Engine Rebuilding

So your car is a little tired and just doesn’t perform like it used to….Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it has a ton of miles and could use a little something.  You may, if you are mechanically inclined, choose to do an engine rebuild.  You can buy a kit that comes with everything you need to rebuild that engine and breathe new life into it!

This is easier than you think, and with today’s modern cars, all you need to figure out is the timing chain / belt and put it all back together.  As long as the timing is correct, you should be able to do this! 

I saw a Mazdaspeed 3 on craigslist not too long ago which prompted some research into what it would take to fix the car.  There was something wrong with the motor so I looked up how much a rebuild kit would go for.  It appears they run about $500 for this particular model, and it comes with new pistons, rings, connecting rod bearings, and a full gasket set.  It also came with a new oil pump and timing chain kit since that makes sense to do if you have it all apart.

The scariest part of taking these new cars apart is all the electrical connectors.  But if you take your time and label them all this should not be an issue.

On new cars, the timing chain / belt is what controls the movement of everything.  When the crank is spinning, the timing chain is turning the camshaft or camshafts above which controls the valves opening and closing.  There are rocker arms in the head that are riding on the camshaft moving the valve (valve stem) to open the valves into the combustion chamber. 

This is all nuts and bolts stuff that can just be disassembled; when putting it all back together, look online for the torque specs and follow the instructions.  It will all go back together pretty easily.  Again, the key to the engine working properly is the timing.  On older engines there will be a distributor with a cap and rotor that will be connected to the rotating assembly by a gear of some sort; this will also need to be in time with the engine to get it to run properly.

Once you get the camshafts removed and the head to be pretty much bare, you can pull the head off the block.  This will expose the underside of the head and the valves.  It will all start to make sense once the head is off and you see how it is all connected.  It is really pretty simple.  The only special tool that you will need may be a valve spring removal tool.  Oh, you will need a torque wrench as well….and a ring compressor!

Now, we are talking about doing this in your driveway.  You can pull the block out if you want to, but if it’s still in the car, you can still do this.  Remove the oil pan to expose the crank, you will be able to get to the connecting rod bolts and undo them.  Once the bottoms of the connecting rods are removed, you will be able to pop the pistons out through the top.  Bam!  That engine is completely apart!  All you would need to do at this point is clean the parts that you are re-using and put it all back together using the new gaskets and parts that are supplied with the kit.

Maybe one day I will actually do this and write up a post with pictures.  Until then, you will just need to take my word for it that you can do this, and do it right in your driveway!

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