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Old 02-11-2013, 11:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tired engine- Gen1

I picked up a parts car from a former IC member and I would like some advice about the engine.

It's a 2001 MT with 160,000 miles, helicoil in the pan, broken intake manifold (I have another) and broken water pump pulley. The engine was working properly with a bit of hurkey-jerkey but my worry is the compression.

I have done compression tests on at least four Gen1 Insights and my results have always been in the 185-210 psi range. Using those same methods, open throttle etcetera, this engine gives about 145 for all three. When I put oil in the cylinders they went up to about 175 for the three so both top and bottom appear tired.

The engine is a spare so it's not critical but I was wondering what other members thought about it. As a mid-life engine with low compression it doesn't seem worthwhile to go to all the trouble to put it in a car when a better engine could be found. Sort of like not good enough to install but too good to scrap.

Has anyone ever rebuilt one? If I resist the temptation to do a serious rebuild and just go for a bore with pistons, rings and get the head rebuilt would that be too much of a gamble on a mid-life engine? Has anyone ever polished the exhaust ports?

Thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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the best way to do a compression test is after the engine has reached fully to operating temperature and warmed up. because at this point, the piston rings would have expanded a bit and would give you a better measurement of the compression gauge.

well since the motor is not that important, why dont you just rebuild the motor?

if the worse case scenario is worn rings, just buy a cylinder deglazing tool and just deglaze the cylinders so you can get a nice cross hatch surface and replace the piston with new rings.

you shouldnt have the change the rod or main bearings if they are still good. maybe just the normal seals and gaskets and stuff when you reassemble the motor back.

atleast thats what i would do. assuming you are mechanically inclined

Last edited by J . K .; 02-11-2013 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Could it be that simple JK? Hone the cylinders, new rings and maybe look at the valve seals.

On the other hand not having the engine warm was indeed a variation in my method. It would start but with the hole in the intake manifold it was like WOT then the revs dropped down then repeated. Driving it onto a tow dolly took a lot of clutch slipping you can be sure! Vroom vroom! So I didn't warm it to do the test.

So maybe it just needed to be warmer for the compression test? The previous owner claimed 87 US mpg on one run and said the engine gave him no problem.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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yes if the engine was apart, i would definitely change the valve stem seals as well. and also inspect the valve seats for pitting.

apart from replacing the rings and honing the cylinders, good engine building habits must be practiced to ensure longevity and reliability.

but aside that, if the motor is already out of the car, and you want a piece of mind, you should just rebuild it on your spare time.

assuming you have the knowledge and tools to do it, you probably wouldnt spend much money. just money for rebuild components such as rings, seals, gaskets, valve stems, mls headgasket, etc which doesnt cost much to begin with.

but if you dont want to go through the work, which to some people they may find uncomfortable doing and tedious, you just have to go through your best judgement on the motor.

you can also perform the cylinder leakdown test to see if you have other leaks inside the motor

Last edited by J . K .; 02-11-2013 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Has anybody rebuilt an Insight engine and written about the process? I saw a website where a garage rebuilt the top end of a lady's Insight motor, but that didn't address the block.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Haven't heard of any. Honda only has 1st over pistons and rings available.

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Old 02-14-2013, 09:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If nobody has rebuilt an engine I take that as a good thing! I wonder if they have stock of those one-over pistons? That would be something.

Anybody thought of exhaust port polishing?
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For what it's worth I was thinking of doing a rebuild on my 270,000 mile engine.

But after compression tests gave 185 psi across all the cylinders and a leakdown test revealed no major problems I decided not to bother.

Also I'm aware of another UK member who has been waiting weeks for a head gasket set so the parts may not actually be that readily available.

When i have unlimited time and energy I might do some mild tuning stuff and a rebuild at some stage in the future. Polishing the ports etc. That's a couple of years away.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retepsnikrep View Post
Also I'm aware of another UK member who has been waiting weeks for a head gasket set so the parts may not actually be that readily available.
Yup - that's me. The problem was compounded by hitting the Christmas period and the part was probably in JP. However, head gaskets are available!

Engine runs very sweetly indeed and only one bolt missing post rebuild (replaced from stock of Honda Fireblade parts - perfect match).
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhall View Post
Has anyone ever rebuilt one? If I resist the temptation to do a serious rebuild and just go for a bore with pistons, rings and get the head rebuilt would that be too much of a gamble on a mid-life engine? Has anyone ever polished the exhaust ports?

Thoughts?

Thanks.
In your case, since it is a spare, I'd probably just patiently shop for a better spare. Cars are being wrecked and dismantled all the time. Good engines are available.

If you just want to open one up and do a rebuild, that is a bit different. But, the oversize piston is obviously going to mean a trip to the machine shop, so things start to add up financially. In building my many racing engines through the years, I have frequently reused main bearing, rod bearings, oil pumps, clutches, etc., but every reused part requires very careful inspection. Bearings in particular require a very careful reading of wear pattern, pitting, and potential corrosion. If they are good, I like to reuse them because they are a guaranteed fit. Plastigauge to check that the working clearance is in limit.

I have a high mileage engine in one of mine, but it still has good compression and delivers excellent fuel economy. I'm going to take it out, to install a rebuilt gearbox, and correct a few leaks and odd problems, but I don't plan on opening it up. That's my take - good compression leave it alone - bad compression, find another

I'm curious why you would polish the exhaust ports. Most power oriented tuners concentrate on the intake ports.
In either case, polishing has largely been discredited in racing application. In street application, you would very rapidly start building up deposits which would negate any possible improvement, IMO.
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Last edited by jime; 02-15-2013 at 06:07 AM.
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