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Rebuild or Replace Engine? I Just Purchased a 2007 TRD SE

3387 Views 37 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  norm356
I just purchased a 2007 TRD SE with 165k miles for $9.5k knowing it would need some repairs to the engine, because the owner was not performing regularly maintenance over his 3 years of ownership (3 oil changes over 35k miles). Although, he did make some significant repairs:

Timing Chain replaced ('20)
Rear Diff replaced (2020)

I had a pre-purchase inspection done at the local Toyota dealership, and they said the timing chain looked new but does appear to be slightly loose again and noted there was a noise coming from the top of the engine too. After purchasing, I took my FJ to a local mechanic for a thorough inspection and he said we could either 1) tear apart the existing engine to replace the timing chain and determine what the ticking is at the cylinder heads or 2) replace the engine with a used or rebuilt engine.

The mechanic is currently flushing all the fluids since those likely haven't been changed in awhile, and the oil was dark in the differential. I'm planning to do my own minor repairs: calipers, rotors, brakes, struts, LCA, etc. Other than all that, my first FJ drives great :)

Here's my question, I was surprised that the mechanic then said it wouldn't be worthwhile to rebuild since we don't know everything that's wrong with it, so he recommended replacing with a salvaged engine (same spec) with 121k miles for $12k (includes replacing oil sear, oil pan, water pump, spark plugs, and valve cover gaskets). Oof! I called another shop that installs Jasper Engines, and they quoted me $10k for the Jasper engine & install out the door. Now I'm at a crossroads:

1. Rebuild existing engine (unknown cost and need to find mechanic)
2. Replace with salvaged
3. Replace with rebuilt
4. Call it quits and sell this to someone more handy than me

I'd prefer to do #1, because it seems like this engine should still have some lift in it and the salvaged price is WAY more than I thought. I'm ok with #3, but I was hoping to keep a Toyota engine in this vehicle. I'd prefer to not sell since I purchased this vehicle knowing the rarity of the '07 TRD SEs and how great condition ones have sold for a lot on auction sites. Even with these repairs, I think I'll still be close to breaking even? I've always loved FJs, so my plan was to use this as my daily and enjoy a vehicle that's amazing to drive and doesn't depreciate significantly.

TL;DR: My engine is unhappy. I need advice on if I should try to save her, break up with her for a salvaged or rebuilt engine, or just say goodbye to FJ life for now.

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Man if I were you I’d drive it til it dies. Do the oil flush procedures other people are talking about if you’re worried about sludge, but these engines are noisy, they tick, and the timing chains are known to last hundreds of thousands of miles. I bought my FJ with a blown engine with 182k miles and had the invoice from a timing chain replacement at 114k miles. At the time the technician noted the oil pickup tube was sludged up and that he cleaned and reinstalled. My guess is the previous owner never addressed what was causing the sludge in the first place and thus starved the engine of oil blowing it. I elected to put a used motor in, shop did it in 4 days and it purrs like a kitten. These engines aren’t good candidates for rebuilds due to the spiny type piston sleeves. It has been done but it’s rare. However these engines are super common used as they were used in FJs, Tacomas, and 4Runners. Personally I’d trust something Toyota put together in a factory over something rebuilt in a shop and that’s why I went with a used motor. Just my $0.02.
Thank you for that info! 👍 I have 257k on mine now, and I'm guessing it's near it's death...although the darn thing doesn't burn any oil, sounds like a 5 year old car and not a 15 year old car...all systems are in good shape...but last week while flooring it on the freeway, all of sudden the red oil pressure light🚨came on and I pulled over immediately and turn the car off. When I turned it back on, the oil pressure light was somehow reset and didn't light up. That's my worry...🙏
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