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Machine work...these fair prices?

725 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Tony D
I contaced Paeco to get a total cost of a rebuild for my bottom end. I'm going to be supplying them with everything they need for the rebuild. Pistons, rods, crank, all bearings, gaskets, oil pump, etc etc etc. All I need them to do is dip it, bore it, all that good stuff. Here is the break down on prices, tell me if this sounds fair:

Dip block and sluice oil galleys ------------------------ $85
Bore .40 over (6 cylinders) ------------------------------$240
Install new freeze plugs --------------------------------- $120
Paint block ------------------------------------------------- No Charge
Con rod machine work pkg --------------------------- $222
Peen & magnaflux crank ------------------------------ $50
Turn crankshaft journals ------------------------------- $140
Assemble & blueprint short block ----------------- $600

I'm not quite sure what's involved in the connecting rod package, but I assume it's something I need :)

That comes out to $1457. Is there anything else you guys can think of that I need to have done? I'm probably going to call a local highly reccomended machine shop and kinda compare prices. These guys are within driving distance (2 hours) so that's why I was interested in Paeco.
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This is From Stonehenge69's excellent stroker site

Machine Work

3mm Over Bore
Polish and balance Crank
Balance Rods/Pistons +- 0 grams
Balance Entire Rotating Mass
3 Angle Competition Valve Job

Jeez, 3mm!! That's one helluva bore! :)

Well he probably assembled the block himself, that's where a big chunk of the money I'm paying is going.
hmmmm... i paid $1200....
heres what i got...

Blueprinted/Assembled Engine Block:

take block apart
block dipped in acid bath to clean
overbore .020
new matched ring and piston set (oversized dished)
all new bearings
balanced and polish the crank
balanced weight pistons (takes lighest one, matces the rest to that one)
race prep the rods (take weight off, smooth out, recondition)
new rod bolts
resurface the flywheel
install pistons, crank, bearings, rear seal
balance the ENTIRE engine as rotating mass
install new freeze plugs (pretty grey color!)
install new oil check valve (old one rusted out they said)

that was like i said, all about $1200...the head is another story.
in my opnion, your install of freeze plugs and boring is too much money...especially the freeze plugs..

Post Edited (Nov 9, 11:17am)
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in the ballpark.
I don't know that an hour of labor to install freeze plugs is necessarily worth $120, but if you don't do the work yourself, you are at their mercy.

Everything else looks in-line with normal prices.

When I worked a machine shop in 80, block wash was 40, bores were 20 each, and rods/piston work was as required and per part done.

I would get a clarification on if they are "turning" the crank, or "polishing" it, as one requires undersize bearings, the other might not.

Hopefully "blueprinting" will accomodate a line bore of the crank centerline to make the c-to-c distance on the cam and crank where it's supposed to be---whatever shims that may require...

I suspect the freeze plug charge is in there as "oh sh*t fundage so if something comes up like a frozen head bolt, broken stud repairs, etc etc etc the "cover it" without any extra costs. Beware about asking for price reductions ahead of time, then you get a lower number, and when stuff comes up, you get "punitive" charges to show you shouldn't have asked in the first place.

This has been the difference in many jobs I have observed. The guy who came in and whittled away to bare bones beforehand was usually less satisfied due to "extra unforseen charges" during the overhaul work, than the guy who just paid the original estimate, and got "taken care of" when small stuff crept up.

So yeah, they look in line with industry standards for a race shop.
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Well well well, I called the most highly recommended local machine shop, their prices are even better!

Dip block-$45
Bore .40 over-$12 a bore
Freeze plugs install-$15 (I need to buy the plugs)
Rod work-magnafluxing $90 total
Crank-turning crank and magnafluxing $102
Bottom end assembly-$250

Down time, about 2 weeks. Not only are they just like 40 minutes away, their prices are much better, and I hear they're the best shop in town. Now I'm sure balancing will be a little extra on top, but not much I'd say...still way better off than with Paeco. And as far as that line bore Tony, I'm getting the head done later. Just getting a short block done for now. Now, if you guys could tell me what else that I missed to have done when I go there, I'd appreciate it. I want to have a complete list of things I need done to give to them so I can get it done right. Thanks!
Watch Out on the Boring!

There is a strange discrepancy in that boring price. Like I said, it was $20 per hole when I was working in 1980!

There is "boring" and then there's "Boring"

Make sure it's an apples to apples comparison. Given Paeco's Reputation I would figure they have a Torque Plate for the boring, and may even set up the main caps while boring the cylinders.

I would ask to see the $12 per hole boring guys' "Torque Plate" for the Nissan L-Series Six Cylinder.

Machine shop prices are not necessarily comparable. You get what you pay for in most cases, and having a bore that is not round and will not seal does not seem like much of a bargian when you are shelling through a quart of oil every 250 miles...

Rod Work Magnafluxing is NOT comparable. I will almost bet Paeco hones the caps and bushes the ends and checks them center to center legnth so you have comparable compression on each cylinder. Magnafluxing of a set of rods might run you $90, but prepping them for c-to-c legnth and honing for a round big end and small end bore is something entirely different.

BTW, where is the charge for BALANCING THE ENTIRE ROTATING ASSEMBLY? Which I don't see in either estimate.

Point being is these are strangely vague wordings, make sure you get EXACTLY what each operation is covering so you can compare apples to apples... Like I said, there's Boring, and then there's boring...

I mean, the $15 for freeze plug installation seems more equitable, and the $40 for the hot tank is what we charged 24 years ago, but how do you know what is covered in "unforseen items" when you go with low bidder.

Sometimes cheapest price is not "best value"!

Forewarned is fore armed!
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Well I didn't ask about the balancing thing since, well don't you have to have the flywheel and all that to have it done? I don't have the flywheel yet, as I'm going to be picking up a Fidanza flywheel. Now if I HAVE to have it at the same time, then I guess I can purchase it first and set the guages back a week or so. Are you personally familiar with some success stories from you or others on Paeco's rep?
Why are you "turning the crank"?

I'd NEVER build one of these with a turned crank, the original crank's are super hard and I've seen very few that needed this. Also unless you have the crank rehardened after it is turned, it's not going to hold up nearly as well as even a 300,000 mile used one in OK shape will. This isn't a small block chevy you are building!

Also if you are using aftermarket pistons, you're probably going to want someone good to rebalance the whole rotating assembly. I wouldn't trust any "local" shop that says they can do it for like $50-100 to do this and expect the engine to be smooth. And no they don't need the flywheel or the balancer to do this.

I've found from my experience over the years most machine shops do crappy work and I'd NEVER let some local machine shop assemble the engine. I only let them do stuff that I can measure myself after they are done. If you can't do it yourself, I'd trust Paeco to do it. They've been around doing this kinda stuff for a LONG time.
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That's kinda what I was hinting at...

Like my question on "Turning" or "Polishing" the crank...

Etc etc etc...

Paeco has been around for a long while. While they may not be the cheapest, nor the best, they most likely have done more than one of your style engine in the past year, unlike most local shops.

Like I said, you have to get details on exactly what the individual jobs will entail, and ask questions as to "why" each procedure is important. Educating yourself as to what is required beforehand is usually a good idea.
Seems like the decision might be unanimous. So I assume I should probably leave the crank alone then besides polishing and cleaning it up, I don't want anything changed on it, because I got bearings for a standard size crank.

This is great, I love the way people interpret things the way they WANT to...

"Get a definition of what the work entails before making a decision" turns into "leave the crank alone"

"Leave the crank alone" was never said! It was said that you don't need to turn the journals which is a damsite different than MICROPOLISHING the journals which results in lower drag, or checking the crank for true straight, or magnafluxing for cracks, deburring the counterweight forge lines, replacingthe soft plugs with setscrews after cleaning the oiling holes and deburring the ends, etc etc etc...

There is PLENTY that has to be done on the CRANK.


And if anything, Paeco will BUILD UP THE BEARING SURFACES with Paecalloy so you can run STANDARD JOURNAL BEARINGS if you DO have a problem with the crank journal diameters! It's my recollection that if a Paecalloy journal ever fails due to bearing disintegration and can not be restored with a simple polishing, they reapply the hardfacing for free....but that may be dated information from 20 years+ ago, when they had a "Engine Menu" to choose from regarding the L-Engine...


Post Edited (Nov 10, 10:04am)
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I'm flipping through their catalong and here's what they say about their crankwork:

We take your old crankshaft, machine the journals down to smooth, fresh surfaces, and build them back up with a hard nickel alloy we call Paecolloy. They are then machined back to standard size on a true centerline, with all throws properly indexed and radiused.

The result is a crankshaft that is actually tougher than the original, with hard, standard size journal surfaces that will outlast new crankshafts.

So it sounds like they can do their thing with my crankshaft, because when they're done, it'll work with the bearings I have :)
See what...

research and asking questions does?

Now I am still on the same page with Steve on this point: I usually measure EVERYTHING MYSELF before sending it in... There is absolutely no reason to do anything but polish the journals on a Nissan Crank if it's not tapered or out of round.

So you can forego that treatment if your crank mikes within spec, and just have them micropolish it, and to the other standard "non invasive" things to it like fixing the oiling plugs with setscrews, chamfering, cleaning oiling passages, etc etc etc...

Amazingwhat occurs when you reasearch and ask some questions.
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