Engine Replacement: What’s the Difference Between Long Block and Short Block Engines?

July 22, 2021 9:56 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If your car isn’t running right—or at all—you might need engine repair. If it’s too far gone, you might need a full engine rebuild. At that point, it might be time to consider an engine replacement. But what’s the difference between a long block and short block engine? Here’s more information about each that might help you determine if you need a long block or short block engine replacement.

Long block

A long block engine is not much different in size than a short block engine. The main difference between the two is the number of engine components in each. A long block comes with a longer list of components included, hence the name. It’s not the same as a “big block” engine, which indicates size rather than number of components.

A long block includes the engine block, pistons, crank, cylinder head, valve train and camshaft. It’s a more complete version of the engine than a short block. It may also include an oil pan, valve covers and a water pump. It does not include some other essential parts, including the fuel system, exhaust manifolds, intake manifold or electrical components.

Short block

A short block engine contains only the engine block, pistons and crank. If you are looking for an engine replacement, this means you will need to buy additional parts to complete the job if you choose to go with a short block engine. While this may seem like a hassle for those just looking for a straight-up engine replacement, it can be a benefit for those looking to customize their vehicle.

Because it only has the bare bones of an engine, you can customize it with specific crankshaft, pistons and other parts. This is also a good solution for those looking to take on the process in a DIY fashion, whether it’s because you’re already experienced and can handle it on your own or you want to learn more about the process of doing an engine rebuild.


A long block engine usually costs between $1,500 and $5,000. If you’re looking to get a standard engine replacement without any customization, this might be the best way to go, especially if the engine diagnostic shows the need for a complete engine overhaul. The cost of the engine will be higher, but it will take less time for your auto mechanic to complete the job.

A short block engine usually costs between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the make and model of the car it’s destined for. It usually requires you to buy additional parts, however, that come standard on a long block engine. This also means it requires extra labor to install. At the end of the day, unless you’re looking for flexibility in customization or a DIY project, it may be a better value to go for a long block engine.

Whether you need an engine replacement or an oil change, when you need a reliable, trustworthy auto mechanic with a focus on customer service, be sure to contact Gabriel’s Automotive & Towing.

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