atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1796: Engine IN!

...that was excruciating.

I'm still not done--it turns out my estimate of five hours to install the engine was incredibly optimistic--but the engine is in the car and the engine mounts are cinched down.

Let's start with the story of the driver's side axle. That's where I started, about 9:45 AM.

I put the car on the ground with the spare on, had Mom step on the brake, applied 32mm socket to nut, breaker bar to socket, cheater pipe to breaker bar, effort to cheater pipe...


...the breaker bar? It broke. WTF. But it's a Craftsman, so I can get a new one for free, and I had another 15" breaker bar anyway. I applied it to the socket, fearing a repeat, but no, it popped the nut loose. That Craftsman bar is literally 30 years old; no surprise that it gave up the ghost. It wasn't the bar itself which broke, but the part which the socket snaps onto. Years of metal fatigue--oh well.

In the process of trying to knock the axle out of the hub I munged the threads on the axle so badly that I had to cut the nut off the axle. End result: I needed to buy a new axle. Oh well.

...actually I couldn't just cut the nut off; no. I ended up cutting a deep slot into the nut and then spending a lot of time widening the slot with a hammer and chisel. I eventually got the nut to split far enough that I could wiggle it off the shaft, but it took a lot of hammering to get it there. (No, I couldn't have used a nut splitter: one big enough to fit over a 32mm nut would have cost $$$$.)

New axle and new fuel filter: $65 from AutoZone. Seeing as access to the fuel filter was entirely unobstructed by engine, I figured I'd change it; so after I got home from the parts store I installed the new fuel filter. Easiest fuel filter replacement ever.

I tried to remove the crossmember, as I had thought to last night; but after trying to remove one of the bolts I realized they were probably frozen in place for good, and that I'd probably just break one or more if I tried to get them out...and these bolts are not designed to be replaceable. You can't get them out to put new ones in.

I then spent time working on transferring bits and pieces from old engine to new engine; once that was accomplished, I decided it was time to throw the thing into the car. And so I rigged the crane and hoisted 'er in there.

I stopped, though, realizing that I had to get the passenger side axle out of the way; and after looking at it and trying various things I just yanked the steering knuckle with the axle attached: fuck it. That was easier than trying to maneuver the engine and the axle into place.

The procedure for engine removal and installation on the Escort says that you only need to pop the axles loose and put something in their place to hold the differential side gears in. But in my experience, the damn axles will not move far enough aside for you to do that; you have to at least unbolt the knuckles from the MacPherson struts. I have not managed to pop the axles out and have them clear the transmission casing without doing that first.

Anyway, getting the engine into the engine bay was the longest and hardest part of my work today. I didn't look at a clock at all while I was in the driveway but I was busier than a one-armed paper hanger trying to crowbar (quite literally in some respects) the engine into its new home.

After a seeming eternal hell of pushing, shoving, swearing, lifting, and lowering, I had the upper engine mounts bolted in. I got to work on the lowers.

The front lower mount? No problem. It dropped right in. The rear lower mount--phew.

I had had to remove the bracket for that mount because it kept getting hung up on the steering rack; I could not get the damn thing to drop past it, so I took it off.

Only problem: once the engine was in place, there was literally no way to install the bracket bolts. I had perhaps two inches--that's being generous--of room between the bracket and the K-member (which is the part that the front suspension mounts to). I could wiggle the bracket in just fine, but the lower bolt could not be installed. Ford's engineers botched this one but good: if the bracket had been designed so that the bolts went in from the passenger side there wouldn't have been a problem; there was plenty of room on that side.

My solution? I modified the bracket. Using my air-powered cutoff tool, I knocked the nut off the driver's side of the bracket; then using my flux-core welder, I welded the nut on the other side. (I finally used it to fix a car! I only bought the thing in December of 2005!) The weld was considerably less than pretty but it fused nut to bracket and that's all I care about.

I then realized that there was no way to get the bolt through the mount itself, so I preassembled mount to bracket and prepared to bolt it in--only with the mount in the bracket I couldn't wiggle the thing into place. Again, Ford engineers bungled it: there was an approximate cubic mile (measure slightly exaggerated) on the passenger side of the bracket and no room on the driver's which side was the bolt designed to go in from? The driver's side! Of course!

Inverting that part would not be easily accomplished, so I decided I would see if I could remove the rear crossmember bolts; that would give me room to wiggle the thing in. One nut unscrewed with some effort--not as much as I'd feared--so I put the breaker bar on the other one and applied torque...


I said many bad words.

Well, after I ran out of bad words I put the motor mount in and bolted up the un-broken bolt, and torqued down the motor mount nuts and tabled the broken bit for the moment.

I did some other fiddling and got the clutch slave installed. I bolted up the power steering pressure line so that it would stop dripping freaking fluid all over the zarg-barg-a-ding-dong place. I installed the speedometer drive. I got the shifter bolted up (but it's not completely done because the nut won't go on the damn bolt; I left that bit for tomorrow or Thursday or Friday or when-the-hell-ever the weather lets me finish).

I finally knocked off at 3:30. I put the old drivetrain on the furniture dolly which had formerly held the new drivetrain. Done with the crane (hooray!) I folded it up and put it away. I collected tools and parts and set them on the table I'm using as an auxiliary work surface.

The engine is in the car; that was the hardest part of the installation. The rest of it is just reconnecting wires and hoses until there's nothing left to connect. (Well, and installing the passenger side steering knuckle and the axles....)

As for the broken crossmember bolt, I realized that all I really need to do is to take it somewhere and have it welded in. Screw it; the next time that car needs to have its crossmember removed, I'll just scrap it. I can't conceive of any reason I'd need to remove it--the motor mount that was there was shot and it didn't matter at all--and if I need to do major engine work on this car again...well, no. Maybe I won't.

I had thought of taking it to a body shop, but Mom reminded me that in 2005 I worked as "part-time, as-needed" help for a guy who did mechanic work out of his garage. He would know someone who could do the required bit of welding for a lot less than a body shop would charge. And I'm more worried about the longevity of the remaining bolt than anything else; it should be able to survive a trip to New Lenox. At least, it shouldn't hurt for me to call him and see if he can help me out.

And it only took six hours!

Like I said, my original estimate was hopelessly optimistic but I'm not surprised by that; I have removed three engines and installed two, and one of those two was a longditudinal-mount V8 in a pickup truck--not exactly the same sort of job, if you know what I mean.

The pickup truck I did in 2005, when I was working for that guy in New Lenox. I had not been the guy who removed the motor; so when I put that motor in I essentially had a big three-dimensional puzzle to assemble. The motor bolted in with two easily-accessible mounts on its sides, and after that the hard part was just getting all the damn sensors and hoses plugged into the right places. None were labeled, of course, and the wiring harness had been stripped from the old engine. *sigh*

So I've removed two Escort engines and one Fiero engine, and I've installed one Escort engine. (And the pickup truck one.) My thought that the installation shouldn't have taken much more time than the removal did failed to take into account that it is much easier to yank out an engine than it is to get one in and located well enough that you can get the bolts through the mounts.

I have perhaps three or four more hours of work to do before the car is drivable. (And I'm probably being optimistic again.) But getting that damn thing in is--as I keep saying--the hardest part.

I'm going to keep telling myself that. Right now I feel well-tenderized, and it's going to be a challenge staying awake long enough to see V tonight.

Oh well.

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