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I am the broke Mother whose son bought a 84 Camaro. With a tune-up he began getting normal mileage. But a new problem has arisen. He began having engine problems and brought it to a mechanic who told him that it has cracked heads. He wants me to put in a new or junked engine for about $1200 more dollars. He bought it, with my money, for about $1700.
Is this a good idea--putting in a new/used engine into such an old car? He claims with a new engine it will last forever. Or until he is out of college and on his own.
 

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Er, well, uh,
The engine is the heart of the car and if replaced it will go a long time before it will need attention agaain. It should last as long as a new engine if it's a good one.

But there are a lot of other parts on the car that will require attention, like the transmission, rear end, wheel bearings, brake system. the condition of these and the overall body and interior should be considered too.

When doing an engine, there are additional parts that should also be replaced at that time to insure the new engine is not damaged.
Things like belts, hoses, water pump, radiator, are commonly re done or replaced when doing an overhaul. They are removed during the proccess anyway, and it's easy to reinstall the new parts at that time. There SHOULD be no additional labor charge for installing the new parts.
I would ask to see a complete detailed estimate or some bills for similar jobs and what they wound up costing.
I do my own work but would guess a cost of $2000+ is closer than the $1200 you are talking about when all is said and done.
Maybe a junkyard engine would save you money.
A target master engine here is $1400. and I think that one fits older chevys and the correct one for your car would cost more.

So I'd see if the brakes, transmission, and body are up to snuff or worth the investment.
Sure enough your son will get the new engine in and floor it, and the transmission will die!

I've heard of a new engine being ruined due to lack of a new air cleaner to carburetor gasket! dirt was sucked into the engine and the valve guides were shot in 10 thousand miles.

I highly recomend the chevy "target master" replacement engine. it is brand new, and comes with a fifty thousand mile warranty, honored at any GM dealer in the country.
If you have a 305 now, I'd get the 350 target engine to replace it. Everything will fit and it's more sellable to have that engine in the car.
How about just replacing the heads? is the engine worn out?
David

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