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Pulling the Engine – Insights…

There seems to always be a lot of questions and talk on social media and the forums about how to remove the engine from your 944-series car – through the top, under the car, remove the transmission, etc.  So here we thought we would look at the basics and try to clear up some of the big questions.

When built, the 944 driveline and suspension was assembled on one line with the body assembled on another line, then both mated together.  This means that the engine was bolted up to the crossmember, bolted to the torque tube and transmission, and it was all put up into the body together.  Many cars are built this way.

So let’s look at some of the issues.

  1. To take the engine out through the top, you have to remove the transaxle and move the torque tube back.  This is true.
  2. You can take the engine out through the top by dropping the crossmember and not removing the transaxle.  This is also true.
  3. Alternately, you can remove the engine by dropping it out the bottom without removing the transaxle.  This is also true.

Image result for removing a 944 engineThe arrangement of the engine, oil pan and crossmember are all in play here.  If you look at where the crossmember lives under the oil pan, you will see that the oil pan drops down right behind the crossmember.  It is very close.  To get the engine out through the top, you have to move it forward far enough to extract the driveshaft from the bell housing/clutch – about five inches/130 mm.  The crossmember will not allow you to move the engine forward that far.  So you have two choices – remove the transaxle to then move the torque tube/driveshaft back away from the engine and clutch, or you can remove/drop the crossmember to move it down (under) the engine and thus making it possible to move the engine forward in the bay and clear the driveshaft.  (Some will say that they have been able to wiggle the engine out through the top without removing the transaxle or dropping the crossmember.  We did it this way once and broke things along the way.  Not suggested.)

Out Through the Top

If you are going out through the top, there are plenty of instructions out there on how to do it.  Here we will provide some tips and wisdom.

  • Remove the hood, and mark where the hood bolts line up on the hinges for reinstallation.
  • Remove the radiator and drape a towel in front of the AC condenser to help protect it.
  • Remove the alternator as it gets in the way.  Remove the AC compressor and power steering pump and tie them out of the way under the car.
  • Remove the exhaust header to provide easy access to the engine mount bolts.
  • Decide in advance to replace the engine mounts.
  • Carefully remove and label the wiring harness ends
  • Carefully remove the rubber fuel lines, heater hoses and vacuum hoses.  Plan on replacing worn or old hoses and all vacuum lines.
  • Top Tip: If you are going to do it anyway for the job you are planning, remove the intake while the engine is still in the car.  Makes everything easier.

You can also take it out through the top without removing the transaxle by dropping the crossmember far enough to allow the engine to come forward, or removing it completely.  With this method, you need to remember that you will have to get the front end realigned after the job is done.  With the engine suspended from the top, remove the sway bar, disconnect the rack from the shaft and the crossmember, unbolt the crossmember and allow it to drop out of the way.

You may want to consider also disconnecting the lower control arms and removing the crossmember completely.  If you do this, there is a power steering line that is bolted to the top rear of the crossmember that will have to be disconnected from the crossmember.  With all that said, you should be able to create enough clearance to move the engine forward off the driveshaft without taking out the crossmember completely.

Related imageDropping it out the bottom requires that the car be raised far enough to allow you drag the engine out from under the car.  Without a lift, this could be a big problem.  The nose of the car will have to be about three feet/one meter in the air to get enough clearance.  You will also have to remove the steering rack and anything that goes across and under the engine.

So – the conclusion is this – remove the transaxle, the shifter, move the torque tube back and remove it from the top with the hood removed.  This also provides an opportunity to clean everything, spin-check the driveshaft bearings for noise, drain and refill the transaxle, regrease the CV joints and replace torn CV boots if needed.  If you have a lift, it is much easier.  If not, none of it is fun, regardless of which method you employ.

If you are going to have to move the car around while the engine is out, take out the transaxle and leave the crossmember alone – at least you can roll the car while the engine is out.

This is not a “fun” job, but removing the engine, rebuilding it and putting it back in is quite rewarding.  Good luck!

Kevin Duffy, Author and Chief Geek View All

Kevin Duffy is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He divides his time between teaching criminal justice topics in the online environment and working on/driving cars, particularly Porsches. Kevin is one of the principals in InspiringLifeOver50.com.

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