Thoughts on extra engine parts

dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
Long story short, over Labor day weekend I had to swap out my engine. I had lost all compression on one cylinder and when my uncle checked his GM book on procedures, R&R of the head was going to take longer than swapping the motor. It's a good thing we did so too: I broke two head bolts later in the block. We got them swapped no problem and my newer motor with 100k fewer miles is running great. But here's the problem: the salvage yard didn't charge us for a core. So I have the motor in the basement to play with. My dad and I pulled the head and found this on the no-compression cylinder:

View attachment 23892

Yep, that's a gaping hole in one of the exhaust valves. All the other valves are immaculate as seen here:

View attachment 23893

And the pistons are in great shape except one that is a little looser than the others (same cylinder as the burnt valve). The cylinder bores are in great shape too and you can even see the original cross-hatch... 186,000 miles later! It's amazing to me I guess. If I even wanted to mess with this it would need: new piston rings, new crank & connecting rod bearings while the bottom end is off, new connecting rod bolts (I believe they are TTY also), new head gasket, new head bolts including drilling out the two that broke, valve job, new timing chain, new oil pump, and any other little odds and ends. I got a quote on the valve job only for ~$500. Since I bought the other whole motor with only 90k miles for $600 and I'm currently short on time, I'm leaning toward scrapping this old engine.

I'm almost set on taking this thing to the local aluminum recycler to recoup some money. I'm not sure what they are paying for aluminum engine blocks, but cans are ~$0.70 per pound around here. So here come the important questions:

Does anyone think it would be fiscally responsible to try to rebuild this thing? I think I know the answer, I'm just looking for a consensus.

Has anyone tried to melt this aluminum alloy at home with any success? I'm interested in using some of it to make a light-weight yet durable skidplate to replace my stock plastic one. My dad was hesitant to try melting it because molten aluminum can be pretty dangerous (he mentioned dropping some on concrete and it blowing up).

Is there any interest in: either camshaft, crankshaft, intake, ignition coils, valve cover, pistons (could potentially use them in a rebuild, but I'm thinking desk paperweight at work after cleaning/polishing), various sensors, valves, valve springs, cam followers, oil pan, front cover, head, etc. This is from a 2004, so it's not the newer style head/camshafts. Basically I have to take off anything steel before the aluminum recyclers will want it. The oil pan and front cover are aluminum, but might be useful to someone here. If I choose to part it out, I will post them in the Classifieds section (but that'll be several weeks from now) and it'll be for a little more than melt value + shipping. Everything was working perfectly before the burnt valve so I think everything but that piston/valve is good. I want to keep a coil or two as spares as well as some of the more notorious sensors but most everything will need to find a different home whether in someone's car or in a dumpster.

I also thought about making one of the engine coffee tables, but I will be moving in a few months and don't want to have to worry about getting a 300-400 pound item down my apartment's stairs. :eek:

Other thoughts/ideas/suggestions?
 

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dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
Bump. Almost 80 views and not a single opinion?

Has anyone melted aluminum? I have the head stripped down and it's 45 pounds of solid aluminum. It'd be a shame not to put it to good use...
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
I wonder what happened to that cylinder to make the pistonlooser and knock a hole in that valve?

I really don't know the answer to your question. I don't know how hard it is but maybe do the valve job yourself? At the same time, even if you did rebuild the engine to pristine condition, what would you use it for?

Maybe advert it on Craigslist as a cheap engine to rebuild. Someone might snatch it up.
 

dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
Sparky said:
I wonder what happened to that cylinder to make the pistonlooser and knock a hole in that valve?

I really don't know the answer to your question. I don't know how hard it is but maybe do the valve job yourself? At the same time, even if you did rebuild the engine to pristine condition, what would you use it for?

Maybe advert it on Craigslist as a cheap engine to rebuild. Someone might snatch it up.


The piston didn't knock the hole in it. The valve either had a bad spot from the manufacturing process or that piston ran lean and burned the valve. The piston's rings were definitely worn more than the others, so there was some oil getting in there. I would have thought it cause it to burn richer (and cooler) but maybe not. This wasn't surprising as I knew I was using quite a bit of oil.

The valve job really needs to be done by an experienced machinist because these engines have pretty tight tolerances. I could potentially just buy some lapping compound and do that, but based on the amount of resources needed (time + money) for the entire rebuild, I don't think that's feasible.

I'm really interested if anyone has done sandcasting and what I could use as a crucible big enough to melt the entire head. There are lots of videos on youtube about melting aluminum, but most are small and aren't made to accept a big I6 head. I guess I could go to work with a sawzall...
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Before going thru all the trouble of cutting it up an melting it down, I'd check with a metal recycling place and see if they take aluminum ingots smelted by a private individual. And if it's worth the trouble and cost of energy to do it.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Some of those places will even take the head as-is and they'll do the melting down.
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sparky said:
Some of those places will even take the head as-is and they'll do the melting down.

That's what I'm thinking, too. Unless the OP is planning on keeping the aluminum for his retirement fund (just kidding), it just seems like it's not going to pay off.
 

dfc739

Original poster
Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
dfc739 said:
I'm really interested if anyone has done sandcasting and what I could use as a crucible big enough to melt the entire head. There are lots of videos on youtube about melting aluminum, but most are small and aren't made to accept a big I6 head. I guess I could go to work with a sawzall...

I'm wanting to melt the aluminum to make a lightweight skid plate so I can replace my plastic one. Either that or play with fire...
 

meerschm

Member
Aug 26, 2012
1,079
dfc739 said:
I'm wanting to melt the aluminum to make a lightweight skid plate so I can replace my plastic one. Either that or play with fire...

if you want to play, start with a part of the block or head.

before you fire up the sawzall, have you tried to induce fracture with an apropriate BFH ( Big Friendly Hammer)?

an 8 pound sledge on a long handle might motivate some crackage. (assuming you pulled out all the long steel parts)

have you been checking out melting metal in a home foundry, backyard metalcasting, metal casting

looks like fun, but it :smile:seems like there would be easier ways to get a skid plate.
 

jimmyjam

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,634
i'd just sell the thing, and get some 3/16" aluminum plate for your project
 

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