The end of Storm 1 (my chase vehicle).

What should I do now?

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May 4, 2005
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
As of now, Storm 1 (The vehicle in my avatar) is out of commission.... permanently. I left my house in Bentonville, Ar, headed to set up for the days activities on Sept, 15th. The car was running just fine, like it was had been since its last servicing. I caught up with the system at about the Arkansas, Missouri (boot leg of Missouri, Mississippi County, Mo) and right when the going gets good, I here three loud click, than a loud boom and thus I pulled over promptly and shut her down, put her in neutral and coasted to a stop. When I got out of my car I set up my road hazard signs and could see a long trail of oil coming out from under the vehicle. I had it towed back to the closest Nissan dealer in Jonesboro, AR, and it was there, when they put it up on the lift, that is was obvious I had thrown a rod. It had blown a hole in my oil pan and was sitting there right in plain sight. It will cost around $10,000 to get a new motor, plus labor (estimate given to me by several sources) and my cash flow is not flowing nearly enough to make a decision on what to do next. Should I sell (which is what I most likely will do) or should I find a new engine, or should I gamble and put in a used engine with no certainty of its history? One other thing I forgot to mention, when they pulled the oil from my vehicle it was obvious that it had been in there for a while, like 4,000-5,000 miles, but according to the sticker on my windshield I still have another 2,000 miles to go before my next oil change. Either they didn't change my oil at the lube or they forgot to put a new oil filter on her. Anyways at the moment it looks like I might not get too much out of next years season unless I can get the ol'gal running again, or find a new vehicle before then.

Here is a picture of what happened.

Ironically the motor that we had in the engine was its second one (my Father forgot to ever change the oil in the first engine), and it came from a Pathfinder that ironically had a rather large lamp post on the dealership lot, get tossed onto it during a tornado, totaling the driver and side ok the passenger compartment. The motor was not damaged in the storm.
Seeing as I have JUST done this myself (fortunately my rod didn't put holes in anything), my vote would be to get a used engine. I checked junkyards around the area and found a used engine with 69,000 miles for $600. A buddy of mine who does engines is putting it in for me for a few hundred. Add to the other stuff I had to fork out cash for (plugs, wires, front brakes, etc), it'll run about $1500 when all's said and done.

I guess my situation's nice cause I have a cheap car (1999 Tracer) with a cheaper engine and a friend that'll put it in for cheaper than a shop. If you can go that route, I would recommend it. Especially if you're using it to chase.

My other reasoning for the new engine was because I knew what I had already put into it and took care of it, so putting a new engine meant the new shocks and stuff would be good, so it was worth it to me to make the switch. That and I do NOT want a car payment again!

So yeah, if you have the means, its worth replacing the engine. If not, a used car would be my second option.

Good luck!
I voted for "used motor", but what I really mean is a reconditioned/rebuilt motor. I'd take whatever you pick up at the junkyard to an engine shop at least to make sure everything is brought up to spec before you put it in, including new gaskets and seals, timing belt, etc. You could theoretically do this with the blown engine, but you'd be out of commission while it's being rebuilt. My guess is that the blown engine had other problems that resulted in the dirty oil and the rod failure.

Put in new hoses and a water pump while you're at it, and a HD alternator if you don't already have one. As long as the rest of the car is in good shape, when you're done you'll have practically a new car much less money.
Oh wow man that sucks. That right there is a perfect example of why I always to my own maintenance. I have known too many people lose an engine due to an improper (or not even done) oil change by a 3rd party place. The worst part is, it's darn near impossible to prove they were responsible for it by the time the damage is done.

If you like the vehicle and obviouly already have it all set up for chasing, go for the replacement engine. Even a junk yard one can be a good find and most junk yards will throw in a short term warranty if you let them install it.
I am the only hands who touch my Miata. The Pathfinder was originally my father’s spare vehicle. Let’s just say that he didn't take the best care of it. Once I got a hold of it I had to put a new engine in her. I normally do the oil changes my self but this last time I had to have a quick lube change it because I forgot to before I headed off to visit family in Texas and thus I had to change it on the road to keep from going over the 3k mile mark.
Sorry to hear of this..

I doubt they would be able to determine when the oil was changed with that much precision, especially since a dramatic failure has occured. If the engine was experiencing high wear before the failure than it may have caused your oil to break down faster than normal, and provide increased material (metal particles etc.) to get caught in the filter.

I would stongly urge you to find out the costs of the other options (used/reconditioned motors) before you make your decision. Your estimate sounds awfully high. Of course another factor will be the condition of the rest of the vehicle; if it's in excellent condition than the new(or nearly new) motor may give the old gal a new lease on life and provide excellent value over an overpriced new car or questionable history used car.
I just did a quick check for engines on eBay, there are a few listed for Pathfinders in the $600-700 range. Given there is only 1 page of listings, I am guessing this motor is a little harder to come by then some, especially if you don't live near a major metro area...might be the reason he's getting higher prices quoted.

My windstar is now nearing 110k. Still running great, but I am planning on picking up a cheap used engine for it on eBay, completely refurbishing it, then seal it up in plastic and store it for the day when my engine goes caput and then I can have the engine swapped out in a matter of days with a practically new one. Should give you some idea of how long I plan on keeping it. :wink:
Originally posted by David Drummond
My windstar is now nearing 110k. Still running great, but I am planning on picking up a cheap used engine for it on eBay, completely refurbishing it, then seal it up in plastic and store it for the day when my engine goes caput and then I can have the engine swapped out in a matter of days with a practically new one. Should give you some idea of how long I plan on keeping it. :wink:

I'll second that. Many people consider a vehicle "done" when the motor dies; however considering the investment many of us make in our vehicle it makes sense to treat the motor as another "component" of the vehicle, just like we would the tires or other major assemblies (higher cost notwithstanding). Having a spare is not unreasonable at all! Despite my engine still working well (197K on the clock) I'm also in the market for another one, which shouldn't be difficult considering the proliferation of Jeep 4.0 motors out there.
Ahh, the Jeep straight 6. One of the easiest engines out there to work on! You can darn near overhaul one of those right in the car! I rebuilt one of those in 2001 in the Jeep my wife had at the time.

I have had to rebuilt several engines for her actually, cars don't like her much for some reason. There was that one, one for the Escort Wagon that was actually a junkyard replacement we put in. Then there was the Mitsubishi Eclipse engine, it was bad when we bought it cheap though...some idiot changed his own timing belt and didn't put the bolt back in one of the gears....threw the belt, bent all the valves... anyway...then there was the Saturn. Got I hate that car. The only engine out of the many in my life I have overhauled that literally kicked my butt and despite almost entirely new internal components and some external, it would not run afterwards. Even stumped numerous Certified Saturn Techs. I am getting my revenge on that one though as I am parting out the stupid car.

So I am not at all strange to the idea of replacing an engine much like you would any other component. Especially if the vehicle overall has been well cared for, no reason you can't get several hundered thousand miles out of one. After all, your vehicle is the second largest investment the majority of people will make in their lives, eclipsed only by their home.

For chase vehicles, if you have one you really decked out, you have a LOT of man hours into it (or payed really well for someone else to do it). You get used to it an all it's little quirks. If you hear something funny on a chase, you KNOW it's not normal. After rigging out 3 of my own vehicles over the last five years, frankly, I am tired of redoing the work when I change vehicles. So I made the decision to keep this one long term and get myself a pickup for everyday use.

Didn't mean to hi-jack your thread Bart, but maybe some of our ramblings can help you make a decision. I guess junkyard engine replacements aren't for everyone, some people need the security of having something new, especially if they aren't particularly inclined themselves to grab up a wrench for major repairs. Kinda like computers...some people love custom builts that come with short term warranties (or none at all) to get EXACTLY what they want, others like the comfort a name brand factory warranty supplies.
I did not consider the vehicle dead after the first engine went, but the second one, yeah, I think I will call it on this one, mainly because I something better on gas mileage.

And no go right ahead, you discussion is helping me make a decision.
I'd opt for a used motor (just find one from a reputable place and try to get one that has some type of limited warranty). Even if you have to do a little maintenance, it should be less than 10 grand :) When I have my oil changed, it's usually at a shop that I get to know the employees (usually through a friend) and I watch or stand out and help them (I know these can be hard to find, over the years I have 3 shops that can do just about anything I'd ever need to a car and I personally know the people that work on them now). As with any used equipment, it's always a gamble, but if your getting a newer model, lower millage engine, the internals should be okay assuming the motor was maybe out of a car that was rear-ended or something (again, this is where you want a motor from a reputable place). Then there's always the fun of finding someone to put it in. There's always shops everywhere, just look into them first to make sure they aren't shady. One of the guys I met at my tire place does my motor-work outside of his job (cheaper for me, more money for him... shhh, don't tell his boss :) )
Originally posted by Bart_Comstock
It will cost around $10,000 to get a new motor, plus labor (estimate given to me by several sources) and my cash flow is not flowing nearly enough to make a decision on what to do next.

$10,000 for a new motor???? And without labor???? You have got to be kidding me! Whoever gave you that estimate should be reported to the Better Business Bureau.

First of all, just because your engine is dead (and still could possibly be rebuilt instead of replaced), the rest of the componants are fine. You have to watch out for this scheme, because parts such as the fuel injection system, alternator, AC, etc. are still useable, as they should not have sustained any damage. Second...I have to ask this...was this a quote from a dealer? That is the only place (for the most part) that would be giving you a quote on a brand new, never run (non-refurbished) engine. Here is an excellent example:

Pathfinder 2000 XTERRA VG33E, SOHC, 12 Valve. “V’ Shape Oil Pump With Filter Housing Part of Pump 342
$295 (core deposit: refundable when you send your old core back)

PowerPro Longblock Crate Engine prices are the cost of the Longblock Engine plus the refundable core listed to the left of the Longblock cost. This deposit will be refunded after you return our shipping container with your old engine core. With our 13 branch shipping locations, you never pay freight. Our prices include all shipping and handling. Our Factory Warranty is 5yrs/100,000 Miles.

Somebody is trying to rip you off. Before you make a decision, do some more research. I would opt for a used engine myself, and change the timing belt and a few major gaskets before installation., also, it's not a bad idea to replace the rear main seal before mating it with the transmission.

Oh yeah...just for comparison with the quotes you were getting for a new Pathfinder Engine:

GM PART # 12499750
CATEGORY: Eng Asm (shipped only to local fedex hub 4 pickup)
GM LIST: $7,500.00
OUR PRICE: $5,250.00
This is the production 2005 LS2 corvette engine complete from intake to oilpan. This will not have a wiring harness nor ecm.

NOTE* Pulleys, serpentine belts, power steering pump, a/c pump, starter, alternator and engine covers are not included with this engine.

Now that has to make for a good question: Is a Nissan Pathfinder engine more expensive than a Corvette engine? Maybe you should just put the LS1 in the Pathfinder! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Just couldn't resist...Remember what I said about LS1 into the pathfinder? How about in a Miata:


Engine: Ford 5.0 EFI. HO
Transmission: Borg-Warner/Tremec T-5, 5 Speed
Differential: Ford 7.5"IRS. 1990-96 Thunderbird or Cougar. Custom Hubs & axles. 3.27.1 gear ratio
Suspension Front & rear springs upgraded to allow for the weight difference. Front anti-roll bar upgraded.
Brakes Stock


An LS1 would fit just as easily.
Well i do have a miata as well... hmmmm, j/k i'm quite content with the 4 cyl motor thats in her right now, a big ol' ls1 is just a bit to much for the old road course, no monster miata for me.
Excellent idea Chris :D ! Hey, when I was in my teens, we built up a 400 Chevy small block, and with a conversion kit, hooked it to a Munice 4 speed and put it into a Chevy Monza. MAN was that thing FAST! I ran mid 11's in the 1/4 mile consistantly. Ahhhhh to relive those days again.....
They also make kits to put small block Chevys into Fieros.

In regards to a new engine, how many miles are on your vehicle? Because Murphy's Law states that as soon as you put a new engine in your vehicle, 3 weeks later your transmission will go.

A guy I work with has a Pathfinder just like yours, and dropped his trans. and was told that transmissions in those vehicles are a problem.

Try looking here:

They have always had good deals on Reman engines (and trannies)

$10k for a new engine is BS....even $5k is high.

Get a rebuilt motor, or pull the current one and rebuild it if possible. If you can rebuild this one, figure about $1k for machining and $1k for parts.

If you want to sell the truck, get a running engine in it first.
take a chance on a good used low mileage moter (like Tony suggests)
ask alot of question about its history 1st though

AND if you change your oil every 3,000 miles they will last forever - I've got 162k on a buick 3.8 right now and it doesnt burn a drop of oil between changes!

EVEN synthetics should be dumped at 4,000 no matter what they say! oil is cheap repairs are $$$$$
good luck

(18 yrs in automotive repair business experience talkin here)
I guess I am an outlier here. If you were planning on spending that much money, I would use it to purchase something brand new that shouldn't give you any problems for a long time. I would hate to see something else go wrong that would cost another large amount of money. These days, you could probably get a decent brand new vehicle for a reasonable price...especially if you have a decent downpayment.
A reiteration from the first chase car thread---Rebuilding, when done by someone who cares about their craft, can make a good motor great. The 318 in my 84 Dodge van lasted up to 279K, at which time it was rebuilt by a speed shop that did excellent machine work. That's why it's still going (and on it's second rear axle and fourth tranny) at 598,800.

Cost (during late 1990s):
Remove and replace - $240.
Rebuild - $1400.
Total - $1640, roughly equivalent to five or six car payments?

When we cross 600,000 next month, I'm taking barbecue and cake to the speed shop.

I fully concur that the $10K price for a motor is outrageous----I'd check the BBB on that operation. A local Chevy dealer here tried to sell a friend a new engine for her rough-running 1980 Corvette (at about $3000). She took it to a local wrench, who replace a vacuum hose, ran the carbon deposits out of it and timed it. She spent about $80, drove until she sold it eight years later.

Good luck and happy new year.

Dave Gallaher
Huntsville, AL