We live in the temperate Northern California foothills, and lo these many months ago, my wife took my father's 2001 Infinity up the Reno mountain pass without seeing (or checking) the dangerously low oil gauge. It overheated on the long climb up, engine died on the freeway, and had to get towed back home, and has rested there ever since. Perhaps a cracked block led to some kind oil fouling or leakage, regardless the engine ran completely dry of oil and is in all likelihood, completely toast.

The question is this: Is it worth spending the money on a junkyard engine to get this sucker back up and running? Or is this too old and asking for more trouble, not to mention the overhead for Infiniti specific parts, and any work to have a shop do it. Sounds like about $2,500 total... which is somewhat hilarious as that's exactly what KBB says the resale value of the vehicle would be in "fair" condition.

OR I could somehow find the time and tools, buy an engine off ebay, and manhandle the old one out, and somehow get the new one in. For an inexperienced garage tinkerer the latter sounds both fun and frightening. Not to mention the learning curve is sharp, and I'm not sure I trust myself with something so important.

This is less of a technical question, and more one of economics and experience. Thanks in advance of any wisdom you fine folks can impart.

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    Which particular Infiniti are we talking about? Is there a Nissan club in the area? Their boards are covered with "engine swap" posts - I'm sure they'd have many practical suggestions (and might even have engines to sell). Also, if you decide not to swap the engine, they're a pool of people who'll likely buy parts from that car before you scrap it. – Bob Cross Mar 26 '14 at 11:39
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    I might definitely be willing to help em out if I can find them, of course having an actively disintegrating/parted vehicle exposed to the weather next to my front yard doesn't exactly sounds like the most appetizing cup of tea... – TechNinja Mar 26 '14 at 16:26
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    Oh, yeah, bits of car all over the place tend to spend your spousal annoyance budget pretty fast. – Bob Cross Mar 26 '14 at 20:16
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    Amazing how that works, huh? ;) I'll still contact them, maybe I'll give them a good deal if they haul it off and sell it themselves instead of one of those greedy corporate outfits. Thanks again for the tips guys, you rock! – TechNinja Mar 27 '14 at 0:02

Presumably you have already bought a replacement car, given that you left that one standing for a year - so you aren't relying on the Infiniti for anything - and it is currently effectively worthless?

In my opinion, it wouldn't be worth the cost of getting a replacement engine professionally fitted - as well as the cost of finding and replacing the engine, you're also going to probably have other problems as a result of it sitting for that time unused.

However, if you wanted to use it as an excuse to learn more about home maintenance, it sounds like an ideal opportunity - the car with no engine would be worth about the same as it currently is, so if you get fed up, you've not lost much, other than the cost of any tools you've needed to buy... Replacing an engine isn't actually that hard a job, the worst bit is usually getting the electrics to behave - you'll need to check with someone who knows about that particular model to see whether you need the ecu that goes with the replacement engine or the one that goes with the car...

You'll also need an engine crane to lift the engines (these can often be rented by the day), and of couse a secondhand engine - as you mention, a scrapyard or ebay is the best source, plus all the usual tools - spanners/wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers etc, a lot of patience, and a workshop manual...

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    "the car with no engine would be worth about the same as it currently is" - that's super funny. It might even be worth more: you've already removed the heavy annoying part for someone else. – Bob Cross Mar 26 '14 at 11:41
  • @JuniorCoder ... NickC is giving you sound advice all the way around. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 26 '14 at 13:16
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    Wow, you guys are active! Very awesome. I never did get a replacement vehicle, the timing "magically" coincided with my ability to work almost entirely from home, again one of the main reasons it's been growing into its own plot on my driveway, no immediate need to throw money or time at the problem. Considering my large family and decreasing availability for extra projects, scrapping the thing is sounding like the best option. Thanks for the "expert" opinion :) – TechNinja Mar 26 '14 at 16:23

I would never even consider buying a new engine and get it installed if the price of the engine was even remotely close to the resale value of a working car of the same model.

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    I'd still consider it. There's something to be said for spending $2500 for the devil you know vs. $2500 for the devil you don't know. I've seen people make the call to not replace an engine and live to regret it when the creampuff they bought instead turned out to be of the lemon flavored variety. :-) – Brian Knoblauch Mar 26 '14 at 16:31
  • Lemon Meringue creampuff... now I'm hungry. One slight aside that tips me in the continued direction of scrapping it is that it was involved in a collision with a deer about 6 months prior to its demise. This left it with lingering hard to debug issues with the radio, accessory electronics, and not to mention a seriously screwed up hood and lights. It "ran great", though I fear perhaps it was the cause of some unknown issue led to the eventual failure that killed it. – TechNinja Mar 27 '14 at 0:07
  • We sold a working jeep that needed a new engine (cracked case--we were putting a quart of oil in a week until we let it go). We regretted it. – Joshua Jul 21 '18 at 1:43

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