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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!

Too Tight · 19 September 05

Parts, Day 3
click to zoom

Hey, how about that pile-o-parts? We’re talking some serious mound of greasy metal and rubber accumulating on the side of the garage. Eve is shedding unsightly pounds.

Here’s most of what was removed Sunday night:

  • Starter motor
  • Exhaust manifold, pipes, and muffler
  • A/C compressor
  • Alternator
  • Power Steering Pump
  • More wires
  • A couple brackets
  • Left-top engine mount
  • No knuckles or skin!

I hit the hardware aisle at Sears on Sunday afternoon, just to pick up a couple sockets and an 1/2” extension. As these things normally go one six sided socket was back ordered and the other one didn’t come in six sided for 1/2” drive. I compromised a bit and then started wandering aisles “just in case.”

All in all I did pretty well, putting back a whole bunch of impulse items before I hit the register. But I did buy one embarrassing thing…or so I thought at the time: mechanics gloves.

When did they come out with gloves for working on your car? There were three different types of gloves, well, four if you count the gloves with a built in LED flashlight. I tried on a $19 pair, all the while thinking about the chunk of thumb sitting somewhere in the engine compartment. Not bad, plenty tight, with little leather pads on thumb and index finger for those of us who loosen and tighten nuts with our bare (er, gloved) hands.

Sunday night, feeling like a wuss, I slipped on a long sleeved shirt, the new gloves, and headed into the garage to do some work. After about four hours of greasy, cramped, hand bashing work I started liking these gloves. Takes a second to take ‘em off if you need to go into the house or adjust the iPod. Best part is at the end of the day my hands weren’t caked in grease and dirt (or blood). Sweet!

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. No, I’m here to tell you how close, how very close, I am to yanking that engine out. Really close. Amazingly close. Too close.


Our garage has a steel I-beam running across the middle and it is just the thing if you want to yank an engine. I bought a come-along a long time ago and it is my buddy. It’s been used to jack rocks out of the ground, pop engines out of cars and mowers, and countless other menial tasks. Teamed up with a sturdy nylon strap you can do about anything with a come along.

Strapped and ready to remove Engine
click to zoom

After getting all of the engine to tranny bolts off and a few stray wires I figured it was time to yank the engine. Come-along hung from the I-beam, nylon strap hanging off of that with its hooks into the two engine pulling brackets. Cranked it up and the engine started coming out, and then stopped.

The sledge hammer in the picture isn’t to vent frustrations or beat the car into submission: I used it and the board to help lever a few tight brackets and parts. At first I thought the engine could be pulled with the AC, power steering, and alternator in place, and when it wouldn’t pop I pulled them. Still won’t pop.

I haven’t got the shop manual yet and don’t have the “right” way to pull the engine. If memory serves correct the Mazda 626 just popped out, although we did a fair bit of motor wiggling (there were two of us). With Eve I’m thinking that the main pulley wheel needs to be pulled off or even the tranny partially or completely disconnected.

To unbolt the pulley something has to be done to stop the crankshaft from turning. My buddy Brian showed me a trick when we rebuilt my Mustang back in the Air Force. Pop out a spark plug and feed a rope into the cylinder until it won’t take anymore (the cylinder needs to be down a bit). Then when you start turning the pulley the piston will eventually top out into the coils of rope and stop everything from turning, without damaging the piston.

That’s the theory and my next plan of action.

Here’s a kind of strange composite picture showing the pulley up along the wheel well on the left, with the space between engine and tranny on the right. Close, but no cigar…

Tight clearance
Comments 10
  1. — Ray    Sep 21, 2005 08:51 AM    #
    Hi I have been reading your work and am very intrested in how you are doing on “Eve” I also reside in new hampshire and am sick of the gas and oil game so I have be starting research on doing a covertion also any advice?
  2. Jerry Halstead    Sep 21, 2005 20:40 PM    #
    Hi Ray,

    I’m moving along and just about have her engine out.

    As for advice, you could start off by reading the other sections of this site. If that doesn’t scare you off then buy a copy of Michael Brown’s Convert It!.

    The book costs $25 and is a cheap investment to make before plunking down thousands on a car and EV parts. Mr. Brown does a great job covering all of the basics. I just bought a new copy and started reading through it.
  3. — Mike J.    Jun 01, 2006 00:56 AM    #

    Jerry, what a great site you have started here. I have bought a 91 Festiva and am planning max speed 45 mph car. Am in the process of removing unneeded parts and will soon be ready to remove the engine. I was going to remove both the engine and transaxle at the same time but I think you have persuaded me to just pull the engine first. The transaxle has to be taken out later and taken down to Dave Cloud for the adapter plate and motor matching.
    I will be following your progress with interest.

  4. — Alex Everett    Dec 23, 2007 00:35 AM    #

    F.W.I.W. another way to (Freeze) the engine movement remove tires, insert screwdriver into the cooling veins of both brake rotors. put trans in gear.

  5. — mjamgb    Dec 27, 2007 18:16 PM    #

    I suppose it would be a bit sarcastic to suggest a manual for a Probe???
    If I recall correctly, the engine does not come out the top but gets dropped out the bottom along with the front axle assembly cross-member thingy… the whole shebang drops on your driveway with a few bolts and you then remove the engine, transmission, etc. and replace the sub-assembly suitably lightened. I’ll read along to see if you noted this in a later installment.

  6. — mjamgb    Dec 28, 2007 13:03 PM    #

    Yup, you did. Sorry to see it didn’t get completed yet. I used to race cars then I thought a wife and family would be nice and bought a camper to take them all to the races…
    Camped about a dozen times but no racing!

  7. — Ish    May 14, 2008 23:55 PM    #

    Im curious to know why the A/C sytem has to come out. All I can think of is that there wont be a pulley system to make it go. Is that the reason?

  8. Jerry    May 15, 2008 06:03 AM    #

    Yes, would all depend on your climate and dedication to keeping your cool.

    If you bought a motor with a driveshaft coming out both ends then a pulley could be fitted to drive the AC (or even an alternator for ACC charging or jerry-rigged to be a poor-man’s regen). Another choice is to use a small electric motor to drive the AC, then you are only “loading” the system down when you actually need the cooling, instead of having a pulley always being spun (to be fair most AC has a clutch to disengage most of its load). Our Prius drives its AC via a separate motor, this way when the main gas engine is shut off at a light or fast food drive-through you still have AC.

    Our commute is short and the number of days we’d need AC is very small, so it’s just not worth the effort (and additional weight, complexity, etc..)

  9. Matthew    Jul 06, 2008 21:56 PM    #

    Yeah,I had this very problem (pulleys getting in the way) with my 6-cylinder Corsica. As I recall, the solution was to put a block of wood on a jack and carefully jack up the transmission pan to get the proper angle to remove the engine.

  10. — chilton    May 06, 2009 21:52 PM    #

    Yes matthew I did that before and the engine came off easily. But I did it with my 3 friends helping me.