High mileage engine question


Apr 5, 2005
I have 191k on my engine. It runs good just smokes when going WOT. I have thumper heads and a TFS1 cam I want to use but am now on a strict budget because I just did the trans and clutch this week.

The question is; is it possible to just re-ring the pistons and put new crank bearings without machining the block?
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Mark with 191,000 the cam bearings should be replaced and the block really needs to be checked for taper and wear in the bores. If the bores check out then you could just hone the block, put new rings and bearings in, along with a oil pump, all new gaskets, etc.

Have you done a compression test, both dry and wet and a leakdown test to tell you what is weak, rings or valve seals, etc...

It may be cheaper to try to find a low mile shortblock to swap in...
im in the same boat as you man. my friend just found me a block with 82k miles on it that he traded a couple parts cars for. and im trading him the block out of my car for the block we just got. you can find one. call up some junk yards or stop by someones house who has a bunch of trashed cars sitting in the back.
I've had an engine: 127K, chained out, disassembled, block cleaned out with fast orange and steel wool, reringed the steel wooled pistons and reassembled reusing pretty much everything outside the "rebuild kit". Cam bearings were too much of a biznatch to get out so I left em. Didnt burn a drop of oil after that and idled smooth and 25 mpg.

On a low impact motor, this will Work just fine. If you're drag racing and nitrousing and boosting, this might not be the best strategy.

My current 138K motor burns some oil but whatever. I just use thicker dino oil and fill er up on occasion. Oil is like $1.50 a quart and a tank of gas is $25 so I dont even notice $1.50 ever 2-3 tanks of gas. If it passes state emissions and runs well then you shouldnt care.

There are ford pickups with 302's that have gone into the 400-500k range easy on the original motor (though I am not sure the circumstances of that)
I was in the same situation. i had a stock longblock with 145k on it...it wasnt runnign very well at all and i thought of doing exactly what you said...but after careful consideration and research i decided that i only wanted to do this once so why not do it right. I would follow rick91's advice and get the block checked out. If its out of tolerance in any way just get it dealt with. you would be kickin yourself if it didnt run well even if you spent less cash than you would have otherwise. good luck man...oh yea i also found a donor block with low miles for 250 bucks out of an 88gt
I bought a 98 Explorer motor from IndianaCore from Ebay...Cost $348 with shipping $428.. Took the motor apart and took it to my machinist... He couldnt believe the great condition of the motor...Bearings were fine and the cylinders were fine, he said I could have run it as is. He figured around 40000 miles...I had it cleaned and rehoned $ 125.. I sold the GT40ps and the GT40 lower and recouped my money back for the engine.. ( all but $16)... Check out Indiana Core on ebay... Good people to deal with... The motors were from a recall and Ford just replaced the motor and took these back...

What happened with others' may or not be applicable to yours. With that many miles as Rick says - if you want some certainty you should have the taper and 'oval' measured by a machine shop. That'll tell you if you can simply re-hone and re-ring; or if you need an overbore to clean up the cylinder.

Any other approach is just guessing. As long as you're ok with the guess and hope approach - you can try a home-rebuild.
If i were you i would talk to whoever you would have clean up the bores ect and figure worst case and see what it will cost to have them bored. It could end up being cheaper to find a low mile 86+ 5.0 shortblock and have it cleaned up. I wouldnt bolt on a new set of heads/cam and skimp a couple hundred bucks by not have'n the block looked and and bored if needed.
There are....however.....bragging rights to saying: Yeah, man, my 302 has 350,000 miles on it. 190K is approaching serious bragging rights. I would say...if it's running smooth, leave it until something else prompts the teardown. For me, it was an exploded T-5. If some mild oilburn is your only issue, there is no reason to tear it down. If it idles.....the real test...it's still good.
The best thing to do is not plan to do anything till you know what you have. If you plan to pull the motor, beg. borrow or steal a bore guage and a caliper guage. Get a book with specs and measure all the bores, the main journals, The crank/rod journals and the rod journal bore onteh rods with the caps installed. If they're all in spec, get new main, rod and cam bearings and install them. Hone the cylinders, clean up the pistons and re-ring them. Put your cam in, put a new hoil pump in it and put the top end back on it.

If not in spec now you gotta spend some cash to make things right. Ifyou find a motor with 30 - 40,000 miles you can just install it after inspection and run it on the street no problem.
I guess there are bragging rights to being able to eradicate your neighborhood of mosquitos every time you drive through too. But you don't want to have both the mosquito killing and the high mileage bragging right at the same time. If it's noticeably smoking blue, it's probably time. At least it would be for mine. ;)
I have a friend who also just bought the GT40/Exploror engine, intake and all, and he's running a Novi 1k through it, and the results are sickening. He has nothing fancy on the car, not even a dyno tune, and it's not far from running 11s on street tires.

BTW, he got the engine for 400 (if i remember right) which is just about the going price for GT40P heads anyways, so to get the entire engine with the intake and heads, it's a total bargain.

BTW again, i'm somewhere between 250k and 275k miles, too bad my OD took a crap on me :nice:
not a bad idea since he allready has a h/c/i combo. You could most likely sell those gt40p's and intake for what you'll have in the motor and have'n it cleaned up with the everything your not use'n inspected ready for resale.

If you can live with the higher upfront cost of doing that untill you can recoup from the heads/intake its what i would do.