New LC Owner - Requesting Help (Desparately) (1 Viewer)

Joined
Feb 21, 2020
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72
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Los Angeles, CA
OK everyone, I am coming to you on one of the worst days I can remember. I bought a 1997 LX 450 today (170k miles) in socal. Long story short, 30 miles from pickup location the engine threw a rod (or rod bearing maybe). I had it towed home and am now desperately trying to figure out what to do here. I do not want to go into details of the seller/transaction at all given the circumstances but what I would truly appreciate is this forum's advice on what my options with the truck are.

I paid a market price for a clean and working truck so it is hard to feel like I did not just throw 100% of it down the drain (which I may have). This is my dream car and I had many plans with it so if there is a reasonable way to make this work I would be willing to potentially pursue such paths - but if better to cut losses and sell to someone with the thrown rod I would like to know that too. I posted this on the FB Group 80 Series USA as well but both of these communities have been extremely helpful in the past and I hope you can help me out with your advice once again here. I truly appreciate any feedback you can spare.

As of now I think the below are my options/questions for you all. For reference I am on a budget and can't throw $10k or near that for the options below (unfortunately).

1.) Replace Stock Engine - How much would this cost for engine and install? I am in socal if that helps (I have no mechanic friends or connections so have been getting insane quotes from people that don't know cruisers). Any mechanic references would be appreciated.

2.) V8 Swap - How much for engine and install? Which engine would be best? Is this possible in CA with smog emissions?

3.) Sell with thrown rod - thoughts on price? I am not comfortable sharing pictures publicly but may be in private message. Facts are this: 1997 LX450; 170k miles;clean title/carfax; CA car its entire life, Grey/Brown/silver exterior color (too stressed to lookup color code rn); brown interior; truly one of the best condition interiors I have seen in 2 years of looking at 80's; needs paint on roof, hood, tailgate (no rust though); had HG done by PO but that obviously doesn't matter anymore ha.

Lastly, as a reminder, I would appreciate keeping it to cruiser knowledge and not get into any opinions on my options legally or otherwise (for now).

EDIT: Video of engine and why I think it is a rod.
EDIT2: I remembered as I woke up that when I pulled off the freeway the red light above the volt meter came on. I understand this to mean the alternator went out. I will leave speculation to the experts here though.

 
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Joined
Feb 7, 2009
Messages
2,525
What makes you think you have thrown a rod?
Here in colo I grabbed a used engine no major issues with 175 k on it for 300 bucks. I know you might not find a deal like this quickly but here it’s about 2 k to pay someone to install or I can do it over a weekend. If your paying someone for a v8 I’d think 10 to 20k depending on where you get the engine and tranny and what not
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Los Angeles, CA
What makes you think you have thrown a rod?
Here in colo I grabbed a used engine no major issues with 175 k on it for 300 bucks. I know you might not find a deal like this quickly but here it’s about 2 k to pay someone to install or I can do it over a weekend. If your paying someone for a v8 I’d think 10 to 20k depending on where you get the engine and tranny and what not
Really appreciate the feedback. That is an insane deal on that engine! I am now seeing engines for $1,900 on engine world which was suggested by people on FB. Mechanics where I live are all scoffing at even doing to swap and none want to do it (which I find interesting at this time given things are slow).

If you were in CA (or I could actually fly you out from CO - Stupid COVID!) I would gladly pay you whatever you thought reasonable. My issue is I can do most maintenance items but don't have the knowledge or tools to break into a block.
 
Joined
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Westminster, CO
1.) Used engine from people on here 2500 I bet.. install is going to be like 30-40 hrs of labor

2.) 15 k

3.) Maybe 2500-3k if it has lockers


I'd be talking to the seller.
 
Joined
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1.) Used engine from people on here 2500 I bet.. install is going to be like 30-40 hrs of labor

2.) 15 k

3.) Maybe 2500-3k if it has lockers


I'd be talking to the seller.
thank you for the reply. I am in touch with a shop out here that seems reasonable. Not sure if it can be rebuilt but I had one helpful person tell me that they charged $3k for full engine rebuild (I do not know what that entailed). If pricing is in that range I will likely thin about doing it.

LMK if you have any thoughts on that route.
 
Joined
May 16, 2008
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Bend, Oregon
Sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation. A few thoughts :

1. I can’t really tell from the sound but it seems like there’s maybe a few noises going in there. How much troubleshooting have you done/how sure are you a bearing or rod went out?
2. Cost wise if you do have a big issue like that it’s going to be money to sort out. Used engine + shop time to swap won’t be cheap. I’d suspect you’d be in for minimum 3-4K depending on shop and tracking down a used engine. Regarding the engine rebuild was that 3k plus parts? I probably wouldn’t trust that if it was including parts which could be fairly costly depending on what needs replacing/Machine work.
3, how urgently do you need to fix? I’d can you take a few days or more to sleep in it and really weigh your options? If you can and avoid rushing into something that may give you some clarity in what to do.
4. If you really like the truck and want to keep, can you keep it for a while to get it sorted or do you need to dump it if it can’t be fixed?


I’m in progress of doing a rebuild from an oil starved engine and happy to share some costs in terms of parts to fix if you like.


Hope you get it all sorted!
 
Joined
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Los Angeles, CA
Sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation. A few thoughts :

1. I can’t really tell from the sound but it seems like there’s maybe a few noises going in there. How much troubleshooting have you done/how sure are you a bearing or rod went out?
2. Cost wise if you do have a big issue like that it’s going to be money to sort out. Used engine + shop time to swap won’t be cheap. I’d suspect you’d be in for minimum 3-4K depending on shop and tracking down a used engine. Regarding the engine rebuild was that 3k plus parts? I probably wouldn’t trust that if it was including parts which could be fairly costly depending on what needs replacing/Machine work.
3, how urgently do you need to fix? I’d can you take a few days or more to sleep in it and really weigh your options? If you can and avoid rushing into something that may give you some clarity in what to do.
4. If you really like the truck and want to keep, can you keep it for a while to get it sorted or do you need to dump it if it can’t be fixed?


I’m in progress of doing a rebuild from an oil starved engine and happy to share some costs in terms of parts to fix if you like.


Hope you get it all sorted!
Appreciate the thoughtful reply here.
1. i have done almost no trouble shooting as i was afraid to have the engine running any longer. An Lc shop in socal is coming to pick up the truck on monday and they are going to have a look.
2. I am assuming the worst and that I will need a full rebuild, and if that is the case i have decided to do it right. Whether that is rebuild or new shortblock.
3. luckily i am not in a rush. I have calmed down and am trying to now do what is right so i can keep this truck for a long time.

I will pm you if you dont mind. Would love to hear about your advice on rebuild parts to use and cost as well. I appreciate it!
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2009
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Just for your info when I worked cruisers back in 16 a full rebuild with Toyota parts was around 3500 just in parts, with labor it was around 10k. If someone is telling you they can do it for 3 k then they are either not doing full rebuild or using non oem parts. Not that there is anything wrong with that but if it were me I’d use oem . First thing though is to figure out your noise could be lot things. You could just do the bearings also pretty cheap. Stick with someone who works these engines also.
 
Joined
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Taking guesses as to what is wrong with the rig is a good way to spend money on things that not only don't need replacing, but won't get the rig running. The only thing worth spending money on now is figuring out what is wrong with the vehicle. Once you know that, then you can plan on how you are going to deal with that.

And anyone that says they can do a full engine rebuild for $3K doesn't know these engines.
 
Joined
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El Segundo, CA
Don't have anything helpful to say really, just offering my condolences. Having the engine take a dump on you on the way back from a buy has gotta be one of the worst feelings. Hope you get things sorted and will be able to enjoy your cruiser soon.
 

clx16

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I've heard an alternator sound like that before, also a belt tensioner... neither on an 80 series but bearings make noise when they go.

Like others have said I would calm down until you get some more info.

what was mentioned above by @BILT4ME is something you should pay attention to.

If you are interested in learning about your cruiser mechanically, then people here (also most not mechanics) and mechanics can talk you through some steps to start figuring it out.

If I were you, I would try start non-evasively... examine oil filter, examine oil. take of belts and check pulley bearings, alternator and A/C compressor.

I know you are taking it to someone and that isn't a bad idea. I hope you get some facts in order to make an informed decision. Please post back what you hear so it adds to the troubleshooting knowledge in the community.
 
Joined
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Have them check the oil filter first to make sure it is NOT a Wix or a Napa Gold.

This is important.
The truck is waiting in a shop right now so cant get to it but i know that it was blue which makes me think it was napa. What does this mean if it is?
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Los Angeles, CA
I've heard an alternator sound like that before, also a belt tensioner... neither on an 80 series but bearings make noise when they go.

Like others have said I would calm down until you get some more info.

what was mentioned above by @BILT4ME is something you should pay attention to.

If you are interested in learning about your cruiser mechanically, then people here (also most not mechanics) and mechanics can talk you through some steps to start figuring it out.

If I were you, I would try start non-evasively... examine oil filter, examine oil. take of belts and check pulley bearings, alternator and A/C compressor.

I know you are taking it to someone and that isn't a bad idea. I hope you get some facts in order to make an informed decision. Please post back what you hear so it adds to the troubleshooting knowledge in the community.
Thank you. I really planned on doing most of the maintenance myself, i have been on this forum for over a year now studying it all and looking for LC's. The noise and vibration of the engine freaked me out enough to want to get an expert's opinion off the bat on what needs to be done (whether this issue is major or not) and then I can decide what I feel comfortable doing myself.

As of now I have been in contact with a guy named Cesar with Cruiser Tech in Laguna Hills, CA (if anyone has any experience lmk). I have spoken to at least one person he rebuilt an fzj80 engine for and Cesar has been incredibly helpful thus far. He is going to take a look at everything on Monday. I will absolutely keep everyone informed on progress - this forum has been incredibly useful.
 

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