How to Properly Rebuild Your Engine

Views 2 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this Guide is helpful
How to Properly Rebuild Your Engine

Rebuilding an engine is a big task that can be intimidating even to someone who knows his way around an engine compartment with a wrench or a ratchet. However, with the right tools to do the job, an individual with a fair amount of mechanical skill and the determination to see the task through can successfully rebuild a car or truck engine.

Engine rebuild gasket kits and engine parts can be purchased at auto parts stores or parts departments at dealerships. The tools necessary to rebuild an engine can also be purchased at the same auto parts stores, specialty tool stores, department stores with tool departments, and home improvement stores that sell tools. However, eBay is a web retailer that provides one-stop shopping for engine rebuild kits, engine parts, and tools that can assist in doing the job.

Tools Required to Rebuild an Engine

In addition to a good selection of hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets, and ratchets, there are some specialty tools that one needs when rebuilding an engine. The following chart provides a list of the job-specific tools that can help the job go smoother and faster.

Specialty Tool

How the Tool is Used

Repair manual

To look up engine repair procedures, specifications, and bolt torque requirements

Engine hoist

Lift the engine out of the vehicle

Engine stand

Hold the engine while it is being worked on

Cylinder hone

Clean engine cylinders

Ring spreader

Open rings for installation onto the piston

Ring compressor

Squeeze rings for installation into the cylinder

Valve spring compressor

Remove valve springs from the cylinder head

Torque wrench

Torque bolts to proper specifications


Even experienced engine rebuilders need a repair manual to look up engine torque specifications, and a repair manual for one's car provides that information and extra guidance while performing the job. An engine stand makes the process much easier than trying to work on the floor, as the engine needs to be turned at specific angles several times during the task.

Perform the Prep Work and Remove the Engine

Several operations have to be performed to prepare the engine to be removed from the vehicle as well as for the overhaul of the engine. If there is refrigerant in the air conditioning system, take the vehicle to a repair shop and have the refrigerant removed by a professional technician.

Drain all Engine Fluids

Drain the engine oil and coolant into proper recycle containers for disposal. Remove the oil filter and dispose of it properly. If the vehicle has an automatic transmission, remove the lines that run to the radiator and drain the fluid.

Remove Components That Might Interfere With Engine Removal

Take the radiator completely out of the vehicle. Remove any brackets that can interfere with pulling the engine out; it may be necessary to remove the bonnet for proper access to the engine compartment. Then, remove the exhaust manifolds and loosen the half shafts, so they are free of the transaxle. If the vehicle is a rear-wheel drive, disconnect the drive shaft, transmission linkage, and transmission mount. Remove any engine components that can interfere with the process. Engine wiring harnesses, linkage components, fuel injector components, and other engine attachments that can prevent the engine from freely being lifted out of the vehicle must also be removed. Finally, loosen motor mount bolts, attach a heavy duty chain appropriate to the weight of the engine, attach the hook from the engine pulling device, and slowly lift the engine and transmission out of the vehicle.

Disassemble the Engine

With the engine and transmission out of the vehicle, separate the two units and set the transmission or transaxle aside. Attach the engine assembly to the engine stand and remove all engine components with their attachment brackets. To keep bolts, nuts, and attachment brackets organised, it is a good idea to keep all of the parts for a specific component together with that component in a plastic shopping bag.

Remove the fuel injection parts, intake manifold, rocker covers, front engine cover, timing chain or belt, water pump, and pulleys.

Remove Cylinder Heads

Depending on the style of the engine, the cylinder head removal process may vary slightly; consult the repair manual for exact instructions for the vehicle you own. The procedure described is for common overhead valve engines that use a rocker arm assembly. Unbolt the rocker arm assembly. Remove the camshaft from the head, and unbolt the cylinder head from the engine. Remove the spark plugs. At the very least, valve oil seals should be replaced, so the valves need to be removed. Using a spring compressor tool, bolt the tool to the head and compress the spring to remove the spring keepers. Take the spring off the valve, and slide the valve out of the bottom of the head. Replace the valve seals per instructions in the vehicle repair manual.

Repair Damaged Heads

If the head was damaged by overheating, or valves were burned and carbon damaged, it may be necessary to have the head repaired at a machine shop. A warped head or valves that do not seat properly can create serious problems that interfere with engine performance.

Remove Oil Pan, Crankshaft, and Pistons

Turn the engine over, and remove the oil pan, oil pump, main caps, and rod caps from the crank shaft. Remove the crankshaft, and slide the pistons out of the cylinders. Attach the cylinder hone to a reversible drill, and use the hone to remove build-up from the cylinder walls. Be careful to not over-hone the cylinder and change the size of the cylinder bore. Use the reversible feature of the drill to create a cross-hatch pattern on the cylinder wall. Remove the rings from the pistons and clean all engine parts with a degreaser; remove old gasket material and carbon deposits.

Repair Bearing Damage

If the bearings spun in the engine block, the block and crankshaft should be taken to a machine shop to have the parts repaired. The parts need to be fitted with oversized bearings to maintain the proper oil pressure and bearing clearances.

Assemble the Engine

Install the main bearing, and bolt the crankshaft into place. Keep the bearing seats free of oil, but an oil coating on crankshaft journals can help the crankshaft to turn by hand. Light oil can be used to help assemble other components. With the ring spreader, place new rings on the pistons; follow the configuration laid out in the repair manual for ring alignment. Use the ring compressor to hold the rings in place as the piston is slipped down into the cylinders from the top. Install new rod bearings, and bolt the rods to the crankshaft. Torque all bolts to proper specifications before installing the oil pump and oil pan. Turn the crankshaft to make sure the timing mark aligns to the proper position identified in the repair manual.

Bolt on the Cylinder Head

After replacing the valve seals, reassemble the cylinder head with the camshaft, valve springs, and rocker arms. It is a good idea to place a wadded shop rag under each cylinder dome before attempting to place the valve spring on the valves of that cylinder. The shop rag prevents the valve from dropping down when the spring is being installed.

Make sure the head-to-block sealing surface is clean, place the head gasket in place on the block, and gently set the head in place, being careful not to dislodge or damage the head gasket. Install the head bolts, and tighten them in the order shown in the repair manual so that the head and gasket seat properly. Tighten the head bolts in the same pattern with the torque wrench until the proper specifications are met.

Install the Timing Belt

Align the cam or cams and crankshaft per the instructions in the repair manual so that the engine is in proper time. Install the timing belt or timing chain; be sure tensioners are working properly to tighten the belt or chain. If the water pump is located under the timing cover and has never been replaced, the consumer is well advised to install a new water pump to avoid having to replace the pump at a later date. Install the timing cover and pulleys.

Install Engine Components

The components that were removed after the engine was removed from the vehicle should be installed before putting the engine back into the vehicle. Access to those parts is easier with the engine out of the car. Remove the engine from the engine stand by lifting with the engine hoist, and install the transmission.

Reinstall Engine in Vehicle

With the engine on the hoist, lower the engine back into the vehicle, bolt the motor mounts in place, and reassemble the remainder of the engine components that were removed prior to the engine being lifted out of the vehicle. Refill the engine fluids, and crank the engine over to prime the oil pump. Start the vehicle, and allow the operating temperature to come up to normal levels. Top off the radiator, shut the vehicle off, check the oil level, and inspect the undercarriage to make sure no fluid leaks exist.

How to Buy Kits and Tools to Properly Rebuild Your Engine through eBay

Engine rebuild kits and the tools necessary to rebuild an engine are available on eBay, thanks to the website's large network of sellers. Enter a search term, such as "engine rebuild kit", into any eBay search bar to get listings of the parts that match the keywords entered. You can also use specific keywords, such as "Holden engine rebuild kit", to narrow the search listings to the specific vehicle you own. Alternatively, you can visit the eBay Deals section of the website to browse hundreds of products.

You can increase your confidence in dealing with a seller by reviewing the seller’s feedback on eBay and choosing to only work with sellers with good track records. Previous buyers rate sellers on the manner in which the transactions were handled, and these ratings are posted for potential buyers to review.


There are many reasons why a vehicle owner may need to rebuild the engine in his vehicle. Excessive wear can cause a drop in oil pressure, rings or valve seals can fail and result in the engine burning oil, or a component could fail, resulting in an overhaul being required. Whatever the reason for repair, the job can be accomplished with a moderate amount of mechanical knowledge, the right tools, the skill to use the tools, and the willingness to tackle the project. Additionally, a repair manual for the vehicle provides specific instructions for the technical aspects of the job and all of the specifications to make sure the engine is assembled properly.

Once you have an understanding of how to rebuild your engine, it is only a matter of ensuring you have everything you need for the job. eBay can help with this process by providing access to the necessary tools and kits for engine repair.

Engine|Tool|Engine Fluid|Vehicle|Used Engine



Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides