Sunday, 11 December, 2005

Replacing an Engine: Part 1

My new engine arrived Friday evening, so I spent this afternoon removing various things from under the hood of my truck so that I can get to the old engine.  It's really surprising how much stuff is packed around the engine block in a modern automobile.  In my first car, a 1970 Chevy Impala, there was enough room for me to stand inside the engine compartment next to the engine.  Today there are so many hoses, wires, pumps, and other assorted doodads that a dropped wrench might not hit the floor but instead get caught on something halfway down.

It's been an interesting learning experience so far.  I'm taking my time and labeling everything that I remove, wrapping tape around wires and hoses and labeling them so that I know which wires and hoses connect to what when it comes time to put it all together.  My friend who helped today was giving me a hard time, but he does this stuff for a living.  I don't relish the thought of trying to puzzle out where everything goes when it comes time to put things together again, so I'm taking pictures of every little step.

All the major pieces that I have to remove in order to get to the engine are off now.  There are still some hoses and wires to label and disconnect, and I have to either disconnect the engine from the transmission or disconnect the transmission from the drive shaft and pull them both off together.  The benefit of removing them together is that it's easier to connect the transmission to the new engine when the transmission is off the vehicle.  The disadvantage is that I might have to pull more stuff out of the engine compartment in order to make enough room to pull the transmission out.  We'll see.

To give you an idea of what's involved, I've included two pictures:  before I started taking things off, and now, with most of the stuff surrounding the engine removed.  Here's the before shot:

The important thing to note here is that you can't see the engine!  The resonator, fan shroud, radiator, air conditioning compressor, and other things completely obscure the engine.  There also are untold zillions of wires and hoses connected to various things here and there.  The engine is in there, though, trust me.  You just have to uncover it.

This view is a bit closer, and now you can see the engine down there.  There still is some stuff in the way, but at least I can tell that there's an engine block in there somewhere.  Most of what you see in the center of the picture is connected directly to the engine block, and will come out with the engine.  It's much easier to remove those pieces after the engine is out of the vehicle and you have space to work.

With shipping, the new engine cost about $3,400.  Figure that I'll put another $500 or so into replacement parts (water pump, oxygen sensor, various belts and hoses, etc.).  I figure this is going to cost about $4,000 by the time I'm all done.  That's compared to $5,600 for the dealer to do it, and that price doesn't include replacement parts other than the new engine itself.  That's assuming, of course, that I manage to get everything back together and don't have any parts left over.  This is one do it yourself project that could end up costing way more than having somebody else do it.