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Guide for selecting a junk yard EA-82 engine


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12 replies to this topic

#1 BlackBoot

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:54 AM

I have compiled this list as a start, please add to it and keep it going.
Keep in mind that this should be simple, quick and dirty, and using only tools hand carried into the yard.

In most yards all fluids have been removed along with batteries and catalytic converters along with the Y-pipe and O2 sensor.
Makes for determining a good engine more of a challenge than usual.
Obvious signs of a good engine can be low milage, clean and well maintained looking, other major obvious faults like a bad transmission, or most obviously severe body damage.
Look for the reason the car went to the yard, use your imagination and investigation skills.

Some clues to look for.

Coolant:***
If the coolant is clean and bright, it's an indication that the coolant system was good. If there is no antifreeze in the coolant and it is straight water, the engine was***likely overheated.

Water pump:***
Make sure it turns freely. Some engines could have a seized water pump which likely resulted in overheating.***

Thermostat:***
Put the thermostat in a cup of boiling water to see if it opens, if not, again the engine has likely overheated.***

Oil: ***
You can usually still find some left in the pan after removing the oil drain plug, or a little bit deposited on the dipstick. Make sure the oil appears to be normal and transparent without any milky deposits. Milky means coolant has mixed with the oil most likely from bad head-gasket.
A valve cover should also be removed. If things inside appear to be clean or have a slight brown tint, it's a healthy engine. If everything is black and there are thick oil deposits, this indicates the engine had a lot of blowby and oil was not changed on regular intervals, resulting in sludge buildup.******

Testing Compression: ***
Crank the engine a few times and check the pressure, on each cylinder.***If the key, battery and starter is intact this is a very easy task.***
However usually this is not the case.***
Cranking the engine by hand will not give accurate readings because the engine has to turn over fast enough to compensate for the leakage through the rings and valves.***
If a compression test gauge is unavailable, or the engine can't be turned over using the starter, the engine can be rotated by hand with a large ratchet to feel the resistance and pressure.***
It should sound like "ffoooK". If the engine turns too easy and no compression is heard, or not evenly spaced and only come from some cylinders, the engine is bad.

Please add to the list or correct any faults.

#2 Turbone

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:27 AM

You're correct, most of the time the yards will drain all the fluids, so you wont be able to check those.

The first thing I look at is what oil filter is on it. If its got a Fram I will think twice about it and may just keep looking.

It wont be easy to check compression in a wrecking yard, you need rpm's turning the engine to get a accurate reading.

Most EA82's in the yards are high mileage, but sometimes you get lucky. A wrecked one would be the best candidate for a engine.

#3 BlackBoot

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:07 PM

Does someone have details, or even better pictures of jumping the starter directly? Could it be done with a smaller battery easy to carry into the yard, motorcycle battery? Enough amps?
I've seen it done along time ago on a GM, don't remember too well.
What would be the required, step by step for and EA82?

#4 old sub freak

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:10 PM

A few years back I was looking for a good E82 engine.I packed in my 12 volt battery and used it to turn the engine over for a good compression test.It worked great.As i remember we jumped the starter with a screwdriver as the ignition was messed up.That was the only way I could figure how to really test a engine.We tested 2 of them and took the one with the best compression..the other one would have been ok,but one was defintly better......On the starter celinoid? you jump from the male "tang"? to the nut that holds the starter cable on. I think? Anyway take your time and don't rush through it.Picking a good engine from anywhere is risky at best.The engine i got is still running after many,many,many miles. I did the "full monty"on it.That involves replacing all the oil seals and re doing the oil pump seals and the water pump.Sure its a gamble BUT.... life is that way...Good luck and look before you leap...:banana: PS doing the thinking thing helps too. was it running when it was brought in? like it was cracked up and thats why it was junked? or does the body look mint and you can only guess why it ended up there... Have fun!!

Edited by old sub freak, 06 November 2012 - 02:12 PM.
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#5 BlackBoot

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:38 PM

I just called my local yard, they don't allow batteries in the yard.
There goes that idea?

#6 Subruise

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:59 PM

yards in my area give you a seven days warranty. so, get it, swap it, flog it. if it lives, you got a good one. heck, i got one with bottom end noise and it still lasted til i built a good one. it was a daaawwg but it ran. long story short, just c y a

#7 987687

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:15 PM

None of this is really ea82 specific, but there are some general things for any JY engine pulls.
Usually you can get some coolant out of them. If you turn the radiator upside down, undo a heater core line, etc. There's always more coolant in there than drains. So I'll check that.
There's often oil on the dip stick still, it's a good hint to see what color it is.
Pull a valve cover, or even pull the oil pan if you really think it's a good candidate. You'll see if it's sludged up, if there are sparkles in the sludge, etc.
Mileage is an obvious one to check..

I will only take an engine out of a car that was obviously running before it went there. So things like a broken timing belt. That says it broke, and they junked it. But it was probably running fine prior to that, they just didn't want to deal with it. Even on later interference motors, just grab heads off something else and bolt them on in the yard. Make it look like you're taking one longblock out.

Cars that have been crashed are good candidates, you know why it ended up there, a reason besides the engine dying. Whenever I see a really clean car with no apparent issues, I always figure the engine blew up, and that's why it's there. Not a good choice.

#8 old sub freak

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:50 PM

You know with all the plugs pulled mabey you could use a portable drill battery and just play dumb if they make a deal of using a battery in the yard? i wonder what problem lead to that rule? Politics I bet!! haha Or like others have said shake the dice and hope a goiod one comes up.They will give you a different motor but won't compensate for all your labor so .... take your time, Its only time and money.... haha:banana:

#9 92LoyaleH4

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:10 PM

I just called my local yard, they don't allow batteries in the yard.
There goes that idea?


tell them you want to test the compression on motor...If they want you as a customer they should do this for you...of course YOU NEED to witness or do it.

Too much time and money at stake to just "hope its good"

#10 scoobiedubie

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:11 AM

Testing the compression will most likely tell you how tight the cylinder head bolts are, which you will be removing to rebuild the cylinder heads anyways. Look at the odometer first. Look around the car to see what kind of condition the owner kept it in. If he kept it in good condition then he probably changed the oil regularly. Look for scrapes and dents below the car that show abuse. Look at the molding and paint to see whether they cared for it enough to keep it in a garage. Look at the engine to see whether they did any aftermarket stuff or had a mechanic do the work. Look for cracks in the exhaust port on the cylinder heads, if you intend to reuse them, because that tells you how hard the owner drove it. Look for torn CV axle boots because that tells you how attentive the owner was to the vehicle. Look for bumper or window stickers to see what kind of nutcase drove the car. I would not touch an engine that had over 125,000 miles on it, and/or also flunked the above inspections.

#11 ferp420

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:32 AM

I've always done a complete tear down in the junk yard before I buy any motor there ie pulling the heads and oilpan and main and rod bearings ill pull as many apart as I need to to find the best parts I can and resemble it in the yard the best I can than freshen it up with new gaskets and bearings when I get it Home hasent failed me yet

#12 987687

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:58 AM

Well you can't pull bearing caps on a subaru. I dunno about the ea, but on the ej you can get the two middle caps off and look at the rod bearings. But then you're gonna have to disassemble the engine to properly reassemble it.

#13 Quidam

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:37 AM

I just called my local yard, they don't allow batteries in the yard.
There goes that idea?


You could get a large portable air tank, and with a leak down tester, get a pretty good idea of ring and valve seal. If you can hear air in the intake it's leaking past the valves. If you hear it in the crankcase, it's rings. Taking into account it's a "cold" engine.

If you've got the valve covers off look for heat tabs, usually placed lower/center on the head when a head is remanufactured. The center is in contact with the head and melts at 260* F.
Posted Image
The adhesive used to install the heat tabs is good for 350* F. I had a now scrapped EA 82 with 120,XXX miles on it. I was the second owner if you don't count the dealer where the car was traded in.

The heat tab on the passenger side head fell off, so it got overheated to the tune of 350*...at least.

The oil cooked and the rings on the passenger side were stuck in their grooves,2nd ring on Cyl # 1 did come off. The rings all came off #2 and #4 but the oil was still cooked there.
Posted Image

It got so hot it split the bore in #3.
Posted Image

A bore scope would be a good tool to look in the cylinders but I haven't ran across one yet that lets me move the tip around, so it's frustrating and of limited value. I have access to an expensive one, but I can't turn the tip and look around. After thinking about it with a time crunch or something to do first, concentrate your attention to Cyl #3. It seemed odd I had a crack between the valves on cylinder #2 and #3. There's a clue there. Both cylinders are the same if you swapped the heads side to side.

I polished the crank out of it though. Mickey Mouse intact and front and rear seals pliable so it still had oil pressure. What a 120,000 crank looks like.
Posted Image

Rod and Main bearings relatively unharmed. Tips of the rods have cooked oil on them.
Posted Image


I thought it may have been bored thin where that split is but this block, the cylinder liners were cast and bored near perfect. It split just beyond the aluminum from the siamese bore area.
Posted Image

Here's a real problem with the EA 82 blocks. Siamese bores. This violates two physical laws right off the bat. For a cylinder to be perfectly round it has to have consistent wall thickness, and equal temperature all around.

When these are overheated, damage is done. And old cars get driven home anyway.

Doug

Edited by Quidam, 08 November 2012 - 11:48 AM.





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