WK Crossroads Feeler - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-18-2021, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
four2score
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WK Crossroads Feeler

Went to get our 05' GC smogged earlier in the year and it threw a check engine code so didn't pass. PO300 Random Misfire. Put new coils and spark plugs in and keeps throwing the same code. Took it to the stealership and they did a leakdown test for $510 and said it didnít pass, 250k miles and engine is done. They quoted me about $9k for a rebuilt engine installed. Should I sink another $9k into this old car with old parts or sell it and buy something else? How much is this thing worth with a tired motor? I cannot rebuild the engine myself so am looking for opinions. What would you do? Besides the original purchase price for the car we have an additional $15k wrapped up in custom bumpers, winch, Pro Comp 6Ē lift kit, Spyder Shafts, wheels, armor, lights, etc. So it kills me to just think of dumping the car as scrap. Located in San Bernardino CA. if that helps with the decision/options?

TIA.

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post #2 of 14 Old 06-19-2021, 06:36 AM
Benzrokee
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Decisions like this are never easy, but in the end it's yours to make. I suggest looking at it objectively and running some numbers on different scenarios to assess you risk/reward profile and what make sense to you.


Before making a firm choice, you may want to consult another independent mechanic. You could also try some over the counter products to deal with possible causes for your leakdown failure, are your rings worn? Are your valves not fully closing due to carbon buildup? Some of these issues could be improved with additives, which may solve your immediate issues. At this point, you're not risking much in trying them, as you are facing either a new engine or new car, so not much to lose by trying.


You may also want to look at a used engine swap, if you can find a lower mileage engine on the secondary market, it will cost a lot less than a rebuild. Nothing of course is guaranteed, but this remains an option none the less.


Alternatively you could source a similar JGC in better mechanical condition, swap your parts from your current to your new one and scrap the old one when done. If you can do this yourself, it may be worth considering, but it's a lot of work. If your current one is in good shape, it will be less work to swap out an engine.


Ultimately it's a numbers game, the costs involved and what it's worth to you, either option will cost you, how much, depends on what you are willing to invest based on your perceived return of value. Customizing vehicles is solely for personal pleasure, the value of the work done will rarely if ever be recuperated at sale. If the customizations were "worth it" to you; you face the prospect of saving those customizations by addressing the engine, or doing them all over again on another vehicle. Tough call


Best of luck
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-19-2021, 06:43 AM
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my WK has way less cool **** on it than yours does and i have already decided if the engine goes i would put in a rebuild.

if you decide not to fix it - at least consider trying to sell it to an enthusiast, instead of a dealer who won't give you anything over book for the mods and will end up scrapping a bunch of the parts anyway
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-19-2021, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, Lots of great ideas and information!
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-19-2021, 07:14 AM
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Cal i think it has to pass to sell? there are exceptions like "off road only" or as scrap.

If its clean of rust< far worse issue. Then at least you know it could go say another 250K. Is it worth it? Well on paper perhaps not. But what would a new one cost? 50k, 70k?

I see on line the 4.7 ho is about 3500. 5.5k in labor? That sound very high. But does that include other ancillary parts? critical things like water pump all hoses. new injectors? If its JUST labor at 5.5k even at 100 per hour 55 hours to do this? I would bet the hours on this is more like 8-12 at the most. not a week and half..

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post #6 of 14 Old 06-19-2021, 11:44 PM
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Been there done that. Three times in the past 4 years on three different vehicles. Lets ask a few questions:
1. Leakdown test didn't pass. Can you be more specific? Were they hearing air out the tail pipe?, Blowing bubbles in the coolant? What exactly where the results. 4 things can happen on a leak down test, and 2 of them point to needing a top end rebuild, which is no big deal, and you can do it yourself for under $500 by removing the heads and sending them to shop to be rebuilt. Then you just need to reinstall and enjoy. The 3rd symptom is bubbles in the coolant which suggests blown head gasket and that is even cheaper to fix, though the same amount of work. The last thing is bad rings, and that is a bummer. This is where I personally drew the line. One of my vehicles needed a new piston and rings, and that requires some special tools and experience that I don't have.

2. You said you cannot rebuild the engine yourself. Why not? What do you have to loose? You can't break it worse, right? There are plenty of YouTube videos to walk you through it. I have the mechanical aptitude of a manatee and I have successfully rebuilt the top end of a 4.7L V8 in a Jeep WJ and physically pulled out a 3.5L V6 from a Montero and got a "new" one from a local LQK junk yard and rebuilt that one in my garage and installed it myself. It only cost me a few hundred in tools, including $150 engine hoist from Harbor Freight, and other than the hoist, all those tools have been super helpful for everything since.

Get more info about the leak down test (and also the compression test they should have done too) post it here, and then consider sourcing a new 5.7L from a salvage yard. They are quite common. My Montero V6 was about $800 plus I paid a "yard dog" (some retired old mechanic that hangs out in the yard willing to pull parts for a small fee) about $400 to yank it out of a rolled Montero and roll it to the front gate to drop into a rented pick up truck.


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post #7 of 14 Old 06-23-2021, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Nathan, thanks for the reply. I asked the person I'm dealing with at Moss Bros Riverside and she said if I pay the $510 for the leak down test, the results will tell us things like if the cam is worn down, something wrong with the head gasket, or if there is something wrong with the pistons. After she said the car failed the test she said the cylinder is not holding pressure. Furthermore she says they need to tear into the engine to measure the heads but with 250k miles on it they recommend just replacing the motor.

I live in a cabin in the mountains, do not have a garage, work 50-60 hrs per week, and own a screwdriver, pliers, and a basic socket set so do not feel this is something I can accomplish. Perhaps I should call around some shops to see if they can put a motor in it for less expense then the Jeep dealer?
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-24-2021, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by four2score View Post
Hi Nathan, thanks for the reply. I asked the person I'm dealing with at Moss Bros Riverside and she said if I pay the $510 for the leak down test, the results will tell us things like if the cam is worn down, something wrong with the head gasket, or if there is something wrong with the pistons. After she said the car failed the test she said the cylinder is not holding pressure. Furthermore she says they need to tear into the engine to measure the heads but with 250k miles on it they recommend just replacing the motor.

I live in a cabin in the mountains, do not have a garage, work 50-60 hrs per week, and own a screwdriver, pliers, and a basic socket set so do not feel this is something I can accomplish. Perhaps I should call around some shops to see if they can put a motor in it for less expense then the Jeep dealer?
My 2 cents...

People get emotionally attached to a vehicle, think about your relationship with yours and if you'll be happy with the jeep after spending the money for a new motor. Once you've spent that money you won't get it back through a sale, only through enjoyment of the rig....

Dealers are easily more than a good indy, so get a quote from a decent indy to do a swap.

At 250k, have you done the suspension updates to keep it roadworthy and safe? How's the transmission? (may want to refresh it with the motor out if you're going to spend the money)

My wife has a WK CRD, I love it more than she does, and I am in a constant battle with keeping her rose colored glasses on so the day doesn't come when she is ready to get rid of it... I am always fixing issues before they affect her judgement of the vehicle, but if it reaches 250-300k and she is ready to get rid of it, I don't think I would argue with her.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-24-2021, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by four2score View Post
Hi Nathan, thanks for the reply. I asked the person I'm dealing with at Moss Bros Riverside and she said if I pay the $510 for the leak down test, the results will tell us things like if the cam is worn down, something wrong with the head gasket, or if there is something wrong with the pistons. After she said the car failed the test she said the cylinder is not holding pressure. Furthermore she says they need to tear into the engine to measure the heads but with 250k miles on it they recommend just replacing the motor.

I live in a cabin in the mountains, do not have a garage, work 50-60 hrs per week, and own a screwdriver, pliers, and a basic socket set so do not feel this is something I can accomplish. Perhaps I should call around some shops to see if they can put a motor in it for less expense then the Jeep dealer?
Okay, so you don't know the results of the leak down test, but you've been told that one (or more) of the cylinders has low compression. Common causes include three types of problems:
1. Piston and rings
2. Head gasket
3. Valves (dropped valve, bent valve, worn valve seat, stuck lifter, etc....

The leak down test narrows this down. $510 seems like a lot for a leak down test, but it can be a couple hours of work (including the compression test). As already stated, issues 2 and 3 are not too hard or expensive to fix. Issue 3 is engine out, full rebuild, and can cost a lot and is difficult to do without experience and specialty tools.

Going along with KT's comments, you need to decide if its worth it or not. Is this your daily driver? Is having it back on the road as soon as possible essential to you? If not, and you can let this thing sit a bit while you slowly work on it, then I bet this is something you actually might enjoy. You say you've only got basic tools, that is okay. Tools are part of the cost, and they will always be handy to have. No one ever regrets buying tools. And if you are vacillating between spending $5k on a motor verses $500 on tools and another $1,000 on parts, well, I think the answer is pretty straightforward. Especially if you have a Harbor Freight shop anywhere in your vicinity.

Also, in answer to your suggestion, ANY mechanic shop can do the work cheaper than a dealer. You would have a hard time finding a more expensive place to have work done than the stealership!

To give you an idea on timing. I would expect you to be able to remove all the "stuff" on top of the engine and get to the cylinder heads to access the coil packs and spark plugs in 3 or 4 hours tops, going slow and taking photos along the way. One Saturday afternoon, and a few beers. There are a few tools you'll want before you start, and that can be its own thread to discuss, but they are all just hand tools.

It takes a bit of effort to get the cylinder heads off, because you need to do the front part of the engine, to remove the timing covers, chains, and so forth. Also need to remove the exhaust headers, which is a PIA, but beer helps. Call this day two. Another 5 maybe 6 hours.

Day three is fast. Takes 10 minutes or less to take off the cylinder head once everything else is cleared out. Now you take the heads to a cylinder shop. Can take a couple of weeks for them to be fully refurbished, and costs anywhere from $250-500 per head (there are only two heads total).

While waiting for the heads, you'll be able to order all the gaskets and seals and stuff from RockAuto.com or wherever, and after a few weeks, you'll get the heads back and be ready for re-assembly. Also while waiting, you can spend time with scottbrite pads and WD-40 and clean up the engine, piston heads, head gasket surface, etc...

During the re-assembly, the headers and front plate with the accessories and timing chains and so forth will go fast, easily done in a day. Save the head gasket for day 2

Day two, clean it all off again, set the head gasket, set the cylinder heads, and bolt them down with your new torque wrench. This takes an hour or so. Now do your exhaust headers, and call it a day.

Day 3. Reinstall your intake and all the stuff on top of the engine. This goes remarkably fast, as everything has "memory" on where it goes. Another 4 or 5 hours.

Day 4. Fluids! final check, and then moment of truth. Don't panic! After your first start it probably won't be perfect. That's okay! Go back and fix all the new leaks, correct the misc vacuum tube placement, etc.. Then start it again and enjoy!

You can get all this done at a very slow pace within 8 weeks of starting, as a first timer, following various YouTube videos along the way. Or you can do it in 2 days, a few weeks apart, including the rebuild time at the cylinder head shop. If I can do it, anyone can, and that is the absolute truth.

But it all depends on that leak down test. If you can hear air coming out of the oil dipstick tube, its pistons and rings, and that means an engine swap.

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post #10 of 14 Old 06-25-2021, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Decisions like this are never easy, but in the end it's yours to make. I suggest looking at it objectively and running some numbers on different scenarios to assess you risk/reward profile and what make sense to you.


Before making a firm choice, you may want to consult another independent mechanic. You could also try some over the counter products to deal with possible causes for your leakdown failure, are your rings worn? Are your valves not fully closing due to carbon buildup? Some of these issues could be improved with additives, which may solve your immediate issues. At this point, you're not risking much in trying them, as you are facing either a new engine or new car, so not much to lose by trying.


Best of luck
Benzrokee, what OTC stuff do you suggest for better ring seal or something that may temporarily make the car run a little better. $510 at the dealer, they say they did a leakdown test and all they could tell us is some of the cylinders are not holding pressure. Wow! Lot of money for very little information...
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-26-2021, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by four2score View Post
Benzrokee, what OTC stuff do you suggest for better ring seal or something that may temporarily make the car run a little better. $510 at the dealer, they say they did a leakdown test and all they could tell us is some of the cylinders are not holding pressure. Wow! Lot of money for very little information...
It's a shame that your mechanic did not provide more details on the leakdown test. As mentioned above by others, there are many possibilities and without knowing more specifics it's a bit of a crap shoot.


Depending on your mechanical ability, first recommendation would be to do a compression test on each cylinder. You can source a compression test kit at Harbor Freight or an auto parts store for about $40. This will at least allow you to identify which cylinders you have an issue with so that you can focus on just addressing those.


If this is not possible for some reason, then I would suggest starting with a Valve cleaner, Lubro/Liqui Moly Valve Clean is an excellent product, get a couple of cans and put into your fuel tank and run it for a while to monitor for improvements. If you cannot source Lubro-moly locally you could try Techron or STP, but focus on the valve cleaner stuff rather than injector cleaner. Come to think of it, get some fuel injection cleaner and add that to the tank too just to make sure that your misfire is not coming from a partially clogged or bad spray injector. I would recommend doing this to a 1/2 tank or even better a 1/4 tank of fuel for concentration purposes. You should be able to notice a difference within 1-200 miles if it is carbon on your valves that's keeping your compression down.


Rings are much harder to assess with the heads on. If you did a compression test and narrowed down to one cylinder, then you could try to soak that cylinder thru the sparkplug hole with Acetone, Seafoam, or Marvel Mystery Oil. The acetone will drain the fastest into the oil pan and would need follow-up applications. Same for the seafoam. Both will require an immediate oil change afterwards before running the engine after the soak. The Marvel will take a longer soak and stay in the cylinder longer and wont need an oil change immediately afterwards to start the engine. Do this only if the valve/fuel system cleaners dont show any improvement.


If you do indeed notice an improvement throughout the process, even if marginal, repeat the process a second or third time. This will be most likely in the fuel/valve cleaner phase.


Another approach that you could try is to switch to a heavier weight oil. Given it's summer, a 20/50W oil, better yet if it is dino/non-synthetic should improve compression on wearing rings. If the change in oil helps your situation, then it will also help confirm the source of your problem is in the rings which will need to be addressed thru a rebuild if the compression drop is large. Sometimes, just switching to a heavier weight oil will get you going for quite a while buying time to address the engine rebuild/swap.


The absolute best thing to do would be to remove the heads. This will allow you to assess the bottom end, rings, pistons, cylinder wall scarring etc. It also allows you to address everything on the head side, valves, gasket etc. With the heads off, it's either fixable or confirmed that a rebuild is in order. Head gaskets are inexpensive and at 250k miles likely due. This is neither hard nor expensive as a DYI. If you have to take it to a mechanic, find someone that you can trust.



If a mechanic is willing to condemn an engine based on mileage and an unclear inconclusive leakdown test...find a new mechanic because what you found initially was an engine salesperson.



Just my $0.02
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post #12 of 14 Old 06-26-2021, 09:41 AM
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Thankfully I live in a county and state that neither requires me to do smog testing or safety testing anymore. But honestly, I think if it were me, I would rebuild or replace the engine just because it would be cheaper than trying to find another vehicle to replace it that's as capable. Not to mention I would have far too much time, sweat and tears invested into it.
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-26-2021, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by four2score View Post
Benzrokee, what OTC stuff do you suggest for better ring seal or something that may temporarily make the car run a little better. $510 at the dealer, they say they did a leakdown test and all they could tell us is some of the cylinders are not holding pressure. Wow! Lot of money for very little information...
You paid them the $510? Then you have a right for a detailed info on the results. Your receipt should indicate who the mechanic was. Talk to the mechanic directly. Insist on it. Even if it was a month ago, he'll remember. Bring a large coffee drink or three, give one to the service manager, one to the tech, and one for you :-)

Get that info!

Also, it was suggested that a compression tester is cheap and available from Harbor Freight. True, but auto parts stores "rent" them for free.
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post #14 of 14 Old 06-28-2021, 12:34 PM
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TLDR; if youíre mechanically inclined, source an engine from a local builder or junk yard and do it yourself.

I skimmed, but didnít read every post, so I apologize if Iím repeating.

How much you love that Jeep should be your deciding factor. We have a WK1 SRT8 that we love and didnít want to get rid of when a piston blew @ 86k miles. I found a local builder to do the rebuild for me and did all the other work myself, in my garage. I took my time with it, but we had another vehicle that let us go that route.

The local builder I found is a GM master mechanic and does rebuilds on the side. He builds mostly high-rpm dirt track engines, so I knew he knew what he was doing as engines like that donít last if shoddy work is involved. We did forged Manly pistons, PSI Valve springs, and all new Manley internals (kept the OEM forged crank) for $4800. He told me upfront it would take a while, being his side job, so I expected about 6 weeks (included magnafluxing the block/heads, etc, after disassembly.

After getting it back, I put it all back together and it started up on the first turn, which, if Iím being honest, surprised the hell out of me. LOL.

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