Reseal my engine or buy rebuilt?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Jim, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. Jim

    Jim Guest

    I have a dealer estimate of about $2k for a complete engine
    reseal...all seals and gaskets, including the head gasket (which
    has a small coolant leak). About 1600 of this is labor.

    An independent Subaru mechanic
    says the head gasket is so labor intensive he recommends
    a rebuilt engine It's hard to believe this would be less than
    repairing mine, which has 107K miles, but I am wondering
    if there is good reason to spend the moneyt for a rebuilt
    engine vs rebuilding mine?
    Jim, Jan 5, 2004
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  2. Jim

    J999w Guest

    What kind of car?

    J999w, Jan 5, 2004
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  3. Jim

    Jim Guest

    sorry...its a 1997 legacy brighton wagon with the 2.2L engine.
    Jim, Jan 5, 2004
  4. Hi,

    How badly are things leaking? If it's just a tiny coolant leak (no
    overheating, serious loss of coolant, etc.), you may be able to put a
    half tube of AlumaSeal (the powder, not the liquid) in the radiator and
    get a few miles out of it for about $4 or so. That's taken care of most
    of the "weeping" coolant leak in my engine (that my Subie parts guy
    tells me is "common") for well over 100k miles. I still have to add
    coolant every couple of weeks to top it up (about 1/2"), but I can buy a
    LOT of coolant for $2k!

    If things ARE more serious, I'd think about shopping for prices. $1600
    for labor, even at the local rate of $80/hr, comes out to 20 hours on my
    calculator. Someone's working even slower than I do. Or working the flat
    rate book awfully hard! I'd ask for a breakdown on those labor charges
    before committing!

    Rick Courtright, Jan 5, 2004
  5. Jim

    CW Guest

    That's insane! Better to do a motor swap.
    CW, Jan 5, 2004
  6. Jim

    Edward Hayes Guest

    1600 dollars sounds insane to me. I would go to and see
    what other are paying. Did you buy your car new; drive it sensibly and
    follow a good maintenance program?? If so: you should easily get another
    50,000 miles without much if any engine problems. Funny how easy someone can
    spend 100 dollars of my money but if you ask them for 1 dollar you'd think
    you were putting then in the poor house. eddie
    Edward Hayes, Jan 6, 2004
  7. Jim

    2 Stroke Guest

    A "re-seal" is a waste of time and money. It's a ploy to charge you a
    lot of money without having to guarantee anything. If your engine
    fails a month later, they can simply point to the fact that the engine
    was old.

    Anecdotal truth: If you spend any time on automotive dicsussion
    boards, or talking to real mechanics, you will NEVER hear anybody say,
    "I just re-sealed my engine".

    The previous advice about powdered stop leak is a much better idea
    than the re-seal. If it doesn't work, and you have to spend major
    dollars on the car, get a rebuilt engine or have yours rebuilt. The
    money spent on a re-seal won't make the eventual rebuild any less
    expensive. You will never recover any of that money. A rebuilt
    engine, OTOH, adds value and longevity to the car.

    just my $.02,

    2 Stroke, Jan 6, 2004
  8. Jim

    Jim Guest

    so far, i've not had to add any coolant. there's just some coolant
    on the underside of the engine that is coming from the head gasket
    says the Subaru dealer.

    meanwhile, i'm also hoping to slow or stop the oil leaks with one of
    the additives that restores seals. it's been in about 600 miles and
    i think that might be helping.'s more a smelly
    and occasionally smoky nuisance. haven't had to add oil
    between changes.

    the labor was broken down and totalled about 18 hours I believe.
    I assume this wsa from the flat rate book but maybe bot accounting
    for overlap.

    Jim, Jan 7, 2004
  9. Jim

    Edward Hayes Guest

    By overlap you mean charging one for removing a part to get to a part and
    then charging again to remove the same part to get to another???
    Edward Hayes, Jan 7, 2004
  10. Jim

    Jim Guest


    Jim, Jan 7, 2004
  11. I'd be hesitant to use a mechanic who charges like that...

    Most decent mechanics I've known can beat the flat rate book by
    somewhere from a little to a LOT. In my "real life" I'm a tax
    consultant, and a couple of my clients are dealer mechanics--both tell
    me they should double the book rate in their shops, in other words, do
    the work in half the time the book says. While an independent might not
    be so quick, since he may be working on more kinds of cars, etc., he
    still shouldn't be overlapping charges. Unless you just like to toss
    money his way...

    Are you a mechanically inclined person with time and a place to work on
    the car? I'm thinking $1600 will buy a lot of tools!

    Rick Courtright, Jan 7, 2004
  12. Jim

    Jim Guest

    So would I I guess I should at least get a look at a flat rate

    Nope. On this car I change my oil and that's about it. I did some
    more stuff on much older cars, but never involving pulling the engine.
    I might have the skill, but not the patience. :-(
    Jim, Jan 8, 2004
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