Pulling the Engine and Transmission

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback engine transmission removal
Removal of the drivetrain is probably a normal part of any restoration activity, but for us it was a pretty momentous occasion because no one in our house had ever pulled an engine out of a car before. When you look into a full engine bay, it can be a little intimidating, but really it's pretty straightforward - you just have to remove everything that's not part of the structure of the car. Plus, compared to modern cars, just look at all that room you have to work with! 

In the pic below, you can see the full engine bay. The only things that have been removed are the cowl braces, the front shocks, and the battery. Recall from a previous post we've also removed the hood. Many folks say you can do this without removing the hood, which is fine for them - but we removed ours just so we wouldn't have to worry about it.

Before I show the actual engine-ectomy, there are two things to mention. First, the method we used to  remove the engine/transmission and second, the list of things that had to be removed before the engine hoist (a.k.a. 'cherry-picker') can even be brought into place.

To remove the 289 V8 engine from the Mustang engine bay, in a standard two-bay suburban garage with 9-foot ceilings and no lift (after disconnecting all the necessary accessories and interfaces,) you can do it a few different ways: you can just pull the engine by itself, leaving the transmission in the car -  or you can pull the engine/transmission together.

As it turns out, the latter is how the drivetrain was installed at the factory all those years ago. Granted, that was on an assembly line with a hoist, three guys, and a pit below the car, but it is possible. Again, you'll find lots of good ideas and opinions about this online. We chose to pull them together, and then separate the engine from the transmission after the whole mess was on the other side of the garage.

The other big question is where to actually 'pull' the engine from. Some folks use a carb plate that bolts onto the intake manifold in place of the carb, and just hook the hoist to the plate. The idea of nearly 600 pounds being held up by the threads of four vertically-mounted screws in the aluminium intake manifold gave me pause. Some say it works. My luck dictates I not take the chance and 'hope' for the best. I instead purchased this engine load leveler, and it was the right call. It connects to the iron heads at four widely-spaced points with grade-8 hardware and lets you adjust the fore/aft position of the engine by means of a large horizontal screw-driven rail. It makes more sense when you see it below.

Second, the list of things we removed/disconnected in order to pull the drivetrain. I won't show all of them, because it's unnecessary, but the list is impressive. In fairness, not all of this is necessary to 'just' pull an engine, and in some cases, you can leave some accessories on the engine if you have a lift and engine stand with enough capacity. The Ford Small Block V8 book from Tom Monroe is what I used to guide the process.

  1. Hood + wire harness for turn signal indicator hood
  2. Cowl braces
  3. Battery
  4. Hurst shifter from the top of the transmission
  5. The driveshaft has already been pulled as well as the exhaust system. But I think they count.
  6. Clutch linkage (called the 'Z-bar'), connected between the frame and the engine block.
  7. A/C Condenser, receiver dryer, compressor + brackets, and hoses. There was no pressure our system - if yours is still charged, don't disconnect any lines or vent the refrigerant you will!
  8. Carbs - our car has the 3x2 'Tri-Power' intake system on it. It's a cool setup, but the carbs are in the way of the hoist setup, so the carbs need to come off  plus the fuel lines and mechanical linkage. This is slightly more complex on the Tri-Power setup than a standard 2 or 4 barrel single carb system, but the idea is the same. 
  9. Drain the engine oil, transmission fluid, and the radiator coolant (which was not green at all - more to come on that later...)
  10. Radiator + hoses
  11. Alternator + brackets
  12. Oil filter and oil pressure sending unit
  13. the Heater outlet pipe on the intake manifold
  14. Coil + spark plug wires
  15. Engine bay wiring harness @ firewall.
  16. Dipstick
  17. Transmission brace  
  18. Plugged/bagged end of transmission to keep any residual fluid from pouring out when the transmission is lifted out at a 45-degree angle.
  19. Engine mount bolts - so half stays on the frame and the other half will fly with the engine.
  20. Jack up rear end of car and place on jackstands - this allows more clearance for the transmission to come out (not necessary if you have a pit or lift).
  21. Starter cable + solenoid wiring
  22. Distributor (interfered with the lift - be sure the mark the distributor and the block so you can install it back in the right place.)
Piece of cake!

The Tri-Power carb setup. Clearly in the way...

A/C underhood components. Be sure to label and document as you go. Ideally, you're also cleaning a little as you go as well.

Lifting the Toploader so we can get the hardware off that holds the gearbox to the brace and the brace to the car. When the lift happens the jack stays under the gearbox because it has wheels.

Attaching the load leveler to the engine at the heads - use grade 8 hardware (7/16 if I recall).

Another view of the load leveler attached to the engine.

Here's a nice shot that shows the rear axle up in the air to provide some extra clearance as the whole mess comes out of the car. We also had to push the car back a few feet to make room for the hoist to roll in and out. Be sure to check you have room to move and enough overhead clearance before doing the lift.

Whoa, here it comes! Two sets of hands are very helpful here.

There is is - 600 pounds of all-American Go-Fast machinery. The load leveler made this easy. The whole lift took under 30 minutes, and we're amateurs!

It's much easier to take the gearbox off in this position than from under the car.

We got a new engine stand from Communist Freight, and some grade 8 bolts to connect it to. And I even like the color.

And I think I'll stop here.


Nate said…
Communist Freight you say? but the quality and price go so well together there!
Adam said…
Yeah, it turns out that not every tool has to be top-grade. But for tools that require a higher degree of precision or calibration, Communist (Harbor) Freight maybe shouldn't be your first choice.