Buying a replacement engine

i'm considering replacing the engine in my 1991 civic DX - i think it is a D15B2.
i think i want just a straight replacement. i'm more interested in
fuel economy than performance.
does anyone have any experience or advice regarding purchasing engines? i need practical information regarding JDM engines, buying online and warranties.
thanks!
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Hi Josh, I am a 91 Civic LX owner. Mine's a D15B2 engine. I was curious on behalf of a friend and went looking for an engine online a few months ago. Seems like one with less than 75k miles on it for our Civics may be had for under $800. Shipping runs a measly $100. Warranties seem to run 3 months to a year. You can google using words like {swap engine honda civic} and start studying the results for some more ideas.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

what's wrong with yours and why do you want to replace it? how many miles? i ask because if you think it's not performing right, there are a number of possible causes, all of which are cheaper and less troublesome than replacing the whole unit.
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i've done some looking online and it's difficult to discern what's what and if a given website is legitimate. that's the biggest difficulty.
jim - you've helped me in the past and i appreciate that. here's the long story short: bought the car from a friend. when i bought it, it probably had a blown head gasket. after a while, the engine blew, overheated severely and i had head reworked. i did the work and installed new timing belt, new water pump, and of course new head gasket.
the engine seemed to run just okay. it felt tired. then the temp started fluctuating. replaced thermostat a few times, rad cap a few times... was losing coolant. figured i messed up first gasket job. started #2. replaced timing belt, head gasket had head reworked. replaced distributor after the last one had bad crank sensor (caught warranty by a week!).
car runs okay, but here's the thing it did after 1st and 2nd head gasket job: after i drive for a while, some kind of gas gets into the cooling system. it bubbles, not boils, pretty vigorously after i come home (up a mountainside). i could live with this, but i have to check the fluid levels every couple days now. the gas pushes coolant out, overflows the resevoir, makes a mess and then i have to fill it back up.
i am now feeling like the block is cracked or something else is majorly messed up. plus, i'm a little sick of working on this engine...
jim beam wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

the biggest thing is to buy with a credit card [not debit card]. that way, ultimately, if there's a problem, the vendor has to work with you and the credit card company to resolve any problems. i'd just go for one of the direct jdm importers with as low a mileage as possible. you don't need much of a warranty - say a month. if it works, has no head problems and doesn't burn oil, you're set - all those will be detectable in the first week or so.

something's cracked.

replacement is 100% the way to go - not worth wasting another single moment on that motor. onwards!

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thanks jim,
i appreciate your help! do you know of any reputable vendors of these jdm motors? you mentioned "one of the direct jdm importers."
also, is this industry legit? as in, are the mileages they quote for real or is it just B.S.? would i be better off going to the junk yard?
thanks again (exciting saturday, right?).
jim beam wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

no, it's legit. mileages should be about right - other markets, particularly japan, do much lower mileage than us. that's why i'd only buy a domestic motor in emergency - /much/ higher mileage. but that said, there's no reason a d15 can't do 300k miles if it's not been cracked and has had the oil changed regularly.
i'm not endorsing any of the following: http://www.sunrisejdmmotors.com / http://www.nippon-motors.com/honda.htm http://www.naganojapanese.com /
there are a bunch of others if you google.
good luck!

you're not going anywhere with that motor!

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Jim,
Not trying to jack this thread. But I have a question.
Why does automotive engine usage get measured in miles/kms and any other heavy duty application get measured in hours?
Wouldn't these engines from Japan have crazy high hours?
I was speaking with a farmer the other day, and he shed some good light on the whole oil change thing.... He said John Deere recommends an oil change every 300-400 hours.
If I translate that length of time into KMs in my car, assuming my average speed is around 50km/h, (I do alot of highway miles) that would mean that 300 hours is 15000kms? For the record, I change every 5000kms. But why the discrepancy?
I buy heavy duty diesel engines for a living. I don't maintain them for a living though... otherwise I would know Cummins' intervals for oil changes. But I do happen to know on the design side that oil filtration is really no different on these heavy duty applications than on the average consumer vehicle.
Comments?
t
jim beam wrote:

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loewent via CarKB.com wrote:

very good question! to skip forward a bit, there's quite a bit of movement in the industry towards pushing out oil change intervals. there's two main methods - one is using the ecu to log usage and electronically compare that with a table of oil conditions. the other is measuring dielectric constant and mapping that in much the same way. the expensive option is actual spark spectroscopy analysis like they use in f1, but i'm not aware of that being used in production vehicles.
biggest reason for hour-based changes vs mileage is that with a lot of diesels, [generators, etc.] there /are/ no miles to log! farm gear doesn't cover a lot of mileage either.
regarding discrepancy, big commercial diesels tend to have a much more regular life than the average passenger car. not only do diesels wear less on cold start [diesel wetting a cylinder wall is a lubricant, not a dilutant like gasoline], they tend to have a lot fewer cold starts too. a lot of trucks run for days on end, marine diesels for months on end. this means the oil has less crud in it from the cold start process which helps. then there's filtration. a lot of big diesels have two filters - one is full flow, the other is bypass. the bypass filter pulls out all the fine stuff the full flow filter doesn't, and this keeps the oil in pretty good shape. a lot of commercial fleets are also supported by oil analysis and usage logging. a vehicle used on a regular route can have its oil change strategy "tuned" very accurately. hardly any passenger cars do this, so manufacturers are really trying to cover hugely different usage patters with their recommended service intervals.
but the bottom line on all this though is what the market supports. even my old 89 civic has a 7500 mile change interval. yet who here waits that long? the later civics have 10k as their interval - at 30mph, that's 333 hours, not far off john deere's diesel spec. again, there's a lot of resistance among american consumers about extended change intervals with people routinely ignoring the onboard diagnostics and getting oil changed 2 or even 3 times before the oil service notification comes on. i don't see us embracing much beyond 10k unless there's a massive public education campaign, but that's against the interests of the oil industry, so that ain't going to happen! otoh, i hear that the europeans are very keen on long change intervals and for pushing it out as far as possible with up to 30k on some of the euro cars. of course, improved lubricants play a significant role in that too.

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My guess is that diesel engines need service more by hours of operation than gasoline engines do. Couple that with the sort of duty many of those engines get - miles traveled not being a good measure of usage and sometimes being used in stationary applications - and doing those by miles is pretty far-fetched. Airplanes powered by gasoline engines are the same way. Maintenance is done by the hour meter and probably still would even if there were an odometer to read.
Disclaimer - I am not very familiar with diesels. I've been driving a Ford F350 diesel at work for about a year and have operated a diesel snow cat. Interestingly, although the snow cat has an odometer, its fuel consumption is estimated in terms of hours of operation rather than miles.
Mike
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jim beam wrote:

Ah, but how is one to know if the stated mileage is accurate? And what do you know about how the engine was maintained ... nothing.
Sounds like a crap shoot to me.
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John Horner wrote:

you have no way of ensuring mileage accuracy with a domestic junk yard either. well, you kind of do - you're guaranteed that it's done a /lot/ more miles than a japanese motor.
one more thing worth consideration. in the hondas i've had, the japanese made motors seem to be better balanced than the ones made here. there's no real reason why this should be, but that's been my experience.
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There's something about a car that isn't?
The odds should be good, though. As I understand it Japanese emission standards are so tight that engines are replaced because of normal wear long before they would be considered unserviceable here.
I would put a new timing belt and water pump on before putting the engine in a car, though. It's got to be easier to do on a stand, and then the new owner knows when it is due again.
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

A new thermostat would also be a great idea.
Eric
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Oh, yeah... an OEM thermostat!
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Your description sounds like the head gasket is leaking again.
DEspite your not wanting to work on this motor much more you can try to unscrew and re-torque each head bolt. Sometimes you can get them to seal again. Another thing is did you use any assembly lube on the head bolts so you can get an accurate torque AND something I do on every hole is to run a tap through it. Both of these steps will let you get a much more accurate toque and keep the gremlins away.
-SP
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Speedy Pete wrote:

even if this weren't a waste of time on a motor with a cracked block, it's a waste of time on a car with a gasket that's leaked. leak once, leak always. /always/. no amount of re-torquing will cure it.
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I just looked over the threads of this saga the OP began earlier this year. Yikes. With all the other reports of head gasket (or block or head etc.) failures, especially those reported in summer time, I wonder if the newsgroup will continue to see repeat failures resulting in the need for a replacement engine.
Granted this is happening overwhelmingly in older Hondas, c. 1988-1993, so it's hard to say if it's due to an imperfect repair job; extraordinary summer heat; or simply the age of these older Hondas.
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