bills New Reader
June 15, 2014 10:51 p.m.

Considering buying an NA Miata. Find one that needs some work, and talk to the guy. He bought the Miata after his previous car blew a head gasket and it was too expensive to repair. Drives the Miata 6 months, and one of the valves drops into the engine causing extensive damage. A shop puts in a used engine, and a year later it is blowing white smoke out the tailpipe and smells like coolant.

Seems like a lot of car problems in a short time. Talking to him he seemed to be a reasonable person with common sense. Made me wonder what the heck someone could do to have this many problems? Just unlucky?

Any ideas or comments?

Swank Force One MegaDork
June 15, 2014 10:57 p.m.

Luck wouldn't surprise me. I`ve had 3 heads trashed in less than a year and a half at no fault of my own.

Keith Tanner MegaDork
June 15, 2014 11:09 p.m.

Sometimes being cheap can cost a lot of money.

novaderrik PowerDork
June 16, 2014 12:53 a.m.

putting a junkyard engine from one sports car into another sports car is a crap shoot... the donor vehicle wound up in the junkyard for some reason, and in the case of something like a Miata, it's probably not from being driven too gently..

but even new cars can blow up new factory replacement engines: my grandpa told me how my dad went thru 3 engines under warranty in a one year period in the 69 Z/28 he bought brand new when he got back from southeast Asia... they couldn't figure out how he kept blowing up a solid lifter equipped 302 inch V8 that revved to 8000+ rpm and was in a car with 4:10 gears driven by a 20 year old that just got back from a year long military deployment to a war zone, so they bought the car back from him..

Kenny_McCormic UberDork
June 16, 2014 1:51 a.m.

I've killed both a Camry 5S-FE and a N/A GM 3800 S2, E36 M3 happens. It seems to be the cars I'm NOT kind to are the most reliable.

Knurled PowerDork
June 16, 2014 5:09 a.m.

Blown head gasket, eh something happened who knows?

Dropped valve, rare enough to say it never happens, he was damned unlucky there.

Bad used engine, shop installed the cheapest engine they could find, and/or they couldn't find anything but that one.

noddaz Dork
June 16, 2014 6:49 a.m.

Even GRM toasted multiple engines on the Camry project... happens...

WonkoTheSane Reader
June 16, 2014 7:15 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Sometimes being cheap can cost a lot of money.

Quoting for truth here..

But it sounds like this guy just got the short end of the stick that "year." He's probably ready for a nice car payment for a while..

June 16, 2014 8:35 a.m.

I've done it, but they were rotaries, so it probably doesn't count.

Zomby Woof PowerDork
June 16, 2014 8:51 a.m.

Some people have it and some people don't.

My youngest son has blown up almost everything he's ever owned. Cars, bikes, it doesn't matter, he finds a way to grenade the motor. My oldest son beats the E36 M3 out of everything he drives, and never had a single failure.

Ranger50 PowerDork
June 16, 2014 8:51 a.m.

Some people can destroy a cannonball in a sandbox with their bare hands....

GameboyRMH MegaDork
June 16, 2014 9:03 a.m.

Could be done in a single day with boost and poor self-control...

Someone on this board did it with a 1UZ, turned out to be due to poor crankcase ventilation. Not kidding.

cwaters Reader
June 16, 2014 9:03 a.m.

I can see how this could happen to a normal person. I suspect there are those on this forum who'd KILL to have such a paltry # of engines die in that time period.

slefain UltraDork
June 16, 2014 9:37 a.m.

My cousin killed a Slant-6. Some people are just gifted in strange ways.

MOTO_RR New Reader
June 16, 2014 10:03 a.m.

I've gone through.... 2 engines and a transmission in a year and a half with my mustang.

Subaru RS/wrx- 2 engines in 3 months

300z- 2 ecu's and a transmission in 2-3 weeks after built

Guess what.... #beattocrap

Mr_Clutch42 HalfDork
June 16, 2014 10:49 a.m.

Not maintaining and changing oil and coolant can blow up engines. I blew up two Honda D-engines in two years, one was from an overheating issue.

June 16, 2014 11:26 a.m.

Occasionally, placing the gear shift lever in 2nd instead of 4th will send valve parts tinkling out the exhaust.

yamaha UltimaDork
June 16, 2014 11:55 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: Occasionally, placing the gear shift lever in 2nd instead of 4th will send valve parts tinkling out the exhaust.

That one is the source of spectacular awesomeness......

NGTD SuperDork
June 16, 2014 12:49 p.m.

My mom had an engine almost let go in her 2004 Legacy due to piston slap. Subaru agreed to replace it. The second engine lasted less than 20k kms (12k miles). Subaru also agreed to replace it. I think the original replacement was just a bad engine. She drives like a grandma because she is one!

BTW all maintenance done as per the factory requirements at the dealer.

E36 M3 happens!

egnorant SuperDork
June 16, 2014 1:50 p.m.

Local police had a car (crown vic) that lost 2 engines the first year! 3 other similar cars performed flawlessly and the only clue was that there were a couple of episodes of the temp gauge maxing out in 30 seconds. The air conditioning would suddenly blow hot too.

When the 3rd engine first showed a temp gauge spike they rebuilt everything cooling system related, checked the sensors, fan operation...everything. 2 days later it spikes again so they sell it "as is" to me.

I get a gauge spike and look under the hood and notice the fan is not running so I thump the connector and the fan starts! Cleaned a little corrosion, a little tlc and I drove the car for 3 more years with no problem!

Sometimes the oddest things will cause a chain of events.

The only engine I ever lost was due to a bad temp sender...and a small leak...and 105 degree Texas summer. Summer and the leak I knew about, temp sender fooled me.

Bruce

spitfirebill PowerDork
June 16, 2014 1:50 p.m.

My son could have done it.

yamaha UltimaDork
June 16, 2014 2:34 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: my grandpa told me how my dad went thru 3 engines under warranty in a one year period in the 69 Z/28 he bought brand new when he got back from southeast Asia... they couldn't figure out how he kept blowing up a solid lifter equipped 302 inch V8 that revved to 8000+ rpm and was in a car with 4:10 gears driven by a 20 year old that just got back from a year long military deployment to a war zone, so they bought the car back from him..

I think those were just built, ran like E36 M3, blew up, and then repeated that 3 step process over their lifespan. I berkeleying hate having to drive first gen z/28's through the auctions. Oddly enough, I don't think the Boss had that problem.

Fobroader Reader
June 16, 2014 2:34 p.m.

Well yeah, used engines are a crapshoot and lack of maintenance could be a major factor....but 3 engines in 3 years....is he into tractor pulls??

Knurled PowerDork
June 16, 2014 2:52 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: Occasionally, placing the gear shift lever in 2nd instead of 4th will send valve parts tinkling out the exhaust.

I remember a funny song posted to the RX-7 Mailing List (remember those?)

"Around and around the Firebird track/

The M3 was really revvin'/

Shifted to 2nd gear instead of 4th/

POP! Goes the engine"

One of the first victims of the piece of E36 M3 motor mounts in the E36 chassis M3.

Knurled PowerDork
June 16, 2014 2:55 p.m.
yamaha wrote: Oddly enough, I don't think the Boss had that problem.

Boss 302s had near 100% failure rate on the pistons. The skirts would crack.

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