ClassicOldsmobile.com - Pulling Engine
I would advise you to remove the front end grilles
first (the MOST important part) and place them somewhere safe. You don't
what to be leaning on the fragile plastic or chance the engine hitting
Put blankets/covers on everything (fenders etc.), and go s-l-o-w.
Sweep the area you will be working in to remove any sand or other obstructions
for the wheels of your engine puller and stand!
Also, spring the extra $$$ for a 4-wheel engine stand; you can't have one
that is too sturdy.
Make sure you rent the most solid hoist you can find. Follow the instructions
closely as to adjusting the beam length of the engine puller or cherry picker.
The shorter the beam length, the more stable will be the
engine in the air. The beam length must be great enough to lift the
engine over the radiator support though.
Also, use a strong chain and grade 8 bolts. Just spend the extra $2 for
some bolts that you won't have to worry about snapping when the engine
is in the air.
If you have access to an engine tilter, I think it might make the
extraction/replacement go a bit more smoothly.
And don't forget to allow yourself plenty of time. Possibly double what
you think now. Safety is foremost. Think out each step - even use a
When pulling and installing, it always helps to have a second pair of hands
and eyes, and to help watch for anything
you may have forgotten. Like the way the trans cooler lines snaked through
that exhaust manifold, before the motor gets high enough to damage any
parts that may start to stretch.
Remember to block the wheels and it may be helpful to have a couple of 2
ft. pieces of 2X4 handy to aid in keeping a few hundred pounds of swinging
free weight away from easily damaged fenders and core support.
Buy a package of Ziploc (TM) or plastic snack bags and a roll of masking tape.
Group and label fasteners in the bags, noting any special features. For example,
"Water pump fasteners - large bolt with stud goes in upper hole on driver's
Put all the bags in a box to keep everything together. Label
all wires and connectors. Make sketches or take Polaroid photos or
videos during the disassembly process. In addition, having more than one
of the same car makes it very easy to figure out where something goes -
you've got a full-scale model.)
I side with the crowd that doesn't recommend putting jack stands
under the car. With the car free to roll, you can lift the engine a tad
and roll the car back or forward in tiny increments to get the engine
right where you need it to be.
Despite the fact that you are certain that you've drained every last
drop of every fluid out of the engine, the first upward motion will
dislodge gallons of every conceivable fluid. Plan for this and either
pull the engine in a place where you can tolerate the spills or spread
plastic sheeting under the car before actually pulling the engine.
Getting Down to Business
Remove the hood. Make sure all of the washer nozzle hoses and the hood light are
disconnected before you unbolt the hood.
Scribe a line where the current hood hinge is on the hood, so that when you
go to bolt it back on, you can get it somewhere close to its original
alignment. Needless to say, the hood is absolutely a two-person job.
This will keep you from hitting your head on that damned divider,
on different vintages of Cutlass' anyways(!), and just make the task a little easier.
An alternative to scribing is to drill a 1/8 hole through each hinge &
into the hood support framework while the hood alignment is right. When
reattaching the hood to the hinges, a 1/8 drill bit can be used to
exactly align the hood to the hinges. This also keeps those marks off
the hood; leaving only an inconspicuous machined hole.
Another alternative is to shoot some spray paint on the hinge area at the same place.
This can clean up with lacquer thinner when complete, and you won't have to
worry about scratches on the show quality engine compartment It is going to
be that way, right? There's never a better time to make it that
way, especially if you have a garage, time, and another vehicle to drive
during the process.
Don't forget to disconnect the ground strap that goes from the back of the
cylinder head to the firewall! And label all connectors, so that things go
back right the first time.
Drain the coolant from the radiator and the block.
The block coolant drains are the 9/16 hex-headed pipe plugs toward the front
of the block, just in front of the motor mounts. They'll look just like
bolts, if you don't know exactly what you're looking for, except for the
fact that they don't attach anything to the engine.
Remove all hoses.
If you cut the ends off in the course of removal, remember to save those
ends along with the main segments so that when you're cutting the new
stock to the right length, you do end up with the right length
and don't find yourself half-a-foot too short. Consider getting the correct
hoses and checking each out before you cut the old ones.
Drain the oil from the block, and while you're at it remove the oil
filter mount (it's coming off anyway, right?). That'll give a bit more
Disconnect battery, starting with the (-) negative terminal first. Also
remove the (+) positive cable.
comes off easily after the wires are disconnected, and can be removed from the car.
Remove radiator, fan shroud, fan, belts.
Remove the fuel line at the fuel pump, drain the excess gas from the hose,
and either put a bolt in the hose end or tape it up.
Pull the AC compressor off the head, move to the side.
Unbolt the PS pump and bracket from the engine (should only be three
bolts/nuts for a post-67 car - one to the timing chain cover, one to
the water pump, and one to the exhaust manifold) and set it aside in
the inner fender with the hoses still attached. If the car is
detailed, you may want to wrap the pump and bracket in cloth to
prevent scratches. Also, consider wiring the pump temporarily in
place, as the first bump will tip it over and send the PS fluid racing
for the ground.
Disconnect exhaust from manifolds. Drop down, and possibly remove from vehicle.
Put a drain pan at the tail of the transmission as oil will flow out,
disconnect shift linkage and speedometer cable, unbolt the
transmission mount from the crossmember. Remove the driveshaft.
Now place a jack under the transmission and raise the
transmission an inch above the crossmember, remove the crossmember from
frame. Now lower the transmission an inch or two to allow more gear
oil to drain from the tailstock of the tranny.
Remove the torque converter shield to access the
three flexplate (on an auto car) to torque converter bolts, which are
located 120' apart around the flywheel. Mark the torque converter position relative to the flywheel so that the engine and transmission can be re-joined (!) without the fear
of a balance problem. Not sure how important this might be, but it doesn't
cost much to mark it. You can use a short socket extension stuck through one of the big holes in the flexplate to keep the motor from turning over when trying to remove
the torque convertor to flywheel bolts. Disconnect torque converter from flywheel.
In addition, you can only adequately access these bolts from the point where
the starter contacts the flexplate, so you'll have to remove the starter
first. This is a space consideration, though. If it's tight, get it out of there.
On the other hand, I've always done the box-end wrench thing to get the bolts out of
the converter - accessed easily from the bottom once the converter
cover was removed.
Label those wires with masking tape and a permanent marker!
You don't want the identifying label to rub off or fade!
Support the transmission if leaving it
in place, remove bell housing bolts (yeah I know that is a manual tranny
term). I use a small (2-ton) floor jack with a piece of thick plywood under the pan
to support the transmission. It doesn't need to be very heavy, just enough to take the
tranny's weight off the engine. The small jacks put in 80's GM
cars are low profile and they work well.
This allows me to reposition its height when
pulling or installing the engine; very helpful. In addition, if you want to
pull the tranny as well, the wheels on the jack make it easy to roll the
tranny forward, hook it to the hoist and pull it out (just watch out for all
that fluid from the yoke opening; best to drain the tranny first if you're
Motorcycle tiedowns work well for holding the front of the tranny bell housing
up a little bit. One hook through a bolt hole (some even have
loops for that purpose stamped right onto the tranny case), and the other
end up somewhere near the cowling (wiper motor, hood stop bolt, etc).
Doesn't need much. You'll want to do the same with the exhaust, too, but
it's not as critical. I should add that you might want to have this done
before the engine is way up in the air, just in case.
Slipping around in ATF while trying to wrestle a 700lb engine is
not something to be experienced more than once. If you want to leave
the fluid in the transmission - you can't get it all anyway, consider
using a plastic plug on the end of the transmission. It will keep the
transmission from leaking at the universal/drive-shaft connection. I
usually put the plug into the transmission snugly & then tape it so that
it won't get knocked out while wrestling the transmission around. These
plugs are sold at places like NAPA for a couple of dollars.
If you are pulling the trans with the engine, at least unbolt the
converter from the flywheel before pulling. You'll thank me later.
(Like when the engine/trans combination is on the ground in front of
the engine hoist, and you can't figure out how to get at those bolts.)
After unbolting the torque converter from the flexplate (There! I said
it!), be sure to physically force the converter as far back in the
bellhousing as possible. You may find it necessary to lightly pry
between the converter and the flexplate with an appropriate tool to
break the pilot on the converter loose from the end of the crank.
Disconnect all wires, including starter battery cable & remote wire.
Most American cars had a large bulkhead connector at the firewall (under the
wiper motor on the newer A bodies, moreso under the left hood hinge on the
older ones. This comes out with one bolt. After it's unplugged, you'll
notice there are two halves to it. Seperate them, one half stays there, and
the other half drapes right over the engine. From here, you only need to
worry about the battery cables and the rear head ground strap (which you
probably yanked out of there trying to get to those **** bellhousing
All the senders, solenoids, alternator, starter, etc, can stay
attached until it's sitting on a stand in the shop, where it's much more
comfortable to swap that sort of stuff out. I find it much more convenient
to line all the wiring up out of the car, and not have to worry about
routing things cleanly after the fact.
Remove as much as you can. Yes, you can probably leave the carb and
water pump on, but it only takes one slip to gouge a fenderwell or
break a carb casting. Why risk it.
Definitely pull the carb and distributor for their protection. If you
string a chain across the
engine as a point to hook up the hoist, it will rub against the carb, and
you don't want that.
Consider pulling the carb, water
pump, distributor cap and plug wires, hoses, exhaust manifolds,
starter, and anything else which I can get off easily.
Remove the long bolts that connect the motor mount halves (you may have
to lift the engine slightly).
The factory will often leave what appears to be lifting eyes on the engine.
This is NOT the place to attach the chain. I would strongly discourage one
from using the "U"-shaped factory lifting straps sometimes left on the engine.
These are apparently not intended for engine lifting, as they will bend
and distort under the weight of the engine. Attach the chain with bolts to
Good location points for the GRADE 8 bolts w/washers is at the front of
one head to the rear of the opposite head w/about a foot of slack for
attaching the hoist. There should be no slack between the attaching
bolts & the WELDED LINK chain. Slack will cause the bolt head to take
all of the strain. Either use 2 bolts to locate the chain on the hoist
hook or get one of those nice balance bars that allow for adjusting the
tilt of the engine while lifting it. The bolts or bar will keep the
engine from suddenly tilting one way or the other - causing severe
damage & possibly dropping the engine. The engine position must be
sturdy on the chain as you will be using a lot of force in positioning
the engine as you try to get it out.
Or, remove the left rear & right front intake manifold bolts.
Replace with either 3/8 -16 threaded rod about 4-5" in length and
attach a chain to the threaded rod. Use a large flat washer and nut on
each threaded rod to chain link.
Perhaps plan on using some
kind of cloth covering for the chain to prevent scratching up those rocker
arm covers or anything else that might get rubbed when the engine is pulled.
If you use a chain to pull the engine, get the proper engine lifting
sling which has a lifting lug attached through one of the center
links. In this way, the chain cannot slip on the hook of the engine
hoist. If you must use a plain piece of chain, thread a nut and
bolt through a nearby link on either side of the hook to limit any
sliding. Best bet, by the way, is to get an engine tilter -
especially when reinstalling.
A good way not to scratch the engine at all is to use nylon belts. Wrapped
under the bottom of the engine, but use the chain as a safety hook up. I
have used the belts many times and they don't leave a scratch.
Sweep the area again, and clean it up. Remove any obstructions like bolts and
tools that might be lying on the pavement. Also remove any unneeded tools
from the fenders.
At that point you should be ready to lift. You may want to let some air out
of the tires to lower the radiator support.
Attach the engine hoist and slowly
raise the engine 4-5", move the crane away from the car a little and
jack up a little at a time while keeping an eye on the bellhousing to
Lift the engine just enough to clear the front radiator
support, and then once it is clear, lower it as close to the ground as
possible before you move the engine to the place where
you will get it on a
stand. Believe me when I tell you that a 455 lifted high on a hoist can fall
over very easily when being moved around, especially if the spot has even
the slightest of an incline.
Or, whenever possible, I lift
the engine up and leave it there. Then I roll the car back out from under
it. Then I let the engine come down. Only then will I try moving it
anywhere. It's a lot less distressful that way. With the vehicle flat on
the ground, the engine doesn't have to go as high, either. Just remember to
support the tranny before you move the car, or else the driveshaft and
u-joint will grind chunks out of the floor hump.
Following engine removal (assuming trans is staying in car), be sure
that the converter doesn't slip off of the tranny input shaft. This
is usually not a problem if the tranny is supported as others have
indicated, however if you accidentally let the front of the trans down
(so that the tranny pivots on its aft mount and the driveshaft hits
the inside of the tunnel), the converter could slide off.
Scribe marks, paint, or locating holes notwithstanding, the hood will
be perfectly aligned when you reattach it. DO NOT blindly slam the hood the first
time. Check for alignment carefully and adjust as required.
[ Thanks to Dave Wyatt, Frank Boerger, Bob Barry, Bill Culp, Andrew Green,
Charley Buehner, Jason Labay, Joe Padavano, Scott Mullen, Steve, Glenn
for this information ]