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Thread: Engine issues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Townsville at the moment

    Engine issues

    My engine has developed a knocking noise which I believe is a bigend bearing. I am committed to keeping this vehicle so I am considering a number of options
    1 Fit a used engine if I can find a decent one
    2 Fit a reconditioned one or reco the one I have
    3 Fit an upgraded engine ie Bruce Davis, RPI etc
    4 Fit the 6L V8 engine and trany out of a 2007 Holden Calaise V that I own but had intended to sell. It has 110km on it and is in good condition.

    What are your feelings on this guys and what costs do you reckon would be involved.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Williamstown, Victoria
    Are you sure it's a big end bearing?
    I once had a knock which sounded like a bearing deep in the engine, turned out to be a head gasket failure, allowing pressure to escape from one cylinder causing the knocking.
    It was most noticeable on start up, but it did occur during driving as well.
    Might be worth posting a video with the noise, some clever people on here might give you direction on what it could be.
    Cheers, Pete.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Hi there,

    IMHO, fitting a replacement is always a gamble. If you want to go cheap, this might be your way to go but since you wish to keep the car, perhaps not the best option. You never know what you're gonna get till it is in and running a lot of the times.

    Reco the current engine, if you have the tools and/or have shops around the corner that can do stuff you yourself cannot, like grinding down the heads or whatever then that is a very good option. Parts are relatively small and available in .au I reckon which makes for a fairly cheap job. Having said that, you most likely want to go top-head liners if you take her apart anyway and that is something you can't really do yourself.

    I myself have a RPI engine, the work that they produce is excellent, really very good but I live across the pond from the UK so I was able to load my current V8 in the back of a 1998 civic hatchback and drive over there to exchange it The biggest advantage is that you get to pick your upgrades, if you so desire. I for instance picked a cam which provides more torque since that is what I need wheeling, not HP. I can recommend the tornado chips for GEMS as well.

    Fitting another engine is quite the challenge. You can't reuse the ECU and making a tranny work/fit is a whole other can of worms. You would need the shifter ECU from the holden a well and it is most likely mapped to a 4WD. Also, the sport/manual mode would most likely not work since that is a ZF ECU thing. I am currently looking into swapping a different engine in a P38 wrecker that I have standing around but I was going for a BMW V12 from the early 90's since they have the same ZF gearbox as our beasts and that would make life a whole lot easier.

    In the end, I think the list you gave is by chance (or maybe not) in order of expense as well The cheapest option first and the most expensive beeing the last.

    Personally I would only consider options 2 and 3 unless you really like a challenge!


    PS oh, and what Pete said identify the problem first

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Perth Australia
    Mine also has a intermittent knock, it's usually at start up, it goes once warm. I had it for several years. when I first heard it I asked a friend who's a land rover mechanic who said there is a known knock from the camshaft moving forward/back. I've done plenty of driving since then, including towing and off road.

    it does concern me from time to time as I think for sure that's got to be a big end. But think it it was could it have lasted for so long.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Crafers West South Australia
    Lots of different things can knock in a P38 long before a big end failure, some are easy, some are hard to fix. Examples:

    Cracked exhaust manifold, louder when cold, gap reduces when hot so noise goes away. Can be welded, but not easily. I've replaced a couple, you need to tilt the engine off its mounts to get them out.

    Loose liner, usually quiet when cold, very noisy after it warms up past a certain point. Can be driven for years like that but requires a full recondition job to fix.

    Head gaskets, not particularly hard to fix unless the block is eroded.

    Lifters and camshaft noises, rarely fatal and can be fixed if they get bothersome.

    The best fix in most cases is a good low mileage replacement second hand engine that hasn't been overheated, thrashed or poorly serviced, but good luck finding one of these mythical beasts.

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