The key word here is safety. Keep in mind that you’re about to jack up a vehicle weighing nearly two tons, disconnect lines carrying hazardous, potentially flammable liquids, and ultimately lift a 700-plus-pound engine off its mounts. Proper planning and preparation is a must.
Make sure your vehicle is on a level surface, and then drain the coolant and disconnect the battery cable. Keep in mind that opening the radiator petcock does not allow the coolant to drain completely from the block, so this will have to be dealt with separately. One alternative is to remove the lower radiator hose, which allows more coolant to drain. It might not be a bad idea to remove the battery from the car and safely store it, keeping it out of the way of an errant swing of the engine.
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Removing the hood provides working room and additional light, so this is a step I take very early on in the project. Getting the hood off the car and safely stored is a two-person job at minimum. I recommend padding the area of the cowl vent (at the back of the hood in front of the windshield) with old blankets and using covers on both fenders to protect the paint. With the hood out of the way and coolant drained, you can remove the upper and lower radiator hoses and transmission cooling lines (where applicable) from the radiator. In some applications, it may be necessary to remove the plastic fan shroud before you can remove the radiator from its mounts in the core support.
Work from the front of the engine to remove bolt-on parts—the cooling fan, belts, A/C compressor, alternator (wires should be marked prior to being disconnected), and power steering pump. Note that it may not be necessary to disconnect the power steering lines from the pump, as they are often flexible enough to allow the pump to be moved aside during engine removal.
Be sure to secure the power steering pump out of the way and take care not to kink the hoses while doing so. This is also true for the A/C compressor. However, if you need to separate the A/C compressor from the vehicle, you’ll need to properly evacuate the system first to avoid releasing contaminants into the atmosphere.
The lines attached to the fuel pump will also need to be removed prior to lifting the engine. These lines may consist of a length of hose, a hard line, or a combination of both. Be aware that some quantity of fuel will leak when the lines are disconnected, so be prepared to capture the fluid so that it can be properly disposed of.
Turning your attention to the top of the engine, all wiring harness connections and hoses (water and vacuum) should be properly marked for identification and then removed. The spark plug wires should be pulled from the plugs and then removed intact by releasing the cap from the distributor. I make it a practice to remove other potentially fragile components such as the ignition coil, valve covers, and carburetor at this point.
Step-1: Remove Battery
For safety, the positive lead (red cable in this case) has been removed from the battery before work begins. I prefer to remove the battery from the car entirely to keep it from being damaged and gain additional working room.
Step-2: Record Mounting Points (Documentation Required)
Before pulling an engine, I like to make a photographic record of all mounting points for bolt on components, routing of lines, hoses, and wires. Digital cameras are great for this.
Step-3: Record Hose Locations (Documentation Required)
With the shaker scoop and air cleaner assembly removed, we get a clear view and access to all hoses, wires, and linkages on the top of the engine. When it comes to hoses and wires in your engine compartment, its a good idea to back up your photo record by marking the location information masking tape.
Step-4: Remove Carburetor
Our 1970 Ford 429 Cobra Jet engine utilizes a Rochester carburetor, which is unusual for Fords of this era. The fact that the original identification tag remains in place (center of photo) will prove valuable in obtaining a rebuild kit for this carburetor.
Step-5: Air Conditioning
Here’s a close-up of the pressure lines connected to the A/C compressor. Do not remove these lines until you’ve properly evacuated the refrigerant from the system.
Step-6: Remove Hoses (Documentation Required)
Photos and tags for hose connection locations will ease reinstallation of the engine after rebuilding. In our case, we’re going to install new hoses and the aftermarket hose clamps with OE-type clamps.
Step-7: Remove Lines (Special Tool)
Line wrenches are a must when removing or tightening transmission cooling lines (pictured) and hard fuel lines. Regular wrenches can round-out the fittings.
Step-8: Remove Carburetor Linkage (Documentation Required)
It’s a good idea to take a detailed close-up photo of the carburetor linkage before removing it from the engine.
Step-9: Drain Coolant
Engine coolant should be drained into a marked receptacle (not onto the ground) and properly stored prior to being disposed of. Check with your municipal, county, or state offices as to local laws regarding the disposal of such materials. Many communities schedule times and places where materials such as antifreeze and used motor oil will be collected for recycling or disposal. Be aware that draining the radiator via its petcock or drain plug will not remove all the coolant from the system. Removing the lower radiator hose will help drain fluid from the engine block but some additional quantity will remain and need to be dealt with after the engine has been removed. Note: Before installing a rebuilt engine into a car, I make it a practice to replace one of the drain plugs in the block with a petcock that will allow me to drain the entire cooling system with the engine in the car.
Step-10: Remove and Inspect Hoses
Not only should you carefully note the location and routing of vacuum hoses but also take note of which hoses may be preformed and specific to a particular location on the engine. If you plan on reusing any hoses, they should be carefully examined first, and be aware that hoses often deteriorate from the inside. A vacuum leak caused by an unchecked hose can leave you scratching your head as to why your newly rebuilt engine does not run properly.
Step-11: Access Bolt-On Parts
At this point, we’ve removed the drive belts, hoses, distributor cap, and wires to gain access to bolt-on parts.
Step-12: Look for Interference
Note that hoses, wires, brackets, and (in this case) the automatic transmission kick-down lever run between the back of the engine and the firewall. If you don’t completely remove these prior to lifting the engine, you’ll need to take great care not to damage them. It’s a great idea to stop several times during an engine lift to determine if there are any interference problems.
Step-13: Remove Power Steering Pump
With the A/C compressor and lines removed, you’ll have access to the power steering pump (lower right in photo). Note: It may not be necessary to remove the lines from the power steering pump at this time. You may be able to unbolt it from its bracket and move it out of the way while the engine is removed. I use old lengths of wire to secure parts out of the way when pulling an engine.
Step-14: Remove Alternator
With all electrical connections marked for location, removed, and safely out of the way, the alternator and attaching brackets can be safely removed.
Step-15: Remove Fuel Lines
Next, remove the fuel lines, including the rubber hoses for vent and fuel feed and hard line for carburetor feed. Note: Some fuel will drain when lines are removed and should be properly captured and disposed of.
Step-16: Remove Valve Covers and Carburetor
Here we are preparing to lift the engine from the car. You may also choose to remove the valve covers and carburetor prior to affixing the lifting chain and hoist to avoid damage. Use a handy rag to prevent dirt from getting into the intake manifold after the carburetor is removed.
Step-17: Remove Radiator
Once you’ve removed the fan shroud and fan and disconnected the transmission cooling lines, you should be able to remove the radiator. This reveals the air conditioner condenser, and in our case, it’s obvious that a new condenser will be required.
Step-18: Attach Chain to Lifting Hooks
We were lucky enough to attach the lifting chain to the factory lifting hooks, which by being in place indicate that this engine has probably not been out of the car. If an engine does not have lifting hooks, remove two intake manifold bolts, one front and one rear, from opposite sides of the engine and replace them with longer bolts. Affix the lifting chain to these longer bolts. Note: Use only high-quality bolts, nuts, and washers in this process. Once the chain is in place, use the hoist to take up the slack and support the engine before getting under the car to remove remaining components and engine mounts.
Step-19: Lift the Engine
Here, the engine and transmission are being removed as a unit since both are to be rebuilt. However, it is not necessary to remove the transmission with the engine, since it may be safely unbolted from the engine while still in the vehicle. You might also note that the exhaust header pipes have been cut off rather than removed by unbolting the flanges. This was done in this case to speed the engine removal process since the exhaust will be replaced during the car’s restoration. Note: Prior to lifting the engine, the car should be taken off the jack stands and lowered to the ground, allowing it to roll. It is far easier and safer to roll the car during the lift than it is to roll the hoist, which can tip over.
Step-20: Special Considerations
The 1970 NASCAR Torino pace cars were fitted with specially modified oil pans (note the “wings” welded onto the sides of the pan) for running at high speeds on banked speedways). Great care was taken when lifting the engine over the core support so as not to damage this rare part and the support. Note: We left some automatic transmission cooling lines in place, so care must be taken not to bend them during engine removal.
Along with the carburetor, remove the hard line to the fuel pump, throttle cable, and any linkages such as transmission kickdown levers. Once the carburetor is removed, stuff a rag down into the intake manifold to keep foreign objects and dirt out of the engine. The carburetor will also contain some amount of fuel and may be drained by turning it upside down over a drain pan.
Now is a good time to set up the hoist and get ready to lift. If you are fortunate enough to have the factory lift brackets in place on your engine, these are the obvious points to attach your lift chain. (Note: Use only highgrade hardware such as bolts, nuts, and washers when attaching the lift chain to the engine). If you don’t have the lift brackets, I often remove and replace two intake manifold bolts with longer bolts, one front and one rear on opposite sides, and attach the chain to these. Once the chain is in place, you can take up the slack with your hoist as an additional safety measure before disconnecting the engine mounts.
Now you can jack the car up and get it on jack stands. Do not work with the jack alone. Stands are a must and cement blocks are out! Getting the car in the air will allow access to exhaust flanges and to drain the engine oil. (Remember to drain fluids into secure containers and dispose of them properly.)
If you are removing the engine and transmission together as a unit now, is the time to remove the driveshaft and transmission linkages. When you remove the driveshaft from the back of the transmission, it will be necessary to plug the tail shaft to prevent fluid from leaking. There are specific-sized plastic plugs available for this task, or an old drive shaft yoke will work great if you have one lying around. On vehicles with automatic transmissions, you have cooling lines that run to the radiator. Check these for brackets holding them to the engine, or if their routing takes them behind engine mount brackets. These lines are aluminum and you must take care not to damage them when removing the engine.
If you have a standard transmission, remove the shifter linkage from the transmission and clutch linkage connecting the car’s frame with the bellhousing. With either manual or automatic transmission, the speedometer cable connection to the transmission needs to be removed and plugged, followed in some cases by the back up light and/or neutral safety switch wiring. The transmission will be held to a crossmember via a mount. You may remove the mount bolts at this time, but do not remove the crossmember bolts before you have positioned a jack under the transmission to hold it in place.
If your intention is to remove just the engine and leave the transmission in place, your next step would be to remove the starter from the bellhousing. In the case of 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 (flex plate) by rotating the engine to gain access to the nuts. If you’re running a standard transmission, you need to remove the clutch linkage (equalizer bar) and return spring at this time.
You may now remove the bolts holding the bellhousing to the engine block, which will leave the engine supported on its mounts and the hoist. If you have the chains holding the engine tight, you can unbolt the engine mounts from the frame brackets and lift. At this point I prefer to lower the car if possible, since I have found that being able to move the car as the engine is lifted is easier and safer than attempting to move the hoist. Although I have performed this task solo, I recommend a second set of hands and eyes to assist in lifting the engine from the car.
Lift slowly, being careful to check for any wires, brackets, etc., that might be interfering with the engine. Continue lifting and move the vehicle as necessary until the lowest point of the engine will clear the core support. Once clear of the car, get the engine securely attached to an engine stand before releasing the remaining pressure on the hoist and removing the lift chain. Once the engine is secured to the stand, you can roll it to a suitable location for disassembly.
Written by Charles R. Morris and Republished with Permission of CarTech Inc