Anything less than a "Money-no-object Blueprint Rebuild" is a compromise, based on skill, experience, judgement in the potential reuse of parts and the time taken to work on getting exact clearances etc.
The advantage of doing the work yourself is that you know exactly what judgements you have taken in reuse, and you can take your time on getting all the clearances within tolerance.
A cheap re-builder will throw in anything that may allow the engine to run and not bother too much (if at all) regarding tolerances, this is how some "rebuilt" engines are sold for less than the cost of a gasket set.
A good re-builder will understand what parts should be reused and when it's time to throw stuff in the bin. They need to charge more, not just for all the new parts they need but for all the used parts they buy in bulk and have to discard, plus all the extra time it takes to get those important tolerances right.
A good re-builder will also provide a warranty. Warranties don't prevent things going wrong but they do provide the buyer with some financial protection. As such they're a financial burden for the business. The financial risk can be reduced by good quality work but it must still be covered by a premium in the cost price. In simple terms, if 1-in-20 of the products may fail then the sale price has to be increased by 5%, to have enough money in the kitty to pay for the replacement.
Based on this, there's significant potential savings on doing a rebuild yourself, as long as you consider the following;
- how will you source parts?
- what skills and experience do you have (or have access to) that could be relevant?
- how much capital outlay is required in tools and facilities, that you may only use once?
- how much is your time worth? This is not the same as your hourly rate in your day job.
- how much longer is it going to take you to do the job?
- how long can you afford to have the car off the road?
- what is the risk that you might damage something, either a component or yourself?
- have you priced everything, including consumables, oils etc.
- what would you do if your rebuild fails after 6 months?
Read the Frequently Asked Questions that have been accumulated over time.
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