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need engine, planning to rebuild salvage: advice?

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Old 02-21-2011, 11:21 PM
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need engine, planning to rebuild salvage: advice?


I don't have a prelude: my honda came with an f22 and has always been underpowered. The engine is now leaking oil, and in fact I'm taking a class for which we need to rebuild an engine... so, perfectly opportunity to rebuild someone else's h22, which should be a dropin replacement! (+ prelude ecm).

Alright! So I need an entire engine, preferably cheap, to leave budget for a rebuild kit (more fun after all- and needed for the class grade, can't just drop a salvage in). I'm more familiar with my old ford, for which parts are cheap, plentiful, and not very discriminating.

One question: how old is too old? I.e., as a case study in class we talked about the chevy vega, whose all-aluminum block proved to have a 50k service life. There are also blocks known to be bullet proof, regularly lasting to 300k.
The H22, as I learned from a friend who works at the parts department at honda, has nonmachineable steel sleeves. So if an engine is worn beyond specs, not only can't I afford machine work, I couldn't machine it if I wanted to and did have the money.
So while I can bring an internal bore tool and some calipers with me and check it out, as a rule of thumb, how many miles are too many?

Second, where do you get your rebuild kits from? As I understand it, the tolerances on this more modern engine are more sensitive than for the old ford I've already worked on, and I was told to be careful of some of the cheaper ebay rebuild kits. Who have you round to be reliable, with quality, precision kits that won't bite me in a year or two?

I found two promising options.
One is a local guy with an h22a4 that he took apart a year ago and never got around to rebuilding. He said that it was evident that the 3rd bearing was bad, when he had it taken apart. He wants $450. He also said it has 90,000 miles. Since it's apart, I'll be able to check absolutely everything before handing over the cash. A very good question is, WHY did the 3rd bearing go bad at 90k? If he ran it dry, virtually everything else will be destroyed too. If he ran it hard, I can hope it's just cheaply replaceable bearings, and the crankshaft won't need to be machined, nor pistons replaced.

Second option is a guy almost 3 hrs away, but maybe I can justify the trip by bringing a friend and seeing a museum there or something...
He has an h22 that was starting to burn oil, at 225,000 miles. He bought a $400 rebuild kit that included stock bore pistons. Also intended to rebuild, never got around to it.
This sounds unabused, but do you think at 225,000 miles new pistons and piston rings, maybe valve seals and valve guides, will solve the blowby? (I'd do gaskets, timing chain, and oil pump just as a matter of course; though those are unrelated to burning oil). My fear is that if the cylinder walls themselves are tapered and out of round and plain worn out, there will be nothing I can do with the block.

Please let me know your advice! I can't spend $500 on an engine, $300-$600 on a rebuild kit, and screw this up: I have to pick a good block and get it right the first time. What are some particulars to honda internals to look out for, when I examine possibilities?
I might see the 90k engine with the bad 3rd bearing this Friday.
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