$1900 engine repair or crate engine?

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$1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby Mi89Trooper » Wed Apr 21, 2021 2:48 pm

So we bought an amazing 1989 Trooper a few weeks ago that is so nice we kind of want to keep it original. My hands are itching to soft-build one for off-road purposes though so I have been looking at other gen 1 Troopers for sale. I found one with an amazing body (that's what she said) and very good interior, but the owner says a spark plug broke off and the shop is saying it'll cost $1900 to do the repair. Apart from the fact that it makes you wonder if they can't use a tool like an easy out; if the repair would indeed cost $1900 would it be more worthwhile putting a crate engine in there? I saw there are some for $2000. Not being super mechanically inclined the info I am missing is how much it would be to remove the old engine and swap the crate engine in. Any thoughts?

Here is an image of the Trooper we bought a few weeks ago:

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Re: $1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby Tentin » Wed Apr 21, 2021 4:17 pm

I'd definitely try the easy out method first. I guess it depends how it broke though, because if debris fell into the engine that's a different story.
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Re: $1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby mudoilngears » Wed Apr 21, 2021 4:20 pm

Two grand for a broken spark plug is nonsense, assuming it is a 2.6. Try to get it for a good price, and take a try at removing it yourself. If you can't get it out pull the head and take it in to be removed.
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Re: $1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby DSUZU » Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:15 pm

Mi89Trooper wrote: the owner says a spark plug broke off

the shop is saying it'll cost $1900 to do the repair.

Not being super mechanically inclined

A "broken off spark plug".- -Yeah, that could get ugly. Really, you'd have to see it. I mean, is it broken off at the threads? Down in the hole? Or, is the shop trying to screw somebody?
If it is "worst case scenario" and the threaded part is broken off in the head, chances are an easy out will not get it out (I like those kinds of challenges). In a case like a spark plug or a pipe fitting, often the extractor / easy out wants to expand the broken piece making the threads even tighter (there was a reason it broke off in the first place). Now one method I have used is to cut down a hack saw blade (length wise) to fit into the hole and make 3 or 4 relief cuts in the broken off part. I have successfully done this, multiple times down to 3/8 and 10 MM broken off bolts (mostly they were exhaust manifold bolts and the previous practice was pull the head and take it to a machine shop.
Another is to drill the center until only the threads are left (note that EITHER of these methods can damage the original threads if not done very carefully). If the threads get damaged, there are thread inserts available THAT DO WORK.
The 1900.00 price may be for removing and installing a new head. I've seen head replacement quotes that were about the same price - this is also an option
Things to consider:
Purchase price.
Existing engine / mileage. They often go 200K miles and more on the original bottom end, HOWEVER, one needs to check the crankshaft end play as one of the weak points in these are the crank thrust bearings. If the thrust bearing are bad (usually failed and laying in the bottom of the pan), the crank makes contact with the block and bearing cap and all 3 wear out - quickly. I have seen (bought and temporarily owned) where the engine runs quiet and good, but it isn't going to last very long. if thrust bearings are shot, the long block will be the choice to go with.
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Re: $1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby Mi89Trooper » Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:27 pm

Lots of very good information! Thank you for taking the time to get into so much detail. The Trooper that is up for sale has around 175K on it. I'll weigh the pros and cons!
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Re: $1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby Shawn Anthony » Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:45 am

Broken trooper for sale....where?
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Re: $1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby giusedtobe » Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:53 pm

Mi89Trooper wrote:Lots of very good information! Thank you for taking the time to get into so much detail. The Trooper that is up for sale has around 175K on it. I'll weigh the pros and cons!


These vehicles are pretty simple. If its cheap, pick it up and do the work yourself. I took on a similar project with no rebuild experience and these guys talked me through it. Mine was a 2.6 with 177K on the mill. Usually listed as "blown head gasket, replace and good to go". Mine needed a rebuild. Good learning experience as you will want to tackle other jobs along the way anyway.

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Re: $1900 engine repair or crate engine?

Postby BoiseTrooper » Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:57 am

Nice looking rig.

I am just finishing up a crate engine installation. You might find some useful info in my thread about Project Thunderbolt.

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