Engine Rebuilding Salvage Title Cars

How to Increase Your Horsepower

Squeeze extra power from your vehicle’s engine.

Modern cars are quite fast right off the showroom floor, but that doesn’t stop many enthusiasts from trying to squeeze every bit of performance out of them. From mild to wild, there are a variety of ways to add some extra power to your vehicle. Here are some popular methods to increase your engine’s horsepower.

Cold Air Intake

Upgrading your vehicle’s intake is one of the easier methods for unlocking some extra horsepower. In fairness, factory intake setups are generally quite effective, but there are some cases where an engine will benefit from an aftermarket intake. These setups utilize a free-flowing air filter, allowing the engine to breathe easier. In order to function properly, an aftermarket air intake needs a proper heat shield; otherwise, it will suck hot air from the engine compartment, negating any performance gains.

Performance Exhaust

A performance exhaust is one of the most popular modifications for enthusiasts. Just like a performance intake, a performance exhaust is designed to flow better than a stock setup. Aftermarket exhausts are usually louder than stock but may also save a few pounds. Depending on your vehicle application, additional exhaust components (such as a downpipe or a set of headers) can maximize any exhaust system gains.


This is probably the most cost-effective way to add power to a modern car. When a manufacturer produces a vehicle, the ECU (engine control unit) is often tuned conservatively to allow for lower grade fuels and to minimize some of the stress on internal engine components.

Aftermarket software (also referred to as a “flash”) is designed to take full advantage of your engine by adjusting the ignition timing to smooth out power delivery (often requiring premium gasoline). Many turbocharged vehicles see considerable power gains from ECU tuning, as it also allows the turbocharger to produce more boost pressure, which equates to more power.

If you choose to go the software route, be sure to purchase from a reputable tuner, as engines are very sensitive to changes. Tunes are often available in “stages,” meaning you’ll need to select the tune that best suits your engine’s current configuration (stock vs. supporting modifications).

Forced Induction

If your vehicle’s engine is naturally aspirated, forced induction will provide some hefty power gains. Forced induction can come in the form of a turbocharger or a supercharger. Turbochargers generate power by using leftover exhaust gases to spin a turbine wheel, which forces more air into the engine. With more air, the engine can burn extra fuel to produce more power.

A supercharger works similarly to a turbocharger in that it forces more air into the engine. However, a supercharger is belt driven, so it requires some engine power to operate. The benefit of a supercharger is that it has an instantaneous response, whereas a turbocharger may have a bit of lag while it builds boost.

Since adding forced induction puts more strain on your vehicle’s engine and drivetrain, you may need supporting modifications, such as a heavier duty clutch or cooling system. This will vary by vehicle application, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Performance Engine Build

If you’re dead set on getting the most performance out of your existing engine, then you’ll need to deep dive into a performance engine build. This requires rebuilding the engine with performance parts such as beefed up cylinder heads, upgraded pistons, and a stroker crankshaft to name a few. If you’re not comfortable disassembling an engine, then this is best left to an experienced engine builder.

Engine Conversion

If you’ve run out of bolt-on power upgrades and don’t want to tear your existing engine apart to modify the internals, then an engine conversion may be the next logical step. This is not for the faint of heart, but swapping in a more powerful motor can be an effective way to increase your vehicle’s horsepower. Some engine swaps are fairly plug-and-play, while others may require extensive fabrication. It’s best to do some research or talk to someone who has performed a similar engine swap to get a sense of what’s truly involved with an engine conversion.

Ways To Increase Engine Power

This post is in response to Ian Wright’s guide to car modifying. He covered a lot of bases, but engine performance wasn’t really one of them. So I decided I would do that, because an engine is arguably the most significant/important part of a car.

Engine Rebuild

If you have a high mileage engine and want it to make more power, you should consider rebuilding it before you throw speed parts at it. Replacing bearings, piston rings, machining the crankshaft and cylinder walls can really make a difference. A freshly rebuilt engine will be making more power than the same engine that’s been chugging along for hundreds of thousands of miles without any major work done to it.

Free Flowing Exhaust System

An internal combustion engine may be one of the mechanical objects that comes closest to resembling a human body/organ system. One big reason being is that an ICE needs an efficient way to breath in order to maximize it’s performance; that’s where a good exhaust system comes in. Uncorking your engine’s exhaust system will make it louder, more powerful and some believe more fuel efficient.

Increased Bore And Stroke

If you want an engine with more displacement but don’t want to do an engine swap, increasing the bore and stroke of the engine is a good option. What it does is increase the distance the pistons travel up and down in the cylinder walls and the size of the cylinder walls and pistons. Long story short your engine can intake and detonate a lot more fuel. How it’s done is by changing the crankshaft and connecting rods for stroking and increased bore and piston diameter for boring.

Improved Air Intake System

A good percent of factory air intake systems are built with production cost in mind, not performance. Whether or not an aftermarket air intake system will improve your engine’s power is dependent on the car that you are modifying. Some stock air intake systems are hard to improve on where an aftermarket one might actually decrease power instead of increasing it. A third possibility is that the system will have very little to no gains in power.

Better Fuel Delivery

If you have more than enough air going into your engine, try looking at increasing your fuel flow. You can increase it with a swanky Holley carburetor, a racing fuel pump or fuel injectors from HKS.

Aftermarket Camshafts

Camshafts control how much the intake and exhaust valves lift off the cylinder head and how long they are lifted off the cylinder heads. By putting an aftermarket camshaft in your engine, you can see some big power increases because camshafts play a big role in engine breathing.


Sometimes, you can make power with a stock engine just by tweaking it a little. Whether it’s upping the boost of a turbocharged engine, tuning for race gas or E85 or advancing ignition timing, most factory engines have some room to grow power wise. Tuning has more significant gains with boosted engines compared with naturally aspirated engines.

Boost And Nitrous

While this engine modification can yield the most results, it can also be the most expensive and dangerous. You can increase your engine power drastically, but supercharger and turbocharger kits can easily cost 4 figures. Another potential cost is fortifying your engine to take the boost/nitrous. It’s big risk, big reward with boost and nitrous, the question is, do you want to take it?

How to Rebuild 4 Cylinder Engines for More Horsepower

When rebuilding an engine, you can opt to have additional work done to improve engine performance over stock levels. Your upgrade path will differ based on whether you want a naturally aspirated or turbocharged engine. In either case, more horsepower is developed by machining work on the head, replacement of valves and valve springs, raising or lowering engine compression, and replacement of bottom-end components such as rods and crank. The exacting nature of detailed head work is challenging and best left to a professional shop, but bottom-end and basic head-work can be accomplished by the dedicated home mechanic.

Step 1

Port and polish the intake runners, and gasket match the exhaust ports. An engine head is nothing moire than a series of gas channels, directing air in and out of the engine. Modern engines feature cast components, and these often come with small blemishes and rough areas embedded in the metal. Using a die grinder with a carbide tip, you can clean up the intake ports, polishing them to a smooth shine. On the exhaust side, bolt up the exhaust manifold gasket and use the die grinder to make sure the exhaust ports fully match the gasket shape and size, as these ports are typically slightly smaller.

Step 2

Replace the valves and valve springs with aftermarket units, or have a shop perform a valve job. The shape of the valves affects performance, and by removing material at the top of the valve’s cap, you can improve airflow since you are reducing obstruction in the air channel. In addition to the valves, using titanium or high-strength valve springs will allow you to increase the redline on your engine, increasing your power band.

Step 3

Installer a thicker or thinner head gasket. This is an easy way to make more power depending upon whether you are naturally aspirated, or turbocharged. For a naturally aspirated engine, a thinner head gasket — or having a professional shop shave the head — will increase compression, and thus increase power. On a turbocharged engine, a thicker head gasket will lower compression, which allows the engine to safely handle more boost.

Replace the crankshaft, rods and pistons with forged aftermarket units. Most engines come with cast internal components, by swapping to forge internals, the rods and pistons become far more heat resistant, which allows you to increase compression and timing in a naturally aspirated engine, or increase boost and timing in a turbocharged engine. In addition to more heat resistance, the forged pieces may be lighter than stock allowing for better throttle response. Some aftermarket companies produce stroker kits, which are complete bottom-end assemblies that allow you to increase the displacement of your engine via a revised crankshaft, rods and pistons. Stroker kits might allow you to turn a 1.8 liter engine into a 2.0 liter engine, which will generate more power.

How To Find Engine Rebuilding Jobs

Why Do Rotary Engines Offer Bad Mileage?

The rotary engine has a constant crankshaft, and the corresponding cylinder block revolves around it. The engine has its plus points and some drawbacks, but the low mileage offered by the rotary engine is the matter of concern.

1. The Inefficient Engines

The thing is; the rotary engines end up producing excessive power. The engines, in turn, are not built to handle the excessive power. As a matter of fact, the more power the more fuel is burnt as the revs of the vehicle get higher. This is the simplest reasons that explain why rotary engines offer a bad mileage.

2. Seal Leakages

The temperatures of each chamber of the engine house differ. This tends to be problematic when the diverse expansion coefficients of the materials lead to faulty sealing. Furthermore, a case of seal leakages occurs that results in leakages of combustion gas into the other chambers. Such wastage of gas directly means low fuel economy.

3. Low Compression Ratio

Compression ratio is the overall ratio of the maximum and the smallest volume of the cylinder at any given point within the internal combustion engine. The best compression ratio that has been recorded on a rotary engine is 11:1, which is not okay in terms of what modern engines can offer. The best compression ratio for a petrol engine is 10:1.

4. Long Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber of a rotary engine is designed to be very long. This may work well to some extent, but the high surface area to volume ratio makes things tricky. You may ask, ”How may it affect the fuel consumption,” to which the answer lies in the extended cooling time of the fluids. If the cooling is suffered, so is the overall fuel economy.

5. The Case Of Fixed Ports

The valves or camshafts are missing in a rotary engine. This problem with the rotary engines leads to the inability of meddling with the valve timings, i.e., the case of “no valve timing.” The port time can only be changed by machining the ports of altering the piston skirt. So, when the valves do not open and close at a synchronized timing, the engine performance deteriorates. In simple words, the rotary engine fuel economy turns out to be bad.

The most common mistake made by rotary enthusiasts intent on supercharging their engines is to supercharge a stock, unmodified non-turbo engine. 

Unless you are content to use the power gain only occasionally, and even then only briefly, you run the very serious risk of catastrophic engine failure. Sustained use generally brings failure, and the more common failures include broken apex seals and flattened apex seal springs. On occasion a stationary gear breaks, or a rotor gear moves away from the rotor and jams against a side housing, or a bearing fails due to overheating. With any of these failures, a complete engine rebuild is required.

The causes of these problems, and others, are many. Superchargers generate heat loads well in excess of what a stock engine can handle: the stock water and oil cooling systems are overwhelmed and simply cannot carry away the excess heat fast enough.

Additionally, the compression ratio commonly found in non-turbo engines is not low enough for supercharger applications. Depending on horsepower requirements, a compression ratio as low as 7.5:1 may be in order for reliable operation. The higher the boost level you desire to run, the greater the likelihood you will need to address the issue of a lowered compression ratio. In our experience, we have found that 5 psi., approximately, is the threshold above which the stock, non-turbo compression ratio is no longer appropriate.

As the above comments would suggest, we do not recommend supercharging an otherwise stock, “non-turbo-based” unmodified engine. When you weigh the anticipated power gains against the very real likelihood of a premature, and costly, engine failure it’s likely not worth the headaches.

If you are willing to build an engine that is capable of handling the increased heat loads that superchargers develop, the following tips will prove beneficial, increasing the likelihood of a long-life engine.

How It Works

A rotary engine is a barrel-shaped internal combustion engine that lacks many of the major parts you’d find in a conventional piston engine. For one thing, there are no pistons chugging up and down. Rather, rounded triangular rotors—most often two, but sometimes one or three—spin around a shaft through the hollow barrel.

Fuel and air are pumped into the spaces between the rotors’ sides and interior walls of the barrel, where they ignite. The rapid expansion of exploding gases turns the rotors, thus generating power. The rotors fulfill the same task as pistons in a piston engine, but with far fewer moving parts, making a rotary engine lighter and smaller than a piston engine of equivalent displacement.

The basic design is a century-old one. Felix Wankel himself was a German engineer who came up with his version of a rotary engine in the 1920s. Being busy with warmongering on behalf of the Nazi party, however, he didn’t get the chance to develop his vision too far until 1951, when German automaker NSU invited him to design a prototype.

Wankel Engines

Try not to get caught up in the semantics of what to call this engine. Commonly referred to as a rotary engine (even by Mazda, though often this refers to a rotating piston-cylinder-based layout), the Wankel engine was last used in production in the Mazda RX-8. There are no pistons, camshafts, or connecting rods.


  • Simplicity: rotary engines can have as few as three main moving parts, versus more than 40+ for piston-cylinder based engines. Fewer moving parts typically leads to better reliability.
  • No reciprocating mass: this allows rotary engines to rev high, and also run very smoothly.
  • Weight: rotary engines are compact and offer great power-to-weight ratios.
  • Power delivery: because of the way a rotor rotates, power delivery lasts for more of the rotation of the crankshaft versus a piston-cylinder engine, resulting in super smooth power delivery.
  • Size: rotary engines are compact, allowing for easy packaging.


  • Fuel economy: the exhaust often includes unburned fuel, on top of which Wankel engines typically have low compression ratios, resulting in poor fuel efficiency.
  • Emissions: unburned hydrocarbons leaving the exhaust makes it difficult to pass emissions regulations.
  • Rotor sealing: due to the varying temperatures throughout the combustion chamber, the apex seals expand and contract making it difficult to create a good seal, leading to inefficient power production.
  • Oil burning: by design, Mazda Wankel engines burn oil to help maintain the longevity of the apex seals. Not only does this further increase exhaust emissions, but it requires the owner to add oil periodically.

Mechanical Operation

A rotary engine uses a triangular-shaped rotor to divide the space inside the engine, enabling a standard four-stroke cycle of intake, compression, ignition and exhaust. The moving rotor transports fuel to the various engine compartments for each leg of the cycle. In this way, it resembles a reciprocating piston engine. Rotary engines can be built with any number of rotors, much like the multiple number of cylinders offered in piston engines. The rotors engage a drive shaft, which then powers the vehicle’s drive mechanism (the propeller of a plane, or wheels of a car).


One of the major advantages of a rotary engine is its mechanical simplicity. A rotary engine contains far fewer parts than a comparable piston engine. This may decrease the cost of design and manufacture. This also leads to decreased weight. Compared to standard reciprocating piston engines, rotary engines contain no valves, camshaft, rocker arms, timing belts or flywheel. All this means decreased weight, fewer opportunities for malfunction and easier repair. When rotary engines were first developed, they were used to power aircraft, taking advantage of the rotary engine’s high power-to-weight ratio.

The Difference Between Engine Rebuilding And Overhauling An Automobile Engine

How to Tell If It’s Time for an Engine Rebuild

Most people have heard of an engine rebuild but not as many really know what a rebuilt engine really is or what is done when an engine is rebuilt. Engines are rebuilt for a variety of reasons. In this article, we will take a look at why engines are rebuilt, what is done to rebuild an engine, and some signs that your car might benefit from a rebuild.

Reasons for a Rebuild

There are two main reasons people choose to rebuild an engine: wear to engine bearings, and poorly seating piston rings. The moving parts of the engine (such and the crankshaft, rods and pistons) are mounted on bearings that allow them to move freely. These bearings are lubricated by engine oil. Bearings are built to last many thousands of miles, but they do experience wear after time. This wear is accelerated exponentially when a vehicle is poorly maintained and is run on low oil levels or the oil change schedule isn’t properly followed.

What’s Done during an Engine Rebuild

When an engine is rebuilt, a few basic things are done to restore it to good working condition. First, the “short block” or lower half of the engine is removed and sent to an automotive machine shop. At the shop it is disassembled and cleaned so that the condition of the block can be properly assessed. Depending on the condition of the internal parts of the engine, the piston rings, bearings and sometimes the pistons themselves are replaced. The internal surfaces of the cylinders are also reconditioned to ensure that the new piston rings can form a proper seal with the cylinder walls. Finally, the engine is reassembled and installed back in the vehicle. Often the cylinder head is also reconditioned at the same time.

Signs You May Need a Rebuild

There are some frequently seen signs that a rebuild may be necessary for your engine. The most common sign is oil consumption and excessive white smoke in the exhaust, especially when the engine is cold. This is normally a sign of worn piston rings. More extreme signs could be metal shavings in the engine oil (a common sign of dangerously worn bearings) and “knocking” or “chattering” from the engine bearings.

How to Evaluate Engine Rebuild Kits

Engine rebuild kits are a subject of some controversy in the automotive repair field. They are packaged and sold both by manufacturers, such as Sealed Power, and by individual parts wholesalers. The purpose of the kits is twofold. First, is to enable the buyer to obtain all needed parts at a reduced price. Second, is to force the buyer to obtain all needed parts from the same source. This means that all of the profit will go to the seller of the kit.

A Beginner’s Guide to Engine Rebuilding

At a certain time in your life, especially if you are a car guy or gal, you may find the need to rebuild an engine, and there are many reasons why you might discover this. You may want your engine to perform like, or better than, the day it rolled out from the factory or maybe you are just curious about what actually happens inside of an engine. Whatever your reasons are for tearing apart your engine you still might wonder how you should go about disassembling your engine. If you have never torn apart an engine before, or taken apart hundreds of engines, this is the guide for you. In this instructable, I will be covering my first ever engine rebuild and the steps I took to make my engine good as new. I hope that you find this instructable helpful and I hope that your engine rebuild goes well. Now let’s get started tearing apart that engine.

Research and Planning

Before you go tearing apart an engine it is very important to research and plan out the engine rebuild. There are many questions you should ask yourself before rebuilding an engine. What kind of engine do I want to rebuild? What kind of performance do I need out of the engine? How much do I have to spend on this project? How much time do I have to rebuild the engine? For my rebuild, I chose a classic American V8 engine and I just need it to perform as a stock engine. I would like to have the rebuild completed in less than six months.

Engine & Accessory Removal/Labeling System

Alright, time to get to the disassembly of the engine. If your engine is already in a car you will need to use an engine hoist to remove it from the engine bay. Then it can be placed on an engine stand. I will not cover that here because it is different for every car. I purchased my engine outside of a car locally on Craig’s List. I used a come-along puller and the trusses of my garage to hoist my engine onto an engine stand.

After securing my engine onto my engine stand I took off all of the accessories (alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and power steering pump), pulleys, and the accessory brackets. I will include pictures of my accessories being removed but refer to your Haynes manual or other resources for information on how to remove your accessories.

Top End Removal (Valve Covers, Carburetor, Intake, Distributor, & Valley Pan)

It’s time to really start the disassembly of your engine. For this section of disassembly we will remove the valve covers, carburetor, intake distributor, and valley pan, so let’s get to it. Start off by removing the two or more bolts holding on your carburetor to your intake manifold. The engine I purchased did not include a carburetor, so I skipped this step. Next, I will remove the valve covers by removing the four bolts on each valve cover. I will label and bag those bolts and remove the valve covers.


An engine rebuild is a large and expensive job, and choosing the right kit can seem a daunting task. There are a lot of kits for sale, and they may all seem similar but vary greatly in price. Knowing the difference between the various engine rebuild kits will help you shop with confidence, knowing you’re getting the right parts for the job at hand


A lot of customers that call in and want to rebuild their engine simply say they need a rebuild kit. Usually, we guess that they want a standard inframe rebuild kit, as that is the most common kit sold. However, there are several levels of rebuild kits to use, based on the state of the parts in the engine and the engine’s OEM. Another important thing to note that can confuse a lot of people, is that ”overhaul kit” is often used synonymously with “rebuild kit,” but it can also specifically mean “out-of-frame kit.” To avoid confusion with the term “overhaul,” we use “rebuild” instead. Also, please keep in mind that this article contains only the general components for these engine kits. For content lists specific to the kit you need, be sure to check the product’s page on our website, or call in to ask one of our parts techs.


The re-ring kit is the smallest rebuild kit. It is one of the least time consuming ways to rebuild your engine, but it assumes that your pistons are reusable. Evaluate the condition of your other engine components before choosing to order a re-ring kit.


Re-ring kits generally contain cylinder liners (if used in the application), piston rings, connecting rod bearings, main bearings, thrust washers (if used in the application), a cylinder head gasket set, and an oil pan gasket set. The big thing to pay attention to is that re-ring rebuild kits do not include pistons. Sometimes, you may see kits labeled as “pistonless” or “without pistons”—those are re-ring kits. The term re-ring comes from the fact that, even though the pistons in an engine are being reused, the rings should be replaced while you’re pulling them from the cylinder. Therefore, you need to re-ring the old piston. You can see a couple examples of re-ring kits here and here to compare how exact contents differ between engines.


A re-ring kit is for people that need to refresh their engine with a rebuild, but still have pistons that are in good condition. All of the more wearable components get replaced, such as rings, bearings, and gaskets. If the pistons are still good, they do not necessarily need to be replaced. This can save a lot of money, in both parts and labor. Labor expense is saved because this type of rebuild can be done while keeping the engine in the chassis.

Engine Rebuilding or Replacement – Which Is Right for Your Car?

When engine troubles get serious, your car is down for the count. You have only two options – you can choose to have your engine rebuilt, or you can replace it completely. Which is right for your needs? Both options offer you the ability to get back on the road, but they’re not the same. Let’s take a closer look.

Rebuilding – Rebuilding an engine is exactly what it sounds like. In this instance, your old engine is pulled out of the car, and the damaged parts are replaced. Any components that are still in operating condition are not usually replaced, but are reused once more.

Replacement – Engine replacement can involve replacing your engine with one of two different options. You can choose a used engine, or a crate engine.

Used engines are exactly what you think they are. They’re taken from donor vehicles (often wrecked, but with little to no front-end damage). They’re in operational condition, but that’s usually all you know for sure.

A crate engine is basically a remanufactured engine. This is different from a rebuilt engine in that the engine is torn down completely. All components are replaced, and the housing is machined back into OEM tolerance. It’s as close to a “new” engine as you can get on the market. Even engines marked as new are really remanufactured/crate engines.

Your warranty will play a role in what type of engine you choose. Some extended warranty companies will only cover used engines or engine rebuilding, while others will cover engine replacement with a crate engine.

The most important thing is to ensure that you’re working with a reputable Weston, Florida mechanic shop that offers engine rebuilding and replacement. Not all mechanic shops offer this service, so choose your provider with care.

Tips To Successfully Buying A Used Engine

If you’re in the market for a used or rebuilt engine, it’s fair to assume that it’s because you’ve either pushed your engine to its limits and damaged it beyond repair, or want to perform an engine swap for performance gains or another reason. Regardless of your situation, buying a used engine can be a great solution, but it is also important to not get caught with a lemon, because nobody has time (or the spare money) for that. We’ve consulted with an expert in the field and come up with 12 killer tips to ensure your engine-buying process is a success.

There isn’t a universal set of rules that govern how to inspect a used engine prior to purchase, as every mechanic or shop has their own theories and methods. Our friends at Ichiban JDM—importers of Japanese engines and transmissions— have shared some pointers that will come in handy to protect yourself from purchasing a problematic used engine. Private Sellers vs. Certified Engine SuppliersWe wondered whether there is a difference between buying an engine from a private seller on the internet or Craigslist versus purchasing one from an established supplier.“Professional engine suppliers like Ichiban JDM purchase engines first-hand so we know exactly where they come from. Our parent company, based in Nagoya, Japan, logs a vehicle’s mileage, then conducts full diagnostics on the engine prior to pulling it out. Once the engine touches down at our LA headquarters, we test the engine once more to make sure it’s ready to sell,” says Chris Ankor, general manager of Ichiban JDM

“Most professional engine shops stand behind the engines they sell with a 30-day startup warranty, as opposed to buying from a private party who insists you meet at some gas station because he or she doesn’t want you to know where they live,” says Ankor.“Nine out of ten times, these guys are selling engines pulled from some wrecking yard, or cobbled together using random pieces, with full intentions of trying to flip them for an easy profit without actually knowing their true running condition.”

At one time or another we’ve all witnessed or heard about some buyer who visually inspects an engine, then pulls an impulse buy because it looks clean, but doesn’t bother to test it because they lack the proper tools. Those are the same guys that end up getting hosed with an engine that’s only good enough to be used as a coffee table.

Ankor says, “We all like to think that people are honest but that’s not always the case. When you’re buying an engine from a stranger you’ve never met before, you’re taking a risk. You don’t know if the engine is good, if it’s going to be smoking, or even healthy enough to fire up. That’s a chance that many are willing to take, but honestly, why take the gamble? The most important thing is to protect yourself and go through the process of testing an engine before making a purchase.”