$2500 to spend on tired pony help me rebuild my motor...


Founding Member
Dec 9, 2000
I have a 92 gt with about 140-150k miles on it. Current mods are 4:10 gears mac 1 5/8longtubes into offroad hpipe into 2 chamber flows. It is an aod tranny that was recently rebuilt with better clutches and shift kit and transcooler. Also have K&N, home made ram air, lakewood 90/10 and 50/50's. Anyway I'd like to get the motor rebuilt and add some power to it. I have about $2500 to spend and have no idea how much it would cost to get it rebuilt or where to go. Anyone in tx have a shop they would recomend? How much will it cost? I'd like to have 300rwhp n/a and room for a 100 shot of n20 on top of that. I'd like to put new heads/cam/intake if I had enough money but not sure how far the $2500 will go. I cannot do the work myself bc I don't have the knowledge so labor costs would be factored in too. I figured changing heads/intake/cam wouldn't cost 2 much extra if they are already rebuilding the motor.... Give me some recomendations! Help!!
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The biggest problem I've found with a rebuild is the expense of machine shop work. Hot tanking, magnafluxing, boring, honing, getting your crank turned, etc. can add up pretty fast. It's great if you can do the work yourself...get the machine work done and buy/install a Summit rebuild kit, and you've got yourself a nice new motor for not a lot of money. I'm like you, and don't have the mechanical ability or knowledge to tackle a rebuild. That's why I'm really considering going with a crate motor/short block for my '89.

If you're wanting to do h/c/i with your budget, I'd suggest hitting the classifieds or local swap meets to pick up some used heads and intake manifold. GT40 and GT40P heads can be found for around 250-400 bucks, and Cobra/Explorer intakes for 250-350 bucks are pretty common. You might even find some ported pieces that would get you close to your 300 hp goal. Not sure I'd buy a used cam, though. :D

I'm not sure where you are in Texas, but I'd try sending a p.m. to JadeFalcon to see if he can recommend anyone. He's a moderator here, and I'm pretty sure he's in the Dallas area.

Good luck! :nice:
I was going to shop around for some used heads/intake for my budget but was trying to get a feel of how much I'd have left after paying to get it rebuilt.... i've looked into crate motors too but they seem to be out of my price range. :(
If I were to buy a rebuild, I would buy a DSS shortblock, nothing but good things I have heard about them. Sometimes when you add up what it cost to rebuild and just to buy a rebuild, it's not worth the time and effort to buy one. Also, buying a rebuild usually comes with a warranty. I'm thinking of rebuilding mine soon, but I work in a auto shop.
I was looking at dss a lot... the problem with that is I still dont have the knowledge to put it all together even if I did buy a shortblock from them so I would be paying out the @$$ for labor. :( Not to mention it is out of my price range. I'm thinkng of just doing a compression test and seeing how my motor looks. I know it burns a little oil. What tools do I use to do a compression test and how would I do it? Thanks.
If your engine burns oil i wouldn't bother wasting time doing a compression or leakdown test. If you had good ring seal (good compression) you wouldn't be burning oil. You're going to need to rebuild or replace the engine.
imo, your best bet is to call shops in your area and ask them for recommendations and pricing. any good shop can tell you what is realistic on your budget.

stuff i would probably keep from your motor are crank, rods, and block. depending on your plans, maybe a stock ported lower and stock ported heads with a valve train upgrade would make sense. get a decent cam, but stay away from letter cams, there are better ones out there for the money.

one of the best ways to save money on the rebuild is to pull the motor yourself. get some help froma friend with an engine hoist and pull it on your own. having a shop pull it costs an arm and a leg.
why not just have the block refreshed/redone from a local mechanic...to redue the block cant be much more than 1000 bucks for a 30 over refreh w/ new pistons....and then get a set of thumper heads w/upgraded valvetrain and a tmoss ported lower then eventually match that with a cobra upper...and then grab a nice street friendly cam from comp...thats what i would do on a 2500 budget....or again just get a god block in it for the 2500 ...then just save for the top end im hearing more and more of the thumper/tmoss combo's to be good 12 sec (for fox bodys) budget combos.......
Do a compression & leak down check to see what condition the engine is in. If the compression is good, you can spend your money on the heads/cam/induction. My suggestion would be AFR165 heads, Crower 15511 cam and a used Explorer or Cobra intake - lower ported by me of course. ;o)

A rebuild by a good shop can run ~$2,000 alone. My recommended h/c/i combo will run ~$2,000 also. You've got a decision to make - do some testing of your current motor.