Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ripping Winky's guts out

Up to this point, I've been disassembling Winky all by myself. After several months in the garage I had come to the point where the engine had to come out. This time I called in reinforcements in the form of my LeMons teammates.

Here's my buddy Bob working on removing the coil packs so we could mount the lifting chains. I had spent the last two weeks carefully disconnecting every hose and wire attached to the engine. I abhor the "disconnect now, ask questions later" approach, so I took the time to label everything and to try and understand what exactly I was taking apart.

I have to say that the hoist (and load-leveler that came with it) worked like a dream. I think I probably could have removed the whole thing myself without too much trouble. I'm going to add the load-leveler to my list of favorite tools (along with my 1/2" breaker bar and my deep metric sockets). That gizmo made manuvering a 400+ lb. chunk of cast iron, aluminum and steel a piece of cake. Besides, pumping the hydraulics and turning the leveler handle made me feel like a 4 year old with a shiny new Tonka truck. Good stuff.

Speaking of which, here's me angling the assembly down to maneuver it out of the bay. Yep, it came out pretty easy. I was just starting to think I was the engine removal master, until I saw this under the car:

That would be the entire contents of my transmission spilled all over the floor. I had a catch pan ready to go, but in my excitement to use the hoist I neglected to put it under the tranny. Note to self - next time, drain the transmission oil first.

It took 20 lbs. of cheap cat litter to soak that mess up. Now my garage smells like an oil tanker hitting a herd of pooping cats. Not pleasant.

With the engine and transmission removed, it was on to separating my Siamese twins into two separate parts. The engine was destined for a stand that I'd just picked up from CraigsList, but I didn't have the necessary hardware to mount it so it'd have to sit on the floor for now.

This is the "catch of the day" shot. It felt pretty good to see the drivetrain swinging (gently) from the hoist. Craig (in the background) is doing his best to be supportive by drinking a cup of coffee.

After a few minutes of grunting, here's what we had:

I'm happy to say we managed to separate the tranny with only one stripped transmission bolt thread (doh!). Actually, I'm a little upset, but I'll get over it because:
  1. This is the first buggered thread since I started disassembling the car. One out of 3,238 ain't bad.
  2. It's on the oil pan, not the block, so it should be easy to replace (for $65 or so).
  3. It's an aluminum part, so what did I expect?
  4. I've always wondered how well heli-coils work.
  5. If this is the worst thing that happens during the build, I'll be a happy man.

I found a few other issues while I was giving the drivetrain a once over, but nothing that a few random parts won't fix.

At the end of the work day, I found this in the corner of my garage:

I can't say why that sight gives me so much joy, but now every time I see it I smile. Maybe because now it isn't a Miata's a Locost engine.

What lies ahead for my greasy new mill? First, mounting on a stand. Next is absolutely going to be a quick bath. After that, I may tear it apart a bit to see what I've got. I'm also mulling over doing a full tear-down and rebuild. It's a lot of work, but it'll need to be done anyway and it's a lot nicer to start the build with a good engine than know that as soon as I'm ready to drive it I'll have to pull it apart again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have seen a really nice plug that is plastic and cone shapped that you jam into the end of the trans after you slip the yoke out, it keeps the oil in and doesn't damage the seal.