Sportrak - R.I.P


On Friday I had to have my P reg sporty recovered to a garage, after investigation they've decided the engine had seized up due to lack of oil! There's been no visable oil leaks nor were there any oil warning lights coming on to show its been running low, on checking it (the last time about 5 weeks ago, which is I no is a bit naughty) it was fine!
So now I'm slightly confused, I've only had it about 4 months, brought it from a local garage with a 12 MOT, they'd had it sitting on there forecourt for about 2 months before I discovered it!
I've been quoted about £1,200 from the garage to repair the engine damage.
I'm obviously slightly confused as to whats been going on and can't really understand how its got through so much oil since last checked, also i was always under the impression once seized an engine wouldn't start again, mine's running with a very loud knocking sound!
I don't know if anyone can shed any light on it or give some advice on what to do from here, is it possible to sell it as it stands!
Confused 1st time sporty owner!


Two options exist for losing engine oil, either external or internal.
External is leaks from the engine itself, the usual suspects are oil filter, rocker cover gasket, crankshaft oil seal, front pulley oil seal, or camshaft oil seals. External leaks always leave indicators such as oil on the road, but check underneath the vehicle to see if the floor pan is covered in oil from the air passing through the engine bay, which has blown it all over.
Internal leaks are past piston rings, head gaskets, valve guides, etc; and a noticeable amount of blue smoke would be emitted from the exhaust due to it being burned.Remove a spark plug and ensure it is a light brown/grey colour, if it is black and oily it is an internal leak.

No warning light would come on unless it has an oil level sensor fitted, most do not, the oil light only measures oil pressure, these come on around 3-5p.s.i. at which point damage is already done.

Two courses of action are open to you, contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, or a local solicitor who gives free legal advice, and check out the current laws.

Check your original contract with the selling dealer to see what warranty was given with the vehicle, if it is still in warranty, then contact them. Contact them by telephone, but always back this up with a letter, and keep two copies of the letter for any future evidence.
Copy and correspondence from them, always insist they back up a telephone call with a written confirmation of what is agreed. Do not accept e-mail as this is not legally binding in law.
If no stipulated warranty period was given in their terms and conditions, and it was not sold as seen, you have a chance of redress through law, particularly if they have mis-described, misrepresented, or blatently sold you a dog.

Seized engines do not usually start, did you check the oil level when the examining garage said it was low, if not you should have done, this would mean the examining garage are trying it on if the oil was within the dipstick marks.
Write to the examining garage and get them to confirm their diagnosis in writing, if they are trying it on, you have documentary proof of what they have done, or claimed to have done.

To repair the vehicle, the best option would be a replacement engine, cheapest options would be a secondhand unit. If you choose this route, ensure you take a mechanic along and insist on him running the engine from cold, and thoroughly examining the unit.

Sick Sporty

I agree with assasin , a seized engine will not start and the loud knocking is more then likely the bigend gone through lack of oil pressure.

Most dealers offer a 3 month warranty period but you may have redress through the Sale of Goods Act.

You must get a full report from the garage on what they believe to be the problem. beware that they will probably say that they would have to strip it to clarify and that this will cost you so just ask for a diagnosi based on what they hear and see.

Fro a replacement then a secondhand unit is best but as assasin rightly say get it checked out before buying and if possible get it running or walk away. You don't want one that has been pulled out of a wreck and laid about for months in a scrappey. Ebay may be a source to look at but take care there is some right old crap on that site, perhaps why it exists. But if you do scrap her then use ebay to sell the bits and you will recoup quite a lot of your original sum back, it is surprising what prices people will pay as spares are becoming rare and new itwms rarer still and expensive.

Your local Trading Standards Officer may be able to give you advice on what recourse you have on the seller who may already be known to them.

Oil pressure switches, if fitted, tend to come on too late and a pressure guage is better however I bow to Assassins knowledge and say that if no switch is fitted then there is no way of teeing off of that for a guage.

Good luck


M J Young

Oil Level Switch

Oldminiman: it was the oil LEVEL switch which is not fitted, not the oil pressure switch.
Oil level switches were fitted to some variants of this engine, usually on the dipstick, when they were used in different models.

Concur with the crap on evil bay though, one interesting thought, they cover you if you pay through pay pal, but not if it is a car or car parts.


I thought it was a bit odd...must learn to read thorughly.


M J Young

Thanks for your replies,

Thanks for your replies, I've had a quote of £350 (inc delivery) for a replacement engine from a place called Mr Engine, has anyone had any dealings with them?
Also what sort of cost would I be looking at to get one fitted, I've been told its the labour that bumps the price up on a job like this,if anyone can recommend a garage in Northampton or nearby I'd be grateful, the garage I ususally use has come back with £1,500 (including parts).
As the bodywork's in beautiful condition it seems a real shame to scrap it or sell it for spares, I love to drive it so it would be great to get it up and running again.



I have been dealing with a lady called Tracy in Essex "Daihatsu Girl" who has used this crowd and has had nothing but trouble. They put a "replacement" engine in Her Sporty and it is back with them with problems for at least the second time. I think being female they are taking the p*ss but I have told her to consult Trading Standards as she has had troble for some time and they seem to be bodging it and charging her for labour. I also think that they flatter her and sell her the line that they know about engines and she doesn't. I'm certain that if they said the stop cock had gone she would believe them and ot would come the cheque book again. I hate these type of Cowboys so take care.

I have no personal experience of Mr Engine but "Daihatsu Girl" has had and is still having serious problems. It is my opinion that they get Engines from breakers and then sell them on. I suspect that they will then take your engine, bodge it and then sell it on again, can't prove it but what I have heard seems to suggest this. I also suspect that they are known to trading standards but Tracy seems reluctant to contact them althugh she admits that she has considered it. Again I think she has bowed to the staff at Mr Engine giving her a line. It seems unfair that she should continue to pay the labour for repairs to an engine they supplied. It may even be the case that they never replaced her original engine but just bodged it in the hope that it would survive their warranty, I don't know but they sound dodgy to me.


M J Young

Do you have any idea what

Do you have any idea what price I could expect to sell it as at it stands, for the year its in exceptional condition, I've no idea about taking it apart so would rather not start selling bits for spares!


Virtually nothing for a non runner, prices of 4X4's are down at the moment, even more so in a depressed Uk economy, where cars are not selling in good condition.
Try a company called Samurai, these import good low mileage Japanese engines, or find a scrap or accident damaged vehicle with a good engine, for spares.


I afraid for a non runner very low regardless of age. 4x4 prices for runners have all taken a nose dive with Govenment policies, whether effected or not and of course a non runner is even worse. For what it is worth I understand Mr Engine give a 3 month warranty but as I have already said he sounds a bit iffy. It may well be that he is taking advantage of a female in the case of Daihatsu Girl and £350 is a good price but beware that you need to be aware of her problems with this firm and take a firm line and a chance. It may be better than just letting it go for a couple of hundred. I know I would take a chance but I would be on his case at the first sign of a problem however small. I would also mark the existing engine to ensure it was changed.


M J Young

I've decided to go with

I've decided to go with replacing the engine after getting a resonable quote from my garage to fit it, I've had a quote from Mr Engine for a reconditioned one but after reading various reviews and taking into account some experiences of people on here, I only really want to use them as a last resort.
I'd be grateful if anyone could give me details of companies they've used, I'm looking for a reconditioned engine if possible.
PJ x