Random Gobshite...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What $3600 looks like.

So, I'm driving to work a few weeks ago in my Subaru Outback, The Sloop Sue B. I'm on a hill on Route 80 West, trying to pass a guy who really wants to race, and trying to get around him so the other Boy Racer behind me in the Yukon with the 700ci engine can get past me. Then it happens-a violent shaking, loss of power, the usual signs that some sort of catastrophic failure has taken place. I pull over, and she quits. I try to start her, and it takes an incredible amount of pedal to make her run at all. Having endured a long losing streak with vehicles in my late teens and early twenties, I had an inkling what this was-the unmistakable condition experienced following catastrophic failure of an engine. For those who aren't mechanics, Imagine being worked over by an M1 Abrams tank, pierced through the heart like Steve Irwin, then being asked to rise and walk-THAT's catastrophic failure-everything on the inside that makes everything else work in sequence was, well, out of sequence (and most likely bent and burnt up) A tow to my mechanic confirmed my fears, and once the decision was made to replace the engine (I've only had her a short period of time and LOVE her like no car I have loved in a long time) I got a good look at the wounds once the old block was out:

(This is NOT an access panel-I managed to blow a hole in the side of the engine you can easily stick your hand through. Also, what looks like a connecting rod is poking thru at left of the hole, looking not unlike a tire valve stem.)

Aaaand from the bottom:

(Rods, Arms, Bearings-you name it, I bent, broke or burnt them.)

My choices were Option A, sell the car needing an engine-which is basically like taking it to the dump-it's a great deal for the mechanic with some skills and a spare engine, but not for a seller. I was already behind, having paid cash for the car, so that was not an option. Option B was to get a completely new factory-type engine-with labor, this would amount to more than the car had cost me. Option C was a remanufactured block with my old top end, which, though it would give me a warranty of 3 years or 36,000 miles, was still out of range. Option D was my choice, a lower mileage, used motor from a junked Outback. My mechanic would put on everything new that he possibly could, including the troublesome head gaskets all Outbacks suffer from. I the end it ran around $3600, and to tell the truth I could not be happier with the outcome-the engine runs smoother than the old one and it's like driving a brand new car-almost. Three weeks with no car sucked but it was not too bad.


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