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used Japanese engines


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29 replies to this topic

#1 Jack in Norfolk

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 06:00 PM

Ok, I know they are all Japanese:drunk: but, I saw that a guy is selling a wagon with "used Japanese engine and tranny." I know a honda guy here that ordered an engine and tranny from Japan. It was in an add in Jeg's magazine. Are these available for old subes too? Are they any better? Anyone else done this?
-Jack

#2 Snowman

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 06:21 PM

Used Japanese engines are kind of a coin toss. The reason lies in their previous life overseas. In Japan, when a car reaches 50,000 miles (I think that's the magic number), the engine has to be yanked out and replaced with a new one. The old engines are often sent here because they are still in good working order. Hower, because people know that the engine only has to last 50,000 miles, they usually won't even change the oil. Hence, it is common for these engines to have a modicum of nasty stuff inside, which can eventually cause problems.

There are no differences in performance between U.S. market and Japanese market engines for '80s suburus. However, there are some newer models that cannot be imported due to emissions restrictions, and those generally have hotter motors than their U.S. counterparts.

I currently have a used Japanese engine in my car. It has worked really well so far, but after two years of running synthetic oil, some of the sludge has loosened up and is starting to get in the lifters. The other issue with these engines, and the reason that I am going to take mine out and replace it with a U.S. market engine, is that they have different emissions equipment and CANNOT pass emissions tests. I found this out the hard way when I moved to a city that requires testing,and now I have to drive my backup/project car until I can switch engines.

The moral of the story is: If you want a cheap engine that more often than not will work fine as long as you don't have to pass I.M. and can deal with the accumulated oil sludge, Japanese engines are OK. However, due to the lack of maintenance, they often will not be in as good ofshape as a U.S. market engine of the same age/apparent condition. If you've got the money, go with a rebuilt engine from CCR. If not, check around in junkyards for a low-mileage wrecked car with a good engine in it. Personally, I would only use a Japanese engine as a last resort after my somewhat costly (in the long run) and inconvenient experience with one.

#3 Subyaddict

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 08:55 PM

that would be my car that Jack is refering to, and I agree with the sludge theory. I spent the first 2k miles changing oil every 500. I also started with Marvel mystery oil as recomended on this board.
P.s. this reply is not to boost my car, but to offer my opinion.
I was told by CCR,inc. in colorado that the auto has the highest hp to make up for the drivetrain losses associated with automatic transmissions, and accoring to one of my manuals it also has the strongest valve return springs to help it rev higher without valve float.
This is my fourth (not on this car) EA81 that I have had the pleasure of driving, and it has definitely proven to be more powerful in the high end with only a mild loss in torque. Also I have never been able to run 87 octane fuel at 10 deg until this motor. Definitely a different cam profile as suggested.
Also I bought it from a company that guaranteed it for a year because they do a leakdown and compression test, as well as a rotating assembly test, at least that's what they said.:-)

#4 archemitis

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 09:09 PM

all the honda guys with the vtech swaps have pretty good luck, but... i have heard all day long that the jap motors have never had their oil changed and all that. but... would you not change your oil if you were only going to have the car for 40 or 50k miles? NO. it doesnt make sense to me. some guys over here dont change their oil as often as they sould... maybe one looser didnt change his oil and it gave them all a bad name. i say if its got less than 100k miles, and its a subaru, its gonna go for at least another 100k.

#5 Subyaddict

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 09:15 PM

Amen

#6 Jack in Norfolk

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 10:19 PM

I work with a guy who used to be in the navy. He was in Japan for a couple years. He had a Skyline gtr (bastard). He told me that bit about yanking engines with 50k is bolanga. I have heard it too (actually I heard 30k). So it must have originated somewhere.
Speaking of skylines, I saw one in Sitka when I was in Alaska this summer.
Snowman- do you know what;s up? Is there some difference in laws that allows grey market cars? I heard that there was also an older WRX in town. You know, the cool looking ones before they got those goofy dodge neon headlights and that wierd hyundai trunk/reardecklid.
These were coast guard guys that I was working with.

#7 DaveAP

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 10:38 PM

I bought an ea-71 and clutch from Raising Sun Engines and had it shipped to the house (Calif. to AZ.). Came to 500.00

It has 35,000 on it, runs great. I'd do it again.

#8 Snowman

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 11:06 PM

I'm not 100% sure about the laws governing stuff like that. I have heard of several specific examples of cars that could not be sold in the U.S. due to emissions stuff. I don't know if the older WRX was like that or if it just wasn't sold here because it didn't fit the "target market".

If I sounded a bit harsh toward JDM engines in my previous post, I didn't really mean to. I'm sure they are good engines, I just wanted to get the point across that they probably aren't as good as stateside used engines, based on my logic and my experience with them.

If they aren't yanked at 50K, then why are there so many of them around?

#9 Subyaddict

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 11:31 PM

I think most of the reason for a lack of the gc8 impreza stateside is nobody knew what a WRX was until they won 3 WRCs, or played the video game GT for playstation.
You can make a 2.5 rs into a WRX fairly easily.
You just need a wrx drivetrain, and a custom wiring harness.
Or a legacy turbo drivetrain.
Or you can buy one from Canada(rare).
I plan on actually doing this within the next couple of years because I greatly prefer the old body to the new one.(mainly the 22B model)
I have researced this alot and it's very simple, it just takes alot of cash.
Buying a modified rally car used is a more economical way to go, because someone already did all the hard stuff.
Check out
www.rallyclassified.com

#10 baccaruda

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 11:34 PM

I've heard it's due to stringent emissions / rust standards in Japan that cause cars to be pulled off the road "early"

#11 Svengouli7

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 08:42 AM

I put a motor from Nippon motors in a loyale wagon I had. Delivered to my door in Seattle from LA it came to about $650.
The outside was steam/solvent cleaned. I did a reseal on it, including the oil pan, and i don't remember much sediment in it.
Cooling pasages were a bit nasty- while it was hanging from a hoist I kept filling her up w/ water and draining- head plugs were blocked, that first rinde through looked like automotive diarrhea.
Once mounted, you bet I flushed her a good few more times.

That motor lasted about a year prior to a head gasket failure in a trip (whole other story!) Certainly I don't blame the motor itself- seems like as hg could go on any of our motors at any time (EA82) unless fairly recently redone w/ dealer gaskets...

#12 thealleyboy

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 08:58 AM

I've heard all the theories about why the scrap them out in Japan so early, and that they never change their oil and all that...

But what I believe most is what professional mechanics have told me about ones they've installed. Most of what I've heard is positive. I would definitely try one out in a backup/daily driver type of car.

The market forces in Japan are to jam new cars down your throat every couple of years (sound familiar?). But instead of 0% financing and rebates, they get you thru regulations and inspections: emissions, safety, and other things that will entice the owner to take cars off the road early. In Japanese culture, people just don't drive old beaters around. Not only is it very embarrassing (this is a biggie in their culture), it's MUCH more expensive to keep an old car legal than to replace it with a new one.

Now there is some truth to the bad maintenance theory, but probably not as common as you would think. In Japan, just like everywhere else, they are concerned about trade in value.
There is some $$ incentive to keep their cars up - not to mention all the inspections that force them to perform at least basic maintenance.

Before cars are scrapped, the engines are evaluated for condition and sold in lots. The best engines from scrapped vehicles will go for the best prices, and fortunatey for us, most of the best ones end up in the US. The ones that are obviously abused will end up in 3rd world countries, or scrapped as well.

Again, from everything I heard, these are fine for everyday use, and some mechanics I know will even stand behind them for as long as 36,000 miles. Unless you get a rare lemon, I would think most would be good for 100k or more.

good luck, John

#13 struculeus

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 11:27 AM

I've installed those engines in many different cars. I've had good luck with them. Although, with Mazda's, for some reason they have noticably less power. The Sub engines I've always had good luck with.
Here's the scoop on the crate motors -

They have about 30,000 - 60,000 miles on them. But you'll never know the actual miles. Assume high!

In Japan, they don't have any oil reserves. Every drop of oil needs to be imported. I don't know about the whole "not changin oil thing," but the oil they use in their engines is a parafin based oil, which is a type of wax. It's cheaper. Maybe that's why people say they don't change oil. It's imperative that after you install it, at least once run some cheap oil and some motor flush through it to clean it out. I usually do it twice.

Also, change all the seals! Always assume the worst!

I've spent some time in Japan, and what they're saying about not driving old cars is absolutely correct. The big difference is that the cars are cheaper, because not only do they not have the emissions standards, but they don't have the safety standards, and most of the cars on the road are half the size of what they are here. It's quite interesting, really. Even their trucks are tiny.

And they drive on the wrong side!

J

#14 northguy

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 12:08 PM

I can't attest to others' and their motors, but my brat has a replacement motor in it. It has 127K on it and is running strong. The only major difference (and an easy way to tell) I can see is the block is not threaded for a screw in engine heater. Thus, I'll have to epoxy a plate heater on the bottom of my oil pan in another month when the termination dust finally settles. Other than that, I am quite happy with it.

#15 thealleyboy

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 02:07 PM

Stru:

That's some excellent insight on the Japanese engines, especially about the parafin oil.

It is a very interesting culture. I pick up bits and pieces thru my brother who works for a Honda supplier, and from my interactions with the many Japanese people that work for the Honda plant near Columbus. From what I gather, intentionally neglecting a car, just to save on maintenance costs, would not be looked on too favorably by most Japanese people. In Japan, if a person were offered a low trade-in allowance because the old car was in below-average condition, it would probably be a big-time insult. The incentive would be to keep it in top-notch shape.

If an engine were known to be abused, I seriously doubt it would end up in the US. The Japenese are very conscious about how others think of them, especially Americans. They don't like being wrong, and if you are wrong, they'll sure let you know about it.

John

#16 Jack in Norfolk

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Posted 29 September 2003 - 11:39 PM

very interesting.
I wonder if there are any old subie nuts in Japan...

#17 paddlesnz

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 08:38 PM

1. Here in Japan, an engine is not replaced when it reaches 50,000miles.

2. All vehicles must undergo a 2 yearly compulsory inspection (shaken) once they are 3 years old. This shaken is made up mostly of tax and fees and can be very expensive if repair work also needs to be done. Most Japanese get their shaken done at the dealer where they bought the car. Dealers ALWAYS use the shaken as a good way to make money, by doing repairs/part replacement even if not necessary. The basic shaken costs from only about US$800 (depends on vehicle size) but get it done at a dealer and it starts from about US$1500~US$3000. The older the car gets, the more the dealer says needs fixing, the more expensive the shaken, so most Japanese just trade in and get a new car. Vehicles over 7 years old are normally scrapped, even though may have only done 70,000 kms or exported as used cars.

3. While the shaken does include emission testing and other tests, it is not severe. For example, I recently purchased a 22 year old Isuzu from a dealer who also did the shaken. The slight amount of rust was just painted over. The day after it passed the shaken, it had to be towed back to the dealer due to engine failure.

4. Vehicles also have to have a yearly service check which includes oil change etc. This is compulsory, unless you can show you did it yourself. Again mostly done at the dealer which equals expensive. To save money and because of expensive oil prices, normally the cheapest oil is used.

5. Accident damaged vehicles are also left at the dealer to repair, the most expensive option, so many are written-off even though the damage may not be so bad or they maybe low mileage.

In general, Japanese do get regular (yearly) maintenance done on their vehicles, but due to dealer and parts costs, they normally take the cheap route on oil qulaity, etc.

Hope this helps.

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#18 Cougar

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 10:00 AM

Thanks for the explaination of the way they do things in Japan paddlesnz.

#19 thealleyboy

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 10:14 AM

Yes, very interesting.

Sounds like much of what I've heard turns out to be true. I wouldn't hesitate to use one of these, but the cheap motor oil issue kinda bothers me. 2X a year is not frequent enough, and the climate there would probably be considered "extreme" by our standards.

John

#20 calebz

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 10:24 AM

I have used Japanese replacment engines in a few cars in shops I have worked at. Only ever had one come back to me.. developed a rod knock after about 2500 miles.(customer had the oil changed at jiffy lube.. go figure). The worst part about it was having to remove all the sensors, intake and exhaust manifold(this was on nissan engines) those parts were completely different.. but still in all i have had good experiences with the import motors.

#21 Kernzie

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 12:46 PM

My dad had a Japanese motor put in his Nissan Maxima. A few small changes and it was in and has been running fine for a lot of miles now.
In Japan the inspections and taxes etc. get very high after 5-7 years and most cars even though they are perfectly good and low mileage, are either sold overseas or parted out. This is done to create artificial demand for domestic car sales in Japan to help the Japanese manufacturers.
Until the Russian Gov't put a stop to it (they are left hand drive like North America) Russian cargo ships would drop off their goods and fill the decks with used cars. Many go to NZ etc. as well.
Someone mentioned a Skyline GTR. Nissan has keeping the GTR in Japan (on purpose) but in the last few years they have been selling it in the UK and some other right-drive locales. Now that they are selling the Infiniti version of the Skyline in North America (G35) maybe just maybe, they will make a left-drive GTR.

When I lived in Japan, Subaru had these neat little 4WD delivery trucks running around. I almost brought one home with me.

Kernzie

#22 XSNRG

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 09:22 PM

I've had four of those import engines, all EA82 turbos. The first one had water in a cylinder so I sent it back for another prior to installation. The second one looked really good inside and after resealing, I put in my wifes Loyale wagon for 50,000 trouble free miles. It was the best running turbo I ever drove. I kept telling her I was going to take the engine out and put it in my RX. Aftere 50k it was ready for a reseal and we were selling the car so out came the engine, reseal and now it IS in my RX. The third one went in my '88 GL-10 turbo and it looked like new inside and is still running good with about 50,000 miles. The last one I got was hard to get, they are getting scarce. We pulled it apart to seal it and it looked bad inside but we went ahead anyway. after getting it together it ran like crap, we sent it back and got a CCR engine, it runs like a top. I'm skeptical about getting another EA82(t), I'm afraid they are down to crap that has already been installed and returned. The guy at engine place said they will take parts from two or more and try to make one good one out of the returned stuff to try and get some money out of it. I bought a '85 carbed engine from the PAP for $75 out of a car with 100k that hit a wall and that engine ran like brand new. My friend got a EJ22 for $200 and it ran like new too. I think from now on, with the prices and scarcity of the older soob engines from Japan, I think I would rather roll the dice with a JY engine, they are a hell of a lot cheaper.

BTW, If they never changed the oil, wouldn't that void the warranty on the engine???

#23 Flowmastered87GL

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 03:32 AM

66K, and 5 + years later my JDM import engine is still holding up... even after afew runs to 7000 RPM :burnout:

Basically if you get a JDM engine its easiest to just use the block and heads you get from them.... dont even try to use the intake manifold of anything on it (wiring, carb) if you want to keep it simple.

#24 bbbs53

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 01:50 AM

Hi, I don't know if anyone noticed, but we finally have someone who actually lives in Japan on the board. Welcome! Hopefully it will help dispell some of the misinformation that goes on around here. Also, maybe there is a chance of getting some parts that have disappeared from this country. Keep with us, Bradd

#25 thealleyboy

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 07:18 AM

Yes, I'd like to hear more from our friend in Japan.

I do pick up bits and pieces thru the Honda pipeline, but that's mainly the corporate manufacturing viewpoint. I'm talking people that make a living building and selling cars. The Japanese people here are trained to function in our culture, and I'm not sure they are a fair representation of their country.

It is interesting to know what the average folks think too.

John




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