Friday, December 1, 2023


 I have a couple of pickups, and they are both old and have a lot of miles on them. My 2003 Dakota has 291,000 miles on it. And my 1999 Dakota has 349,000 miles on it.

I have been thinking about selling both of these and getting a different truck with less miles on it. But after perusing craigslist and facebook marketplace and seeing the prices people want for used trucks these days, I have put that on hold for now.

2009 Chevrolet Silverado 2500hd diesel 4x4 - $25,000

Too much money in my opinion.

So I decided to get my motor rebuilt in my 2003 Dakota. Good idea, right? Not so much in practice.

First place I went to said, We don't rebuild motors. We will replace them. I said can you send it out for rebuilding? And he replied, That takes a long time.

So I left, as it seemed obvious to me he wasn't interested in my money.

Second place I went to said, We don't rebuild motors because it is not cost effective any longer. We can put a new one in. So I asked for him to give me a price on that. The inevitable, I thought.

Didn't hear from that place until a week later. They gave me a price on a new motor of $4500. But they didn't have a clue how much labor to do the work was.

I mean, how can you not at least have an estimate of the labor?? 

So yesterday I went to a third place. This guys place looked very professional, so I was hopeful. He calls me back 2 hours later with pricing, for parts AND labor.

A remanufactured motor, installed parts and labor, he wants $9000. Not including any accessories that may be necessary.

A used motor at 120,000 miles 3 month warranty, installed parts and labor he wants $6000. Not including a new timing chain, which he calls part of the accessory work, more money.

Well crap. So I called a supposed engine rebuilder in fresno. At 11:30 AM, and was told call back at 1:30 to talk to Wayne. 2 hour lunch, huh.

This morning I called at 9AM, asked about getting a price to rebuild the motor in my truck. The guy said you mean engine? I said yeah, he said motors are electric, call back in 10 minutes and talk to wayne.

Okay. I give it 30 minutes, got ahold of wayne. He said give me a minute to wake up, then said I gotta go to the front. He said okay, now, what do you want. I repeated I wanted a price to rebuild the Motor in my truck. Took about 5 minutes for him to write down the very simple info of 2003 Dodge Dakota, 4.7 l engine. And I am not exaggerating about that, this guy was not firing on all 8 cylinders.

He finally got that wrote down, then asked why are you wanting to rebuild, and I repeated because it has 291,000 miles on it. He laughed at me and then raised his voice and said, It's just getting broke in! 

Now I realize he was trying to joke, but I was already PO'd and frustrated. So I said okay thank you and hung up.

So now I'm thinking I will just do it myself as I probably should have from the git go. But dammit, I don't wanna. Picture a crying baby with gigantic crocodile tears.


  1. Combine the "competency crisis" with the screaming Bidenflation and you get crappy incompetent work at exorbitant prices.

    1. The prices are exorbitant I grant you that. Don't know about the work as I have never used any of the shops I am talking to. The shops I have used in the past are just that, in the past. They aren't exactly incompetent, but...

  2. I've heard that some of the rural schools will rebuild engines for the price of parts. It give the mechanic classes good experience overseen by someone that knows the correct method.

    1. Good idea. I may have my grandson check with his old car mechanic teacher about that.

  3. My 2000 Chev C3500 pick up with 238,000 miles with a 5.7 L(350cid) engine, a kazillion of them made and independents don't want to rebuild and spice it it up a bit. Want to sell me a new crate engine, which would be okay, but GM don't make them anymore(shit). Or a reman... With a one year warranty. And of course parts and labor, R&R. I want my original block and heads if I can. The truck runs good, why not use if okay to rebuild. The engine is getting a little tired is all.Talk about sustainability... I have a 4 bolt main engine and it is EPA rated a heavy duty engine, so not all the smog crap they put on a C or K 1500/2500 truck and NO airbags.

    1. Me too. I would like to keep my block and heads also, they are in reasonable shape. As you said, just a little tired is all.

  4. You don't need a engine build- you need a good mechanic- shop mechanic first, then engine- and BTW- IMO, those quotes were insane.

    1. I agree the quotes are insane. That's why I am now trying to figure out what i want to do. Probably nothing at this point.

  5. The problem finding someone to rebuild you existing engine is going to be the cost. With those miles the block will need to be bored oversize, possibly the crankshaft turned down on the rod and mains. A reman shop will set up and do probably 100 plus in a row, where the small shop will only be doing yours. The set-up time is the same for both. Then you will be buying one set of bearings, one set of pistons, one new camshaft, etc. The big outfit can get a better price because they are buying in bulk. It's also a "production line" for the big shop, as opposed to "Joe" doing the whole thing.

    To rebuild an engine CORRECTLY is not cheap. Done correctly it will be disassembled, "hot tanked" to clean out oil and water passages, new bearings, new freeze plugs, new gasket set, new injectors, new sensors, and whatever else is found to be marginal.

    It's very easy to spend $4,000 if done correctly and will take a small shop easily a month due to having to sub out some work. If the crankshaft needs to be machined to true it, thats beyond the capability's of most small shops.Same with an overbore, done correctly takes special equipment if you want a good job.

    Is it possible to do a "quickie"? Sure. Maybe just new rings and bearings, reuse the cam and lifters and hope that everything else is ok. But, you get what you pay for.

    Between auto and motorcycle engines, I've built over 40 in my life. I learned if I want it to last more than 20 or 30K miles, do the full build, not the quickie.

    Just my $.02 and worth what you paid for it.

  6. I think I would get the used Diesel. And keep the other two running with a good mechanic but not overuse them.

  7. If you're going to pull it to rebuild it yourself, you may as well drop a used engine from a wreck and rebuild the old one as you feel like it.