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tips on engine R&R

Regarding engine removal, the only stock nailhead powered vehicle you have to remove the hood on to pull the engine, are '58s, due to the front sheet metal design. otherwise, all the 50s's cars have a removable crossmember in front of the radiator that pops out after radiator removal, allowing the wiring harness to be pushed down to allow clearance. 60s cars just need the radiator removed. Removing the hood otherwise, isnt necessary, and is creating more work for yourself. plus, you then have to have a safe place to store the hood where it wont get damaged, and be responsible for making sure the hood is gapped right when it leaves (not that big of a deal, but its just extra work.) ... and most of us guys are doing the job without help.

start by draining the coolant out of the radiator and dont forget the block skirt drain plugs, or you will make a mess. pull the intake. typically i remove the power steering pump with brackets left attatched to the pump, and lay the assembly in the battery tray, off to the side, after the battery is removed. if i plan to reseal the pump and blast/paint brackets, i will deal with it later, after the engine is removed. typically the AC system has no refrigerant in it, i will remove the compressor completely. check with the customer first. an R12 charge typically costs around 500 bucks. if the system is full, i will tie off the compressor over the inner fender after wrapping it in a blanket, taking care to not scratch the car. obviously, its preferable to remove the whole assy. remove the converter bolts (theres 3.) remove the distributor cap, plug wire trees, and crank pulley. i leave the the starter and exhaust manifolds installed. after removing rans cooler lines, i zip tie plastic bags around the ends. when removing the collector nuts on exhaust manifolds, NEVER EVER use an impact gun. always heat nuts with propane torch prior to using a breaker bar. heat works better than penetrating oil. i almost never use penetrating oil on anything on these cars. heat works better, but theres more than one way to skin a cat. if you cannot remove the nuts no matter what (it happens on rare occasion) then you need to cut the pipe with a sawzall and deal with removing the studs/nuts with the manifolds in a vice. its NOT worth potentially breaking the fragile/brittle manifold with an impact..

(with headers, i install them on the engine prior to re-installing the engine. much easier, with the exception of the skylark GS. the exhaust manifold on the skylark can be left on, but headers CANNOT. headers on the skylark are tricky and have to be installed with the engine halfway in the engine compartment and halfway out. ) otherwise, all exhaust manfilds, i R&R the engine with them installed.

run a chain across the cylinder heads to intake bolts and use new high grade 3/8 coarse bolts, choked up on the chain tight. support the trans pan with a block of wood and a jack. remove all but one of the bellhousing bolts after removing engine mount to frame bolts. loosen, but leave in trans mount bolts, and put the trans in neutral. choke the chain up tight on the cherry picker. after lifting up, remove the last bellhousing bolt. engine comes right out. once the engine is removed, run a piece of angle iron or steel tubing across the frame rails and run either long bolts, or anything you have on hand to slide through the bellhousing holes on trans to support the front of the transmission, onto the angle iron/tubing so you can remove the jack under the pan. its important trans is in neutral and bolts left loose for mount, or you can easily break the fragile trans mount.

if the car is a manual transmission, remove the transmission first. let the engine rest on the drag link after laying a blanket on it and removing the jack supporting the oil pan and setting the car down. install the engine in a reverse fashion. trying to stab the engine into a manual transmission, installed in the car already isnt fun.

i almost never try to remove one of these engines with the transmission still attatched, unless we're talking about a model A, or other cut down fenderless car, where you are removing the grill anyway, and often the trans crossmember is welded in. otherwise, you have very little control over the assembly. if im planning on having the transmission rebuilt on these full size cars, while i'm rebuilding the engine, i will pull the engine. support the trans pan, like a stated above, and then put the car in the air and remove it after with a transmission jack.

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Sean Short
Sean Short
Aug 31, 2021

Nice post

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