Need an engine...recommendations?

Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
762
Location
Northern Michigan
Three days ago my nephew did an oil change on the 2003 Camry in my garage. He was adamant that he would not let the local shop do it because they put the oil filter on too tight (had to get a special wrench to get the last one off). This morning he left the house to go to work and I walked out to the garage. There on the floor was 4+ quarts of oil...and the oil filter. I tried to call him but he didn't answer his phone. He confirmed that the oil light came on shortly after backing out of the garage but chose to drive it to work. Somehow it made it the 10-12 minute drive there (don't even ask me about what he could POSSIBLY be thinking...I could have easily given him a ride if he'd have shut it down right away and dealt with the aftermath of simply needing to add new oil and a filter. Although the car made it there he said there was a lot of knocking...I'm pretty sure it's toast (will obviously try to add some cheap oil and filter and try to start it but I can't imagine it isn't damaged beyond repair. Meanwhile I have to get it towed to my mechanic who will install another engine (guy is awesome, honest and reasonable...been using his services for years). I am just beginning to scout around for a replacement engine but in my 66+ years have never had to replace an engine. The car is in awesome condition and just turned 100k miles...never a problem. A recent road trip with a/c yielded 32-33 mpg. There is NO rust...car is well worth an engine ( especially in this market). I did a little searching and see that JDM engines are advertised as fitting 2002-09 models and have 40-60k miles (seems hard to believe). I know that this engine had oil consumption issues from 2007-2009...would like to avoid those years. I also don't want a junkyard engine with a ton of miles. We're prepared to spend more to get a decent replacement engine that would hopefully last several years. At this point I have a layer of oil dry on the 5 ft. square oil patch on my garage floor (sipped up what I could and applied the stuff right after. The floor was installed without a vapor barrier and sweats when humid or raining...can't imagine what that is going to be like to fix. Anyway, would appreciate any guidance or suggestions. Thanks ...
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2022
Messages
127
Location
Arizona
JDM engines are good. Lots of Japanese cars either do not see a lot of mileage or are totaled from rust way before they get to 50k miles.
 

oilmaven

Thread starter
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
762
Location
Northern Michigan
We'll definitely try to add some cheap oil and a filter and see if it will start and run first but what are the chances that an engine run without oil for at least 10 minutes would survive without major damage? I am leaning towards the JDM if necessary.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Messages
1,249
Location
Bremerton, WA
In Japan it's more cost effective to buy a new car than to subject your older car to inspection. This makes a lot of donor cars with low (city) mileage engines. Daily driven, 20 year old cars, often have less than 50k miles.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
1,030
Location
WA
Just oil it up right. Crank it & listen. 12 miles with a little oil left on the bearings isn't that bad.
If it sounds OK, little trip around the block, then park in driveway, then idle for 15 minutes. If the oil light isn't flickering at idle, drive it again, load the engine a bit, back off the throttle & listen for that tell tale conrod clatter when the bearings unload. Do it a few times. No rattle? I'd drive it.
The JDM engine providers are great, they cull their stuff because they love building new stuff. ???
They are an excellent deal, DO NOT BUY THE EXTENDED WARRANTY. That Good!
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
Messages
1,944
Location
NY
Probably had a little less than 100k on our 2000 lexus es 300 when the shop didn’t tighten the oil filter. It was my grandmothers car and she was driving it around and said it kept shutting off and had to keep being restarted. When i checked it maybe a quart or less came out. I highly doubt it has a low oil shutoff idk. Anyway i changed the oil and filter and it currently has 208k and it’s daily driven and uses no appreciable oil between 5k changes. Hopefully you will get lucky.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
360
Location
Minnesota
4cyl I'd look for a 05 or 06 to best avoid the head bolt problem, V6 I'd look for 05 to 07 to get past the worst of the sludge issue, though might require a rear main seal and inspect the oil galley near that but probably replace that (frost?) plug while having the flywheel off. 2003 Camry from your location in Michigan should have a good review for rust before replacing the motor but it sounds like you have a good idea of that. I now see it likely you have the 4cyl.

A budget exceeding $2k and you should consider looking at local cars for sale that might be a trade off for less work required or a DIY being best case scenario.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
3,963
Location
Ohio
Put a new filter on it, and oil it up.
Say your prayers and try it out.
Perhaps Christmas will come early for you this year.
If it doesn't, embark on a boneyard search for a replacement engine.
As for the Nephew: secure all available tools under lock and key and inform him that if his current career does not pan out, that Jiffy Lube is always hiring.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2018
Messages
2,344
Location
south dakota
I have been to those shows where they run an engine wide open with zero oil and they run a lot longer than 10 minutes. Hopefully the engine is still ok. Let us know if it still runs.
 

oilmaven

Thread starter
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
762
Location
Northern Michigan
I went ahead and put a new filter and oil in a while ago and started it up...quiet as a church mouse. Drove it home and all seems fine...no noises or knocking. He probably didn't drive it far enough to cause catastrophic damage. Still, we'll be watching the oil level and listening and watching for any problems for awhile. It looks like he dodged a bullet here. Thanks for the comments (even the snarky ones).
 

D60

Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
1,313
Location
Colo
I went ahead and put a new filter and oil in a while ago and started it up...quiet as a church mouse. Drove it home and all seems fine...no noises or knocking. He probably didn't drive it far enough to cause catastrophic damage. Still, we'll be watching the oil level and listening and watching for any problems for awhile. It looks like he dodged a bullet here. Thanks for the comments (even the snarky ones).
Will a scanner give you an OP reading? You don't have a "before" comparison but it'd be interesting to know pressure at hot idle....just for giggles if nothing else
 
Top