Thanks Tina, that’s super helpful information. The way I read those comments from the mechanic is that he thinks it’s a burned valve in that cylinder causing the problem but doesn’t know for sure. But that’s not a common problem on these engines. It’s much more common to have problems with a broken valve, spring, or a bad lifter, causing the misfire. But he seems to rule both of those things out by saying that the valve train is OK. My instinct is to give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that he fears it could be worse, but doesn’t know for sure, and that if he has to pull the engine, it is going to be a lot more money.
There is a tool called a borescope, mentioned by another member, which is a little camera that the mechanic can use to look inside that cylinder and see if there’s any damage. I think it’s worth the additional diagnostic fee to have that done. If that same shop doesn’t do it, I would take it somewhere else that does. Call around to a good, well-reviewed shop on Google Maps.
What the inspection will tell you is whether or not you have damage to the piston, or damage to a valve, or both. If it’s just damage to a valve, and no damage to the piston, all that will require is some cylinder head work, which is a whole lot less expensive than a new engine.
If there’s damage to the piston, then the engine will have to come out, that piston replaced, and possibly the cylinder honed. Putting a new engine in is kind of the nuclear option in my opinion. But, a Jasper reman will probably be close to $9000 or $10000 installed, but will last you a very long time in that vehicle. Of that cost, the cost of the engine will probably be about $6500, and the rest removal and installation. So once you’ve paid the removal and installation, then the additional $6500 gets you a whole new engine. It’s up to you whether that would be worth it.
Yes, they sure can be, but there's a high probability of cylinder wall damage requiring machine shop work, and most shops won’t do it that way and would pull the engine, so that’s why I explained it that way. But yes, you are 100% correct.