Rebuilding, restoring, or repairing a car is no easy task; these are complex, surprisingly delicate machines. Working on them takes a lot of care, and that’s especially true when dealing with the car’s engine.
Fixing car engines is perhaps the hardest part of car repair. Several problems that can affect an engine, not to mention the number of engine rebuilding mistakes that can render your hard work useless.
Identifying your engine’s issue is hard enough; that makes it all the more frustrating when a small mistake ruins your carefully planned rebuild.
The easiest way to prevent that from happening is to know what mistakes to look out for. Keep reading to learn about seven common engine rebuilding mistakes and how to avoid them.
Cleaning is often seen as a tedious chore; while that feeling is understandable, there’s no denying the importance of cleaning when it comes to engine rebuild preparation.
Taking the time to clean each part you intend to re-use may be time-consuming, but it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Cleaner parts are easier to install, for one thing.
More importantly, cleaning your parts gives you a chance to inspect them for damage. You might not notice scratches or other signs of wear that are covered up by dirt and grime.
While cleaning your parts, you can inspect them and weed out the ones that are worn out.
Plus, if you rebuild with dirty parts, you run the risk of that grime damaging your engine.
When you’re working with something as delicate and precise as a car engine, your measurements need to be perfect. Even a discrepancy of an eighth of an inch can make a huge impact on your engine.
Taking precise measurements is key if you want to ensure your engine is rebuilt properly. Measure all the different engine parts you’ll be dealing with so that you know their size if you need to get replacements.
You’ve heard the phrase, “measure twice, cut once.” You might not be making any cuts, but you should still measure at least twice–and you should measure from multiple angles, too.
Measuring from several different angles helps you identify wear and tear and prevents you from making costly mistakes.
A Disorganized Environment
Another key part of engine rebuilding preparation is getting your environment clean and organized. You’ll be working with a lot of small parts, and the last thing you want is for something to get lost in a messy area.
Keep your engine rebuilding tools organized and ready; that way, you won’t have to waste time searching for the tool you need during the actual rebuilding process.
Set aside an area to lay out parts as you disassemble the engine. Don’t just throw them together in a pile–make it easy to find each component as necessary.
Keep some towels or rags on hand to clean up spills. If some oil or other fluid leaks during the rebuild, clean it up right away.
Failing to Record
An engine is a complicated piece of machinery. Every single part needs to be in exactly the right place, or it won’t run properly. How confident are you that you can rebuild one from memory?
Even if you’re very confident, there’s no excuse not to record the disassembly process. By keeping a record of the engine’s disassembly, you can quickly determine how to reassemble it.
Fixing car engines can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to forget a step. You don’t want to finish your engine repair only to find you’ve got three extra bolts and an engine that won’t run; a detailed video can prevent that.
Rushing Through the Rebuild
A lot of the advice above boils down to this: take your time and be patient. Repairing or restoring a car is a big project, and you’re probably eager to get it done, but rushing will only lead to mistakes.
We’ve already covered the importance of patience early in the process: clean your parts, record your disassembly, and so on. However, it’s just as important to take your time putting things back together.
Double-check your crankshaft assembly, your pistons and cylinders, and other parts as you rebuild your engine. That way, if you find an issue, you can correct it quickly.
Using Old and Worn Parts
The whole point of rebuilding an engine is to make it run smoother, so why would anyone hamper that effort by using old, worn-out, or substandard parts? Yet this is one of the most common engine rebuilding mistakes.
The most common culprit here is fasteners. Bolts become worn down over time; they might even stretch and deform. If you don’t replace old, damaged bolts, it can cause serious problems down the road.
Bearings are another engine part that can easily wear down. If you hear an engine knocking sound, there’s a chance that worn bearings are the cause.
This is another reason it’s so important to clean and inspect all of your parts before beginning to rebuild an engine.
Staying Away From Machine Shops
Many people try to cut corners and save a few dollars by avoiding machine shops during the rebuild process. These people are ultimately doing themselves more harm than good.
You should absolutely visit a machine shop or auto body shop as part of your engine rebuild preparation. The people there will be a massive help on your project.
Auto body shop employees have a wealth of expertise when it comes to rebuilding an engine. You shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask them questions and get advice.
As for ordering parts from a machine shop, it may be expensive, but it’s worth it to get exactly the high-quality parts you need.
Avoid These Engine Rebuilding Mistakes
Engine rebuilding mistakes can cost you time, money, and effort. Now that you know the most common errors people make when fixing car engines, you can make sure that your repairs go smoothly.
When it comes to rebuilding or tuning your vehicle, engine repair is only one small factor. For more tips and advice about vehicle maintenance, visit our automotive blog!