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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I've done everything short of tearing open the engine and the engine looks stuck solid. I've opened a thread on the Classifieds looking for a running engine.

Not sure how much luck I will have finding a reliable engine, so at this point the rebuild sounds more likely. Really thinking that the wisest long term move is to pull the engine and tranny and do a complete overhaul. Bearings, seals, sleeves, pistons, rings....

I can't see doing this job halfway. The car has sat for some undetermined period of time and I'm guessing too long for the seals to have much reliable life left. So if I have to do this, doesn't a rebuild make the most sense unless I can find a decent engine used?

Has anyone done a rebuild recently and have an idea of the cost? Just looking to go with stock parts - no performance upgrades.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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Dunno about the cost aspect, but if you can swing it, nab a decent spare and swap it in so you can rebuild the original at a more leasurely pace.

That'll give you a fresh spare, or if you swap it back in, another engine that can be rebuilt, boosted with performance parts, or just parted out to recover some of the $ end of things.

In other words, it's never wrong to have at least two engines.
(I know a spare wouldn't bother me in the least anyway)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That would be the ideal situation. At the moment I am in the process of building a garage and will shortly have a good work and storage space. I think I will wait to do the engine after the garage is finished. One project at a time is enough!

I've been thinking for a while that having two engines is the best situation. Wife wants the car drivable, I want it mechanically sound for a reasonable length of time. Don't want an engine that, while it runs today, may have problems next year. I mean, if the engine is rebuilt and maintained it will be sound for quite a few years depending on how much I drive it. I guess I could do a swap, fix the original and learn from that and then maybe do some upgrades as you suggest.

Now I just need that engine...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There is a S4 engine on Ebay right now on auction. Is there any reason, if I swap over all of my L-Jet goodies that this engine wouldn't work?
 

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"Don't want an engine that, while it runs today, may have problems next year."

Umm, that doesn't sound like you'll ever get there with a Spider with 25+ years on it. There is always something that is worn out and about to break, in my experience. I've owned mine for a couple of years and it's low mileage, and in great shape, but there's been a head gasket, cam cover gasket, oil pan gasket, TPS switch, MAP sensor, ignition switch, wiper sprayer motor, wiper switch, trunk release cable, and a few other things that have all reached the end of their life during the course of my custodial duties so far. I just think it's the way it is. Old cars are a pleasure to own, and Alfas in particular are a pleasure to drive, but I wouldn't want one as my only vehicle unless I was comfortable walking to work.

Tim
 

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First thing I would do would be try to determine why the current engine is locked. If its pistons and the bottom end is fine....not so bad to rebuild. But if its bearings....I would find another block with good standard bearing crank and build it up and save the other for a latter assessment. I have recently found myself in your position....but with bad bearings....so I source another block and am currently working on it now. Now on the parts.....just depends on what you want to reuse vs. replace. And don't forget all the while you are in there you might as well replace this now stuff.... Also...you'll need to eval your head and its status. It may be good enough to just move over, or it may need fresh valves, guides, stem seals, machine work...etc. I won't get into all the pricing parts....but there are several sources outlined in the parts suppliers list found as a sticky in the general Alfa forum at the top of the bb.

On the block:
complete gasket set
roll pins if not already there
vitons for the roll pins
head gasket (reinz)
main bearings
rod bearings
water pump
oil pressure gauge and light senders
upper and lower timing chains
maybe a piston/sleeve set
thrust washers
maybe an oil pump
maybe rod bolts

On the head:
maybe valves, guides, and stem seals
resurfaced and pressure tested
valves relapped
valve springs
shims
maybe buckets
exhaust manifold nuts

While you are there:
maybe clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing
motor mounts
fan blade
maybe clutch slave, hose, and mc rebuild
maybe resurface flywheel
flush the radiator
fuel lines
radiator hoses
vacuum hoses

And you'll need all the normal rebuild stuff:
cleaners, degreasers, latex gloves, blue roll, gasket sealant, etc. Perhaps have your block cleaned by a machine shop.

All of these maybe items means you need to know the status of what you got. You may find that you can just move these items/leave them alone.

On your current engine...do you know why its locked? Could be from head gasket dumping coolant into the cyl and rusting the rings. Could be bad bearings. Need to find this out. I would definitely recommend a pressure test and resurface of the head at minimum unless you know some history that would dictate otherwise.

I would start by draining the oil and dropping the lower pan. If I found copper in the pan....find a good block and crank. IF not....I would pull the motor out of the car, remove the head, and start disassembling the bottom end. Pull the bearings, look for any scoring or bluing of the journals, and measure the crank. If the old bearings are standard, the crank journals are not scored or blued, and the crank is in spec, I would rebuild the block you have. IF you find undersized journals, bluing of the journals, or scoring of the journals on the crank....I would find another good block and crank shaft. The cranks are nitrited. You can probably source a good block and crank cheaper than you can properly machine a block and crank with issues. Of course price it out.

Anyway...hope this helps.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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There is a S4 engine on Ebay right now on auction. Is there any reason, if I swap over all of my L-Jet goodies that this engine wouldn't work?
I would think you could make it work. You'd likely have to move your head over to it....electronic VVT on this one. And your flywheel and bell housing sensors. That thing is a greasy mess. Obviously dumping oil from around the head gasket.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess what I meant earlier is that I don't want major internal mechanical issues. Don't have a problem working on the head.

I don't know exactly why the engine is locked at the moment without at least taking off the head, which I haven't done yet. I've also looked into what I'd have to do to take of the oil pans without pulling the engine and getting to the pistons and rods. I know I still have some sleuthing to do.

On the issue of the head, I've considered doing a rebuilt head swap with IAP or Centerline as the prices seem fairly reasonable to me. At least I'd be working with something refreshed.

Just trying to think and plan ahead. My feeling, is that if I have to get very far into this, it would be just as well to do the entire job. I realize it can be a large task, but it can be done.

As I said, however, if I can find a running engine I'll probably go for that. Then this engine might become a rainy day/winter project.

papajam, forgive my lack of knowledge. How would I check that?
 

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Hey DD,
The biggest consideration in grafting in the S4 engine is the Motronic ECU. You will need one to run the S4 engine and these are going for $4-500, your S3 ECU's will be parts to sell. I also think that the cooling connections to the rad will not be straight forward, cause of the BIG differences in the Rad S3 vs S4.
TTFN

Best regards, Elio
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm not liking the idea of the S4 engine after the input I've gotten. Getting some hits on the Classifieds and it is looking likely that I will find a running engine at an affordable rate without all the gyrations. Sounds simpler to me.

As always, good input from all is greatly appreciated.
 

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papajam, forgive my lack of knowledge. How would I check that?
Easiest way to check for hydrostatic compression is to remove your plugs and try to turn engine by hand. If antifreeze from a failed head gasket comes out, then your engine isn't locked, you just have a bad head gasket, or maybe rain got into your engine. You can not compress a liquid, so this does happen sometimes if water or a failed head gasket allows liquid into the piston bores.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That's basically what I've tried, or variations. All the plugs are out except I put some MMO and PB Blast in the cylinders to loosen up the rust. It hasn't turned before or after.
 

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An excellent response, David!

Bob,
Since you have all the plugs out, that would rule out hydraulic lock. So something more sinister is afoot. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I suspect a blown head gasket or worse. In any case, I think the most cost effective way to get a running vehicle is to do an engine swap. Someone over on the For Sale and Wanted has an engine I think I will make a deal on. Then I can do the overhaul on my engine over the winter.

Thanks everyone for the benefit of your knowledge and experience!
 
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