,l28et,280z engine, n42,n47,p90,p90a. A forum member offered me an engine at $300 which I will be buying but for the most part I haven't been able to find one cheap on Craigslist in my vicinity. The mechanic told me he would have to charge an extra hour of labor for a leak down test. The reason he said he thinks it's the piston ring is because I told him the engine is burning oil, which it does, there are no oil leaks at all and I burn about a quart a month.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The oil leak could also be a shot valve stem seal, which are notoriously horrible on these engines. Could also be a stuck oil control ring, which is NOT a bad compression ring.

 

The fact he suspects all this and that you're burning oil, yet he didn't do a leak down test is really questionable. Charging an hour for the leak down is fair, but should have already been done by this point.

 

And my link to the engine in tracy wasn't a suggestion to go pick up, but more of just showing that the deals are out there and available. Requesting $1,000 because you're in socal is NOT the going rate, and those sellers will only wake up if enough people are offering the REAL market rate. I can't help it if a few people out there choose to actually pay those prices, but last time I heard of someone buying a $1,000 L28 and being at least reasonable was for a turn key L28ET that was bench tested and came with a full harness, ecu, etc. In that case, it MIGHT be worth that price. But there's at least 10 L28E motors for every L28ET around. No reason to cost so much.

 

Be patient and something WILL turn up, either here, craigslist, ebay, etc.

 

I once helped a friend find a LS2+T56 (with harness) for under $2k, shipped to his door on a pallet. This was also more than 5 years ago, prices were even higher than they are now. It's about knowing how to look, and thinking outside the box.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your "mechanic" is guessing...


With all that said, do you prefer to spend $75-100 on a leak down test, or thousands on a rebuild, or hundreds on a used engine which will then require lots of TIME to pull the old one out and install the used one? That will cost a lot of money if you're not doing the pulling and installing yourself.

 

DO THE VALVE LASH ADJUSTMENT FIRST!

 

Then check compression again, and perform a leak-down test if compression isn't satisfactory. Gollum does well to point out that the oil burning could easily be caused by worn valve stem seals.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Argh...

I refuse to repeat myself on this subject again. Instead I'll offer some questions:

 

1) in the month you drive to use that quart of oil...how many MILES is that? I was going 500 miles a week inSoCal easily, that would mean 2,000~2,500 miles in my case. How about you?

2) can you swap your fouled plug to another cylinder and clean it so it's working again? By "fouled" I take it you mean it stops firing.

3) how many miles per year do you drive the car?

4) how much does a quart of oil cost?

5) how much does a rebuild cost?

6) when you divide the mileage you drive in a year, by the miles it takes to burn a quart of oil, and multiply that number by the cost of a quart of oil....and then take THAT dollar figure and divide it into the cost of the "overhaul" the number you get will be the number of years it will take to pay back the cost of the overhaul....what is that number of years?

7) will you sell the car before the number of years in 6 occurs?

 

A stuck oil ring can become unstuck using solvents. If they ALL leak, then it's ring tension. If one is fouling the plugs it's stuck.

 

If one cylinder is low, likely it's a valve not seating fully with what you're stating. Or you've detonated #5 and stuck the rings...do the math above before you make decisions.

 

An L28 is 475-525 at U-Pick U-Save off Mission Blvd & East End in Pomona (Turbo or Non... Put AT&T the harness and ECU on it when you take it up and it's "EFI engine, complete", exit north off the 60 Eastbound at Reservoir, go to Mission, turn right, after the RR Trax watch to your right. Just past the Semi Truck Junkyard on right, and Adult Cabaret on the Left, Southwest corner of Mission & East End.

 

If not there, continue on Misson to Milliken, turn left over railroad Trax, Pick A Part is on your right across from the landfill gas recovery station on the left.

 

Between those two, you should find one engine complete...

Edited by Tony D
Link to post
Share on other sites

Did they do a dry and then a wet compression test for that cylinder???. Not reading any info about the shop doing that. It is part of the diagnosis fee you were charged if the shop did things correctly. The two tests will then inform them and you, if its the upper end ( head or valves ),  or the lower engine ( piston rings, piston ) causing the low compression.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate all the information guys, as of now I have $20 to my name until my next check so I am unable to do anything right now, I'll get a leak down done and a valve adjustment before moving forward. At this point a motor swap seems like the easiest route to go.

 

If that's your state of affairs, never even THINK about bringing your car to a shop that is probably going to charge $125+/hour in order to cover their costs to operate their business.

 

Instead, dedicate yourself to improving yourself though learning. The FSM for all these vehicles goes over pretty much everything we've discussed. Some time with the FSM alone will teach you a LOT, not to mention the things you can learn here from the search engine.

 

If you don't have time, then you should have money, plain and simple. If you're working 60+ hours a week, and you have zero funds to even maintain a car, then something is wrong (in my opinion) with your lifestyle. If you simply don't have much in the funds department because you're only making minimum wage on 10-20 hours a week, then you have plenty of time to learn to do things yourself, for pennies on the dollar compared to shops. 

 

I charge about $60 an hour for my time as an independent contractor, and I'm a BUSY guy. I have a wife and two kids that I provide for. And yet I'm about to finish rebuilding the top end of a L28ET for about a $130, probably about 1/8th of what a shop would need to cost for the same work.

 

I'm just saying that time and money can both be an excuse, but not both. You should always have one or the other to give to your vehicle.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Talk to the shop and ask them did the compression number in that low cylinder go up, when they did a test after squirting some oil in that cylinder. Again that will tell you where the problem is. You can then decide how you want to go about fixing it. If you don't have any money to fix it now, as was suggested.  Read up and learn how to fix it and disgnose the problem yourself, It will cost you less in the long run.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...