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Old 06-26-2003, 09:20 AM   #1
meseville
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Default Engine swap. First time questions?

It's time to get my hands dirty with my first front wheel drive engine swap.
My previous experience with engine swaps were on "front engine rear drives" and "rear engine rear drives" so my questions will deal mainly with front wheel drive concerns.

The doner car is a 1994 SL1 manual drive with 95,000 miles totaled in a left front fender hit, cradle slightly bent, steering rod is bent. It has the non-Freon air conditioner. There is no sign of any fluid leaks. The paper trail shows the maintenance from 70,000 to 95,000 was: oil changed about every 3500 miles; serpentine tensioner & idler pully at 70,000; alternator plus calipers, pads, rotors at 87,700; front motor mount sat (the top mount) at 90,900; new clutch at 94,800 (Hum, only 200 miles on new clutch).

The receiver car is a one year older, 1993, SL1 automatic with 165,000 miles with bad motor. Original engine & transmission. Body is fine. No history.

This project is a go. I have striped the donor car with plans to remove engine & transmission today or tomorrow out the top.

I appreciate any suggestions on saving money, time, or other helpful advice. I have a shop manual for 1995 Saturns but sometimes its a little vage.

Current qustions:
1) Should I consider using the manual tranmission from the donor (95,000) instead of the original automatic (165,000)? If so what about the clutch pedal, shifting linkage, computer, misc wiring? The doner car has these, are they easily mover over?
2) The doner is a non-freon air conditioner with no damage except the metel tube between the drier and the fire wall has two dents. The 93 SL1 has a freon unit. Should I switch? If so which parts do I need from the doner car?
3) How do the axles come out of the transmission? Do the axles attach external to the transmission (i.e. do not touch the transmission oil) or do they connect internal (do contact the transmission oil)? You would think the Saturn shop manual would describe this in great detail but I can't see were.
4) The hit to the right front of the doner car pushed the wheel toward the drivers door about 2" and bent the steering rod a lot and slightly pushed in the cradle maybe 0.1 to 0.2", the axle looks fine. Could this have caused a problen to the transmission? If so what should I look for?
5) With the engine/transmission out should I inspect anything or replace anything?
6) Can I remove the receiving car's engine & automatic transmission from the top without desturbing the cradle? This is the keeper car so what is the minimun of stuff (eg. radiator or master cylinder or etc.) that needs to be removed?

SCHEDULE: The donor engine & transmission will probably be removed today or tomorrow. I will be junking the donor car before I install the engine into the 1993 SL1, so any suggestions on what I need before the donor gets junked needs to be suggested quickly. The earliest date for installing into the keeper car is around July 4.

Sorry for this long, long, long letter, but hopefully it will trigger some excellent suggestions from this forum.

Thanks,
Bob from Cincinnati

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Old 06-26-2003, 10:44 AM   #2
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Correction. I have found the axle removal section in the shop manual.

Bob

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Old 06-26-2003, 04:37 PM   #3
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Use the UNASSEMBLED clutch from the donor car (leave it bolted to the engine) and scavange the throw out bearing and clutch fork as well once the engine is out, at 200 miles it is still NEW and would not go bad just sitting there. SInce you have all the parts right there anyway do a automatic to manual swap while things are apart. (If desired) If not, then your transaxle will bolt right up once you swap your flexplate onto the the donor car's engine.

Use the NEWER R134a compressor off the donor car, remove and reuse the expansion valve and lines from it as well.


Engine WILL come out the top, BUT, REMOVE the crankshaft pulley(S) to gain extra clearance and keep in mind you MUST angle the engine UP at about 40 degrees on the passenger side to get it to clear everything.

REMOVE the radiator from the "keeper" car completely to prevent damage (I know it looks like you have lots of room but better safe than sorry and the radiator is easy to remove/replace)

...
Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein

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Old 06-26-2003, 09:33 PM   #4
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My advice on top of Wolfmans would be to keep the donor car until the all the work is done on your car and it is up and runing and proven that there are no problems. When doing this kind of sap it will be the little things that you forget to get off of the donor car and you desperately need.

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Old 06-27-2003, 04:39 PM   #5
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I've replaced a motor, but never done an Auto to Manual conversion (sounds like a project!). I would agree that the donor should be kept until you know everyting is working. It will be much cheaper than trying to buy that little part back from the salvage yard. We put a '99 SOHC in a '95 with only one hitch: the '99 motor had no hole in the valve head to thread the H2O temp sensor...the one that sends to the guage. Perhaps in '99 the PCM itself sent the signal to the guage or was "dummy light only" Instead of drilling the valve head my dad came up with a brilliant solution of adding a custom drilled "L" brass fitting to the upper tubing that goes (if I remember) to the overflow tank. The sensor read a bit shy at that point but did the trick!

So keep the donor for those little parts. The 1st gen S cars are all pretty similar, but there were slight changes from year to year. An auto to manny tranny swap is a whole 'nother story.

Since we kept the tranny in, we did find that we had to disassemble the DS ball joint assembly to get the half shaft out and move the tranny as far into the fenderwell as we could. Was still a narrow pluck to get it out - I don't think it can be done without removing all of the pulleys.

That said I have no idea how tight it is pulling the motor with tranny attached. (any opinions here guys?) The half shafts would still need to be removed I guess.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!!

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Old 06-28-2003, 12:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by MiNiMaTiC
the '99 motor had no hole in the valve head to thread the H2O temp sensor...the one that sends to the guage. Perhaps in '99 the PCM itself sent the signal to the guage or was "dummy light only"
yes, with OBD2 (96+), the guages all run through the PCM. On OBD1, the guages get their signals from the engine itself, so there was no need for the extra temp sensor on the 96+ heads.

Quote:

That said I have no idea how tight it is pulling the motor with tranny attached.
a manual can be pulled out the top with the tranny attached. you can even do it with the crank pully attached, but it will rub just a bit on the spaceframe. I know, because I did it.

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Old 06-28-2003, 12:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Engine swap. First time questions?

Quote:
Originally posted by meseville

2) The doner is a non-freon air conditioner with no damage except the metel tube between the drier and the fire wall has two dents. The 93 SL1 has a freon unit. Should I switch? If so which parts do I need from the doner car?
What I did was to unbolt the compressor from the bracket (you could also just unbolt the bracket...), and set it over the driver's side headlight. Simple, effective, and you don't have to mess with swapping any of it.

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Old 06-28-2003, 01:26 AM   #8
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Good info Kev! ah yes of course ODBII, I now have a 96 and thats what it is. ODBII was a smart industry move for everyone, but couldn't they have designed all cars to be accesible without a scanner?

I wish I could still use the paper clip trick on the data port to flash any trouble codes like the older PCM's. I always thought that was so cool.

-- So seriously guys --
how much modification is required to turn an auto into a stick? Does a pre ODB2 differ for AT v. MT? Is there a hole already in the firewall for the master cyl/clutch pedal assy.? The shifter assy & cables seem pretty easy. Who's done it?

IMO manual tranny is the only way to fly nicely geared on both motors. (shifters feel shaky though) When I bought my last satty that was my #1 Criteria! Auto trannys feel like driving a golf cart to me (c:

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Old 06-28-2003, 07:53 AM   #9
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Engine pull from donor off schedule by about one day because the axles took so long to pull (6 hours) but other then that, things are progressing smoothly. Just need to disconnect the power steering, the vacuum brake line, one fuel line, and the engine mounts to be able to pull donor engine.

Lessens learned: Loosen crank pulley (manual transmission) before the axles are removed because you can use the brakes to hold engine while braking the crank bolt. Remove the starter prior to removing all the electrical connectors at the back of the engine (except for the two connectors to the starter).

Questions:
1) My automatic transmission has 160,000 miles. What is the normal life span for an automatic?
2) Can anyone confirm that an engine connected to an AUTOMATIC transmission can be pulled out the top?
3) If I do convert to a manual transmission should I us the 94 PCM (manual transmission) instead of the 93 PCM (automatic transmission)? Are the PCM's plug and size compatible between 93 & 94?

Thanks,


Bob

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Old 06-28-2003, 11:23 AM   #10
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I'm not sure about your transmission questions. I think at 160k miles your auto tranny could be ready to die, or it might be good for another 160k miles. A lot depends on how it was driven and maintained. If you have no service history on it, I would presume the worst. How badly do you want an automatic? One other thing when you get near the end of the job. I would reccomend installing a new accumulator/drier on your ac. The accumulator/drier is the filter on your ac system, and also removes moisture from the freon charge.

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Old 06-28-2003, 04:11 PM   #11
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Update!

Donor engine/transmission is now out of car. No problems or damage to engine, transmission, or car. In fact no cuts, scrapes, or mashed fingers to myself (thats a first). With the car on jack stands I was able to pull it with a cherry picker with the top of the boom only rising to 6'6"! That means a Saturn engine could be pulled inside a standard house garage.

Lessens learned: A lot of the electrical, mechanical, gas, etc. connections to the back side of the engine can be much easier connected/disconnected with the engine/transmission raised 2-4" and pulled forward 4-6". I will try that with the engine removeal/instellation on the receiver car next. Safety is vary important, so I will make sure the engine/transmission is secured by much more than the cherry picker before I put my hands behind the engine.

Still looking for answer to: If I do convert to a manual transmission should I use the 94 PCM (manual transmission) instead of the 93 PCM (automatic transmission)? Are the PCM's plug and size compatible between 93 & 94?

On the lighter side, comments like "Auto trannys feel like driving a golf cart to me" distracts me. I've already stopped working on the Saturn 3 times this week to go play golf. Just kidding on the auto trannys comment, My running 95 SL1 with automatic does not have much power and my 93 will have less power if I retain the automatic.

Thanks,
Bob

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Old 06-28-2003, 07:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by meseville

Lessens learned: A lot of the electrical, mechanical, gas, etc. connections to the back side of the engine can be much easier connected/disconnected with the engine/transmission raised 2-4" and pulled forward 4-6".
Actually, I'd disconnect the harness from the PCM & fuse block, and remove it with the engine - then disconnect & reconnect the wires while the engine is out of the car.

Quote:
Still looking for answer to: If I do convert to a manual transmission should I use the 94 PCM (manual transmission) instead of the 93 PCM (automatic transmission)? Are the PCM's plug and size compatible between 93 & 94?
Use the PCM that matches the tranny.

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Old 06-28-2003, 07:40 PM   #13
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Thanks Kevsc1. Thats probably a much better way. I just looked over the fuse block on the donor and it as easy as you said. Since I have the right front fender off I see a harnes that runs from near the fuse box to near the front door before it enters the car, it probably goes to the PCM. I'll remove the PCM tomorrow. I'll use you suggestion on the receiver car next week. Do I need to remove the fender to get to the PMC harnes on the receiver car?

Thanks,
Bob

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Old 06-29-2003, 12:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by meseville
Thanks Kevsc1.
Any time.
Quote:
Do I need to remove the fender to get to the PMC harnes on the receiver car?
No, just the fender liner.

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Old 07-01-2003, 10:41 PM   #15
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if i were you i would scrap the idea of converting the tranny more work than id want to put into the car easier to swap flywheels thers a big time saver .

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Old 07-06-2003, 01:18 PM   #16
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Update!

Receiver car's engine/transmission is now out of car. No problems except disconnecting the automatic transmission's shift cable. Disconnecting the automatic's shift cable was so much more dificult than disconnecting the manual's shift cable because the automatic connects to the belhousing with different style clips.

Lessens learned: Disconnect the transmission mount from the transmission prior to pulling the drive train. I left the mount connected to the transmission and removed the nut connecting the mount to the car, resulting in breaking the mount. I hope the good mount from the manual transmission will work on the automatic transmission.

Have not lost interest yet, but with the afternoon temperature reaching 90 with high humidity, I have been taking quite a few breakes.

Bob

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Old 08-02-2003, 10:50 PM   #17
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This is a wrap up on this engine switch. I stayed with the original automatic with just changing the three oil seals. The car at first failed to start with much backfiring through the throttle body. The backfiring was corrected with replacement spark plugs. A fault code of 22 was registered, "low voltage from throttle position sensor. This was corrected with a position sensor from the bad engine. The oil check light lite up when the engine started, the valve train was totally silent as was the timming chain, so I suspected that the oil pressure was ok. Replaced the oil sending sensor with the sensor off the junk engine, same thing. Bought a new oil sensor, it's working fine with no oil light being lite. Engine starts and idles very smooth. Drives fine. Only other problem was a slight gasoline leak at the throttle body. It was easily fixed with teflon tape. This tape is one of the best things that ever happened to the car repair game.

Thanks for all the assistance.

Bob

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Old 08-03-2003, 12:33 AM   #18
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I love teflon tape as much as the next guy, but it is not meant to seal gasoline. over time, your leak will likely resurface, with potentially hazardous results. If the line is leaking get a new o-ring. If the TB fitting is leaking, geat a new gasket/washer. I would hate to see your successful swap consumed by fire...

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