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Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? #5080744 04/20/19 12:22 PM
Joined: May 2005
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CBR.worm Offline OP
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One of my favorite cars, My '06 Infiniti FX45 had two intake runner butterfly screws go through the motor. I don't know when the first one went through, but the other night I was sitting at a traffic light and heard a car making a horrible knocking noise, the noise disappeared when the ford truck and I left the light, I didn't give it another thought. A couple hundred miles later I heard that horrible noise again, pulled over and could tell that it was coming from the left bank near the head - from prior experience, it sounded like something fell in the motor, but that was not very likely. I was then thinking that the CVTC cam gear or a chain tensioner was failing - as I have heard similar noises from this type of failure. I was in a bad spot and figured that even if I could drive just a mile up the road, my kids and I would be less likely to be attacked.

I started driving, within a minute or so (of stop and go traffic) the engine was silent again. I drove the rest of the way home, about 50 miles, on backroads that I could easily coast off to the side if required. The noise never came back. Obviously, I knew something was wrong. I pulled the left VC off, everything looked fine. The intake came was not able to be moved freely, so at the very least, the locking pin was locked in place. I pulled the plugs, they all looked OK. I stuck the camera down the front left hole (#2) and the piston top looked ok. This engine has always had a lot of oil in the chamber and has never really had carbon deposits stick to the pistons. I compared it to pics I took a few years ago, could have been similar. #4 looked like it may have been chewing on some small stuff, or possibly detonation damage, same with #6. #8 had obviously just had a screw bouncing around in it for some period of time. The quench area on the exhaust side looks like a small mountain range. I couldn't see any damage to the intake valves or seats. I could not get a picture of the exh valves or seats (yet). That cylinder seems to have more oil in it than the others, but I think it has always been the wettest. Everything on the right side looks normal. Luckily, I never touched these screws, so at least it isn't something I did (nor is it oil related).

For some background, the interior of the car is in very good condition, it is a two-tone dark brown leather and black that I like and is fairly uncommon. The body has no dings or dents. A few scrapes on the front bumper. It drives exactly the way I want it to, and it tows my trailers perfectly. I develop sentimental attachments to my cars, BTW.

About 10K miles ago, as a preventative measure, I replaced the water pump and radiator (this generation of Nissan has a slight tendancy to mix ATF with coolant) and hoses. I also replaced the front lower control arms with new OE parts as the old ones were starting to make some noise.

So, the car has ~185K miles on it and up to this point has had almost no mechanical failures. The A/C, Adaptive Cruise, Transmission, nothing like that. The only issues have been brakes, tires, wheel bearings, and a starter. I replaced the front driveshaft at around 140K because they are a known weak point which take out nearby parts when they fail.


So, my options now are:

Drive it as it is and let it eat - maybe pull back the timing a couple of degrees to make detonation less likely on my newly chewed up piston. Maybe I'll get 6 months? I wouldn't trust it. I just returned from a 3K mile trip through the mountains a few weeks ago.

Get a Junkyard motor - these seem to be around $2-$2.5K for 100K engines. In general, these engines have a history of throwing rods if they are not maintained perfectly. I would figure another $1,500 for refresh parts and install help. If I could get oil pan or under valve cover pics I would be more comfortable with this.

Do a partial rebuild myself - the parts for this motor are quite expensive. Just a set of OE pistons and rings and timing kit and a mix of OE and aftermarket seals/gaskets is more than the price of a junkyard engine. I would still need the machine work. That doesn't include the heads, which have titanium valves. I don't know what the service life is of Ti valves in an ideal world. If they bit on a screw once or twice...

Sell it as drivable, but needs a motor and/or take it to the scavenge yard that gives me the best price.

I could also sell a couple $K worth of parts, but then I would be left with a hulk of a vehicle stuck in my garage that would need to be dragged out to go to the scrapyard.


My thought is that if I put $4K into it now w/ a junkyard engine, the engine might be good? The transmission will probably fail within the next 2 years, requiring replacement/rebuild.

So if I set aside $10K for repairs for the next two years (about 35K miles)

I paid ~$23K for this car almost 10 years ago.

My replacement options are pretty much limited to the FX50 or QX70 V8 w/ the sport package and adaptive cruise/tech package in a color other than black. They are unicorns and priced appropriately. Frequently, clean low mile units that are 5+ years old will show up for $30+K a thousand miles away. Lower priced cars have over 100K miles already.

My budget for a replacement car right now would be <$20K unless I finance some of it. I don't like the idea of having a car payment - at least not now. I could buy a used minivan and give up on the SUV that handles well on tight curvy roads. It's also a quandary because I don't like the way the newer cars look, but I like the way they drive.

Luckily, I have an extra car that can become my DD while I figure out what to do.

Logic tells me to throw in the towel on this car, I'm just afraid of getting a 100K mile 'newer' one that needs a similar amount of work and/or is less reliable.

If anyone has any insight, I would appreciate it. I am also afraid that I will run into ancillary issues after pulling/replacing the motor, like A/C issues or other random stuff.

I will try to attach pics of my 180K mile valvetrain and the missing screws.

IMG_1761.jpgIMG_1769.jpg

'06 Infiniti G35 Sedan 6MT - 180k
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080748 04/20/19 12:27 PM
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demarpaint Offline
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Amazing what two little screws can do. The engine otherwise looks clean and well maintained.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080754 04/20/19 12:39 PM
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das_peikko Offline
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Looks like a pretty nice car to me. I'd red Loctite the screws next time.

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Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080760 04/20/19 12:45 PM
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atikovi Online Content
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Don't throw good money after bad. Whatever got sucked in may have burned up and came out the exhaust. Keep driving and don't worry about it. If the noise comes back, deal with it then. Spending money to replace an engine on a high mileage 13 year old car makes little sense.

Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080763 04/20/19 12:48 PM
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maxdustington Online Content
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Either JY mill or bail on it. Too expensive to fix.

You can't get attached to modern automatic transmission cars.


03 Jetta AWP/09A 210k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080769 04/20/19 12:57 PM
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For lack of a nail, a shoe was lost... and then the whole battle

Capt Queeg; circa 1944.


2004 Prius; 118K; ALM
2007 Yaris 98K ATM
2006 B2300;137K;ALM


Was driving an ox cart; Now on the USS Enterprise
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080770 04/20/19 12:57 PM
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KGMtech Online Happy
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I'd tear down the engine to see the extent of damage and then make your plan. Yes it's an older car, but as you said it does everything you ask of it, so sentimental aspects aside, get it torn down to see how bad it really is before you part ways.


2017.5 Nissan Rogue SV FWD
2013 Nissan Maxima SV
2009 Ford Flex SEL FWD
1984 Yamaha XJ750RL
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080772 04/20/19 12:58 PM
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javacontour Offline
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Drive it the way it is.

As long as it passes emissions and isn't guzzling oil, drive it until it doesn't drive.

It could be relegated to spare car status.

Any money spent would be gas, oil and scheduled maintenance. Heroic spending would go towards a replacement vehicle if this were my car.


network down, IP packets delivered via UPS -BOFH
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080775 04/20/19 01:04 PM
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NO2 Online Content
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We usually keep our cars for a long time. But $4K for a used engine likely to fail - not a rebuilt - seems like too much. Whatever you do this model is a lemon.

We had a Nissan V6 with repeated exhaust manifold bolt issues. After the 4th repair, we dumped it.

I'd change my expectations. Get a more reliable brand model. There is plenty of data in Consumer reports. Your car is almost 14 years old, and you could pick up a very nice 3-5 year old vehicle for 10-20K that is better than your current model. 10 years is 2 generations nicer in car land. Motors are smaller and a lot more powerful. Infotainment systems work with your phone. Mileage has improved.

Part of the problem is that parts for low volume luxury models are very expensive. Your better off getting the high-end trim version of the 'regular' model from the same manufacturer. Most of the difference is in dealer experience and advertising anyway.

Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080778 04/20/19 01:07 PM
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heynow Offline
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I would see what your compression numbers are, as well as oil consumption and likely just try to keep driving as is. It's amazing the beating that some engines can take, and keep on ticking. If it blows, then it would be time to replace the engine with a junkyard unit.

Last edited by heynow; 04/20/19 01:07 PM.

1991 Acura NSX
2010 X5 35d twin turbo diesel
2005 BMW r1200GS
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080792 04/20/19 01:21 PM
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I would drive it into the ground, or atleast drive it and see what changes. My old accord had a spark plug break apart around 240,000 miles. It went from a perfectly running car that burned no oil to a perfectly running car with a gouged cylinder wall burning 1 quart every 900 miles. Oil consumption increased over the remaining 146,000 more miles I drove that car. Until it threw a rod at 386,000


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95 Accord - 386k. Mobil 2 RIP
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080796 04/20/19 01:30 PM
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rooflessVW Online Content
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New screws with loctite (high temp) and drive on.

Deal with a dead engine when you have a dead engine. Yours just got a little hungry, and seems satisfied for now.


"Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead."
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080801 04/20/19 01:35 PM
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Let’s see. Thirteen year old car with 185,000 miles. The wrecking yards are full of such cars. If you have a use for it, I’d run it until it’s done. You might try a tank of premium to see if it makes any difference. smile


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: CBR.worm] #5080804 04/20/19 01:38 PM
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FlyNavyP3 Offline
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So it runs, drives, is somewhat injured, too expensive to fix properly, too risky to slam a junk yard engine in it without reworking the engine before installing, and you no longer trust the vehicle.

I can't help but think RUN. Better yet, drive, to the nearest Car Max for a buyout offer, or to a car lot to trade it in while it still runs and has some value.

I can't see how putting any money into it is anything other than throwing good money after bad.


Luke
P-3C and P-8A Maritime Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Instructor Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander
Re: Lost an engine, rebuild, replace, scrap? [Re: rooflessVW] #5080805 04/20/19 01:38 PM
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wag123 Online Content
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Originally Posted by rooflessVW
New screws with loctite (high temp) and drive on.

Deal with a dead engine when you have a dead engine. Yours just got a little hungry, and seems satisfied for now.

+7
Run'er until she blows. You have nothing to lose. While you have it apart, loctite ALL of the screws.

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