Swapping engines can be tricky, and not to mention dangerous, if you don't know what you are doing. They can weigh as little as 300 pounds, or more than 700, which leaves a lot of room for error with weight alone. Whether it's your first time trying to pull off this feat, or you're a seasoned veteran in the field, there are a few key tips to remember.
This list was created to help you understand the basics and key points stressed by professionals to anyone looking to perform an engine swap. You might have your own methods, but some of these hacks might make the job easier. Keep reading to learn ten things you should know about engine-swapping!
10 Have the Right Tools for the Job
This might be a no-brainer, but you should make sure you have all of the tools you need before starting this project. The most important piece of equipment you should buy is an engine hoist, to help you remove the old engine and put the new one in with ease. It might be a bit expensive, but it's worth it to avoid a potential injury.
You should also look into purchasing a torque wrench, socket set, engine stand, and an air socket wrench. The list is different for everyone depending on what needs to be done in order for it to work in your vehicle. It is also smart to start off with a few tools and buy the others as you go, as it can help save you some money.
9 Remove Everything in Your Way
It might seem annoying to have to remove more than just the engine block, but in the end it will make your life that much easier. Many people make the mistake of trying to work around a certain part or piece they don't want to remove, and they pay for it in time, as it increases the challenge of the swap. No one said this project was going to be easy, but that doesn't mean you have to make it that much more difficult by being too lazy to remove a troublesome part.
8 Make Sure to Do Your Research
You should always do your research before starting a project because you don't want to end up knee-deep in oil only to realize it won't work. The first step is to find the car service manual and learn everything you can about the space you will be working in.
It is also important that you understand how your particular engine runs and the specific components of the engine you plan to drop into your vehicle. It may seem like a lot of work, but knowing your playing field will do wonders when making the swap.
7 Drain the Oil and the Coolant
This is something a lot of first-timers forget, especially when they dive headfirst into the project. You want to make sure all of the fluids inside of the vehicle are drained because if not, it can become a huge insufferable mess. You don't want a mix of washer fluid, oil, coolant, and power steering fluid coating your body, as well as your new engine.
This is not only a disgusting way to work, but it can cause accidents and mistakes as the floor grows slick. Your work should matter to you, and one way to prove it does is to make sure you don't forget to drain your liquids.
6 Understand the Risks Before Going for the Reward
You should understand the amount of work that goes into these vehicles, and be able to figure out how to do it well. Oftentimes, people who have no idea what they are doing perform some shady repairs that result in a faulty engine. They use alternative methods that can lead to dangerous mishaps and potentially put everyone involved at risk.
If you plan on upgrading your steering and suspension at the same time as en engine swap, make sure you understand the complexity of the process. No one wants to see their pet project go up in flames (literally), but crazier things have happened when someone doesn't understand the risks of their actions.
5 Special Rules for Inline Engines
When performing an engine swap, you usually have to remove the intake manifold and the exhaust manifold. This is not the case with inline engines, as you have the luxury of disconnecting them and pushing them aside. It is about fourteen bolts, but it will save you a tremendous amount of time.
Usually, you would have to reconnect all of the sensors and plumbing when the new engine is dropped in, but it is not necessary when you choose an inline engine. This hack can be life-changing and we know you will appreciate it as much as we do
4 Expect Challenges to Arise
All engine swaps are not created equal, and the cars are ultimately changed by the end of the process. Your new engine might not fit with the hoses and other components from your old engine, which can put you in a predicament.
This is part of the reason why doing research is so important, so you know exactly what you might need in addition to the engine itself. It is always recommended you use an engine from the same manufacturer as they are generally easier to install, but putting in an engine from a different company is a whole other story.
3 Never Force Anything
It might be frustrating when pieces refuses to come out or go together, but forcing anything will only cause major damage. Many times, people try to pry something out of their car, but the problem is that there is still one bolt holding it together.
Another error is when people try to force the engine and transmission together, which is a huge mistake because these should fall easily together. If you crack your transmission because you tried to force something, you will not be happy. Damaging this is the last thing you want to happen, as it will lead to a costly replacement.
2 Understand the Effect of the Added Weight
This is true for anyone putting a different engine into their vehicle. People have been known to remove a 300-pound engine and place in a 600-pound engine without thinking about the consequences. Your car is only meant to carry so much weight, and adding a larger engine can cause it to bog down, or cause issues with your chassis and suspension.
It is definitely possible to do this, as we have seen with the classic American muscle cars, but it is not always smart. You want to ensure your car has a stable center of gravity and upgrade it to be able to handle this added weight.
1 Changing an Engine is More than Just Changing an Engine
Changing an engine is never as easy as changing an engine. You will spend more time in the scrapyard searching for pieces than you ever thought possible. There are several reports of people attempting this feat, only to end up with a piece of junk at the end of the day.
Your sweat and tears will mix with the dirt of your labor, and by the end of your project, you should feel glad because you achieved the impossible. It might be hard at times, but it is never enough to give up on your dream of performing an engine swap.