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I have an issue on my engine which maybe can be resolved with ("only") a head gasket replacement (see details here).

An alternative to repairing the engine may be to replace it (I found an engine for a model at least similar to mine, if not the same; the engine is sligthly different from mine but might be the more powerful option that was proposed for the same model) for what seems to me to be a cheap price for an engine (400€).

Now I don't have enough money to buy it nor do I know for sure it would fit, but since I cannot know for sure that a head gasket replacement alone will repair my engine and that repair anyways would cost a lot of time, I'd like to know whether or not to try to pursue this alternative a bit further.

My main questions (before knowing if it would fit) are twofold:

  1. Is it easier / does it cost less time for a qualified professional to install a new engine instead of trying to repair the current engine?

  2. Which one is likely to last the longest: An engine sold as being 180,000km "old" (which would mean 34% younger than the one installed) or the current 270,000km old engine with a new head gasket? I am a noob when it comes to car mechanics so I don't know if there's parts other than the head gasket that are very likely to fail with time.


YOUNGER ENGINE DETAILS:

  • 122HP (vs 82HP for mine)
  • 180,000km (sold as such at least)
  • Sold without injectors
  • Price: 400€ without gearbox or 600€ with gearbox.
  • See images herearfter.

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  1. Is it easier / does it cost less time for a qualified professional to install a new engine instead of trying to repair the current engine?

It is usually easier to replace the engine than to do the work to repair what you have for a head gasket. At the most, time wise, it would be about the same. I don't know what the book hours are, but I would suggest it is easier to replace it, especially if it is a knowledgeable mechanic (one who has replaced an engine in the said car type before). When you replace a head gasket, the big thing is the "unknown", and that would be things like, is there any other damage to the head or block? Are any other parts needing repair or refurbishment. With a complete engine, it's not hard to swap it out in most cases.

  1. Which one is likely to last the longest: An engine sold as being 180,000km "old" (which would mean 34% younger than the one installed) or the current 270,000km old engine with a new head gasket? I am a noob when it comes to car mechanics so I don't know if there's parts other than the head gasket that are very likely to fail with time.

There are too many variables to answer this with any sort of assurance. The big variable here is what kind of maintenance was performed on either engine. If the higher mileage one had perfect maintenance with high end fluids and parts, while the lower mileage one never had the oil changed, the older engine will most likely outlast the young by a good margin. Now, this is an extreme example, but should show you the difference.

That said, if the younger engine had good maintenance done on it and has nothing wrong with it (is in good shape), the general rule of thumb is, it should last longer. It should have more of its useful life left in it. I say should, because you never know.

If it were me (and this is strictly my opinion), I would probably go after the younger engine if you can get some kind of assurance on the maintenance and possible some kind of warranty on it. The reasons I'd go this route is:

  • It is younger engine is younger (obviously). Once you replace the head gasket on your old engine, you still have an old engine ... what's next to go?
  • Once you've paid for the head gasket repair on the old engine, how much more money would it take to just get the younger one? Paying that little bit more now might save you bigger in the future (if you can afford it).
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    Thanks a lot for your answer. Sorry for not upvoting before (the buttons on stack-exchange stopped working for me after an "update" of the website).
    – Hans
    Oct 9, 2022 at 16:06

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