Replace engine, how much
May 8, 2021 10:02 AM   Subscribe

I have an Opel Astra H from 2009 and there is no compression on one cylinder. My shop recommends I get a used engine and replace the broken one. Their estimate is 3100€ for the engine and 1400€ for installation. I talked to two more garages and one wants 1400€ for the engine and 3100€ for installation, the third wants me to buy an engine (about 1800€ from a commercial seller) and would install it for 600€.

Now these estimates for installation costs vary wildly. Is it doable for 600€? If it really comes to 4500€ I would just buy a new used car. Do you think it would be a good idea to install a new engine in this car (for about 2500€)? It has 80000km and I bought it 1 year ago for 5000€. I can easily get a similar ​used car for the same price.
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon to Technology (6 answers total)
I have one suggestion that's a bit tangential to your question. If you do repair it, have the mechanic that's installing the engine supply it. That way you won't be caught in the middle if there's an issue with the used engine they install. (If the engine proves to be a dud, you don't want the supplier to be able to blame it on installation error. If the mechanic supplies the engine, they can be the ones arguing with the supplier, not you. )
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 11:04 AM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

I would not replace the engine if the car wasn't anything more than a transportation utility. To replace the engine, the car has to be special to me or to others, or valuable in some other way.

That said, I have to ask *why* no compression on one cylinder? Was there an event? Did it go bang or clank or pow while you were driving it? Did your mechanic offer an explanation?
posted by the Real Dan at 1:28 PM on May 8, 2021

Unless you really love this particular car, just get a new one. I'm just eyeball-rounding euros to dollars here, but $4500 sounds reasonable for a shop to do an engine swap. Considering the headaches of managing this ordeal, it wouldn't be worth it for me.
posted by thebigdeadwaltz at 1:57 PM on May 8, 2021

Yeah I’d want a more precise diagnosis before dropping a new engine in anything.

But I concur, not worth the hassle.
posted by spitbull at 3:58 PM on May 8, 2021

I can easily get a similar ​used car for the same price.

You should almost certainly do that - every time I've needed more than £1500 or so of repairs to key systems, or replacement of key systems with parts that are hard to guarantee or certify due to their use or age or the age of the vehicle, the mechanic has suggested I'd be better off putting that money towards a different car instead and I've not yet regretted that decision.
posted by terretu at 11:05 PM on May 8, 2021

I was thinking that one mechanic was quoting the cheap engine and then the installation is a bit of a rebuild using good bits from your old engine. Cheap engine expensive installation. The other was decently fine engine and sorta cheap installation because there's less rebuild. The third was get a certified expensive new-ish working engine and then the installation is rather cheap.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:16 PM on May 9, 2021

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