After you have conducted a thorough inspection and evaluation of the engine, you know whether it needs to be rebuilt or not. Almost all engine analysis can be done with the engine in the chassis. At this stage, you’ve determined that the engine does indeed need a rebuild and must be pulled from the chassis, so proper planning and preparation is a must.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, 4.6L & 5.4L FORD ENGINES: HOW TO REBUILD. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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Keep in mind that you are about to jack up a vehicle weighing nearly two tons, disconnect lines carrying hazardous and potentially flammable liquids, and ultimately lift an engine that weighs more than 600 pounds. Make sure the vehicle is on a level surface. You should get some help to perform this procedure so you can safely and carefully remove the engine from the chassis. A good arrangement is to have one person spot the engine and steady it, while the other operates the engine hoist. You may jack up your car during the engine rebuilding process but do not work under the car when it’s only supported by a floor jack. You need to have jack stands at each corner of the vehicle if you’re working under it. Always chock the wheels so your car doesn’t move. If you are removing the engine and transmission together as a unit, now is the time to remove the driveshaft, transmission linkages, speedometer cable, and neutral safety switch wiring.
Removing the hood provides additional working room and light, so I do this early in the process. Taking the hood off and safely stowing it is a two-person job at minimum. I recommend using old blankets to pad the area of the cowl vent, which is at the back of the hood in front of the windshield. Also use covers on both fenders to protect the paint.
Loosen the bolts that secure the battery cables to the terminals, and remove the cables. You should remove the battery from the car and store it in a safe place, keeping it out of the way of an errant swing of the engine as it is lifted from the car. Safely store the battery on a plastic or wood shelf where it is not exposed to extreme temperatures. This could ruin the battery.
A Y-block (and any other gas engine) contains hazardous, flammable fluids and chemicals that need to be properly disposed of before you start the rebuild process. After you have drained the oil, radiator fluid, transmission, and possibly power steering fluid from your vehicle, make sure they are properly recycled.
The typical Y-block engine holds 6 quarts of oil so make sure your drain pan has more than enough capacity. You can drain the oil with the engine in the car or on an engine stand. If you drain the oil with the engine in the car, make sure the car is properly supported by ramps or jack stands.
After draining the oil, inspect it. If it’s golden and clear, the oil is relatively fresh. If it’s black, you know it’s old, but look for metal shavings or anything else unusual. If it’s milky or discolored, most likely coolant mixed with the oil. You could have a cracked block or another problem.
In some applications, you may need to remove the fan shroud before you can remove the radiator from its mounts in the core support. Starting at the front of the engine, remove bolt-on parts, the fan, drive belts, and the generator or alternator. Use tags and a Sharpie to mark the location of the wires before you disconnect them. This helps determine the location of the wires during the reassembly process and the position of the power steering pump (if applicable).
A 5-gallon bucket or large multi-gallon drain pan is good for this job. Keep in mind that opening the radiator petcock does not allow all the coolant to drain from the block. This has to be dealt with separately. If there is no petcock in the side of the block, remove the lower radiator hose, which allows most of the coolant to drain.
The old rubber hoses often become stiff and brittle. After many heat cycles, they may be almost bonded to the outlet of the radiator. Place a small flathead screwdriver under the lip of the hose, and run it around the circumference of the hose end. Squeeze the hose, and work it back and forth until it comes loose. If that doesn’t work, you may have to cut it off with a utility knife.
Once the coolant has been drained into the catch bucket or pan, transfer it to a clean container, such as a one-gallon milk jug. Do not mix the coolant with oil or any other chemical. Many oil change outfits and auto parts stores recycle these chemicals for free but not if they are mixed together.
If your Y-block has never been rebuilt or has high mileage, you have the choice of either disconnecting the power steering pump lines and removing the pump or securing it to the side. If you disconnect the lines, remove the power steering pump and drain the fluid into a container. The fluid is most likely beyond its service life, and the reservoir needs to be refilled with fresh fluid.
Power steering pump lines are often flexible enough to allow the pump to be moved safely aside during removal of the engine. Be sure to secure the power steering pump out of the way, and take care not to kink the lines.
I recommend photographing the routing of your fuel lines so you know exactly how to route and place your fuel lines during reassembly. Once you disconnect the throttle linkage, fuel lines, and bolts, remove the carb. Along with the carburetor, remove the hard line to the fuel filter and pump and any linkages, such as the automatic transmission kickdown lever if applicable.
Remember that the carburetor also contains some residual fuel so you need to properly drain it. Remove it from the engine, and turn the carb upside down over a drain pan in a ventilated area to drain off the remaining fuel. At the same time, if you have fuel in the tank, siphon it into a can and dispose of it. It’s easy to complete the rebuild, install the engine, connect all the hoses and lines, and then forget there’s old gas in the tank. You don’t want to ruin your rebuild by running old gas through your engine.
Again, you should carefully tag and mark each of the electrical wires so you know exactly where they are routed, connected, and terminated. I also recommend you photograph the connections and routing of these wires so you have a visual record of them before you start removing them.
Distributor and Ignition
Remove the spark plug caps from the spark plugs. Unscrew the clamp that secures the distributor to the block. Then carefully pull the distributor shaft through the engine and manifold. Put it in a safe place for later testing. Place a lint-free rag in the distributor hole in the manifold so no contaminants fall into the engine.
The spark plug wires can be removed from the plugs and then removed intact with the distributor cap. This avoids damaging the cap or wires during engine removal. I found that the engine bay clearance in a 1957 Ford does not require you to remove the cap and wires, but it still might not be a bad idea.
At this point, I make it a habit to remove any fragile components from the engine such as the ignition coil, ballast resistor, valve covers, and carburetor.
Take the tension off the belts by loosening the bolts that hold tension against the belts via the grooved brackets. If these belts are on a wellworn or never-rebuilt engine, you can rest assured that they are junk and need to be replaced. If the belts are relatively new, you can set them aside and inspect them later.
Lines and Hoses
If you must remove the A/C compressor from the vehicle, you need to properly evacuate the system first so you don’t release contaminants into the atmosphere. The line to the fuel pump also has to be removed before removing the engine. This may consist of a hard line, flex line, rubber hose, or a combination. Be aware that some quantity of fuel can leak when the line is disconnected; be prepared to capture the fluid so that you can safely dispose of it.
Turn your attention to the top of the engine: the engine feed harness and vacuum and water hoses. These need to be identified and tagged. You should also perform digital photo documentation of the disassembly process to note their location, before being removed.
Hoist and Lift Brackets
Now is a good time to set up the engine hoist and get ready to lift the engine from the car.
If you are fortunate enough to have the factory-installed lift brackets on your engine, attach your lift chain(s) to them. Use only highgrade hardware, such as grade-8 bolts, when attaching the lifting chain to the engine. If your engine does not have lifting brackets (most don’t) you can attach the lift chain(s) to intake manifold bolt holes in the cylinder heads.
Once you have attached the lift chain, use the hoist to take up any slack. This provides additional safety when the motor mounts have been disconnected. Now you can jack the car up and get it on jack stands. Do not work with the jack alone. Jack stands are a must. Cement or wood blocks should never be used. Getting the car into the air allows access to components that cannot be reached from the top, such as exhaust pipe flanges, and draining the oil from the engine.
When you remove the driveshaft from the back of the transmission, plug the tailshaft to prevent fluid from leaking. Use a specialized plastic plug for this task or use an old driveshaft yoke inserted in the back of the transmission, if you happen to have one. In a pinch, I have used a freezer bag and duct tape to slow any fluid loss, although this is far from a perfect solution.
On vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, you also have to deal with the cooling lines that run forward to the radiator. Check the lines for any brackets, securing them to the engine or chassis, or if their routing takes them behind the motor mount. The lines are fragile, and you must take care when removing them in order to prevent damage. Use the specialized line wrenches to make the work easier and help prevent any damage.
If your car is equipped with a standard transmission, remove the shift linkage as well as the clutch linkage (clutch equalizer or Z-bar) connecting the car’s frame with the engine at the bellhousing.
You may remove the transmission mount bolts at this time, but do not remove the transmission crossmember bolts until you have positioned a jack under the transmission to hold it in place. If you plan to remove the engine and leave the transmission in place, start by removing the starter from the bellhousing. In the case of a car equipped with an automatic transmission, remove the inspection cover from the lower front portion of the bellhousing, and remove the nuts holding the torque converter to the flywheel or flexplate by manually rotating the engine to gain access to the nuts. If you have a standard transmission vehicle, remove the clutch linkage and return spring.
At this stage, remove the bolts holding the bellhousing to the back of the engine block; this leaves the engine supported on its mounts and the engine hoist.
After first checking to ensure that you have no slack in the chains connecting the engine to the hoist, you can now unbolt the motor mounts from the frame brackets to begin the lift. I prefer to roll the car out from under the engine as I have found that being able to roll the car forward or backward as the engine is lifted is easier and safer than trying to move the hoist.
At this point, I lower the car from the jacks and back onto the ground, if possible. I recommend a second set of hands and eyes to assist with lifting the engine from the car. Lift the engine with slow strokes, being careful to check for any wires, brackets, etc., that may be interfering with the engine. Continue lifting, and move the vehicle as necessary, until the lowest point of the engine clears the core support.
Once the engine is clear of the car, get it securely attached to an engine stand before releasing the remaining pressure on the hoist and removing the lift chain(s). With the engine out of the car and secured to the stand, it can be moved to a suitable location for disassembly.
Step 1: Mark Hinge Locations
To make the work easier, remove the hood from the car before you pull the engine. You have much clearer access to the engine and engine bay components without the hood. Heck, it has to come off eventually anyway. Removing the hood now provides additional room to work and allows more light into the engine compartment. Mark the hood hinge locations with an indelible marker. These marks designate the placement of the hinges on the hood and aid greatly when the car is reassembled at a later date. Be sure to store your hood where it will not be damaged. I often use an old quilt to cover the painted surface and Styrofoam blocks to protect the corners of the hood during storage.
Step 2: Protect Fenders
Make sure that your fenders are protected. These Ford Racing fender covers work well and protect both paint and sheet metal during the engine removal process. You don’t want to fix body damage that could have been avoided. Old blankets and soft towels also provide good protection.
Step 3: Tag Wires and Connectors
Taking the time now to tag wires and connectors with identifiers helps the task of getting everything back in the right place after your newly rebuilt engine has been reinstalled in the car. Once wires have been tagged and disconnected, be sure to secure them out of the way before lifting the engine out of the car.
Step 4: Inspect Wiring
If the wire leading to the water temperature sending unit is in poor condition (this one has the wrong connector), cut off the connector, strip off 1 inch of the insulator sleeve, and crimp on the appropriate new connector. This problem is remedied while the engine is out of the car. With the engine removed from the chassis, you should tidy up the engine compartment. Don’t forget to disconnect the engine ground wire before lifting the engine out. Also, don’t forget to disconnect the cable running from the solenoid to the starter.
Step 5: Drain Coolant
Starting from the front of the engine, drain the coolant and then begin removing accessories. These include the upper and lower radiator hoses, fan belts, generator/ alternator, power-steering pump (if applicable), and radiator.
Step 6: Remove Carburetor, Coil and Intake Manifold (Professional Mechanic Tip)
To start the process of removing the carburetor, disconnect the fuel line, distributor vacuum line, choke heat tube (if applicable), throttle return spring, and the linkage. Don’t forget to secure the carburetor linkage so it does not interfere with the lifting of the engine. The linkage connects to the carburetor via a spring clip, which is easily removed by hand. Once the linkage arm is removed, use a tie wrap or piece of tag wire to secure the throttle arm out of the way. Four nuts on studs secure the carburetor to the intake. With these nuts removed, the carburetor can be lifted off the intake, drained of residual fuel, and safely stored out of the way. Use painters’ or masking tape and a Sharpie to label the wires leading to the ignition coil. Remove and put it aside. Also remove the bracket holding the coil and ballast resistor to the intake. (I also chose to remove the intake manifold from the engine before lifting the engine from the car.) Take off the coolant bypass hose between the front of the intake manifold and water pump. Remove the intake manifold bolts/nuts, and then use gentle pressure to break the seal on the gaskets sealing the intake manifold to the cylinder heads. The more external components removed before lifting the engine from the car, the lighter the load on your hoist during the lift.
Step 7: Remove Fuel Line
Remove the fuel line between the chassis and the fuel pump. The fuel pump must also be removed before lifting the engine. The fuel line is typically either a rubber hose secured with clamps or a flexible line with brass fittings. Use a flat-blade screwdriver to remove the clamps, but if your car is equipped with brass fittings, use line wrenches to detach it to avoid damage.
Step 8: Prepare Hoist
Assemble and position the hoist in front of the car; it’s almost time to lift out the engine. Secure the lift chains to the engine. You should perform a last-minute visual inspection to make sure all hoses, wires, and linkages have been disconnected from the engine. You don’t want to strip wires or unnecessarily damage any components because you were not thorough and did not disconnect something. Nothing should remain connected so there are no impediments for removal.
Step 9: Attach Hoist Chains to Engine
Attach the lifting chains to the engine via intake manifold bolt holes in the cylinder heads, which are diagonal from each other (front to back). Use only high-quality hardware to secure the lifting chains. Use grade-8 bolts threaded into the cylinder heads as far as possible. You can remove the engine and transmission as one unit, but you need to be careful and steady with the engine so you do not bang up the firewall or the core support. Otherwise, you can unbolt the transmission from the engine and pull the engine only. Although pulling an engine can be a solo project, it’s easier with the help of a friend.
Step 10: Attach Hoist Chains to Hoist
With the lifting chains secured to the engine, you can attach the chains to the hoist for the lift. As you begin to lift the engine, pay careful attention to the angle of the engine. You may have to lower the engine back onto its mounts so you can reposition the hoist’s chain and hook.
Step 11: Lift Engine
As you begin to lift the engine, have someone help you. An extra set of hands and eyes is invaluable in ensuring that the way is clear for the engine to come out of the car. That extra set of hands can steady the engine and keep it from swinging on the hoist once it is clear of the mounts. The secret here is to take your time, raise the engine slowly, and be careful. Keep in mind that the engine weighs more than 600 pounds.
Step 12: Remove Car from under Hoist
The engine has now been lifted off its mounts and is high enough to clear the core support. Rather than attempting to roll the hoist with its 600-pound payload swinging free, I prefer to roll the car back and out from under the engine while an assistant holds the engine steady. To roll the car back, jack it up, remove the jack stands, lower it, and carefully roll the car back. Once the car is out from under the engine hoist, don’t forget to chock the wheels to prevent it from rolling farther.
Step 13: Secure Engine on Stand
Once the engine has been removed from the car, prepare to secure it to the engine stand. Remove the flywheel or flexplate, and then bolt the mounting arms of the stand to the back of the engine. The arms of the engine stand are slotted, which allows for adjustment. Use a socket and ratchet to firmly tighten the bolts that hold the engine to the arm. The flywheel mount on the back of the crankshaft is asymmetrical, so be sure to place corresponding marks on the flywheel and crankshaft flange to assist with reinstallation after the engine has been rebuilt. Once the mounting arms have been secured to the bellhousing bolt holes at the back of the cylinder block, use the hoist to lower the engine to a point where the receiver of the engine stand aligns with the mounting arms. Keep some tension on the lifting chains until you are certain all components are secured. With the engine stand frame and mounting arms secured together, you can release the tension on the lifting chain and remove it from the engine.
Written by Charles Morris and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks