Mechanic needed for 1983 BJ40 in Virginia

Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
52
Location
Williamsburg, VA. USA
Greetings everyone,

I’m in a really difficult situation and looking for advice. Last June I dropped my BJ off at a mechanic for an engine rebuild. The mechanic claimed to be familiar with the diesel “B” engine and I agreed to obtain any parts that he was unable to get.

Upon Initial disassembly, the mechanic found that the wire screen on the oil intake had disintegrated and been sucked into the engine. As he (and the machinist) dug in more, they found more problems. So far, in addition to the engine rebuild kit that I purchased from SOR, I’ve obtained a new camshaft, lifters, oil intake, crankshaft (bought a donor engine to get that), head, clutch assembly and flywheel.

The machinist that the mechanic uses doesn’t work with the public, so basically, when the mechanic would call me and ask for new parts, I would get them. Most recently, the mechanic told me that I needed some different sized main and camshaft bearings (after the machine work the stock sized ones in the rebuild kit weren’t the right size) and I ordered them from Australia (they have cleared customs in California and should arrive this week).

Long story short (or long for that matter), the mechanic informed me last night that they no longer want to continue the job and that I should arrange to get my cruiser, all of the disassembled parts and the spare motor and pay the bill for what has already been done.

I’m worried because the vehicle is in a state where the engine is out (not sure what state of disassembly), the transmission is out, everything in the engine bay is out. This was a vehicle that had been completely restored (even had one of Keith’s turbos installed) right before I took it into the shop for the engine rebuild.

Does anyone have any advice for a mechanic on the east coast (close to VA if possible) who can finish this engine rebuild and put everything back together properly? Does anyone have any advice for what I should do now?

My only goal is to get it all back together looking like it looked the day it rolled into the shop (well, with the rebuilt motor that is).

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John Young

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Dubai, UAE
That's rough. The only person I know who might be inclined to take this on is CruiserMatt down in Winterpark/Orlando Florida. When I was in Virginia I had the same problem. Most of the cruiser guys did not want to touch a non-US model. Not sure about the guys down in Lorton, but the guy out in Warrenton does not do non-US models.

PS That's a lot of nerve to drop it in mid-job and tell you to come and pay them for work done. I don't see how you could rely on ANY engine work part-done. I'd consider making a complaint at the Virginia Office of Consumer Repairs.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
52
Location
Williamsburg, VA. USA
That's rough. The only person I know who might be inclined to take this on is CruiserMatt down in Winterpark/Orlando Florida. When I was in Virginia I had the same problem. Most of the cruiser guys did not want to touch a non-US model. Not sure about the guys down in Lorton, but the guy out in Warrenton does not do non-US models.

PS That's a lot of nerve to drop it in mid-job and tell you to come and pay them for work done. I don't see how you could rely on ANY engine work part-done. I'd consider making a complaint at the Virginia Office of Consumer Repairs.
More than anything, I just need a diesel mechanic. Everything else was working perfectly and should just bolt back on. The engine is fairly common in forklifts.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2020
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Location
Richmond
I take my 40 to Sportscar Workshops in Richmond VA. not Cruiser guys but did a complete engine swap and diagnosis and more on it. work on real valuable stuff and would trust them with anything.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
52
Location
Williamsburg, VA. USA
I take my 40 to Sportscar Workshops in Richmond VA. not Cruiser guys but did a complete engine swap and diagnosis and more on it. work on real valuable stuff and would trust them with anything.
I sent an email to Fantomworks in Norfolk, VA as well. Right now I’m trying to contract with a mechanic who previously worked on it to serve as my agent and assess the condition of everything as it is delivered.

Edit: no luck with Fantomworks. They only work on vehicles older than 1973.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Charlotte, NC & Alexandria, VA
I sent an email to Fantomworks in Norfolk, VA as well. Right now I’m trying to contract with a mechanic who previously worked on it to serve as my agent and assess the condition of everything as it is delivered.

Edit: no luck with Fantomworks. They only work on vehicles older than 1973.
That's rich, since their TV show had several late model 40s in it. Must be nice to be able to turn away work. Every time I see something like this it makes me want to quit my job and open a decent shop.
 

John Young

SILVER Star
Joined
Dec 4, 2015
Messages
1,271
Location
Dubai, UAE
I know this is really out-there, but I met a guy who moved from Texas to Virginia named Travis who works at the Advance Auto Parts in Arlington. He got all excited about my Middle East 80 and knew quite a bit about it, and I've been meaning to engage him on some PM on the 80. This post triggered me to reach out to him. He seemed very knowledgable, and more importantly, interested in unusual LCs. I will ping you if he indicates interest in talking to you about your interesting situation.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
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Location
Williamsburg, VA. USA
That's rich, since their TV show had several late model 40s in it. Must be nice to be able to turn away work. Every time I see something like this it makes me want to quit my job and open a decent shop.
Yeah, that’s why I went to them. I guess they have so much work they decided to only focus on pre -1973 vehicles.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
52
Location
Williamsburg, VA. USA
Nice guys and great work but I understand they only work on North American models.
Greetings everyone,

I’m in a really difficult situation and looking for advice. Last June I dropped my BJ off at a mechanic for an engine rebuild. The mechanic claimed to be familiar with the diesel “B” engine and I agreed to obtain any parts that he was unable to get.

Upon Initial disassembly, the mechanic found that the wire screen on the oil intake had disintegrated and been sucked into the engine. As he (and the machinist) dug in more, they found more problems. So far, in addition to the engine rebuild kit that I purchased from SOR, I’ve obtained a new camshaft, lifters, oil intake, crankshaft (bought a donor engine to get that), head, clutch assembly and flywheel.

The machinist that the mechanic uses doesn’t work with the public, so basically, when the mechanic would call me and ask for new parts, I would get them. Most recently, the mechanic told me that I needed some different sized main and camshaft bearings (after the machine work the stock sized ones in the rebuild kit weren’t the right size) and I ordered them from Australia (they have cleared customs in California and should arrive this week).

Long story short (or long for that matter), the mechanic informed me last night that they no longer want to continue the job and that I should arrange to get my cruiser, all of the disassembled parts and the spare motor and pay the bill for what has already been done.

I’m worried because the vehicle is in a state where the engine is out (not sure what state of disassembly), the transmission is out, everything in the engine bay is out. This was a vehicle that had been completely restored (even had one of Keith’s turbos installed) right before I took it into the shop for the engine rebuild.

Does anyone have any advice for a mechanic on the east coast (close to VA if possible) who can finish this engine rebuild and put everything back together properly? Does anyone have any advice for what I should do now?

My only goal is to get it all back together looking like it looked the day it rolled into the shop (well, with the rebuilt motor that is).

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Update: I got in touch with a mechanic who does work on my other vehicles and who has seen my cruiser and he recommended a shop that specializes in project vehicles. I spoke to the owner of that shop and he is going to go with me and make sure we get all of the parts back.

The engine will go to Apple’s machine shop in Yorktown to be inspected and completed. The rest of the vehicle will go to the custom shop for final reassembly.

I’m still trying to track down the mechanic who set the timing before to see if he can be on hand for the final tuning. I’m hoping the fueling settings won’t need to be changed on the injection pump since that was all locked in perfectly before and the injection pump has never been touched.

I know that I’ll need to get the transmission and transfer case, the flywheel, the clutch assembly, the downpipe and turbo and all of the tubing and air filter, the alternator and A/C compressor, water pump and power steering pump and all associated belts and pullies, the radiator and oil cooler, the engine fan, the battery, the exhaust manifold, the injection pump, the head gaskets, the head, and the valve cover. What else am I forgetting?

The engine (and the donor engine) is disassembled and on a pallet so I’ll need to make sure all of those parts are there.

If I’m being an optimist, at least this will let me really clean and paint the engine and swap in a new alternator (the only other part that we didn’t repair or replace) while we are in there.

I still have the parts list for Keith’s turbo so I can use that to make sure I have all of those parts.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
52
Location
Williamsburg, VA. USA
Update:

Well, I picked up the vehicle, motor and parts. I can’t believe how parts (like a resurfaced flywheel) were left to surface rust or how my brand new soft top was left out in the sun to the point that the straps disintegrated in my hand from sun damage.

The good: everything appears to be there. I have to confirm the turbo is there, and the battery that was new when I dropped off the vehicle last June is MIA but at a glance, everything seems to be there. The body is still in awesome shape and that in itself has value. The machine work that I paid to have completed seems to have been completed. I’ve got a mechanic with hustle who seems committed to seeing the project through.

The bad: obviously, it’s heart wrenching to drop off a vehicle that has been restored from the frame up (not saying perfect, there are no perfect 40 year old vehicles outside of museums) and get it back with nothing under the hood. The new machinist took one look and said he didn’t want to touch it. He said he didn’t want to get into someone else’s nightmare and he was afraid he would find that the last machinist destroyed the block or something like that and just didn’t tell me. I had to really talk him into taking it on (hell, I even showed him I had a whole spare motor in case the block was damaged).

The ugly: I just paid $3,300 to have my vehicle’s engine removed, dismantled and not fixed. That’s on top of the $3500 or so in parts I’ve paid for. It remains to be seen if the machinist’s work I paid for was worth a damn, or if he even made things worse. I paid a mechanic $250 for his expertise to make sure that I got all of the parts back and I paid a tow truck $200 to haul my engineless cruiser to my house. I probably paid $100 in diesel just driving around. I’ll pay more next week chasing down my turbo and all of that is just the start. They won’t even be able to start working on the engine until August and they won’t get to the cruiser until the engine is finished! I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to pay another $5k to finish the job and get everything out back together.
 

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