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Discussion Starter #1
My recently purchased 62 inline 6 started blowing white smoke which was new so I took to her to my mechanic. The report stated the engine vacuum was 12-16 in at idle fluctuating indicating a valve train malfunction. Excessive blow by measured at dipstick. Engine burns significant oil. A rebuild was recommended and I made an appointment at a local classic ford shop here in Oakland ca. I was quoted 2800 but I know that number will go up with the addition of a radiator and other odds and ends. Just wanted to know if this all sounds reasonable? The reason for the rebuild and the price. Thanks.
 

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The fluctating vacuum could also be the result of a vacuum leak. I would imagine you cant have many vacuum lines, so check between the carb and the intake for leaks, and also check between the intake and the engine block for leaks. You may be able to hear a vacuum leak (no special tools required!).

How many miles are on the motor? Has it ever been rebuilt before? How much work are you personally willing to put into the motor? Do you have the space to work on it, and a good set of tools? Are you willing and able to take the cylinder head off to inspect the motor?

I ask all these questions because you can diagnose the blowby yourself. It could be that (if the motor was rebuilt) the piston rings were never seated properly. Maybe you broke a piston ring (check your oil for pieces of metal). Maybe the valve seats are shot, and allowing oil to leak in (look at the backside of your intake valves and see if there is oil on them).
 

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Unfortunetly I do not have the space or time to diagnose the problem myself. Unknown miles or of it was ever rebuilt. It was overheating as well, no coolant in the oil though. Smoke from exhaust could have had a blue tint as well. But since I purchased the car it was overheating which I worked on and it seemed to be much better but then the plumes of smoke started coming out of the exhaust. Car just hadn't been reliable enough to drive enough to figure out what's working.
 

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Seems kind of worst case cost. What if it's just a blown head gasket? Did they itemize for you so you can add or subtract when the job is done?
 

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No itemized list because I haven't brought the car in yet. They definitely want to look over the car first before making any decisions. Just trying to see what I am in for. I know the motor need works and was sitting for a long time.
 

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Wow, no help here. I am in the opposite corner of the continental US, lol! Florida to be specific. I thought if you were not too far away, southeast maybe, I could offer some options. Do be sure to get plenty of references for any shop you choose. If I can come up with any recommendations from people I know, I will let you know here. Good luck on it. RonW
 

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The proper testing for engine condition, including the piston rings, valves, etc. is a leak-down test. That will tell you where the weaknesses are and whether you need a rebuild or just adjustments, a head job, etc. Your mechanic should know this. He should also be able to tell you exactly where the smoke is coming from and why. If not - go away. Also, production rebuilt and remanufactured long-block engines are still available with warranty. With known costs for the engine and prices for additional components, you should be able to get a good handle on the total cost you're facing. Unless the $2800 includes all the additional components, that figure is rather high. Unfortunately, if you can't or won't do the tests yourself, you are at the mercy of the Fox in the chicken coop.

Often, whole engines are replaced as they take less labor to do that way, and so the profit margin is higher. That's fine, if you can make sure that margin comes down. Cheaper for them should be cheaper for you, or go elsewhere. There should be very little labor for the other components, as they are removed and replaced as part of an engine job anyway. I'd say 6 hours would do it. Barter up to 8 if necessary at a reasonable low-skill shop hourly rate of $50-$85/hr. (it's not EFI diagnostics or electronic tranny troubleshooting here). Add your component costs and go from there.

David
 

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White smoke is water vapor from coolant blowing through the engine. Oil smoke wold be a bit more blue/grey. Gas smoke is dark charcoal(ish) colored. It may be throwing coolant and oil at this point.

That is extremely high for a basic rebuild unless they know something is cracked like the head or the block. Even then it is still high. Sometimes a shop will price one up like that because they really do not want to do the job, have a lot of work in the queue but they will name a price.
 
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