Will I never learn... assumptions resulted in regret

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Had to share for those out there who will relate to my story. We all know the old adage: do the job right, the first time. Well, by allowing myself to assume the previous mechanic did his job I lost 2 hours of bookable hours and several battle wounds.

Back story: I replaced the engine in an '05 or so Corolla that had blown the HG. Picked up a low mileage used motor, which upon delivery looked very good. I could see it had very recently had the timing cover resealed, along with the crank pulley, water pump, and valve cover gasket looking like new. I had a new VC gasket and WP on hand as I was planning on replacing them while the engine was out, however after an internal argument I decided to run with the water pump that was installed. It spun free and showed no sign of an issue.

Fast forward two weeks... guess what rolls in with a coolant leak. Sure enough, the Chineseium (the part # cast on said pump crossed to a FMP) sprung a leak from it's shaft seals. Ugh.... lesson learned. A quick R&R with a quality Aisin pump and she was good to go. I won't be making that mistake again, I don't care how new the part looks!
 
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Had to share for those out there who will relate to my story. We all know the old adage: do the job right, the first time. Well, by allowing myself to assume the previous mechanic did his job I lost 2 hours of bookable hours and several battle wounds.

Back story: I replaced the engine in an '05 or so Corolla that had blown the HG. Picked up a low mileage used motor, which upon delivery looked very good. I could see it had very recently had the timing cover resealed, along with the crank pulley, water pump, and valve cover gasket looking like new. I had a new VC gasket and WP on hand as I was planning on replacing them while the engine was out, however after an internal argument I decided to run with the water pump that was installed. It spun free and showed no sign of an issue.

Fast forward two weeks... guess what rolls in with a coolant leak. Sure enough, the Chineseium (the part # cast on said pump crossed to a FMP) sprung a leak from it's shaft seals. Ugh.... lesson learned. A quick R&R with a quality Aisin pump and she was good to go. I won't be making that mistake again, I don't care how new the part looks!
I rebuilt 99 of these engines, the 1zz-fe? never ever ever have I seen a "blown" head gasket, they simply do not have this problem, was it ran without coolant or what? OEM gasket that blew? or someone thinking it was a head gasket and replace it with a cheap after market head gasket, which in fact blew? I saw all sorts of scenarios with these engines, but never a head gasket issue.
 

14Accent

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I rebuilt 99 of these engines, the 1zz-fe? never ever ever have I seen a "blown" head gasket, they simply do not have this problem, was it ran without coolant or what?

Believe me, I was just as surprised as you. I wish I could remember the original complaint, but it was something along the lines of running hot and lack of cabin heat. Or it had an odd misfire due to coolant intrusion.... Either way, it failed a HC test almost immediately. Given the current car market, the customer barely blinked at the $2,700ish price for a low mile used engine. Keep in mind, were talking a high mile base model Corolla here.

Had another shocker today: customer happily approved $1,700 worth of brakes and fuel pump for their '03 Alero. Same reply as always: still cheaper than a new car, if I could find one.
 
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Given the current car market, the customer barely blinked at the $2,700ish price for a low mile used engine. Keep in mind, were talking a high mile base model Corolla here.
lol, I used to sell mine for $1,000 and I always had cleaned parts ready from other engines, it took me 1 day to rebuild an engine whenever requested.

None of my engines ever came back, and I would resolve a lot of common issues with minor leaks that others don't pay attention to, I rebuilt 5 engines that big rebuilding brands had previously rebuilt, and they made too many mistakes, and I learned from research, following all the steps in the OEM Toyota manual and youtube.

I had a couple of engines with 500,000 original miles, even they didn't have any head gasket issues, just the typical piston ring issue (not enough oil return holes in the original piston design)
 
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Sigh. It WOULD be nice if we could have the wisdom of 60 year olds during our early years (20 and up). When I first heard that saying about you need to fail in order to learn, I told my supervisor that I was going to fail a lot over the next few years. He didn't laugh.
 

14Accent

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lol, I used to sell mine for $1,000 and I always had cleaned parts ready from other engines, it took me 1 day to rebuild an engine whenever requested.

None of my engines ever came back, and I would resolve a lot of common issues with minor leaks that others don't pay attention to, I rebuilt 5 engines that big rebuilding brands had previously rebuilt, and they made too many mistakes, and I learned from research, following all the steps in the OEM Toyota manual and youtube.

I had a couple of engines with 500,000 original miles, even they didn't have any head gasket issues, just the typical piston ring issue (not enough oil return holes in the original piston design)

I applaud the care you put into your projects. There's so few out there that truly believe in doing quality work.

Having owned the same gen Corolla myself back in the day, I can see why there's a market for these engines. As you stated: mine suffered from the oil consumption/piston drain hole trait as the majority do. Given the fact it proudly showed 275k+ miles on the dash while possessing what may have been the coldest AC I've felt in my life convinced me to keep the car far longer than I should have. I adored that little junk box.
 

14Accent

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Sigh. It WOULD be nice if we could have the wisdom of 60 year olds during our early years (20 and up). When I first heard that saying about you need to fail in order to learn, I told my supervisor that I was going to fail a lot over the next few years. He didn't laugh.

It's funny you bring that up... I consider myself blessed to an almost inhumane level for one reason and one reason only: I learned EVERY skill needed to succeed in the automotive repair field purely by happenstance. Long story short, a retired GM master mechanic lived not 6 doors down from us, living out his thrice-divorced retirement days in relative solitude.

What began as an annoying neighborhood kid being told to scram evolved into "well, if you're going to hang around at least make yourself useful" which eventually saw me rebuilding small-block Chevy's and TH350's. By the time I got to college, I was coasting. Those were hands down the best days of my life.
 

14Accent

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The installation of aftermarket cooling system parts is strictly verboten.

I couldn't agree more. The Aisin pump I installed quite clearly had the OEM logo ground off, as is common with many "OEM" Japanese parts.

Why the whole engine instead of a head gasket? Heads warped?

From a financial standpoint, there's really no difference. The labor to R&R the entire engine is more or less equal to the labor required to remove the head, send it out for reconditioning, reinstall and put back in time etc. etc.

That, plus the customer got his 150k mile car back with a sub-50k mile engine. Doing the head gasket would have been fine, however it would have cost the same while retaining the worn out bottom end.
 

b_b

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learned a similar lesson on a honda alternator. wifes alternator goes on out on her accord. i take it to the dealer, and they want $800, me being cheap i say no and get one from o reillys. it goes out in six months and i end up having to the job twice and pay for the honda alternator. lesson learned, use oem on electrical components. dont be me.
 

14Accent

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2005? I would be cautious about spending money on an older car.

In today's environment, age and mileage have ceased being considerations when it comes to my customers. I just had someone drop $1,800 on their 143k mile 2003 Alero: Fuel pump, filter, front pads and rotors, serp belt, and fluid services. It's the same response every time: "Still cheaper than buying something else".
 
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