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Old 11-02-2009, 02:18 PM
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Buying an engine w/o hearing run???

I have been wondering what the general consensus is among the hotrodders faithful contributors about buying an engine without hearing or seeing it run! I am in this position right now, it is a #959 Chevy 454 block with #781 heads. The guy says it was running perfectly when he took it out to sell his car to someone wanting a roller. It is a good price but I am just concerned. I told him I would be bringing a fiber optic camera to look in the cylinders and up at the valves, he said that would be fine. Since I want to put it straight into a car, I am a little worried that it won't be as good as he says.
Should I forget about buying without hearing???
Thank You All

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Old 11-02-2009, 02:24 PM
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You and the seller could hook up with someone that has a engine test stand that you can run the engine on if that will make you more confident.

A common compression test will tell you a lot too.
Could get a sample of the engines oil and send it to be analysed.


If the motor passes a compression test, I would want to pull the oil pan and look more than view in at the combustion chamber.
But if you got the scope, go for it.
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:34 PM
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Thank You

Thank you very much for that info!! I am not very experienced with these things and already, thanks to you, I have a much better chance of making the right decision.
Thanks!
Any other input?
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:19 PM
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i bought a 302 for my 68 cougar , it was out of the car with no intake. the seller guaranteed the motor would run and i would be happy with it or i could have my money back. i didn't get it installed until 6 months later , but it is in the car now and runs just great. there are a few good sellers left out there.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:07 PM
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It's just a chance you take when you can't hear it run, It would depend on what plans i had for the engine weather or not i heard it or not. I bought a 66 model 289 for a mustang i had and the guy told me it was a great motor had like 50k on it. I bought it took it home tore it down cam bearings gone full of crud but i did'nt really care i was thinking of overhaulin it anyway. so it depends on what you are buying and the plans you have for IMO.......Cole
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:56 PM
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Thanks so much

Thanks to all of you! I can't get over how great this forum is! Yeah, I want the engine to drop right in my 73 camaro so I can rebuild the one thats in it now. Going to rebuild on my own so I know it will take a very long time! Dont want my car to sit all next year while I work on the rebuild.
Thanks again to everybody!!
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:45 PM
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It don't take much to fire it up on the ground.. I did many motors that way. One hot wire to the dist. And some gas,,and you will know for sure.. Just don't hit it to hard..
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:59 PM
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Will the owner guarantee it to run......

Why not re-build THIS one and use the engine in the car now? Thats what I did. Alot of work to put in an engine thats crap....then you have to re-swap everythig back!
6sally6
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:00 PM
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Thank you much

Thank you for the reply, I will look that up too.
Thanks to everybody!
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:06 PM
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The engine in it now is way over due and has mushroomed valve. It is standard bore and flat top pistons. I looked in the cylinders and it needs to come out. Also, cut open oil filter and found some shavings.
Thanks Again!
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:26 PM
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Depending on the price, you may be ok and may not. I've had my fair share of problems with used motors. I bought a "89" S10 that had a V8 in it. It ran, sounded good. Owner told me it was bored & stroked. After I got it, I was in the process of doing some work to it for the race track. I found some things wrong and decided to pull the motor and have a look see. Come to find out, the only thing that had been done to the motor was bored .040 with stock heads, crank & rods. These things were suppose to be aftermarket parts according to the owner.

I then decided to slap a BBC 454 in the ol S10. I bought one without an intake so I couldn't hear it run but we pulled the valve covers and it was real clean, had Scorpion roller rockers just like the guy said so I didn't doubt him after that. Put it in the truck, got it running and found out it had a wiped cam lobe. Took it back out, tore it down and completely rebuilt it. It was $1200 in parts and another $650.00 in the heads but it sure runs good now.

It really is a gamble either way. Usually motors that are started on the ground or a stand don't have exhaust hooked up so you really can't "hear" much over the exhaust. I have had people ask to pull the oil pan before they bought any motors I've sold but you can only see so much. Even if the inside looks good, that don't tell you anything about the valvetrain. Those BBC's are hard on the valvetrain.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:56 PM
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Thank you s10 racer!

All good stuff there! Thank you much for the info. The more I think about it, I guess I should just buy it and put it in. The guy says he would guarantee, full money back, that it has nothing wrong with it as it is, so I think I might get it. Thank you all very much!
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:19 PM
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So what your saying is you want to swap in a temporary 454ci till you get the one that's in there now rebuilt? Good idea! It's never hurt's to have a spare 454 sitting around. By the time you get the one rebuilt, you could probably sell the spare and get your money back.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:44 PM
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Yep, that sounds like a good idea to me too! I've always wanted a spare!
Thanks everybody!
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