Should I use a junkyard engine with oil in spark plug wells?
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Thread: Should I use a junkyard engine with oil in spark plug wells?

  1. #1
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    Should I use a junkyard engine with oil in spark plug wells?

    I bought a junkyard engine for my 2009 EXL. I went to replace the plugs and found the ignition coils covered in oil. Both banks are soaked.

    I'm guessing this was a PVC failure. The upper ignition coil seals are swollen beyond use, so I'm guessing this engine ran this way for a while.

    I see other treads include comments about valve cover gaskets being damaged by PVC failure.

    So, should I fix a bunch of things and use the engine, or conclude that it isn't worth installing?

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    Registered User John Clark's Avatar
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    That's not a lot to go on. There are so many other variables that would come into play when deciding whether to install a used engine. How many miles? How long has it been sitting? What kind of conditions was it sitting in? ...just to name a few.
    2008 Odyssey Touring-Silver
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    By itself, the spark plug tube oil leaks do not speak to the condition of the engine. However, the lack of attention to them by the previous owner could indicate generally poor attention to maintenance (e.g. oil, coolant, etc.). That inattention could impact its present condition or its future longevity

    I would also want to know the miles since the last timing belt service. If it's at or near its service life (105K miles), the job would be easier with the engine on the floor. If the last TB service is unknown, I would outright change it (and its related parts). If it were to fail later, the result would probably be expensive valve damage.

    Dave
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    151,000 miles/243,000 kilometres; original transmission; Amsoil MV ATF since 79,000 miles/127,000 kilometres; Magnefine aux ATF filter; Honda aux ATF cooler; 19 drain and fills

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  6. #4
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    Just out of curiosity, what’s wrong with the original engine from your 2009?
    2010 Honda Odyssey EX-L
    110,000 miles

  7. #5
    Registered User John Clark's Avatar
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    I wouldn't put a used engine in, with any amount of miles or condition, without replacing timing belt, idler pulley, tensioner pulley, hydraulic tensioner, water pump, thermostat, spark plugs and valve cover gaskets prior to installation. I'd also adjust the valves at the same time. All that stuff together is about a two hour job when the engine is out. Once that's done you've got 100K until any major maintenance is due.
    2008 Odyssey Touring-Silver
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    The engine allegedly has 121k on it. I'm doing a timing belt before I install it. Looks like I'll have to do a PCV, valve cover gaskets, and plug hole oil seals too.

    The original engine had damage to the lower end center rod bearings. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm wondering if an oil port got plugged. It had typical VCM problems; fouled plugs and an oilly intake. I wasn't sure what happened so I didn't want to rebuild it.

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    Registered User MrRangerZr1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slidder View Post
    I'm guessing this engine ran this way for a while.
    That's why, if possible, it's recommend to listen to the engine before they pull it out and give it to you.
    2010 Honda Odyssey EX-L - Driven in "Mexico"
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    First, engines for EXL and Touring are different than for L and EX, as they have VCM. Your car's computer will not be happy!

    Second, most yards guarantee the engines they sell. Take it back and get another.

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    It is supposed to be from an EXL. The VIN also matters within the trim level, supposedly this matches.

    The engine was rather expensive, and the junkyard sales expert said it was more expensive than the LX/EX engine. This could be simple supply/demand because I had a hard time finding one. Or just premium model markup.

    I thought of getting a non-VCM engine, but I wanted the computer to be happy.

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    If you do someday get this engine working, I recommend you install a VCM Muzzler device.
    2010 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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  13. #11
    mhg
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    If it is possible, do a compression check and a leak down test. this will give you an idea about the condition of the rings.
    Having oil in the spark plug tubes only means you have failed seals.
    Mike

  14. #12
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    Not an expert, but had oil on top of spark plugs on old Accord engine. Replaced seals I think in rocker cover and no more problems. Could it be engine was stood on end for a while. On my 05 Oddy I replaced pvc valve so quickly and cheaply (once I found it) as a long shot precaution because of oil in water which I later correctly diagnosed as my nephew using oil containers and funnel to replace antifreeze.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slidder View Post
    I bought a junkyard engine for my 2009 EXL. I went to replace the plugs and found the ignition coils covered in oil. Both banks are soaked.

    I'm guessing this was a PVC failure. The upper ignition coil seals are swollen beyond use, so I'm guessing this engine ran this way for a while.

    I see other treads include comments about valve cover gaskets being damaged by PVC failure.

    So, should I fix a bunch of things and use the engine, or conclude that it isn't worth installing?
    Having worked in the auto-recycling industry for some years you never know how the donor vehicle was treated or why it ended up at the auction. You should only buy mechanical/electrical from reputable sellers that will provide or sell you a warranty. Typically the guarantees don't cover installation costs if a garage does the work. As for the oil in the cylinders the van could have been a rollover and totaled. This might explain some of the oil but would also cause concern for the motor still running upside down. In general the salvage yards run the engines before pulling and selling them. Good luck and do the tests the others suggested. Also, your receipt should have the VIN associated with the motor, by law.

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