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Thread: When do you do a Valve Job?

  1. #1

    When do you do a Valve Job?

    As you guys know, I am in the process of rebuilding a 73E Targa. My wrench has the car completely apart. We were not planning on doing any engine work on the car, since the leakdown and compression numbers are good. He has pulled the engine, and is detailing the engine compartment. He has it down to the long block now, and asked me if - "as long as we are this far, do you want me to just pull the heads and do a top end job?"

    OK, so he figures that it has about 65K miles on it since the last valve job. Figures that it would go another 20K before it needs another. For me, that's maybe 4 years. Since he has it all apart, he figures it would cost between $750 and $1,000 to do the Top End.

    Now the question: I am spending all of my ready cash to get this car done. Should I dig deeper and have him do the valves while he is at it? Am I saving a BUNCH of money having him do it while he has it apart?

    Need some honest advice (as if you were spending your own money.)

    Thanks

    larry
    Early 911S Registry Member #537

    73 - Viper Green 911E Targa - Kermit - Gone but not forgotten

    Kermit's Short Story and Pix on the 911E Website

    06 - Lexus IS250 MT6
    98 - Volvo 70V XC

  2. #2
    I look at it in the same way as I would building or remodeling a house. You need to set a number for your budget and then ruthlessly stick to it. No matter where you draw the line you are still going to have a bunch of items that would have been nice to do.

    As nice as the car will be you still need to plan on spending some money once you start putting miles on it. The $1k may be a deal but if it were me I'd hold off unless I was under budget.

  3. #3
    it will run a bit better and make a bit more power if you do.

    BUT how long has it been since the last one & what kind of condition is it in? The latter is the critical question.

    You should ask him how long it would take and how much it would cost to pull the engine and do a complete valve job. That will give you the difference -- unless you would od it yourself.

    I would do it it it were me. If i had to I'd join a credit union and get a 5% loan to pay the 1,000 bucks. But it ain't me.

  4. #4
    I think I'd have to side with just doing it while it's out since you have less overall cost this way... less chance of "dinking things up" since they're already out anyway... why do it again soon?

  5. #5
    I agree that it is probably a good idea on paper to do the valve job. On the other hand I've been watching Larry's excellent progress threads and to me it looks like things have gone way beyond the scope of his original resto. ($$$$). I would still budget $2-$3k for post-resto "surprises". If you are comfortable with the budget knowing that then you might as well go for it.

  6. #6

    It's about the money

    Thanks for the comments. I have checked with a guy in Chicago that races and does his own cars and others' also. He said to me that valves on the sub 3.0L engines last up to 100K. If true, I have another 35K to drive on the current set of valves. At 5K per year, that's maybe another 6 years of driving before I need to do it.

    He also said that he would charge $1 - $1.5K to do it. So the cost differential is there, but the dollars might be easier in 6 years.

    Sunday - yes there is a budget issue. I am about $1500 over my initial budget on the car. Probably mis-diagnosed what the actual would be. The body work isn't costing me any more when he finds more rust to replace. That aspect is fixed price. But it is the oil cooler and A/C parts that are currently killing me from my original estimates. Same with the seat overhaul.

    If you think my Chicago Race buddy is right, and I have another possibly 6 years to delay the inevitable, I may just do that.

    larry
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    Early 911S Registry Member #537

    73 - Viper Green 911E Targa - Kermit - Gone but not forgotten

    Kermit's Short Story and Pix on the 911E Website

    06 - Lexus IS250 MT6
    98 - Volvo 70V XC

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    1,073

    valve job

    consider the $1000 an insurance policy on the engine,the grand now will be a lot cheaper than 5 grand later.i know your plans are to use the car very little,but watch out the bug may bite and you actually fall in love with the little beast,and dream about driving it.the engine has been sitting how long?do you really know what condition it is in? too many unknowns for me spend the grand and sleep better at night.imagine picking the car up in ct,and driving home,90% of the ride is trouble free,the last 10%the engine starts to smoke!!don't be penny wise and pound foolish. believe me it will be money well spent. Larry, I commuted from bklyn to wall street every day in my new 1970 911s,it's 34 years latter and I still can't wait to go for a drive

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    1,008
    Hi Larry,

    As several already said, you pay's your money and you takes your chances.

    Assuming you have already gone beyond your maximum budget, I would delay this work until it is needed.

    As a way of rationalizing it, you might want to consider that when you are ready to renew the heads (6 years from now), the timing may coincide with the need to renew the bottom end as well. If you did your heads already, there is some duplication of work that you will need to do that you now avoid.
    Harry

    Member #789
    1970 VW Sunroof Kombi Bus - "The Magic Bus"
    1973.5 911T Targa for fun - "Smokey"
    2009 MB C300

  9. #9
    Thanks for all of the good comments. Just a bit of more info. The car was driven regularly before we started the restoration. I would guess that it has been sitting for about 1 year. Mike drove it in the summer and fall of 2002, before he bought it, and said that it was running well.

    My current plan is to wait to get the valves done. (that is, unless the remaining work suddenly gets cheaper. LOL) Since the plugs show no sign of fouling, the guides are probably still in good shape. The PO sure spent a lot of money getting it fixed mechanically, so my guess is that the engine was well maintained as well.

    That being said, I will likely get a good 25 - 30K miles before I really have no choice but to get the top end done. That pushes the mechanical work out 5+ years. That is long enough for me to wait. Right now, I need to be concerned about whatever else is waiting for me.

    I don't have any clue as to the condition of the suspension yet. I will know when Marc takes it out for the final PPI. Rest assured, you will all be there when I find out the results.

    Thanks again for all of your comments. I could never have done this with such confidence without the assistance of this community.

    larry
    Early 911S Registry Member #537

    73 - Viper Green 911E Targa - Kermit - Gone but not forgotten

    Kermit's Short Story and Pix on the 911E Website

    06 - Lexus IS250 MT6
    98 - Volvo 70V XC

  10. #10
    Larry,

    Get the car. Drive it. You will inevitably find problems. They just put the car back together, they-not being the factory. Even if your wrench is good and honest, you'll find some problems to iron out. Since he's remote, you'll have to spend some $$ to fix those 'urgent' problems. Doesn't sound like the valves are urgent yet.

    Luckily my 'wrench' is close that I can hold him accountable to fix that which should not be broken. Good luck.
    Chris Purpura @civilizedmisfit
    ___________
    Member #479
    72T aka The "Civilized Misfit" Build - Helicopter Cooled! See: https://www.excellence-mag.com/issue...vilized-misfit
    2019 911 Carrera GTS (sold, no regrets)
    73S - #1100 (restored and now somewhere in Europe &#128546
    1997 993 Carrera 4S Black on Black (sold &#129394

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