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Old 01-21-2010, 06:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default At what mileage should I start to plan for a rebuild?

I just bought myself a 1990 Sierra hardtop with 210,000 k's on the clock, and am wondering at what mileage would an average 1.3 motor would be due for an overhaul?

My example is perfectly driveable, but seems a little tired in terms of performance. Before I blow my cash on a new intake and exhaust, i'd like to know at what mileage others have opted for a rebuild of their motor.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Miles doesnt' really tell you much.
Did you get any service records with it?
I think you should do a compression test... that will tell you a lot.
How about a oil test? Not sure of a decent place to send it.

I yanked mine out at about 240,000 miles and dropped in a 1.6 and trans from a sidekick. (big block) The 1.3 still ran great, just didn't have as much umph as it used to.
It wasn't that much $ and if I remember right the only thing I had to do was re-drill one hole in a engine mount. Also swapped to a shorter trans to transfer case half shaft. I used my same intake and after market header.
I did the entire thing myself in about 1.5 days not rushing.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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holy crap... u seriously got 240,000 MILES?? geez good work... mines at 220,000KM (~137,000miles) and i dont see it reaching 300,000... mind you, old owners treated it like crap. used on the farm mostly, probably rarely serviced.

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Old 01-21-2010, 09:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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As has already been said, mileage doesn't tell the whole story - a compression tester shouldn't set you back more then $20~40 - so do dry & wet compression tests and take a look at the numbers.

Factory spec is around 190 - if you're close to that dry, forget about the wet test and leave the engine alone it's in good shape (cylinder wear wise), if it's significantly below that - around 150 or less, do the wet test - if the numbers jump up, you have leakage past the rings.

Personally, I have found that my G13 (about 200,000 kms) runs surprisingly well with dry compression in the '90's, but at that point I'd say a rebuild is called for and so I'm gathering the parts to do it.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm a newbie to the Sammy world, so take my suggestion with that in mind but--if you can afford it--seriously consider swapping in a 1.6L engine (8 valve will keep the cost down) rather than rebuilding the 1.3.


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Old 01-21-2010, 03:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, i'm still getting used to all the mechanical noises of my new beastie (working out the good from bad, etc), but if I put the foot down it sounds to me like the engine is pinging a little, but maybe an oil/spark change might be all it needs to stop this complaint the short term.

The engine is still totally driveable, it just seems a little tired - it just does 100kph, but I don't think it'd get there in a head wind.

I've kept around AU$4000 handy for upcoming repair costs in the event it might die on me - I myself am amazed that a 1.3 will still be going with no end in sight after 210,000! I'll definitely go get a compression test in the next couple of days to see where I stand.



Why do people swap for a 1.6? Is it a 'better' motor or just a performance alternative?

My plan was to rebuild the 1.3 - get a K&N filter, extractors and exhaust, and thermo fan... and that'd do me I think - i'm not a performance nut, but I don't want a complete turtle either. I won't be doing any hardcore 4WDing in the zook - so I don't want to build a car around this purpose - just the odd beach run and bush trail to go camping, and plenty of commuting to work.


And what cost should I expect for a full rebuild? No time to do it myself

Last edited by che_guitarra; 01-21-2010 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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its 63 HP v.s. 96 HP. The 1.3 engine has just enough power to run the little rig in it's stock condition. Once you oversize the tires a little or try to haul something with a significant ammount of weight, you start bogging down the 1.3L engine.

The 1.6L 8 valve engine swap is so populart because almost all of the components can be used on that block. There are only a few small items that need to be ported over from a donor vehicle.
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Apart from compression are there any tell-tale signs of engine wear in the Sierra - ie - increased oil usage, running hotter, certain noises, etc...

Also - for a 1.6 conversion - can any Aussies out there tell me what compliance plating i'll need (for QLD rego), or what ball-park cost i'll be looking at to get mods certified?
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