A Guide to Disassembling Your Car Engine and Install an Engine Rebuild Kit

close-up of car engine
Source: wixsite.com

No matter whether you’re a gearhead or everyday Joe, you might find the need to rebuild your car’s engine. Some people do it to improve performance, while others do it as a means to prolong their engine’s longevity. Some people are just curious about what’s actually going on inside of a car engine. No matter your reasons, there are a couple of things you should know about before you start disassembling your engine or shopping for car engine rebuild kits. Follow the steps listed in this article to ensure your engine is as good as new by the time you’re done taking it apart and put it back together. 

Do Your Due Diligence and Come Up With a Plan

close-up of car rebuild engine kit
Source: carbahnautoworks.com

This sounds like a no-brainer. You obviously need to do your research on the car engine rebuild kits you’re considering, and you need to plan out how you’re going to rebuild your engine. There are a few important questions you should ask yourself to narrow down your choices and come up with a fool-proof plan. What type of engine am I going to rebuild? What performance do I need out of it? How much am I willing to spend? How much time do I have? Finding an answer to all of these questions will be of great help, and you can save a lot of time, money and stress down the road. There are many online videos and articles you can check out that will give you step-by-step instructions about how to disassemble and build the engine of your particular car model, make and year. Use the internet to your advantage and to ensure you know what you’re doing.

Disassembling Your Engine

Disassembling  car engine
Source: rennlist.com

If you need to remove the engine from your car, you’ll need an engine hoist to take it out from the engine bay. You can then put it on an engine stand. After doing that, took off all the engine accessories, including the power steering pump, alternator, air-con compressor, water pump, accessory brackets and pulleys. Refer to your owner manual or internet sources for information on how to remove the accessories for your particular vehicle model, make and year. After you’ve removed all the parts and accessories, organise them tidily and label them so you know what is what later. 

Then, you have to disassemble the engine itself, including the carburetor, valley pan, valve covers and intake distributor. You should start off by removing the bolts that hold the carburetor to the intake manifold. If your engine doesn’t have a carburetor, just skip this step. Further, remove the valve covers by removing the bolts on each valve cover. If you have a Pontiac engine, you’ll have to remove the coolant bypass bolt that connects the intake manifold to the timing cover, otherwise, just skip this step.

Next, you’ll have to remove the intake manifold by removing the bolts holding it to the cylinder heads. If you have studs instead of bolts, make sure to note where they’re located. Once the bolts or studs are removed, lift the intake manifold to gain access to the valley pan. The intake manifold on some engines can be as heavy as 20-25kg, so be wary as to not drop it. Then, remove the valley pan by removing the bolts. If you’ve never seen what an engine looks like before, take the time to appreciate all the ingenious engineering that goes into designing them. Lastly, remove the distributor. In order to do this, you might need a solvent to make the process easier.

Now it’s time to remove the rocker arms, which are usually attached with a curved nut and washer. The rocker arms should slide off easily once you remove the washer and nut. Once you remove the rocker arms, you need to remove the pushrods by simply pulling them out. Then, remove the lifters with the help of some penetrating fluid. Slide them up and down until they come out. If you’re having trouble, you can use a lifter removal tool. Lastly, you’ll have to remove the cylinder heads which are attached with bolts that vary in lengths. Once you remove the bolts, make sure you organise them properly so you have an easy time figuring out which bolt goes where when you need to assemble it.

Then it’s time to remove the harmonic balancer. This is done by turning over the engine and threading the bolt into the flywheel bolt hole located on the rear of the crankshaft. Rotate the crankshaft while removing the bolt to lock it against the engine stand. Remove the balancer bolt with a breaker bar or impact wrench. Once removed, you’ll need to use a harmonic balancer puller to separate the balancer from the crankshaft. Furthermore, you’ll have to remove the oil pan by removing the bolts holding it. Then, remove the timing cover by removing the studs and bolts holding it, including those holding the fuel pump eccentric to the camshaft. This, in turn, will allow you to remove the timing chain and gears. Lastly, remove the camshaft by removing the bolts that hold the camshaft thrust plate. Once the plate is removed, the camshaft can be pulled out.

You’re almost done, but not quite yet! You still have to remove the oil pump driveshaft and the oil pan baffle that are secured with a few bolts. Lastly, you have to remove the pistons by removing the rod caps and pistons one by one so you don’t get them mixed up. Start off by removing the rod cap nuts, then the cap itself. You may need to use a rubber hammer to get the cap loose. Once you remove the caps, use a long rubber handle to remove the piston. Once you remove the piston, remove the main caps by removing the bolts on each cap. After all the caps are removed, take the crankshaft out.