atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1789: Snow out west; bad weather preventing car work here.

18 inches of snow in Colorado, and plenty of other areas are getting similarly hammered. It's warmer here in Illinois, so we're getting rain--lots of it. I'm pretty sure this is a good thing.

The weather has been exceptionally rainy all month. If it doesn't rain during the day, it rains at night. If it does rain during the day, it still rains at night. Now imagine if this were December and it was consistently below freezing....

The rain is playing merry hell with my ability to perform the engine swap I've only wanted to do since July. I need at least three days without rain--a week would be better--as I don't want to have to reattach the hood between engine removal and engine installation, and I have no idea how long it will actually take me to R&R the engines.

It is true that I removed the engine from the green Escort in about a six-hour period, not all of which was work time. (I took time out to run for food and to run a couple of small errands.) Theoretically, R&R the entire drivetrain on such a car shouldn't take more than eight hours, and as I recall the book time for the job is about half that: someone who's done it before and has all the correct tools and equipment should be able to accomplish everything in 4.5 hours as I recall.

But I'm not a pro. Besides, I know there will be problems which I have to figure out how to solve: the manual will say, "Remove this bolt" and I won't be able just to remove that bolt, not without first figuring out what tools I need in order to reach the bolt and apply enough torque to break it free after 15 years of it being where it is. These procedures were written by engineers who had a brand-new production prototype sitting on a lift in a well-lit garage/lab with all the required tools ready to hand; they were not written by a jackleg mechanic working in his own driveway who had a 15-year-old car to repair.

Believe me, this makes a big difference in how smoothly the operation goes.

One problem I know I'm going to have comes from the bolts which fasten the exhaust downpipe to the exhaust header: because of their location and angle it's very difficult to get a wrench on them and apply enough torque to break them free. The radiator and the AC condensor are right there, inches from the exhaust bolts, and it's really hard to get a wrench in there. I may end up simply cutting them as I'm not planning to reuse that engine anyway; and if I change my mind, a machine shop won't charge me much to remove the rusted-in studs. (That will, of course, lead me to another problem I'll have to solve: how to get some kind of cutting implement into position to cut the bolts.)

I expect most of the fasteners to be ordinarily difficult to remove. A few will be cast-iron bitches. The latter category will take inordinate amounts of time to deal with and be the ones which make the process take so much longer than the book time.

Eventually the rain will stop, though. I guess that'll do.

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