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#3400981 - 06/18/14 09:20 PM How long should an engine last?
dave5358 Offline


Registered: 04/25/13
Posts: 669
Loc: North Bend
In the thread A Chemists View on Gasoline in the fuel additives section, a chemist weighed in on various gasoline strategies, etc. But in his message (you have to go to his paper to read this), he stated:

"My Corvette is a 1979 that is on its second trip through the odometer (and its second engine...)"

This struck me as a bit short lived for an American V-8. Many Vette owners take very good care of their rides, but maybe the Chemist is a weekend racer or something else.

I posed this same question to a local acquaintance who opined that 100k on an older Chevy engine was about right - older Ford V-8s lasted a bit longer - mabye 150k. Newer engines last longer. It was unclear exactly what "newer engines" means, but let's say 1997 or later - basically 'clean air act' or 'computer controlled' engines.

So, how long should an engine last?

By lasting, I mean no major repairs. A tear-down for new rings or bearings is a major repair. Ditto for a thrown rod. Those engines are goners but for the repairs - end of life.

How about a leaking head gasket? Should a new head gasket constitute a major repair? How about a required head job, presumably because a valve burned, or maybe the valve stems seals started pumping oil like Texas?

How about replacing front or rear engine seals (because of major oil leakage)? End of life?

Are there other engine failures which would constitute major repair (and therefore mark the end of that engine's lifespan, but for the repair)?

I would not consider a new intake or exhaust manifold gasket a major repair, since it does not require tearing down the engine or removing the cylinder head - it's more like out-patient surgery. But if it was your vehicle and the shop just handed you an $800 bill, you might disagree.

How long should an engine last?
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#3400996 - 06/18/14 09:31 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 32000
Loc: Great Lakes
200K miles would be good enough for me.

Now, if I drove a taxi or a truck for a living, my answer would probably be different.
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#3400999 - 06/18/14 09:33 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 17201
Loc: Upstate NY
I would say between 200K and 300K for a regularly maintained engine that was not known to have issues. Gas engine.

Some never make it that far. Marine engines almost always ingest water and die that way.

The transmission should be the first thing to go. Not the engine.

Now cut my estimate by 50% if you are a MMO fanatic.
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#3401001 - 06/18/14 09:35 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
Voltmaster Offline


Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 923
Loc: California
I also wouldnt use a car passed 200k. If things are not broken , they are going to be.

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#3401002 - 06/18/14 09:37 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
Bluestream Offline


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 5223
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Too many variable to answer the question, but next time you're in a Crown Vic Cab have a look at the odometer
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#3401003 - 06/18/14 09:37 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 14114
Loc: apple valley, ca
my 1962 peterbilt is still running its original unrebuilt cummins. im sure that its over a million miles,oil pressure is getting pretty low... but its still going.

glad i sold it before it got expensive lol
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#3401004 - 06/18/14 09:38 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: Voltmaster]
Bluestream Offline


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 5223
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Originally Posted By: Voltmaster
I also wouldnt use a car passed 200k. If things are not broken , they are going to be.


If you do your own repairs its not an issue
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#3401013 - 06/18/14 09:45 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
HTSS_TR Online   content


Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 19395
Loc: Lake Forest, CA
My 1994 LS400 passed 360k miles few months ago. The major works on it was water pump some months ago, starter motor few years ago. Various other works was spark plugs, timing belt, serpentine belt ... they are more or less maintenance. The transmission is original, only work done was changing ATF fluid every 100k miles.

The valve cover and head gaskets are original.
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#3401028 - 06/18/14 09:55 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
SuperDave456 Offline


Registered: 10/29/08
Posts: 2435
Loc: Dallas, Texas
I'm about to get to 200,000 miles on my 2002 Ford Taurus.
I've stayed on top of maintenance and its mostly city milage.

Not worried about anything at this point in time, just put new tires on it also.
I plan on it lasting a long long time.

Stay on top of maintenance, do what you can yourself, and a more modern car will darn well last forever.

The #1 thing I can think of is regular ATF changes, and dropping the pan at around 30,000 miles to sweep out the debris will really help extending the life of it.
(BTW, Magnefine filters work well on the return side of the transmisson cooler line.)

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#3401029 - 06/18/14 09:55 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
daves87rs Offline


Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 15782
Loc: Michigan
I'd say 2-250k.

Of course I live in the rust belt....cars will fall apart from other things here....
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#3401032 - 06/18/14 09:59 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
Mike242GT Offline


Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 401
Loc: Largo, FL
At least a dozen Volvo red-block powered 240s, 740s and 940s have passed through my hands over the years, all of them going well over 200k without any major engine (or transmission) work. One exception was my ex-wife's 940 turbo which overheated at about 150k. Not really her fault, they used a stupid plastic heater valve which cracked, and all the coolant ran out. Went to the boneyard, pulled a used head for $50, brought it home and threw it on with a new head gasket. That car is still running - saw her driving it just the other day, now with about 230k on it.
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#3401041 - 06/18/14 10:05 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
yvon_la Offline


Registered: 05/20/14
Posts: 1269
Loc: quebec canada
Should?ask your self this:why did the trucking industry adopt inline 6.i mean we had v6 v8 supercherged turbocharged etc .we had it .name it we had it .in the end appear an inline 6 that looked meh by comparision.yet today almost 30 years later trucking still use i6.why?because no mather what engine maker say ,it is the best geometry there is.in theory rotary wankel engine should be better in term of durability but those never were oil friendly .even in gas ask any i6 owner yes gas.he or she probably expected it to die so often that he or she sold it way before it died.v engine designed cannot be balanced properly .i6 will always be one step ahead without even trying.thats why you car maker are getting rid of them .it isnt because they want this or that .its because i6 are too good.imagine a car maker creating a i6 1 liter in size.it would last very long .now try the same with a i3,4,v6,v4,v8.so you can expect about 75000 mile after that your on your own
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#3401046 - 06/18/14 10:11 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: Chris142]
yvon_la Offline


Registered: 05/20/14
Posts: 1269
Loc: quebec canada
Originally Posted By: Chris142
my 1962 peterbilt is still running its original unrebuilt cummins. im sure that its over a million miles,oil pressure is getting pretty low... but its still going.

glad i sold it before it got expensive lol
oil pressure?rofl .oil pump would have been cheaper lol.b50 engine life is usually 900000 standard so 1.600000 life is pre5y much standard.people dont buy new truck because the old is done.they buy new one because they re more efficient.cars will follow same trend or they wont sell in the futur
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#3401051 - 06/18/14 10:15 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
cashmoney Offline


Registered: 03/23/13
Posts: 508
Loc: TX
A friend of mine (traveling salesman) recently sold his 1996 Lexus ES300. It had 410k miles on the motor and AT when he sold it and it was still going strong with no major motor work ever.


Edited by cashmoney (06/18/14 10:15 PM)

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#3401071 - 06/18/14 10:33 PM Re: How long should an engine last? [Re: dave5358]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 5103
Loc: Canada
Once had 500k on an 81 Toyota 22R, later models would require timing chain replacement before that.

I'd say 200k-275K is typically a good estimate.

Funny in the UK back in the 70's the rule of thumb for the old British 4 bangers was 100K, the same as American V8's of the day.

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