Engine Replacement

My 2001 Dodge Dakota has a blown head gasket and I am trying to choose between just a head job or just replacing the entire engine with a rebuilt one.  The truck has had 163,798 trouble free miles, I bought it when it had only 3 miles. Aside from a faulty crank sensor there have been no major mechanical issues.  It’s been to the dealer once and that was for a wiring recall.  Does anyone have any recommendations on where to purchase a rebuilt motor? I have googled and a rebuilt engine is going to run me anywhere from $1400-$1900, it’s a 2.5l. No one I know has ever replaced an engine so I am not sure if I should just pick one off the google list. The mechanic I use is recommending Jasper.  I figure my budget should be $3500-$4000 for the engine, install kit, new clutch and installation.  Tell me if I am way off.  Junking the truck is out of the question.

I didn't realize you could even get an 01 Dakota with a 4 cylinder. I guess the question to ask is why did it blow the head gasket? I replaced the gasket on my Toyota SOHC 22RE 4 cylinder truck years ago. I ran it low on coolant and it warped the head causing a leak. I had to get the head planed flat but other than that the job isn't too hard to do yourself and doesn't really require any special tools besides a torque wrench. While I had it apart I replaced the timing chain/guides and sent out the injectors to be cleaned. But then again it wasn't my daily driver so it wasn't a big deal for it to be down for a week or so while I worked on it in my free time.

 

Rob

Edited by 03YZ85

Have the head trued and checked for cracks.

Slap a new gasket in there.

You should get another 164,000 miles out of it.

 

If you have to have a rebuilt engine, get a local shop to rebuild the one you have. I wouldn't touch a Jasper engine with a 10 foot pole.

 I guess the question to ask is why did it blow the head gasket?

Good question. It has never overheated and just last week I opened the hood and checked the oil and the coolant levels. Even when it blew the temp was normal it just started to run real rough.  Put a reader on and it said "#4 cylinder misfire detected" I looked up the causes and pulled the plug and the plug was wet, replaced the plug it ran smooth for a second then rough, pulled the plug again and it was wet again. Looked up those symptoms and blown head gasket or cracked head came up as the cause for that. I figure since I want to keep the truck and the first estimate I got for just a head job was $1700 I might as well go all in and do the whole motor.

Have the head trued and checked for cracks.

Slap a new gasket in there.

You should get another 164,000 miles out of it.

 

If you have to have a rebuilt engine, get a local shop to rebuild the one you have. I wouldn't touch a Jasper engine with a 10 foot pole.

Thanks for the input.

Edited by BrassOnes

Jasper=No.

 

That's all I know as far as this thread is concerned so I'll shut up.

just do the head gasket. its simple stuff realy

Of course that's if the head gasket is the problem. Its a big project for only a fouled plug. What does the exhaust smell like? Are you losing coolant? Are you getting water in the oil? Oil in the water? Have you done a compression test? Have you pressure tested the cooling system?

Jasper=No.

That's all I know as far as this thread is concerned so I'll shut up.

That's 2 against Jasper. Looks like their off the list.

Of course that's if the head gasket is the problem. Its a big project for only a fouled plug. What does the exhaust smell like? Are you losing coolant? Are you getting water in the oil? Oil in the water? Have you done a compression test? Have you pressure tested the cooling system?

I only did the plug then I brought it to a professional, he confirmed a blown head gasket. His quote was $1700 for just a head job and said that I should consider a complete rebuild or rebuilt motor because of the mileage. I figure throw a few thousand into something I really want to keep is a good thing.

I only did the plug then I brought it to a professional, he confirmed a blown head gasket. His quote was $1700 for just a head job and said that I should consider a complete rebuild or rebuilt motor because of the mileage. I figure throw a few thousand into something I really want to keep is a good thing.

IF you have been good with oil changes, refresh head, hone cylinders, re-ring, replace lower end bearings, cam bearings, timing chain sprockets, oil pump. should be good to go. Assuming no appreciable cam/lifter/crank wear.   Usually get 300K miles out of small block chevys this way no problem.  Your time and about $500.00

That is an AMC based I-4. It is pretty much a Jeep 4.0L with 2 cylinders missing and are reliable as heck. $1,700 for a head swap is absolutely ridiculous to me, but you do live in CA where it costs a bajillion dollars to live. The 2.5 head is a fairly easy job. The cam is in the block so you don't even have to mess with cam or cam chain. I'm a hobbyist and I can't see that taking more than 4-5 hours in my home garage. A professional mechanic should be able to do it quicker. 

The one thing you should understand about a blown head gasket is...there is a possibility of the block being warped.....which would take removal and total dis assembly to remedy....how many miles...how long did you drive it leaking..or how long till noticed it.....all are factors in how much damage could have occurred. If you rebuild the head and not the bottom end...its pretty much a given that its going to fail...sooner than later....if you know how to check the block and the head for warpage and they both check ok.. Then just change the gasket...but if any other scenario is the case...IMO..your better off just replacing the whole engine

Sounds like a lot of work for just a misfire. If it was dumping enough to foul a fresh plug in seconds youd surely be able to notice coolant in places that it shouldn't be, like the tailpipe. Id take it to 2 or 3 more shops and say you want the misfire diagnosed. Don't say anything about the head gasket, its a gravy train job for mechanics and they'll replace it if you say so.

 

You said the plug was wet. Did you smell it? Taste it? Just wanna clarify since you didn't say what it was wet with. Im thinking its either fuel or ignition based on what you gave us so far, but these things are hard to diagnose over the internet.

If your good with a wrench do head gasket yourself. If all you have to do is replace acouple of gaskets whats the risk in that a 100 bucks maybe I say go for it. If you get it right you take pride in your ability

I only did the plug then I brought it to a professional, he confirmed a blown head gasket. His quote was $1700 for just a head job and said that I should consider a complete rebuild or rebuilt motor because of the mileage. I figure throw a few thousand into something I really want to keep is a good thing.

 

If it wasn't using oil in a normal oil change interval, and the oil isn't milky with antirfreeze, I'd do the head gasket and forget about the reman.  Check the block for trueness (rare to warp a block) and send the head out and get it checked, and put it back together.

 

Throw a fresh water pump, belts, hoses, flush the cooling system, new plugs and wires while you're in there, and drive worry free.

If it wasn't using oil in a normal oil change interval, and the oil isn't milky with antirfreeze, I'd do the head gasket and forget about the reman.  Check the block for trueness (rare to warp a block) and send the head out and get it checked, and put it back together.

 

Throw a fresh water pump, belts, hoses, flush the cooling system, new plugs and wires while you're in there, and drive worry free.

Exactly what I will be doing. Also going replace the clutch assembly.

If its just a head gasket, unbolt, tilt head upward, prop up, leave everything connected, prep surface, install new gasket, set down, torque to specs. Drive.

If its just a head gasket, unbolt, tilt head upward, prop up, leave everything connected, prep surface, install new gasket, set down, torque to specs. Drive.

 

If I'm going to do a slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am gasket job, I also like to use spray copper.

 

http://www.permatex.com/products-2/product-categories/gasketing/gasket-sealants/permatex-copper-spray-a-gasket-hi-temp-sealant-detail

 

I use it in ALL applications for old tractor engines (talking 60 year old machines, where machining tolerances weren't all that tight).

If your going to just do the gasket don't rebuild the head.  You'll bring the compression up and you'll get some nice blow bye with the old pistons and rings in there.  Just throw a gasket in it and be done with it.  If you go the reman route look at a gopher brand reman.  I've used several and had great luck with them.  They laser line bore all their blocks now.

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