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Machine shop cost
#1
Got call back from machine shop, and his price seems too high for me. $3800. to test engine, replace crank, cam, 1 rod expand pistons and assemble long block. My question, can I with help frrom 2 other novice engine overhaulers rebuild my cleveland on our own. Between to three of us, we've rebuild 6 engines. Plan is alittle past stock. Gee I told the builder a creat motor is about the same price. Whats your take on doing it myselfHuh Just a weekend cruiser
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Alan L
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#2
a total overhaul on my Cleveland with dyno cost me over 5000$ i think the final price was about 5100$, i was quoted 3800$ to start the rebuild.

i can find my receipt and lay out what the guy charged me however it may not be accurate because i fought with the guy after the fact for the receipt for the work he did.

regardless of how crazy people think it was to pay that. My situation just lent itself to it.

The only reason i pushed forward with it was it turned out my block was matching numbers.

Had i pulled the engine and discovered it was a replacement block, i would of dropped 2500$ on a 351w Crate engine and called it a day. I went back and forth on the decision so many times. In the end the Vin matched and i wanted a Cleveland under the hood.

what really started to jack the price up from the quote was the cylinder wall damage and finding a lot of things done incorrectly.

originally when i pulled the engine i was hoping the problem was just on the top end i figured just have the heads redone for under 2000$ and i will be good to go.

then i get the news that the bearings are shot, the crank needed to be turned, the engine was .30 over done wrong, might have to go .60 over, the engine needed to be planed things were warped. This engine was lucky to make 10HG vacuum when i had it running at the best of times. so my under 2000$ dreams became a 3800$ to start rebuild, as more problems came up it jumped to a 4800$ estimate. the time line went from 4 weeks to 6 months also. then i got the final bill for around 5100$ and man was i pissed.

In retrospect i should NOT of used my builder, he was the friend of a friend, had no written all over it. i had issues with the engine after i got it back it took me another 6 months to fix it myself since my verbal warranty on the work done turned into sit and spin.

make sure the guy is willing to put it all in writing. make sure you get a completion date in writing. get quotes from different people.

I didn't do it that way because i felt i was in a friend's hands, fool me once shame on me.

For my area of the country $3800 is low. after my little adventure i asked around some other places and got quotes more in the 4500 range that made more sense.

This is why a lot of guys try to rebuild the engine themselves and save about 2000$.

my advice take the quote he gave you, and go get at least 3 other quotes from different shops, ask them about dynoing the motor, ask them about warranty , ask them if they put it all in writing. then ask around the car community about their reputation.

my guy was suppose to be one of the best his name always came back as good, but the red flags were there, he was hard up for money and had a whole month with no work lined up and could take me right away, translation "he was a drunk, got heavy in the bottle again and let his work slide until he couldn't afford to make a house payment"

the best was 1 year later while i was still fixing his lack luster engine work he calls me and tells me he has 3 Clevelands on his shelf that customers refused to pay for and he asked me if i wanted to buy one from him and he would rebuild it, i hung up.
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#3
For the work you have cited, that sounds like a bit much. Not sure what the machine shop person is speaking of when he says, test the engine. That could be any number of things and does that mean that he will "fix" anything else? Of course, prices vary around the country.

72HCODE provides some very good inputs on the subject. Most machine shops (at least here in the South) has a "price list" for the services they provide. If you are in a large enough "pool", you might want to call around to gather information on what others are charging. Also, don't hesitate to contact your local BBB to check on the reputation of anyone you are considering using.

Finally, I hesitate to say it but it is becoming less and less a fiscally conservative option to rebuild ones own motor. Crate motors are generally a lot cheaper unless you are doing something really, really special.

Yes, you and your friends could probably put the motor together but there will still be some possible machining necessary, like the knurling of the pistons.

Hope this helps.

BT
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#4
Not sure of your plans but I have a fresh 71 351 C 4 V, closed chamber head M code motor.
Came with a project car. Was sitting in the car in the corner of the shop for about 3 years, motor still wrapped in plastic from the engine shop. I just pulled it out, as I have sold the body.
Email me if you are interested
Don
[email protected]
Ohio Mustang Supply
440-949-2556

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#5
dame you don, i'm so tempted
lol
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#6
Consider your self lucky mine cost me over 8000 but everything was done the engine is blueprinted.I needed valves,pistons,piston rods.Had the heads machined for roller rockers.The engine was balanced and on and on and on.But I don't regret it.If you build it yourself you have to be really sure when you break in the engine to do it right because a camshaft can turn sour pretty quick.Use the right break in oil.And depending on how big of a cam you get sometimes you have to break it in without the inner valve springs.For me personally I wanted the peace of mind that the engine had a guarantee.So if anything goes wrong during the break in on the dyno {hopefully your machine shop has an engine dyno to do the break in.}they are responsible not me.
Eric


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DRIVE IT DON'T STORE IT!
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#7
that was one area i saved money, i wanted roller rockers and my builder said no way too expensive even for him, so i went flat tappet.

i imagine that would of tacked 3000$ more in machine work and parts.
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#8
Sounds like you and your friends have the experience and tools to handle it - I'd assemble it yourself. Find a good machine shop to assist with preparation of the block and heads and have at it. Like many, I've had some experience with builders who are good and builders who are hacks. If you can't find or afford a builder with a verifiable reputation, I think your best assurance is to do it yourself, so you know exactly what's in it and how it was done.

Mark
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#9
(10-06-2010, 07:20 AM)72Mike Wrote: Sounds like you and your friends have the experience and tools to handle it - I'd assemble it yourself. Find a good machine shop to assist with preparation of the block and heads and have at it. Like many, I've had some experience with builders who are good and builders who are hacks. If you can't find or afford a builder with a verifiable reputation, I think your best assurance is to do it yourself, so you know exactly what's in it and how it was done.

Mark

Thanks Mark for the feedback. I just got back from buying an engine stand and new torque wrench.
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Alan L
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#10
I would say do it your self, there is enough info on the net to guide you thru it. Engine rebuilding is a lot easier than many other things, like rebuilding an Electronic auto tranny. Plus its fun, just triple check everything before assembly.
The price will probably come out a little less but not by much but it will be a rewarding experience when you first fire it up.
Again triple check everythig, a mistake here could ruin the motor and your wallet.
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1972 Mustang Convertible 351C 4V
1966 Ford Galaxie 7 litre-4speed

Jorge
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