How to Remove & Replace the Engine

Last Updated - August 14th, 2004

Now  you've done it.  You pushed too much boost.  Or perhaps your cold air intake inhaled a bunch of water.  Or perhaps you're tired old engine just gave out after 400,000 hard rice slaying miles.  In any case, you're swapping engines.  Here's how to do it.


Time Investment:  Weekend  

This job isn't too horrible although it consumes a huge amount of time.  Essentially you unbolt just about everything in your engine bay and then you put it all back together.  The key to doing this is tools.  If you've got all of the things you need, it's not too bad.

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Go to Instructions:

Go to Tools Required:

Go to Supplies to Remember:

Go to Additional Thoughts:


Click on a picture to enlarge it.  

Please also note that these pictures are from different cars.  Some were taken of Mike's ES during a complete engine swap.  Others pictures are componets of the IROC.  Others came from Daytonastein.  You'll notice that the heads and exhaust manifolds are off in some of the pictures.  You do not need to remove these components to simply swap the engine.

Here is a shot of the stock engine in place.
The engine is supported by the T-brace while the transmission is removed. The bolts holding the downpipe to the rear exhaust manifold must be removed (or cut).
Once the transmission is out, the side motor mount has to come off.
The fuel lines on the pulley side of the engine must be disconnected.
There are 2 bolts on each side that hold the hood on.  These must come off.
The engine is removed.  Note that they heads and intake/exhaust manifolds do NOT have to come off.
If you don't take out your radiator, this may happen.  (Collision with oil filter) Here' s the empty engine bay.


Since you'll be removing a lot of components, it helps to keep the nuts/bolts that go with each part together.  Laying everything out in groups on the floor is very helpful.  Please re-read the last 2 sentences so that you aren't swearing when you go to reassemble everything.

1. Position the car.
Park the car in an way such that an engine hoist can be moved in front of the car and later removed.  You will also want to make sure you have plenty room around each of the front tires.  You'll also want to make sure you can maneuver your hoist with an engine dangling from it AND that you can pick up the replacement engine with the hoist.  The point here is that good positioning of the car and repacement engine will save you big headaches later.

2.  Remove the transmission.  (See Transaxle Removal page and the Halfshaft Removal page for details)

3.  If the car has A/C, and the A/C is charged, unbolt and support the compressor so that the hoses aren't stressed. 

4.  Disconnect the exhaust bolts that connect the downpipe to the rear manifold.

5.  Transition the engine from the T-brace to the engine hoist.
Chains can be connected to a number of places on the engine.  You can run them through the plenum a few times, connect them to the exhaust studs, or through the exhaust manifold, or connect them to the corner grounding bolts.  Just make sure the chains are on good and tight and that there is as little slack as possible between the end of the hoist and the top of the plenum.

6.  Either remove the radiator or protect it with a thick piece of cardboard. 

7.  Disconnect the fuel lines at the side of the engine.
These are quick connect hoses.  Simply place a rag over the hose, push up on the plastic insert on the bottom of the connector and pull.  Each hose should disconnect easily.  (If you don't use a rag over the hose, you may spray gasoline all over the place.)

8.  Disconnect the power steering pump.
You can either unhook the power steering pump lines connected to the pump or remove the pump itself from the engine.  To disconnect the lines, you'll want a flare end wrench.  As an alternative, you can unbolt the pump from the engine.  To do that, remove the serpentine belt.  Remove the two mounting bolts by running a socket/extension through the holes in the pulley.  Remove the two rear mounting bolts.

9.  Unbolt the side motor mount from the frame.

10.  Unbolt the hood.
There are 4 bolts that hold the hood onto the 2 lift brackets.  Remove them from each side and then carefully place the hood on the roof of the car.  The hood will still be connected to a wire so rotate it so that the front of the hood faces the passenger's side as you place it on top of the car.  Putting some cardboard between the roof of the car and the hood is a good idea.

11.  Hoist the engine out.
Be careful not to let the oil filter smack into the radiator.  It only takes one time.

12.  Transfer any parts you need to transfer between engines.

13.  Put everything else back together in the reverse order.

14.  Fill the transmission with oil.
Pull the plug in the side of the transmission.  Using a funnel and a piece of tubing, fill it with 2 quarts of motor oil.  When you're finished, stick your finger in the hole and make sure you can feel oil.  Then replace the plug.

Tools Required:     

Supplies to Remember:

Additional Thoughts: