Engine Is Out of the Saab

Illustration for article titled Engine Is Out of the Saab

Transmission, too!

Spent Sunday helping my brother pull both out of his project. Easier than I would have expected, thanks in no small part to the transmission’s location directly under the engine. There’s no bellhousing under the firewall, with a tailshaft to navigate. No weird subframe, or need to lift the car up off of the engine to roll it away. Just disconnect all the things, and lift straight up.

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Illustration for article titled Engine Is Out of the Saab

To avoid opening the AC system, we unbolted the compressor and gently flexed the hoses to set it aside. Same thing with the power steering pump. The axles came out without too much fuss, and the partial disassembly gives my brother a great opportunity to replace joints and things that he might have otherwise tried to squeeze some more life out of.

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We borrowed a neighbor’s hoist, a big, old, heavy, non-folding 2-ton capacity crane. Not sure exactly how much the engine and transmission weigh together, but I’m guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 pounds. We rolled the hoist up and centered the the lift chain, adjusting to get the main mast & jack as close to the bumper as possible for leverage & stability. And I do mean close.

Illustration for article titled Engine Is Out of the Saab
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A load leveler helped us find just the right lift angle, although the extra length had me worried about clearance.

Illustration for article titled Engine Is Out of the Saab
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My fears were realized when the hoist was fully extended. We would have to set the engine back down and extend the boom for more range, OR lower the front of the car from underneath it. We took the second option, and finally managed to roll the engine away.

Because of the arrangement of the transmission, there were no exposed bellhousing holes to mount it to my engine stand. So we picked a spot next to the car, and gently set ’er down on some wood-capped cinder blocks.

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Illustration for article titled Engine Is Out of the Saab

The plan is to replace the timing chain & guides, and a few other things while the engine is out. But it’s a slippery slope. With access so vastly improved, it’s very tempting to take this opportunity to replace not only a bunch of gaskets, but the water pump too (which bolts to the timing cover). Might as well change the head gasket while the chain is loose... And changing the engine-to-transmission (“oil pan”) gasket gives us access to inspect the crank bearings...

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We could very easily get carried away here. But at 132,000 miles, I think a good portion of this scope creep is justifiable. I just don’t want to end up saying “D’oh! We should have done that while the engine was out!”

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