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Non-running 91 convertible. Options?; swap engine, rebuild? fuel issue?
Topic Started: Jun 17 2017, 06:01 PM (222 Views)
3cylinderSteve
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Hi everyone. I'm a novice and without the equipment nor space to do much work myself.
Looking for opinions and options here.

My '91 Metro Convertible is dead. I've long known that it has low compression in two cylinders.
I've been driving it for the past 5000+ miles as such and would just put it neutral and work the accelerator when approaching a stop to keep it from stalling.
I'll also mention it was still getting 28-32 mpg.

Last week, the car stalled as I pulled up to my apartment and it will not start. I've checked the plugs and they are firing.
In the previous few months, a handful of times it like almost stalled when driving at highway speed - like it didn't get fuel for a second, but then would buck and keep on going.

I'm particularly interested in keeping this car going because it is 99% rust free, doesn't leak, and I have put a bit of money into it.
I've replaced the top, the front tie rods and control arms, new tires, brakes, exhaust, and rear suspension.

So now, considering I may also have a fuel issue as well as the bad compression. Is it a money pit to pay a mechanic to keep this car going?
Should I try to check/replace the fuel filter, fuel pump or injector on my own (with the help of this forum and youtube) and then worry about getting the engine rebuilt?

Is it an option to find a good-running rotted-out 3-cylinder hatchback and get the engine from that?

Or should I just consider this a loss and start shopping for another Metro convertible?

And while I'm asking, any recommendations on a rebuild mechanic near Harrisburg PA?
Edited by 3cylinderSteve, Jun 17 2017, 06:13 PM.
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Metromightymouse
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Powdercoat Wizard

Get it towed to the Mullet's place and be good to go.
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freegeo
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How low is the compression? If you have a rust free car, that is the hardest thing to find. A engine can be rebuilt easier than a car can. What kind of budget do you have to work with?
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3cylinderSteve
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I've been hoping to get to the GeoPalooza this year.
If only I had a hitch, I'd drag the convertible out there.
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3cylinderSteve
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freegeo
Jun 17 2017, 06:14 PM
How low is the compression? If you have a rust free car, that is the hardest thing to find. A engine can be rebuilt easier than a car can. What kind of budget do you have to work with?
If I recall correctly, the compression was like 30 lbs in two of the cylinders. The mechanic who measured it for me was abrasive about me bringing the car to him, he was just like "get this piece of junk out of here." and he didn't write the measurements down on the work order. That's also why I"m asking for mechanic recommendations. The few other mechanics I've spoken with don't seem interested in working on it.

Budget is roughly $1000. Is that unrealistic to think $1000 could save this?
Edited by 3cylinderSteve, Jun 17 2017, 06:32 PM.
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t3ragtop
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Turbo3 and Twincam Tweaker

it's not unreasonable to fix that vert with a $1000 budget. you might get more done than you might think. ;)
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MR1 Kingsbury
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Exp. builder/rebuilder

$1000 is a pretty healthy budget for an engine job... I would recommend finding your mechanic on this site or bring to GeoPaloozaX with all your new parts and watch the magic. There are a few of us in central PA that may have a shop/garage to help you out and learn you some things.
Answering your questions they would almost all be YES...
It IS a money pit to PAY a mechanic to keep it going, because they have to make money too. Labor is triple the cost of parts on a rebuild.
You should purchase new fuel filter, pump (maybe), and injector for installation on your new engine.
It is an option to find another motor in a rotten metro to swap out, then rebuild what you pulled.
But do not give up the ship on this vehicle yet. Another metro may be no better than what you have now with new top, exhaust, brakes and suspension.
A 96 is a solid automobile. Not quite the mileage of the pre 95, but certainly safer and well engineered cept for the headliner, dash, mirrors, window regulator and blower switch.
Shopping list will include new head, rings, rod bearings, rebuild gasket set. timing belt and idler, water pump, belts, antifreeze, oil, filter, thermostat, temp. sensor, hoses, maybe a few other things.
Good luck and good shopping.
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wizard93
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I rebuilt my engine a few weeks ago using This Kit. Add these Valves. My engine runs perfect. I used this Valve Spring Compressor and it worked fine for changing out the valves. To remove the engine I removed the head with the intake attached, then unbolted the engine and lifted the engine out by hand. While the engine is out, you'll want to go ahead and change the clutch assembly (assuming you have the 5-speed tranny). I used this Clutch Kit in mine, but only time will tell how well it lasts. So far, so good.

Other tools you'll need are a 1/2" drive torque wrench, a good selection of metric sockets (1/4" drive, 3/8" drive, and 1/2" drive), a cylinder hone, a sucker stick with valve grinding compound (yes, even new valves need lapped in to make a perfect seal), silicone sealant (preferably the gray, but the red will work too), engine assembly lube (I used moly lithium grease), and other typical mechanic tools (wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.). I used a Haynes manual for reference, just what I had on hand at the time.

If you plan on changing out your own pistons on your rods, it's tricky as hell, but if you have an air compressor and an air hammer, you can replace them with this setup I used on mine:

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I took a piece of wood, traced the edge of half of the piston on the edge of the board, then cut it out on a bandsaw. I then drilled a 3/4" hole through the bottom of it to make room for the piston pin to eject. The punch was one that came with my air hammer. I chucked it in a drill press and turned a square shoulder on it with a file so it'll have good contact with the piston pin. Long story short, it was a total b%$#h to drive out the old wrist pins and line everything up with the rod to drive in the new pins. But it worked. Make sure when driving in the new pins that you oil them first, and make sure that you end up with the same amount of wrist pin protruding from the bosses on both sides of the piston. This may not be a recommended procedure, but it's all I had to work with since I had no hydraulic press. The new pistons looked like this when I was finished:

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Hopefully this will inspire you to consider rebuilding your own engine.
Edited by wizard93, Jun 17 2017, 11:45 PM.
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MR1 Kingsbury
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Nice work Wiz... Looks like a good build
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don_dowdy
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That's the same kit I used to rebuild the engine in the Batmobile. The valve cover gasket leaked, and the wrist pins were so tight that I decided to reuse the original pistons. You definitely want a Fel-Pro or Beck/Arnley head gasket.
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ptcapboy


myself I never worry about rebuilding a cylinder head I just buy a rebuilt one on ebay for 200 bucks or less and be done with it-I was just looking at my receipt today for the one time I had a shop rebuild my head in october 2009-$460.00-rip off?
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Johnny Mullet
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Fear the Mullet

Tow that vert to GeoPalooza and get here Friday night :deal
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t3ragtop
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Turbo3 and Twincam Tweaker

i feel this year's tech session coming on. ;) :D
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Johnny Mullet
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Fear the Mullet

I'll have a head ready to go!
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MR1 Kingsbury
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Johnny Mullet
Jun 18 2017, 04:53 PM
I'll have a head ready to go!
Personally, I'd be more interested in a head....liner. the sedan headliner seems like it would be much, much more difficult to remove from the car with the doors and seats still attached. I may just staple it to death like someone did to my other one.

Though a complete engine rebuild and R&R would be much more exciting and challenging during the Palooza X.
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