Spitfire & GT6 Forum

Engine rebuild budget

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tedriley Avatar
tedriley Ted Riley
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA
I will defiantly be rebuilding my 1500 over the winter, however I found a so called rebuilt 1500 locally and the guy wants $1,500.00 for it. I'm not really sure how much I would have in my engine when finished. I know if I do the job I don't short cut anything. Does anyone know approximately how much a rebuild job cost plus machining the crank?

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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
Does he have invoces for the work done?

Some rebuilds come out of a spray can.

tedriley Avatar
tedriley Ted Riley
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA
Exactly... haven’t seen the engine yet. He wil start it for me on the stand. I’m going to request some records and do a compression check as well

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Lizzard d id
san jose, CA, USA   USA
Will he stand behind his work ? If it fails will he fix / replace ? If its off will he fix it up ?

Rebuild costs .
gasket set
bearings / crank
bearings / rods
bearings / cam
cam / new
cam / regrind
freeze plugs
water pump
carb rebuild kit/s
set of spark plugs
set of spark plug wires
rebuilt rocker arms
oil filter
can of engine paint
bore and hone cylinders
turn crank
hot tank block and head
Put your own numbers together , some might not be needed , pistons can sometimes be reused etc

cmfisher4 Avatar
cmfisher4 Gold Member Chris Fisher
Mystic, CT, USA   USA
Ted, off the top of my head, I think my rebuild for my 1147cc was about $1200. I had the block bored +0.030" over and magnafluxed, the head decked with a valve seat job and new guides as well as a few small cracks repaired and both hot-tanked.

Total machine work was about $500; the rest was parts with the new pistons and bearings taking the lion's share of the remaining $700. I did all of the rebuild work myself (and I'm slowly putting out
YouTube videos on it).


I learn something new every day...especially if I am working on my LBC!
Please visit my blog and website at

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-10-23 06:08 AM by cmfisher4.

tedriley Avatar
tedriley Ted Riley
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA
Thanks Chris that was the answer to my question. If the engine checks out okay I think $1,500 is a good price seeing that it comes with dual carburetors starter, alternator ang headers. Basically it’s a drop in engine. I will have an extra motor I can tinker with over the winter

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
Has the new engine been used at all?

I am just thinking of cam break in. if a new cam has been fitted. I don't think I would like to run it just to here it go Brrrum-Brrrrum.

Compression wil not tell you much either. A new engine will need to seat it's rings.

Prices vary depending on location and what has been put into the engine. But yes you will retain your old engine which has some value.

The value of this engine is a conundrum, I suspect you may be going largely by Gut feeling of the guy selling it.

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Born Loser Avatar
Born Loser Silver Member Matthew Taylor
Land O Lake, FL, USA   USA
I would say this varies greatly, depending on what has to be done vs what you want to do. If his motor has new pistons in it, and it comes with working twin SU's, I would say thats undervalued. You could easily hit $2500 doing the same thing.

1960 Triumph TR3a
1970 Triumph Spitfire MK 3
2012 Mini Cooper SS Convertible
2018 Jaguar F-Pace

65or66 Gold Member Jim B
Lake village, IN, USA   USA
1965 Triumph Spitfire MkII
1973 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Jusanudda Munny Pit"
Ted, I've seen that ad, but not contacted the seller or seen the engine in person. Like already said, try to verify what's been done, and what has NOT been done. Before you see it run, ask if you can check the end thrust on the crank, look at the oil on the dipstick, and the coolant in the radiator on the test set-up. If he balks, be suspicious. If he lowers the price immediately, consider that you may be buying a core block and head, with the intake and exhaust bits you want.

I'm about $900 into my '78 engine so far, and still need to have crank checked and possibly reground. The shop that rebuilt the head and bored block couldn't do cranks, and I did supply the valves and guides to them. Getting harder to find shops that can grind cranks around here. After that, I'll need main and rod bearings and full gasket kits. But I'm not changing to twin carbs either.

Good luck

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laverda1200 Paul LeClair
Calgary, AB, Canada   CAN
Hi Ted

thrust washers are critical for the crank. I measured and had them made by : Highly recommended.

For engine internals I ordered most of my parts from

one of the thing that seems to get ignored in some engine rebuilds is the rocker arms and rocker shaft, pushrods and lifters. Worth replacing all of them. I went with the bushed rocker amrs matched to a new rocker shaft, from Moss Motors.

my motor now has several thousand miles on it, strong oil pressure, runs really well, happy with my rebuild.

I am in western Canada, I did all assembly, but had a local well regarded machine shop do the head, block machining, crank machining, and balancing of the rotating assembly. The machine shop bill was close to $1,800 without parts. I have used the same shop for various other projects, have always been happy with them (other than they can be a little slow getting stuff done as they are so bloody busy), and I know the work was done right.

the only comment arising from my own build, the machine shop bill for the head alone (new valve seats, new guides, etc) was close to $800. Afterwards I was thinking it might have been worth while to have considered just buying a brand new head for around the same price from British Parts Northwest..... I just checked, it is even on sale right now

Paul LeClair

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
Paul, I agree with most of what you say regarding TW's and BPNW. I like the idea of being able to talk things over with BPNW and to customise my rebuild kit.

Likewise I will talk things over with my friendly machine shop befor I order parts.
I do like to sorce ALL parts myself
and basically try to keep things as simple as possible for the machine shop in terms of prep cleaning, chasing threads and doing whatever.

I did work for this particular shop years ago, so we do have a bit of an understanding, and they do cut me some slack fitting-in a 'hobby engine' during slower times at a better rate (or with freebies like magnaflux or balancing )

I do the final assembly myself as this is labour intensive, but not really requiring the overhead of the shop, just a clean work space.

Your head cost does seem high though! I would not have thought valve guides and seats would cost that much (I am thinking 8 hours @ $100 per hour? Did they supply valves and guides? What did they charge you for them?

Again, ordering parts is something you can do, and allows the shop to do, what the shop does best!

tedriley Avatar
tedriley Ted Riley
Indianapolis, IN, USA   USA
Thanks for all the info. I think rebuilding the engine is going to be more satisfying than buying one that has been rebuilt. I’m not so much worried about price because this is the only girl I have to take my money

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
The devil you know.....

I think you might well be doing the right thing. At least you end up with the engine you want, rather than the engine you hoped for!

$1500 is not chump change, that can be a lot to hand over on a promise with no guarantee!

Pats54 Avatar
Pats54 Gold Member Mark M
Maynard, Mass, USA   USA
1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500
2012 Volvo C70 "The Weekender"
I like the idea of building it yourself, if you feel you can do the job then why not it helps the bonding process.
As Tony said the devil you know is better then the one you don't know.

I just got my head rebuilt this winter, I did not buy any parts beforehand but did not get all new when it was finished
( the keepers and collars were reused. Total was 440 ) and had it skimmed

I had looked at the heads BPNW was selling and I think spit bits has them also and I believe there is a core charge.
They had a few select heads and could not match my head one for one.

Good luck with the rebuild.

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