When my 1999 GMC Jimmy developed a connecting rod knock, I had to weigh my options. A remanufactured engine ($1800+) rivaled the value of the car. A junk yard engine (perhaps $600 to $800) seemed risky.
So I took apart the engine and installed a reground crankshaft (min. cost: $519). But it made sense to replace the piston rings, and a few other parts. The result: A (mostly) rebuilt engine that runs like new.
It's easy to let that defunct car sit untouched for a long time. Read: The Perils Of Procrastination When Your Car Needs Major Engine Work
The only problem was a rod knock, so the engine did not need a total rebuild.
The exhaust manifolds are removed, the valve rocker arms and pushrods are removed, and the cylinder head bolts are removed in a certain order.
The connecting rod nuts are removed and the the piston tapped out of the cylinder. At this point I discovered which cylinder had the "rod knock". The bearing wasn't pretty.
The main bearings and rear oil seal are removed. The forging number is located on the crank so the right remanufactured crankshaft can be ordered.
A special abrasive brush is used to create a certain scratch pattern on the cylinder walls. This is required when new piston rings are installed, so the proper amount of engine oil stays on the cylinder walls.
A reground crankshaft and new bearings are installed, but each main bearing needs to be checked to make sure there is just the right amount of space for motor oil to lubricate the moving parts.
After the old rings are removed, the ring grooves need to be cleaned. Installing piston rings requires a special tool, which doesn't cost much.
Installing pistons requries a piston ring compressor. Even with this special tool, it's still a tricky job to slide the pistons into the cylinder bores. Then each connecting rod needs to be installed on the crankshaft and checked for the proper oil clearance.
The old timing chain had some slack, so I bought a new chain and sprocket set. A new timing chain cover is required for this engine. Then the harmonic balancer was installed with a special tool.
The cylinder head mating surfaces are carefully cleaned and new head gaskets are set in place. The heads are installed with new Torque-To-Yield head bolts. The pushrods and rocker arms are installed.
The manifold mating surfaces are cleaned up and a new gasket is installed.
For $60, a new oil pump is cheap insurance, but the oil pickup tube needs to be pressed into the pump, and it's NOT easy.
Just before installing the engine back in the car, I installed the oil pan. It's also a good time to install the oil filter adapter and oil lines that feed the remote oil filter.
Also See: Cooling System Repairs
This Jimmy would leak a gallon of coolant in 20 minutes of driving. The culprit: Blown intake manifold gaskets, probably caused years ago by GM's Dex-Cool antifreeze. Repair shops wanted $470 or more... I fixed it for $50.
The original tubing had a small leak and dripped oil all over the engine compartment.
This 1996 GMC Yukon wouldn't start whenever the weather was damp and the engine was cold. Warming up the distributor cap with a heat gun would get the engine to start, but the proper fix was to just replace the worn-out distributor cap and rotor.
Also See: Cooling System Repairs