what to look for when buying a used motor?

flattop1

Dawg 89
Its trickey. Check plug look in cylinder with a pen light . No stripped bolt heads , all bolts similar size. Owner should know specifics about engine. See if crank moves side to side or up and down. Should be semi clean , the general looks of the surrounding area or shop, trailer or other racing equipment. may be as good a indicator as anything .
Start if possible turn it over with puller listen for noise and compression. Oil left in since last race? How long since ran.
Flatheads need attention sooner then clone so if it's a full season of running it may need work(valves and guides) . Google the person or check their past posts on bobs . Lots of good used engines , a few not so good . Acting shakey probably are.
 

Jimbo

A trial w/o witnesses is like racin w/o tech
Realize that unless you know this person you are really taking a big chance.
However, even friends have been know to screw their buddies for a few bucks.
Ideally, you are buying an engine you have seen run at the track.
References would be good.
Someone isn't going to sell their best engine so guess what you are buying?
"I've got to many engines, I don't need it" Yea right.
 

Chris Cooper

Premium User
I always ask if they keep good records. Like Flattop mentioned, if the engine is semi-clean, no stripped bolts (all same size) and good physical condition with records, I would look at it. A compression and or leak-down test is a great way to spot check health as well.
 

Jimbo

A trial w/o witnesses is like racin w/o tech
No offense Chris yes compression and good leakage are a must but that doesn't tell the whole story. There are lots of motors that are sealed up very well but are still dogs.
Just because it's sealed up doesn't mean that the cam is what it should be, the carb is a good performer, or that it hasn't been been illegally machined.
 

slnn1

New member
Its trickey. Check plug look in cylinder with a pen light . No stripped bolt heads , all bolts similar size. Owner should know specifics about engine. See if crank moves side to side or up and down. Should be semi clean , the general looks of the surrounding area or shop, trailer or other racing equipment. may be as good a indicator as anything .
Start if possible turn it over with puller listen for noise and compression. Oil left in since last race? How long since ran.
Flatheads need attention sooner then clone so if it's a full season of running it may need work(valves and guides) . Google the person or check their past posts on bobs . Lots of good used engines , a few not so good . Acting shakey probably are.

thank you!!
 

WFOorBUST

Member
I have never had any luck buying used engines, never been happy with them. Even if everything looks okay you take it to your guy it’s usually twice the money to have them go through it. Make some phone calls before you pull the trigger.
 

ponytl

Member
IMHO a used engine is what it is worth in parts... used block, head, crank, top plate , flywheel. chain guard, stickers on the tins add zero value
 

flattop1

Dawg 89
Yes buying a used engine then taking to your engine guy is futile.
May as well just buy it from them. On the other hand if your looking at an experienced engine you likely don't have an engine guy.
Cost is the number one reason you buy a previously ran engine .
 

Menace61

Member
Maybe I'm just lucky because I've bought quite a few. I take them to my builder... He yells at me again.... We give it a thorough check up.... They have all been just as described. Thank you to all of the sellers I have dealt with here on Bobs.
Cost is a great reason to buy used. I've got some very strong engines that I could not afford to buy new.
 
Understand that buying ANYTHING used, is somewhat of a gamble. Buying it sight unseen (over the internet) is even more of a gamble.
Generally I tell people to use their best discernment and that you need to be able to trust the person you are purchasing it from. Will they take it back if it's not exactly as described (ie legal, fresh, etc.)? No one is looking for a "guarantee" simply a fair deal...and there are many out there.

If you can afford, I'd recommend taking your used engine purchase directly to the engine builder of your choice (whether that's one in your area, or one that you've met/trust online.)

As a builder, I regularly have customers ship/bring used engines in to have them gone through.
I don't mind it a bit. If it helps a racer better afford his racing, then I'm all for it.
I don't particularly care what sticker is on the engine, just that the machinework was done correctly previous to my getting it on my bench. Buying an engine that came from a major/reputable builder, is generally a good choice (as long as the decal on the blower housing is the one that came on the engine originally. If we've got to re-do everything (machinework, updates, cam, etc,) then it's not going to be such a great deal anymore.
You will find that most engine builders also offer used engines for sale (fresh.) It's hard to beat buying directly from a builder, since you know that their reputation stands behind what they are selling, and that the engine will come with customer service after the sale. That assistance offers peace of mind, especially to the new and low budget racer.

Like others have said -- there are some great deals to be had, and there are some bummers out there.
Ask lots of questions and use your best judgment.



-----
Thanks and God bless,
Brian Carlson
Carlson Racing Engines
Vector Cutz
www.CarlsonMotorsports.com
Carlson Motorsports on Facebook
30 years of service to the karting industry
Linden, IN
765-339-4407
bcarlson@CarlsonMotorsports.com
 
I’ve had good luck buying used things up to and including engines from people here on Bobs. Seems like an honest bunch from my experience.
 

Slick27

Member
I have had pretty good luck but I follow the Brian theory. I take it straight to my motor man. I don't care how fresh they say it is before I strap it on and turn it 6800 it will be gone through.

While I have been burned once or twice getting used motors I wouldn't be completely against it. Plus you learn after buying used stuff for a little bit who to buy from and what to buy used.

Oh and expect the lecture from your motor man about getting new. That is a given and should be expected.....lol
 
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