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Question DetailsAsked on 2/8/2014

Cost to repair a hole in the engine block of 1995 Saturn SL2

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6 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Where is the hole and what is it from?

If there is a piston or rod hanging out...don't bother.

Answered 6 years ago by Davidhughes


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DavidHughes is right - makes a terrific amount of difference where the hole is. If a leaking gasket or seal, then repairable - cost highly variable depending on where on the engine it is and how much has to be taken apart to get at it.

If a leaking freeze plug (round disc recessed in a hole low down on the block, this is just a hammer-in metal seal in a casting hole that is easily replaced by a knowledgeable mechanic.

If a pinhole in the casting, can be repaired in many cases - depends on where on the engine it is. Almost universally, a dealership will NOT repair any holes in castings - they will want to replace the component, especially with aluminum engine and head like you have. Many auto repair shops will, especially if it is a performance engine shop that is used to modifying engine parts.

Like David said - if a hole punched in the side of the engine or through the head by a broken connecting rod or such - then if in engine block will probably be cheapest to have it replaced with a short block (complete new or remanufactured engine with all internal working parts assembled already, all auxiliary componetns like fuel injection, carb, power stering and brakes, alternator, A/C etc are reused from old engine. If through the head, depending on whether crankshaft was bent or not, then maybe just the head can be replaced - a major repair, but not catastrophic. Also makes a difference if the hole is in the compression portion of the component, water passage leak, or oil leak.

IF you can give us a better idea of where the leak is and whether it is coming out around a bolt, at a seal, between two castings, right through an uninterrupted area of the block, etc we can give you a better idea of whether it is fixable and maybe a ballpark idera of what it might cost to repair. Of course, a photo wouldhelp a lot too - be sure to mark where the hole is if not clearly visible.

At all times, bear in mind the repair cost versus value o fthe car. Of course, value of the car can be one of two things - the market value isone measure, which bluebook would be in the range of $1-2,000 depending on mileage and condition - so major repairs like an engine replacement would not be "economic" based on car value.

However, to you spending as much as the car is "worth" might be worth it to you if you feel the car is otherwise in good shape and is good for another 5+ years, and if it avoids spending $15-20,000 you don't have for a new car and you don't want to riskk buying a used car and potentially getting a lemon. So you see, there are two types of "value" to consider in deciding whether to fix a car or not - the economic value, and the value to you of keeping the car versus getting a new one.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Here's a picture of the hole. I know there's nothing hanging but it's hard for me to describe where it is.

Answered 6 years ago by Linda926


A caveat - I am not a certified car mechanic though I have totally rebuilt about 8 auto / truck / heavy equipment engines in my time, so you should get a mechanic's opinion for sure - perhaps just on a walk-in working from the photo for starts, to confirm whether what I am saying rings true to them.

OK - don't hold me to this, because the photo would not support being blown up real big and is perpindicular to the crankshaft which makes it a bit hard to get perspective, but I am about 90% certain that a connecting rod cap broke or its bolts worked their way out, so you threw the bottom end of a piston connecting rod, which then poked out the side of the block. Or a rod may have broken (a reputed problem with Saturns), and when the crankshaft came around and poked the broken end of the rod through the side of the block, the rod broke off the crankshaft. Either way, blown engine. You likely had significant damage internal to the engine, especially if it was not shut off within a second or less, and the crackshaft on that small an engine probably would not survive this without being bent. Hence, new block and crankshaft and main bearings likely to be needed at a minimum, and most likely cheaper to get a whole new short block - so where I was talking in the prior post - likely several thousand $ bare minimum. It also looks like the engine has run low on oil in the past from the scorched oil residue inside, which could mean all the moving parts would be well worn. Could also be why it threw a rod, if you had very low oil ? When the rod broke it is also possible the head was damaged as well as possibly timing components, which would mean a long block is needed.

Car is undriveable, and this type of damage I can't imagine anyone being willing to try to repair the block, especially on an aluminum block, so short block replacement at a minimum, and I think in this case a long block would probably make more sense.

Assuming this car is not covered by a extended supplemental drive train warranty, I am sorry to say I think it is time to put it out of its misery - personally, I would not attempt a repair on this old a vehicle, particularly assuming it has probably 150,000 miles or so on it already. The repair cost is pretty much guaranteed to significantly exceed the value of the car.

If you did decide to repair because you love the car, then a long block replacement would be my recommendation - because this is a transaxle engine (mounted sideways with transmission in engine compartment), the engine and transmission have to come out as one unit, which means pretty much everything in the engine compartment has to come out to make it fit. I would guess you are talking well over $4000 to maybe over $5-6000 replacement cost (though I could not readily find a price on the web) - certainly well over what car is worth, and a lot of change to put into a 20 year old car.

On the plus side, depending on car color, it might make a pretty boat anchor.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Thank you LCD for the information. You've been a great help.

Answered 6 years ago by Linda926


Motor is trash.

There is no rod on that crankshaft rod journal.

No rod = no motor.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


One addendum to my answer - when I said the car is probably worth $1-2,000 - that is blue book for a car that is running. With the thrown rod and hole in the block, its value is probably limited to what a scrapyard would pay for it - maybe $200 range as scrap metal, possibly as much as $500 for parts if it is in generally fair condition otherwise.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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