What is a Ford "long block" engine, and does "remanufactured" mean the same thing as "rebuilt"?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I had an engine replaced under my Ford warranty on my 1991 Escort wagon. They told me I was getting a "long block," which they said was a new engine. The engine arrived in a crate, but I see on the invoice it says "remanufactured engine." Could you tell me exactly what this means?

RAY: Good question, Bill. There are lots of options when it comes to replacing engines.

TOM: If you have a current model year car, you can get a "drop in." That's a brand spankin' new engine that comes right off the assembly line.

RAY: You didn't get one of those.

TOM: No. But you got the next best thing; a Ford remanufactured "long block." A "long block" is a complete engine minus the oil pump and oil pan (there's also something called a "short block," which is the same thing, without a cylinder head).

RAY: The "remanufactured" label means that the block was rebuilt at the factory, using factory tools and factory parts. That should not be confused with a "rebuilt engine" which was taken apart, repaired, and put back together in the back of the garage...right underneath the "Miss Socket Wrench" calendar.

TOM: So my guess is that the dealership ordered you a long block from the factory...which was remanufactured. And that's fine. Factory remanufactured engines are practically as good as new, because before they're shipped out, they have to meet new engine specifications.

RAY: The same thing will happen to your old engine. It'll get sent back to the factory, where they'll take it apart and throw away any parts that don't meet specifications. Then they'll add whatever new parts are required, and send it out to some other disgruntled Escort owner.

TOM: In fact, if your timing is right and you drive hard enough, you may get your old engine back again in a couple of years!

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