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Welcome to the Electric Car Weblog. In addition to links, news, and tips about electric cars and other forms of alternative transportation we are publishing an on-line diary of our current EV project. Started in August 2005 the chronicle follows the conversion of a gas powered Ford Probe into an Electric Car.

You will find articles organized by categories, along with recent comments, along the right hand column of the website. If you are just getting started with the idea of converting a gas car to electric be sure to check out Your First Electric Car

Welcome and enjoy!

Engine Removal · 21 September 05

Goofy Dog

First off an obligatory dog shot to kick off the entry.

When things go haywire and don’t turn out the way you expect it is good to sit back, relax, look at a goofy dog photo (or a live, goofy dog when available) and make peace with the Universe.

Failing that there’s always the 5lb sledge…

Yesterday the Haynes Ford Probe 1989-1992 manual arrived: a welcome addition to the project and yet a harbinger of bad news. The steps to remove the engine go something like:

  • Ch7: you MUST remove the transaxle and the engine at the same time
  • Pg 15, Ch7 – disconnect the drive shafts (ref chapter 8)
    (Jerry greasily thumbs over to Ch8)
  • Pg 12, Ch8 – first remove the brakes (ref chapter 10)
    (Jerry gives up trying to bookmark using fingers, flips to 10)
  • Pg 6, Ch10 – first remove the strut assembly (ref chapter 9)
    (Jerry reaches for 5lb sledge…)

Every step was a reference to another section, which then referenced yet another section, on and on. See, this is why we want electronic, indestructible books like my bBook idea. Instead of worrying about using up too much paper by repeating instructions it would cross-index and tabulate and so forth.

But, as Bob would say, ”’Tis a poor workman who blames his tools.” Actually it is great to have any kind of reference at hand and the schematics alone are worth the money.

Still, for anyone else going through this exercise let me summarize: to remove engine first remove all other parts of car, what is left is engine!

Last night was spent bouncing back and forth between pages for a little while and then popping off brake components and struts. The photo shows the driver side shaft removed and laying atop the rest of the wheel assembly, or what’s left of it. Brake pads looked pretty good, as did the rotor.

Drive shaft removed

I’ll most likely be replacing the shock/spring/strut assemblies before all of this is over so it’s just as well that I get in there and scope things out. The other side came out even easier; the drive shaft is much longer and has a mounting bracket normally bolted onto the engine block.

We should take a few moments and quietly marvel at the wonder of front-wheel drive and the universal jointed drive shafts that make it possible. Take a pencil, break it into three pieces, now try to connect it such that the three joints can continuously spin a thousand times a minute without binding and still allow each section to move independently up/down and left/right.

Just about everything is ready for engine removal now. All that is left are the two “transaxle” (transmission) mounting brackets, one of which has a bolt that just won’t let go. I’m letting it steep in Break Away until tomorrow evening when I hope to empty the engine compartment once and for all.

Comments 15
  1. — Chris    Sep 22, 2005 12:27 PM    #
    You know they really should’ve stuck to rear wheel drive. It is so much simpler and easier to deal with.
  2. — Greg Coleman    Sep 28, 2005 00:03 AM    #
    You were right to go front wheel drive! They are so much less weight and leave a much cleaner car underneath. The distribution of weight works out better also, especially if driven in the snow in the winter.
  3. — Eric Wolf    Oct 13, 2005 12:15 PM    #
    Haynes and Chilton generally suck. Try to get the OEM shop manuals, if you can. Check eBay.

    I’ve had the engine out of a Porsche 911 and a ‘74 VW bus. They are much easier, of course. But the quality of the manual makes a big difference.

    And on the shift linkages: replace the plastic bushings. No cars have shift linkage issues like the Porsche 911 or the VW Bus. The transmission is in the back of the vehicle. In the case of the bus, there is about 13 feet of linkage. All of the little plastic bushings in the linkage wear out over time. They are usually cheap if you can find a source for them!
  4. Jerry Halstead    Oct 13, 2005 13:20 PM    #
    I have to agree with you on that, Eric. The old Mazda manual had a pretty decent schematic covering most of the car. The new Haynes manual covers more of the circuits for an ‘89, but hardly anything from the ‘90.

    Thanks for the linkage tips. I’ll look for some of those while searching for a Ford shop manual!
  5. — mark glasner    Jun 14, 2006 13:05 PM    #

    the manuals you get at the autoparts store are designed to keep you coming back.

  6. — chris w    Nov 16, 2006 04:05 AM    #

    ive just read through your 626 and was reading through this. as far as your removing engine woes go, welcome to the wonerfull world of ford and there genius engineers {snicker}

  7. — simar    Aug 11, 2008 06:02 AM    #

    why do you need to support transmission when removing engine

  8. — Dan P.    Aug 12, 2008 04:18 AM    #

    Hey, Jerry and all,

    I wanted to add here also that for most FWD cars it is easiest to undo the strut tower nuts (usually three on each strut cap) from under the hood and then remove the engine and transmission as one unit by lifting the car up off of the drive train and rickshaw it away or lowering it down with a floor jack if the car is already on jack stands; just make sure you have the car high enough to roll it out from under the car. Other then the tie rod ends and miscellaneous wires and the likes that are attached to the engine and shifting linkage, it is quite straight forward of a job. Most FWD drive train assemblies are held in place to the unibody by undercarriage bolts. You can unbolt the brake calipers and slide carriage also as one item if you don’t wish to open up the hydraulics. If you do this, make sure not to let the caliper assembly hang by its brake hose; the weight of it can do damage to the internal lining of the hose which will result in the fluid becoming restricted after you release your foot from the brake pedal and then the caliper will stay partially applied. When done this way you can access and split apart the engine from the transmission and also steam clean everything freely.
  9. Jerry    Aug 12, 2008 07:24 AM    #

    Thanks, Dan!

    We really appreciate all of your tips and help on the website. Some really great info.

  10. — Jesmond    Oct 16, 2008 09:12 AM    #

    Hi Jerry,

    How many hours does a day have in your area….!!! :-)) …looks like you manage to do a heck of a lot of work during the evenings!
    Keep up the good work, great website and above all your sense of humour!

  11. — wheelywheel    Feb 26, 2009 22:11 PM    #

    This post is cool. Gave me an idea how to remove an engine. I always go to a machine shop or a mechanic and just pay them to fix my car. I want to change engine since I got so many problem with the engine I have right now.

  12. — wheelywheel    Mar 02, 2009 20:10 PM    #

    Going to try removing the engine of my 1999 Honda Civic this coming weekend. Wish me luck guys.

  13. EVdude    Mar 14, 2009 15:06 PM    #

    I am in the process of removing all of the belt driven accessories. I have the power steering pump seperated from the belt (how? I honestly don’t know) but the last (LAST!) bolt refuses to come loose! It has been soaking in PB Blaster for two days now, but it won’t come loose! AAAARRRGGGHHH! Can anyone help me?

  14. — DanP.    Mar 17, 2009 10:36 AM    #

    Best tool for the job is a 1/2 in drive Snap-On ™ six point socket on a long breaker bar… We assume you know whether it is a left or right handed thread.

  15. — chriss    Apr 01, 2009 02:26 AM    #

    hi, everybody!
    i am from Romania and i want to convert my car, an old volvo. It have plenty of space, plenty of weight, and rear drive weels. I understand most of the convert operations, but i don’t understand how can i connect and where power steering pump and brake pump? can you advise?
    thanks, and excuse my english…