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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, been working on my 87 zuk for the past month trying to get her roadworthy again. Back in May, I had dropped in a used g13A motor bought from a local engine rebuilding firm. It worked fine for a month, then started burning oil; almost two quarts ever two weeks. After trying all the hotfixes the firm recommended, which almost never work anyway, I pulled the engine out and had them rebuild it under warranty. So I dropped it in last week, set the timing and it wouldnt fire up. Camshaft was out of timing even though they said it was.

Now with that worked out, the engine started up, ran fine for about 30 seconds before abruptly stopping, ie, it locked up. Took it to the local mechanic i know, he said the oil pump is bad in it. One of the other guys working there also mentioned you cant rebuild these engines, if the crank is bad, you need a new block.

Do you really need a completely new engine if the main bearings stick? I've already talked to the firm and they said they'd completely rebuild the engine again, new crank and pump, under warranty again. Should I have it rebuilt again or am I wasting my time? Any info would be more than appreciated!
 

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Either your mechanic is clueless, or, you have misunderstood what you've been told.

Most engines can be rebuilt, and I know these certainly can - because I have done it, and put 30,000+ miles on it "post rebuild" - also - the crank that's in my engine did not come in it, so cranks can be swapped if necessary.

It is possible, and indeed probable that if YOUR engine siezed from being run with with low oil pressure, that you COULD have spun one or more bearings, which COULD damage both the block and the crank, and that YOUR particular engine cannot be rebuilt, without extensive (and expensive) machine shop work.

If the engine/vehicle were rare enough (and worth enough) you could have the crank reground and the block and main bearing caps faced & line bored, but these engine are plentiful, so I suspect you could find a complete replacement for less than the cost of the work involved.

What can be done and what needs to be done will depend on what was damaged when the engine seized, and that can only be determined after tearing it down - you cannot even determine that a defective oil pump was the cause of the problem before the tear down - you can only guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah I dont believe hes right on this one. Several forums on rebuilding these things. Anyway, we're taking the engine back to the guys we got it from tomorrow. If its shot, theyll get us a new motor and rebuild it for free. If it isnt shot, theyll replace anything that needs replacing for free. So we'll find out later in the week, thanks for the reply!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Might be the case Tin, they called back saying its our fault the motor failed on startup. Claimed the oil pump is fine, even though the oil was full of metal flake and having virtually no oil on top of the engine. They say theres a gasket between the oil pickup tube and the block that wasnt replaced, and wasnt included with the set that they gave us, and all the oil from the pump leaked out before it went up to the top of the engine. And to add insult to injury, they said this gasket isnt made anymore, you have to make them yourself, and that it should be replaced along with the oil pump gasket which we had to buy for them because their shop was out. How can we be at fault here if such a gasket did exist on the vehicle? I dont remember seeing one on there when i took the pickup tube the first time...
 

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The oil pick up tube has an O ring rather than a conventional gasket, and if I remember correctly, the O ring is not supplied as a part of the rebuild gasket set, you have to purchase it separately - it IS available, all of your normal rebuild parts - gaskets, seals, piston & ring sets, bearings - can be sourced from Suzuki (although that's probably a pretty expensive way to go) - the only thing used in my rebuild that was not OEM Suzuki were the high compression pistons, but pistons were available.

If that O ring was left out, the oil wouldn't leak out before it went up to the top of the engine or be full of metal flake - the oil pump would simply not prime because it was sucking air, the oil would remain in the pan, unused, and no have metal flakes in it.

Now - I'm not defending the rebuild firm - but someone has to take responsibility for certain "critical tasks" - when the engine was installed, whoever did the installation would have had at the very least to fit a filter and fill the engine with oil, that person should have verified, prior to starting the engine, that there was oil pressure & circulation - was that done?

A fairly common mistake on these engines is to flip the head gasket end for end - it will appear to fit, and all of the bores, etc. will line up - except for one oil way at the front of the head, bolt up and the engine will have oil pressure, will start & run beautifully for about 20~30 minutes, after which the cam will seize because of a lack of lubrication - visually verifying that oil is reaching the head by cranking the engine over with the plugs out is the only way to check for this.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well when the firm tells you, "Its ready, you just need to reassemble it and drop it in." with no mention of the non-existing gasket, how can we be to blame? I did make sure to oil everything up prior to startup. How do you check oil pressure before the engine had ever been started? The engine ran for 30 seconds when it locked up, not minutes. They said all the main bearings are shot and the cam is ok, but there was little to no oil on the top of the engine. How would that gasket not being the leave the cam intact but destroy the crank?
 

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"It's ready, you just need to reassemble it and drop it in" can mean a thousand different things - just as an example - when I rebuilt my engine, I dropped the bare block off at the machine shop along with the pistons, so that it could be bored, and when I picked it up, I just needed to reassemble it and drop it in.

Yeah - I know - not the same thing, I rebuilt my engine, you bought a rebuilt one - but - you get an idea of just how much can be misunderstood.

As another example - if you picked it up, minus the oil pan and the pickup, then you're responsible for making sure that the pickup has the O ring - we don't know degree of assembly you were required to do.

How do you check the oil pressure before starting - depends on the engine, but for these, fit a gauge or at the very least the oil pressure switch, hook it up, and crank the engine over with the plugs out - it'll take a couple of minutes to prime the pump, fill the filter and the galleries - so crank for 30 seconds, wait 60 to let the starter cool, crank 30, wait 60 and so on, until you get pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Would turning it over for 3 minutes prime it? Because they gave us it back with the cam out of sync. We sent almost 2 hours trying to get it to run, ie cranking several times over and over again without it starting up, but couldnt dew to the cam. That alone should have primed it if the oil pump were in working order correct?
 

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You'd probably need more than 3 minutes - BUT - and this is the problem here, you don't know unless you check - lubrication is critical on the first start, you can't assume, you HAVE to check - did you have the oil pressure light hooked up? Did it go out before you got the engine started?

You've said you spent some time cranking it over without starting due to the cam being out of time - question - who installed the distributor? Timing the cam on these engines is a very simple operation - line up two marks - pop the belt on, adjust the tensioner, rotate the crank twice and verify the marks line up again - done.

Getting the distributor correctly timed to the cam/crank is where most people get caught.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The light stayed on the whole time when the car wasnt starting, Ive never had it go off when cranking, only when running. I installed the distributor, done it twice before with no problems. I TDC'd cylinder 1 with the timing mark, set the distributor, and got no start. Tried moving it forward and back in timing, no start. Though i was 180 out, reversed the distributor, no start. There were no marks on the cam pulley and the rebuild firm said that the cam was correct when we got it back. The shop lined it all up, and the engine ran for 30 seconds without any problems up to the point it locked up; ie oil pressure was normal with no light on, to my knowledge.
 

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I highly sugest that you get your money (and motor) back from the rebuilders as they don't seem to know what they are doing.

Normally it is the cam that will go bad first if you are having oil problems and even with low oil pressure it should have ran for more than 30 seconds before locking up, you would probaly have been going down the road and notice that the motor is runing to hot and have a loss of power then lock up. Something has to be BAD screwed up before a motor locks up completly, they just are not that delicate.

Chances are there is something they did not do right at the rebuilders. They may have not used enough assymbaly lube or the crankshaft may have allready been bad to start with and the used it any way.

As i said, get your money and run!
 

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Bill - is that an O2 bung on the #1 primary of that header? I know it's not a big deal since there appears to be a weber on the other side, but, that's a crappy way to sense your mixture.
 
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