Engine install

The install itself was pretty straightforward, if nerve-wracking. An initial hiccup slowed us down, and probably had the effect of making us much more cautious when moving the engine about for the rest of the install.

When the engine was flat on the ground, a couple of days previous to the install, I’d cut the cable-tie holding the end cap on the gearbox to have a look at where the driveshaft would connect. I replaced the cap but not the cable-tie. Unfortunately, when I lifted the engine on install day, the oil in the gearbox ran to the end cap and as we got near the car, off it popped, spilling about half a cup of oil on the floor, just missing the RHS upright, before Barry dove in, grabbed the cap and got it back on. Later in the week Derek confirmed the gearbox is usually over-filled and if I could see oil through the gearstick aperture when the box is level in the chassis, the oil level is fine.

After a clear up we continued. We had the front axle stands on their lowest setting and the rear on the highest, so we needed slightly less angle on the engine. It still needed about 30 degrees – though well within range of the load leveller. It was a case of forward a touch, down a touch, straighten out a touch and watching all points of near-contact every time it moved.

As the gearbox worked it’s way down the transmission tunnel we put a jack under it to help with the rotation required and to stop it dropping too low. As it all dropped into place the closest point of contact was the sump bolt at the front LHS of the engine. It passed within a couple of mm of the lower chassis member. Once in the bellhousing and gearbox contact the heat shielding on either side, but only just. The gearbox housing is within a few mm of the chassis members – hopefully that’s right. Time and PBC will tell.

Just before the engine reached touchdown, I put the RHS engine mount back on and got the gearbox mount prepped. The manual talks of the rubber mount, and I went looking for one before one of my fellow builders (Martin – thank you) confirmed the rubber is in the mount.

With the engine resting on the mounts and rubber bushes, and the bolts loosely inserted, Barry started attaching the gearbox mount. However, one of the bolts would not turn beyond about 4 turns. On closer inspection it was angling over to the LHS of the hole. Repeated attempts to fit the bolt got nowhere so I turned to my tap kit.

It turns out my tap kit has common sizes and pitches up to M12. The bolt/thread in question was M14 x 1.5mm. I wasn’t getting the bolt in without clearing out that thread, so resorted to propping the gearbox up on a chassis cross-member with wood and threading the engine mount bolts further into the bushes. The hoist needed to stay in place, but I chose to slack off the tension in the chains, so that if the engine shifted more than a few mm, the hoist would take the weight. Into the house and onto the internet to order a tap of the right size and pitch.

No tool stores in the area stocked an M14 tap, so eBay was the destination of choice. A nervous few evenings checking the hoist and engine followed. The install day was a Sunday, the tap arrived Wednesday, and it was Sunday morning the following week before I could get out to the car.

Plenty of light oil on the tap, and fingertips only to turn it, I began to work the tap in, checking it’s alignment to the bottom of the casting with a set square. After a few attempts to pick up the thread, it caught the thread and started to work into the hole slowly. A quarter turn forwards, back  an eighth, forward a quarter and so on. The first four or five turns were the trickiest, but as the fluted tap caught more of the thread, the easier it got.

Swarf from the hole

Swarf from the hole

Reversing the tap out, the amount of crap on it surprised me. I guess in manufacture whatever process is used to clear the swarf did not work in this case.

With this job done, fitting the bolts, with threadlock and torquing them up took just a few minutes. Back to the front engine mounts and more torque wrench action and she was IN. A week of elapsed time but crikey, what a sense of achievement.

She's in!

She’s in!

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