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Old 03-10-2012, 03:11 PM   #1
BIGGUNDOCTOR
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Default Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

I need to rebuild the engine in my 98 SW2 5 spd after 293,000+ miles. Looking at the car, it appears that it shouldn't be that big of a deal to drop the entire drivetrain out the bottom, just reverse of how the factory puts it in. Has anyone done this? I have a 8K cap. forklift with long fork extensions that I can use to lift the car up with. It looks like a matter of dropping the exhaust, disconnecting the radiator, steering, unbolting AC at mount, and disconnecting the shifter cables, and wiring harness. Am I missing anything? Does the K-frame align back into place on the body during installation, or would it have to go to a body shop for alignment? It just seems it would be a lot easier to deal with the whole mess as a unit out of the car, as opposed to in the engine bay.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

There are holes to align the subframe when you reinstall it (but you will definitely need a wheel alignment), however, it's a LOT easier and safer to take it out the top. If you were just removing the transmission than it's a bit faster to go out the bottom, but for the engine, or engine and transmission, the top is far easier. (I've never tried dropping the engine out the bottom, but I've pulled them out the top several times, and dropped a transmission by itself out the bottom, which was faster than removing the engine to pull it out the top, but still a pain).

Unless you have a lift, it's hard to safely drop the whole thing out the bottom. It can be done, certainly, but it's very difficult to find a safe way to do it.

Pulling it out the top is easy. Disconnect everything and lift it up... nothing hard about it. With a manual transmission, it has been suggested that it's easier to pull the engine and transmission together; I don't know for sure. With automatics, just put a jack under the transmission, unbolt it, and lift the engine. And, if you go out the top, you don't need to have the wheels aligned (assuming you don't have the equipment to do that yourself, it will save at least an hour of your time and $80-$100).
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

Cool, thanks for the heads up. I am used to RWD cars,and trucks, so this will be my first FWD engine pull.


Since I will have the engine out I plan on doing the clutch too, even though it is still working. Figure the time saved is worth doing it now. Any suggestions on what else to do while it is out? The alternator looks like it is a pain to get to, so maybe do that too? Anything in the 5 speed trans to rebuild / replace, or is it just easier to swap it out when it goes? I was getting a really slight whine when I let off the gas on a downhill that went away with acceleration. Probably gear backlash after all of the miles I have racked up, but could also be something else.

I commute 206 miles a day, 1,030 miles a week, and then travel to Las Vegas on the weekends which is another 120-200 miles. This car has done really well for me, and I need to make it last as long as I can. The 40 mpg is real nice right now.

One thing I would like to possibly do is put some cams in that would give better low end torque. I have a few steep hills between home, and work, and I noticed that when I turn on the AC the engine pulls down. During the summer, the AC will drop my mileage 3-5 mpg. Is there a cam set that would boost the low end, but not wipe out my fuel economy? The theory being if the engine doesn't have to work as hard (more torque) the economy won't suffer greatly, but I realize you cannot get more power without more fuel, so there is a trade off.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

I did mine out the bottom cause it was a 5 sp, but I have a hoist and a friend had a elec/ hydralic table to do it like the factory, Nice since we both worked there, but u can if u loosen trans enough to clear clutch, starter has to come out regardless of tran style. now I do mine with auto from the top, not to bad u might get a haynes manual for help
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Old 03-10-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGGUNDOCTOR View Post
Since I will have the engine out I plan on doing the clutch too, even though it is still working. Figure the time saved is worth doing it now. Any suggestions on what else to do while it is out? The alternator looks like it is a pain to get to, so maybe do that too?
The alternator isn't really that hard to do in the car: you reach it from the bottom, however, since it's getting up there in miles and it's real PITA if it fails when you're not close to home, it's probably a good idea to replace it or rebuild it (rebuild it, or have an alternator shop do it, if possible, because some of the parts store rebuilds may have some quality control issues).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGGUNDOCTOR View Post
One thing I would like to possibly do is put some cams in that would give better low end torque. I have a few steep hills between home, and work, and I noticed that when I turn on the AC the engine pulls down. During the summer, the AC will drop my mileage 3-5 mpg. Is there a cam set that would boost the low end, but not wipe out my fuel economy? The theory being if the engine doesn't have to work as hard (more torque) the economy won't suffer greatly, but I realize you cannot get more power without more fuel, so there is a trade off.

Thanks for the info.
Sorry. There's no such cam. You can swap in a second intake cam in place of the exhaust cam (refer to a recent thread labeled "sixthsphere cam mod" or something like that) but that will reduce your mileage by 2-3mpg and probably won't help at all until you reach higher rpms (4k and above as a rough guess). SDA Street cams (~$350) are the next mild option, but they're made for top end power, not torque. They're pretty mild, so I don't think they'll hurt low-end power much, but they certainly won't help it. The other options (Gude is the only one I know of) are even more aggressive, and will reduce low-end power. If you were really motivated, you could figure out some specs and have some cams custom ground, but that will be expensive and probably not worth it.

You could get some adjustable cam gears (Fidanza, ~$200+) and advance the timing a bit with stock or dual intake cams, but I don't think you'll see much of a difference.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

the very first one we removed from the top and will never do so again. jack car up both sides with floor jacks. do all your disconnects. remove calipers (leave brake lines attatched) drop engine, trans, strut towers and all will come down with the carriage using engine hoist.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

Use a load leveller with a hoist. You got a manual, so it will have to come out with the engine. Very simple and easy using a hoist and leveller out the top.The load leveller makes it so much easier than just the hoist alone. Coming out the top is WAY easier than out the bottom, when pulling both engine and tranny together.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGGUNDOCTOR View Post
Any suggestions on what else to do while it is out?
I was going to suggest an MP2 transmission, but you'd lose cruise control and if you are feeling the need for more torque on teh hills, you may not want the taller 5th gear.

Then again, dropping down to the MP2 4th gear for the hills might be what you want. You'd still end up with more MPG overall.

You've read the threads about drilling holes or buying pistons with the oil drain hole pre-drilled?

Low Saturn's tip about replacing the top starter bolt with a manifold stud is one I like - small thing, but if/when you have to replace the starter makes your life a lot easier.

Good time to back flush the heater core.
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

Well, this is aggravating. I will have to see why I am not getting notifications on this thread.

Thanks for all of the information. I live out of my vehicles for the most part now. I commute 206 miles round trip a day, and with the trips into Las Vegas on the weekends I rack up a lot of freeway miles-- 50K plus a year. I had wondered about a taller 5th gear to get the revs down on the freeway. Summer here is brutal,100+ everyday for 3 months, and the AC gets a workout. Unfortunately the SW2 doesn't have the torque of the Cummins in my truck, so the AC drops the mileage, and power a noticeable amount. Although @ 35 mpg w/ac it is still better than the 18mpg in the truck.

I have seen the list of recommended rebuild parts, and will take the advice given. I just trailered the car up to my coworker's place so we can get to it after work. Plus he has a nice concrete driveway, something I don't have.

I plan on knocking out what I can afford while the engine is out, and things are easier to get to. Starter, alternator, clutch, look over the rubber boots, etc. The heat, and UV rays eat rubber like it is candy here in the desert.

One of the engine rebuilders that I am considering can do balancing to .02 of a gram for a reasonable cost. Is this necessary for these newer engines? My friend had his 454 balanced, and the before weights were all over the place. I would suspect that any factory engine will not be as balanced as it could be due to production costs. I just want to get the most life I can out of the engine. These wagons are hard to find down here, and they are getting higher prices than what I paid back in 07. I know what this car has been through, and figure that it is worth rebuilding vs buying another car w/100k+ on it.

Thanks again for the info. I will post how it went.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

Hadn't heard about any one else balancing these engines, but considered weighing the pistons, rings etc to match up for best balance when I did mine.

Aerospace 303 has a good reputation for anti-UV on interior parts like the dash - don't know if it would help on your rubber hoses and it wouldn't help against heat. I do have some custom silicone radiator hoses for another car but I don't know if there's anything like that or generic silicone hoses available for the saturns.

Driving 50k a year, wouldn't take long at all to get your money back on small mpg improvements
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

Hmmm, not having much luck finding them recommended parts list for engine rebuilding. Times like this I wish we had better (way faster) internet service out here in DaBoonies.

I seem to remember Fel-Pro gasket set, and Sealed Power pistons? I know the pistons need to have a drain hole in them.

Yep, I rack the miles up following the paycheck. Not much call for a tool maker, or plant maintenance mechanic in the Las Vegas area. Plan on starting another business this year to get out of the commute to Utah, and be closer to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada. I bought this car with 98K on it, and in 4 years put almost 200K more on it. In that time I have changed the radiator -split tank, battery, just did the front brakes, and 3 sets of tires. The Pirelli T5's came with an 85K tread wear warranty, and it looks like they will make it. Most of my mileage is all freeway miles, very little in town, so my brakes, clutch, and other parts last a lot longer than normal. My 01 Dodge 3500 Cummins has 255K+ on it now. Brakes lasted 100K , original clutch, and this has been with a trailer on the hitch for most of its life.

Best mileage in the SW2 was 42, or 43 mpg - I could literally coast a total of 15 miles of my commute then. I average 40 during the winter, and 35-37 in the summer. Yea, I drive like a little ol' lady most of the time, and use the common mpg booster tips.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

felpro gaskets - 260-1641 and cs9971
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

I hear ya on the low internet in da boonies You can drill your own pistons

Below is my collection of notes and links on the oil drain holes for the pistons - I am about a year or two away from starting a rebuild. Probably some of the quoted stuff is from different threads but unfortunately I did not separate them - for example, the first quote is probably 3 different posters. I think Low Saturn is the one in the middle that does no piston drilling (re-uses the piston)

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...=176648&page=2

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=122148

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...on+wrist+drill
Quote:
Wolfman said he recommended the Total Seal conventional classics

I have found that simply using the rings I recommended have solved the oil usage issues on every in-frame I have done, with no piston modification needed.

drill 6 holes in the oil control ring groove. Id say 1/16" is plenty big. it wont hurt anything. my wiseco pistons came this way, for the same reason.
Oldnuc http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...on+wrist+drill
Quote:
You drill 6 or 8 evenly spaced holes 1/16" diameter through the oil control ring land into the center area. Do not put a hole in line with the wrist pin axis. using the wrist pin axis as 0 degrees for 8 holes displace 22.5 degrees and drill the first hole. Continue every 45 degrees until you are done. Displace 30 degrees for 6 holes. The lower edge of the hole should be just above the bottom of the land or you can center it in the land and then ream to get close to both edges
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...turns+burn+oil

Quote:
You drill 6 or 8 evenly spaced holes 1/16" diameter through the oil control ring land into the center area. Do not put a hole in line with the wrist pin axis. using the wrist pin axis as 0 degrees for 8 holes displace 22.5 degrees and drill the first hole. Continue every 45 degrees until you are done. Displace 30 degrees for 6 holes. The lower edge of the hole should be just above the bottom of the land or you can center it in the land and then ream to get close to both edges.

One of the more recent threads involved DIYguy who has done the mod. There are aftermarket pistons available with 4 fairly large holes extending below the oil control ring land.

You need a drill press and a dividing plate to do this the easy way. or a drill press, vee block and careful setup would work also.

Did this last year on a 2001 DOHC engine. The pistons drill very easy with the drill press maybe 5-10 seconds per hole. Just make sure to clean out the burs around the holes (both inside and outside) and remove all the dust and shavings. With 15,000 miles on these pistons the engine is running perfectly. Currently not burning any oil. I guess I will have to waits another 80,000-100,000 miles to tell if these holes have any effect on oil consumption.

If you went with the 6 holes you have to ream them to as large as will fit in the land. The 8 will work at 1/8 inch. I think the previous post where I said 1/16 is too small, temporary loss of mind. You want the hole as large as you can get without running into problems. Measure the oil ring grove in your pistons and use the closest smaller fractional size drill. You want about 1/64 clearance between the hole and the top and bottom of the grove. It is not that critical as long as there are enough and they are large enough to drain the oil ring spacer area.

The number of holes and the location determines how much oil is removed by the rings. With the present crop of both dino and synthetic oils that posses a very high film strength as compared to the oils of 10 years ago I would think that 8 1/8" holes is the max you would want and 6 reamed out to the max available space would effectively be the same. locating 4 1/8 holes on the thrust face of the piston would work also as the holes close to the wrist pin don't do much. If I were going to go with only 4 holes I would place them 45 degrees from the wrist pin axis.

I have been studying the "holes in pistons" threads and I too had doubts / anxiety. Well, this last weekend, I tore down a 95 SC2 DOHC with 142k and passing enough oil through the engine to subsidize a fine education for children of the Oil Barons. The compression rings had a bit of build up, but the oil rings were packed solid with crud. Soaked the pistons in the sun for a day in a pan of ammonia, that loosened nearly all of it, the rest cleaned up with brake cleaner (the good stuff).

The drill bit size that seemed to fit best was a 3/32". (some post 1/16 & other say 1/8, it seems that 3/32 keeps a comfortable distance from both top and bottom walls) I drilled 2 holes on each side at about 45-60 degrees off the the wrist pin axis. I put the head on last night and hope to fire it up in the next 48 hrs. I hope the cat isnt plugged!!

Pilot drill with a 1/8 drill and finish with a 3/32. Use a V block and a drill press. 3/32 is probably the ideal size. I drill lots of holes and was working from memory. No notes either. I should not do that memory is weak

The problem is not excessive oil on the cylinder walls it is the accumulation of carbon in the oil control ring separator. Each of the scraper rings constitutes a knife edge filter, very efficient. The lower ring scrapes on the up stroke and the upper on the down stroke. The oil and carbon lands in the separator area. The flow path to the existing notches is long and torturous. This results in a low flow velocity, this means the heavy particles sink. So you end up with carbon build up. Now by drilling some additional drain holes in the high thrust areas you provide a path to dump the carbon into the pan before the flow velocity drops. Most oil is scraped off of the thrust sides of the piston. Four large holes will work but 6 smaller ones is better and easier for the home machinist to pull off.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:26 AM   #14
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Default Re: Engine removal out the bottom, or top?

@ alordofchaos Thanks for taking the time to post that. @ 293,000+ I doubt that my pistons will be reusable, but I can use this info when shopping for the new ones.
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