View Full Version : Should I replace the engine?

04-19-2009, 11:43 PM
:eek: This isn't work I am doing myself. I have zero mechanical ability.

I tracked down the very excellent mechanic who worked on my all trac right after I bought it 9 years ago. Honest and ethical. You couldn't tell it by looking at him, but he is also a minister and he treats everyone nicely.

I had been trying to figure out what was up with my car because I have taken care of it very well, and it developed a problem of consuming oil. No smoke, no leaks. No loss of power. I am getting excellent gas mileage, 23-24 per gallon. Car looks excellent. But this was bothering me. One after another of the "regular" mechanics, dealer and independent, could tell me anything. Dealer of course said car is old, not worth it to spend any more money on it, get rid of it and buy a new car. Independent said there was nothing wrong with the car, all cars consume oil.

Amount is about a quart every 1500 miles. Last time this happened, about 4 years ago, the turbo was going. I replaced the turbo, and it appeared to be fine.

Anyway, the good mechanic took off the intercooler and the hoses, compression checked it. 2nd cylinder is leaking. Pistons going bad. Likely intercooler is damaged because that is where the oil has been going.

Situation has been going on likely for more than a year. I don't drive the car hard. It currently has 1236XX miles.

I a few JDM engines. The plan would be to keep the "new" Toyota turbo I have, and replace the engine and the intercooler. Also the plan would be to replace the clutch because it is right there under the engine, and the clutch is the original, time for it to be replaced.

I have replaced all seals and gaskets, the radiator, all of the hoses, done t-belt twice, last time less than 15000 miles ago, brakes, brake lines, rotors, master and slave on the clutch, motor for the power antenna, lots sockets for the lights.

I thought of selling the car, but my word, this is a very misunderstood car. I think a very sophistocated car mechanically, as old as it is. And nothing else currently sold like it.

My question after this long note is will it be worth it? If I do this work, I will keep it and hope to get another "care free" 40000 miles out of it.

I think other than the struts (which are also the originals), there is nothing left to do. I do have another car I plan to keep. Mr2 spyder (2000) with 13202 original miles in new condition. But all trac is my daily driver. I have been avoiding letting it go, but maybe it is time.

I would like 2nd thoughts on this. I will have to borrow the money to fix the car. Several thousand dollars, and that will be hard and costly in this economy. Still less than replacing the car for a lesser car.

I realize that only I can decide which way to go, and I won't blame anyone for whatever it is I decide to do.


04-19-2009, 11:51 PM
Well, honestly, if it was my car, I would rebuild the engine if I had to, but that oil consumption isnt bad at all. It still runs fine, right?

As far as the intercooler, if you were going to have it replaced, it would be cheaper to just get a front mount intercooler instead of a replacement top-mount intercooler. If you really want to keep it stock, you can find used top-mount intercoolers for relatively cheap.

I would not sell it if it were my car, just because they are becoming harder and harder to find, but if you wanted to sell it, there are a lot of people that would be racing to you to pick it up right away, so you would have no problems getting it off your hands.

04-20-2009, 01:27 AM
I use more oil than that.

Id be happy with a quart every 1500 miles.

Id just drive the damn thing and be happy youre only burning a quart every 1500 miles.

I say this to everyone who has an alltrac, either be prepared to fork out the ass for repairs, or learn how to do them yourself. They are among the top 10 most expensive standard cars to do work on. Its ridiculous

04-20-2009, 02:15 AM
This is helping me. Thanks.

04-20-2009, 03:40 AM
you should sell it.....

when can I pick it up?

04-20-2009, 03:42 PM
i would rebuild the engine you have since you have another car to drive. rebuilding it would cost about the same as a jdm engine. but you dont always know what the jdm engine is gonna do. once the shop has the block torn down they can check the cylinders for damage. they might can just hone the block and rering the pistons since its stock power. or you can try a new short block from toyota as long as the head it fine. these are all good options.

04-20-2009, 10:54 PM
toyota sells shortblocks? 1st g 3SGE?

04-21-2009, 01:06 AM
Thinking they do sir.

You should call Toyota Todd at Ft Wayne Toyota and get a part number.

Google Fort Wayne Toyota parts, and ask for Todd. Tell him Luni told you to call.

04-21-2009, 01:08 AM
hes not gonna charge me extra is he? :lolhittin

04-21-2009, 02:35 AM

No, he will give you a part number, or a quote, or both. Hes an awesome guy and will help you with anything parts related.

04-21-2009, 02:46 AM

No, he will give you a part number, or a quote, or both. Hes an awesome guy and will help you with anything parts related.
Todd is an awesome guy and will give you the hook-up if he knows you came from here.

04-21-2009, 03:07 AM
As far as the intercooler goes, you can clean it out. If it's still solid and not leaking boost, that would be the think to do. From some of the posts on this at Alltrac.net, gasoline is very affective for cleaning gunk out. You can also use mineral spirits/parts cleaner or even some common degreasers. I used Mean Green on mine and it cleaned up really well. You'll need to plug one end and fill the intercooler on the other end and let is soak for a while. You'll probably want to do this several times to get it cleaned out good. As long as the intercooler isn't punctured, cleaning would be the cheapest way to go.

04-21-2009, 03:32 AM
I use more oil than that.

Id be happy with a quart every 1500 miles.

Id just drive the damn thing and be happy youre only burning a quart every 1500 miles.

I say this to everyone who has an alltrac, either be prepared to fork out the ass for repairs, or learn how to do them yourself. They are among the top 10 most expensive standard cars to do work on. Its ridiculous

What are the other nine top cars?

And as for it being expensive to fix these things, I have over $20,000 worth of crap the previous owner fixed all on paper. He went to a dealership every time and got raped...

04-21-2009, 04:13 PM
Mk4 supra is in that list.

MK2 MR2 turbo is in that list.

Mitsubishi 3000GT is in that list

Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo is in that list

Mazda RX7 is in that list

Its my understanding across the pond an ST205 is even higher up on that list than an ST185.

I cant think of more, but, to be honest, Ive worked on a lot of cars. Ive done hondas, nissans, Toyotas, DSMs, etc etc. Ive never worked on anything as hard overall as an alltrac.

04-21-2009, 04:29 PM
The alltrac isn't bad at all to work on once you get rid of all the "unnecessary" stuff in the engine bay LOL. But yeah, in stock form you have to remove so much crap to get to anything it's unreal.

04-21-2009, 04:30 PM
Do you know the compression test results? I would like to know what the variance is between the cylinders.

04-22-2009, 12:51 AM
2nd cyl was just a little low. It is not terminal or tragic yet. The car is full of power, and the 1, 2 and 4 cylinders were to spec.

Car is a life insurance policy in crappy weather. I have had a couple of somebodies say why do you drive in in poor weather. That is why I wanted it. Any mr2, any version, absolutely sucks in crappy weather. You have to park them in the Midwest, 5 or 6 months. Mr2 is fun to drive but you have to be an experienced driver to not have issues. Due to the mid engine and the high torque, easy to lose the back end. The bigger wheels in back are supposed to "fix" that, but all it does is lessen the impact.

I have always felt that having an all trac in poor weather is different. If you drive it slow, it takes care of you. On drive weather you can toss it around like nothing else.

I drove the tt and it is close but not quite as good. I got the Lexus dealer to let me drive the new is250awd. Supposedly, it is the replacement for the all trac, sold by Lexus because it is high end. "is" is a tiny little buick with awd. No spunk, no sporty-ness. It looks lovely and has the beautiful fake wood trim, but the old all trac out-classes it big time.

I have been agonizing over this.

I guess I have to fix it because I won't be happy otherwise. I have got kind of used to living on air so I guess it won't be a big adjustment.

The tech I know, I do trust him. If the JDM isn't good, he will know it. He plans to combine what is with the used engine. Since my turbo was Toyota and bought new, he is keeping that and he said keep the JDM turbo in case I need parts. He has rebuilt all tracs before and used to have a turbo supra.

It should be okay.

Before I did anything to the car, due to the body and condition, it appraised for $11k. Nice car owned by old people, and I include me as "old people." Kind of like Tony Randall driving his Ferrari. That what he wanted, so that is what he had.

I went to Honda last Saturday to look at CRV's and I drove up, and managers and salesmen were coming out to look at the car like it was something. I told them they could look at it but I was just curiosity shopping.

It is worth almost nothing KBB value, and it appears I have to put significant money into the car to keep it the way I like.

I do appreciate the notes. That has helped me think about this. Hopefully everything goes okay. I will let you know how it comes out.


04-23-2009, 01:28 AM
The newest is I found a local pro shop that directed me to a local guy. They asked what car, and immediately told me the about this guy. Japanese guy who is importing on his own, evidently he is picky about what he imports and he does check the engines out. Worth the ride to check it out. Engine only. No turbo, which is fine because I don't see getting a decent engine for less than $3000 with a functional turbo. My turbo, and it was new toyota, cost me $2000 and that was at cost. He wants $1200 for the engine. If it is a good engine, that is "cheap." Tech said all I need is the engine, which is probably due to what was explained by others, for the block. So essentially using what is and replacing the block.

As an aside, I have a wannabe guy breathing down my throat wanting to finally get serious about buying the car. Honestly, I was too willing to let it go early midwest winter but I survived the winter, replace the master/slave on the clutch. The other $ I didn't want to spend because I didn't have it. So now, it seems more realistic to just fix the car because I love it. Even if it costs me $3000, that is less than a year of car payments.

So the clutch and the engine. I never thought I would say this, but not a big deal.


04-23-2009, 03:08 AM
Wannabee guy pushed too hard. It made it so I finally made up my mind. Bite me. I am keeping the damn car, and I will fix it and you will be kicking yourself in the ass that you were too stupid to scoop it up when I had a weak moment.

That said, I don't want to piss off any of you who really know, and I will appreciate your the input of those of you who know much more than me about the all trac.


04-23-2009, 04:54 AM
Hang on so you can get 11k for that alltrac? I would sell it in a heart beat! Thats waaay over the value of a stock alltrac. If you want to keep the car, your best bet is to get a low mileage JDM engine with the harness and sensors. Have your mechanic swap out that engine and sell the rest of the parts. Keep your original engine and do a build or just rebuild it to have a spare.

04-23-2009, 10:04 PM
I'd say go with the engine that you're looking at and put the car back on the road. No point in selling it really low when you can fix it for a decent price. If you really like the car, you'll regret selling later down the road and it is going to be hard to find another decent one. You know what the problems are with this one. Stick with it.

04-24-2009, 02:09 AM
I know it isn't the same thing, but I regret now selling the 2005 RAV4 because it made it so I didn't have to expose my all trac to the elements. Appraisal I got was how the car looks, in terms of "show car" type car. It is very pretty in that regard. Show cars get driven hardly at all, so if they have issues, it doesn't matter. Original matters for a "show car." Well it isn't a show car to me. It is my car. I love it. Even if it is worth $1, it is worth it to me to fix it. It snaps heads to look at. But it has utility that the mr2 doesn't. You can actually drive it in traffic and in snow. Mr2 is a toy. All trac is a car.

04-24-2009, 02:15 AM
You're right about going in snow. We don't get tons here but mine goes great through what we do get. I love it!

04-25-2009, 12:32 AM
Pulled the mr2 out of storage. It took 1/2 of the day because even though I disconnect the battery, parking a car for 5 months makes the battery weak. I jumped it with the all trac, put the all trac in the storage until I sort out fixing it. I figure keep the storage unit so I have a covered space for both cars all the time. It worked out good because I had to transfer to a larger storage unit because all trac wouldn't fit in the unit I had last winter for the spyder.

I trickle charged the spyder and drove it about 20 miles today. Put it back in my home garage, and re-attached the trickle. It is fun to drive so poor me, I have to drive the spyder while I sort out fixing the all trac.

I am almost there on ordering the clutch kit (toyota) for the car. And I have 3 shops, 2 dealers (a honda and a toyota) and an independent to swap out the engine with the JDM. I figure no more than a couple of weeks work should be done and I will have my 2 rare sporty coupes back in service.

05-22-2009, 01:38 AM
I just thought I would put a closing to this, what happened. I ended up ordering the JDM engine from corporate in Texas. It was a complete engine. Cost me $1450 just for the engine. Tech ended up using the block and keeping my tranny. Also had the clutch replaced. Tech replaced all the seals and gaskets, the t-belt. Also did a wheel alignment and tire rotation and of course oil. It took me 2 weeks to get the car back, I had a loaner. A 2009 Prius with every option. Nice enough car.
I was happy to get my all trac back. I drove it and all I could think was WOW! It never drove like this since I owned it. I bought it used 9 years ago.
Short happy period. It sputtered and died on the way back home. Flat bedded back to repair.
They didn't understand what I meant about a rare ripple on acceleration. Fuel injectors were going south. So another week of tweeking and replacing the injectors.
I drove my spyder the last week since I took it out of storage, weather is dry and I need to build up the battery. It was an anxious time since the spyder has been kept as a toy and only has 137xx miles. I factory ordered it and it is black with not a mark on it.
Anyway, the repairs seem to be good. I think the car probably needed the work before but it was pleasant to drive and until it started consuming oil, I didn't see an issue. Having it back now, I was lucky. What an awesome car. Spyder is more of a no frills basic sport coupe. All trac is a hot rod.

I am lucky that my attempts to sell it didn't work out. People wanted to buy the car for KBB. KBB isn't a measure of this type of car unless it is really DOA.

I still have a little bit of work to do on the car. I need to do a little exhaust work and some minor body work (and the body work is detail work). It was "certified" as a "classic muscle car" a few years after I bought it on advice of the insurance agent since I do drive the car regularly. I figure I will take it back and have it re-appraised just in case some idiot decides to smash it up. I hope that never happens.

I paid a lot to fix the car but at the same time, the tech kept working and so what I had to spend was enough. I am appreciative of that. ASE Toyota tech took 3 weeks to fix it. I figure that toyota doesn't have this kind of car for sale anymore, including the mr2, because it isn't a generic car and it takes experience and time to make it right.


05-22-2009, 10:13 PM
Glad to here things are finally coming together. I think you made the right choice in keeping the car and fixing it. You would have a hard time finding something similar to replace it.

05-24-2009, 01:04 AM
I do appreciate it.

I have another tranny and another turbo, and they are just going to be boxed up and stored in case I need them in the future for repairs.

I was driving the car all over today. It was humid here in NE Illinois, so A/C on.

Car is absolutely WOW now. WOW. I am so glad I didn't give up on it.

Mr2 is light and quick. The all trac is something else. I didn't know what tremendous power this car has until now. Thank God Toyota never offered it with an automatic tranmission because it would be easy to get in trouble with this car if you didn't have to manually go through the gears. The clutch replacement was needed much longer than I realized. I know now that what I did before on "maintenance" was not good enough given what it probably needed.

At least it wasn't my fault, I bought it used, and only had the old Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX to compare it to. GSX was a pale comparison to this car, and I know Mitsu (aka Chrysler) was trying to copy the all trac for a much lower price.

So it is all good now. Got 'er done.

What I ended up paying, which was about $4000, with the engine, the clutch, oxygen sensors, fuel injuects, gaskets, seals, etc. Was a gift.

The tech gifted me since it I really didn't pay what it should have cost for the work done. I was also lucky that the service writer is Toyota NASCAR so he appreciated what was and what needed to be done.

It is in the end kind of ironic because I am decidedly middle aged and I know I don't fit the profile of having this type of car. That doesn't matter. It is my car, and while I have to sweat blood to earn $4000, it was worth it.


05-24-2009, 05:09 AM
Another local Ctecher :waveoz: Good decision keeping the car. All-Tracs are rare and you'd be kicking yourself in the ass later.

For the MR2 I would suggest the battery tender plus, http://batterytender.com/product_info.php?products_id=2 you can get it for $45 with free shipping on amazon. I use it on Miata in the winter, your battery will last longer compared to letting it drain and charging it later. It's fully automatic so you don't have to do anything just plug it in and you're set.