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DMC = Disassembled Motor Car

Quote of the Week:
"You need chain... to put an engine in a DeLorean???  Those are chain drive??? "  - Home Depot employee

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April 9-15, 2000

A DeLorean certainly looks better with an engine in her. =)

I spent the past week finishing up all of the little things needed on the engine, and then borrowed a hoist from a friend on Sunday and started the process of the install.

Now, a few of you out there have helpfully commented that it's easier to replace the engine and trans already bolted together. I appreciate the advice, but usually do things the hard way anyway. (I'm stubborn like that).

Actually, in truth it just hadn't really occurred to me to do so. Oh well. But, since the trans was already mounted, I reached into my bag of tricks from the past to find an easy way to get the trans and engine together without having to take the trans out. (Gumption trap #1 -- "Out of Sequence Reassembly". See the Zen page and you'll understand.) 

Now, I have mentioned that I also have a '58 Plymouth. That car and a DeLorean have very little in common, but hear me out on this story, and soon you'll understand the relevance to a D.

The automatic transmission on that Plymouth is called a TorqueFlite, and it's made almost entirely out of cast iron. Total weight is somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. Not an easy beast to maneuver you can be sure, especially while all covered in that greasy black goop that seems to accumulate only on transmissions. There was no way to lift the trans up onto the jack while lying underneath the car on my stomach, so I had to lift the -car- up enough to sufficiently clear the trans already on the jack. Now, with the car so high, the trans jack could not lift the trans enough to meet up with the engine. This is what is sometimes referred to as "a quandry". I referred to it as something else -- something in "French" -- and something definitely not repeatable on a family-friendly web site...

Lowering the car (and simultaneously, the jack supporting the engine) back down to where the trans could mate solved that little problem. However, another problem now presented itself, in that no matter how I tried (for 5 hours), I could not get the input shaft to line up with the engine. Those of you who have tried to maneuver a D trans into place may know the feeling. Multiply that by three and you've got a TorqueFlite. The thing was so heavy I actually broke three trans jacks, necessitating the "Plymouth up, Plymouth down" push-up process enough times to put an Army boot camp recruit to shame. It seemed impossible, but there had to be some way to get them aligned.

The solution was a quick trip to the hardware store with one of the engine-trans mounting bolts. I matched up the size and thread to heat-treated bolts approximately 6" long -- 4" longer than the originals. Arriving back home, I threaded these bolts through the trans casing back into the engine block, and then aligned the engine and trans to as close an angle as possible. Then, all it took was to slide the trans right up the bolts until it clicked in place, already pre-aligned. The whole process, now that the 'alignment bolts' were installed, took only about 60 seconds.

Big difference.

Soooo... Not having learned my lesson (I'm stubborn like that), I tried for around 3 hours on Sunday to get the Vixen's engine and trans aligned without the bolts, but to absolutely no avail. I had skipped buying the alignment bolts out of a total impatience to get home to try and install the engine. I should have known better, especially considering my past nightmares. I've learned that being impatient always takes more time than just being patient in the first place.

So, tonight I stopped at Pep Boys and bought two 10mm x 120mm and two 10mm x 100mm coarse-thread grade 10.9 bolts. At home, I threaded the two longer bolts through the trans into the block on the top, and the two shorter ones on the bottom. (You need the shorter ones on the bottom to clear the output hubs on the trans). A quick little lift on the hoist gave a rough alignment, and a push of the engine back onto the trans yielded a satisfying clunk as the two components clicked together effortlessly. Like I said, I should have known better. 

If you're going to try this yourself, you could also use studs, but the bolts are only threaded at the end, giving a nice smooth surface to slide on. I should also mention that you should NOT support either the trans or engine from these bolts. The casings are not designed to handle the odd force vectors encountered in this situation -- just use them for alignment only, with both pieces supported well. Once you've slid the two halves together, pull the bolts one by one, and replace them with the correct bolts. Then as the French sould say... "Voila!" It's a different French language than I was using on the Plymouth, to be sure.

So, the engine installation is done, but the Vixen is far from being done. Not that that depresses me though, I do realize the value of progress. Every uphill climb consists of a lot of little steps. Tonight, we took a big one.

This whole crazy project might just work after all... A lot of people tried to talk me out of it, but I was (and still am) convinced that it can be done.

I'm stubborn like that.
The plate is the old "T" plate off of my Plymouth... Just so the police don't yell...
Costs for Week 25:
Date Purchase Store Price
09-Apr-00 Chain for hoisting engine Home Depot 9.48
09-Apr-00 Electrical tape Home Depot 0.98
09-Apr-00 5/16" chain links (4) Home Depot 10.68
09-Apr-00 3/8" chain link Home Depot 2.93
10-Apr-00 Bolts, nuts, washers Pep Boys 5.94
15-Apr-00 Brake fluid Pep Boys 4.49
15-Apr-00 Hex nuts Pep Boys 4.76
15-Apr-00 Fuses (10 amp) Pep Boys 5.99
15-Apr-00 Fuses (30 amp) Pep Boys 5.99
15-Apr-00 Belts Pep Boys 11.99
15-Apr-00 Belts Pep Boys 11.99
15-Apr-00 Accel Super Stock ignition coil (universal electronic ign.) Pep Boys 29.99
Week 25 Total: $105.21
Running Total: $11,143.68

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 Year One:
Week 1 Week 8 Week 15 Week 22 Week 29 Week 36 Week 43 Week 50
Week 2 Week 9 Week 16 Week 23 Week 30 Week 37 Week 44 Week 51
Week 3 Week 10 Week 17 Week 24 Week 31 Week 38 Week 45 Week 52
Week 4 Week 11 Week 18 Week 25 Week 32 Week 39 Week 46 -
Week 5 Week 12 Week 19 Week 26 Week 33 Week 40 Week 47 -
Week 6 Week 13 Week 20 Week 27 Week 34 Week 41 Week 48 -
Week 7 Week 14 Week 21 Week 28 Week 35 Week 42 Week 49 -
 Year Two:
Week 53 Week 60 Week 67 Week 74 Week 81 Week 88 Week 95 Week 102
Week 54 Week 61 Week 68 Week 75 Week 82 Week 89 Week 96 Week 103
Week 55 Week 62 Week 69 Week 76 Week 83 Week 90 Week 97 Week 104
Week 56 Week 63 Week 70 Week 77 Week 84 Week 91 Week 98 -
Week 57 Week 64 Week 71 Week 78 Week 85 Week 92 Week 99 -
Week 58 Week 65 Week 72 Week 79 Week 86 Week 93 Week 100 -
Week 59 Week 66 Week 73 Week 80 Week 87 Week 94 Week 101 -

 Year Three:

Week 105 Week 112 Week 119 Week 126 Week 133 Week 140 Week 147 Week 154
Week 106 Week 113 Week 120 Week 127 Week 134 Week 141 Week 148 Week 155
Week 107 Week 114 Week 121 Week 128 Week 135 Week 142 Week 149 Week 156
Week 108 Week 115 Week 122 Week 129 Week 136 Week 143 Week 150 -
Week 109 Week 116 Week 123 Week 130 Week 137 Week 144 Week 151 -
Week 110 Week 117 Week 124 Week 131 Week 138 Week 145 Week 152 -
Week 111 Week 118 Week 125 Week 132 Week 139 Week 146 Week 153 -

 Year Four:

Week 157 Week 164 Week 171 Week 178 Week 185 Week 192 Week 199 Week 206
Week 158 Week 165 Week 172 Week 179 Week 186 Week 193 Week 200 Week 207
Week 159 Week 166 Week 173 Week 180 Week 187 Week 194 Week 201 Week 208
Week 160 Week 167 Week 174 Week 181 Week 188 Week 195 Week 202 -
Week 161 Week 168 Week 175 Week 182 Week 189 Week 196 Week 203 -
Week 162 Week 169 Week 176 Week 183 Week 190 Week 197 Week 204 -
Week 163 Week 170 Week 177 Week 184 Week 191 Week 198 Week 205 -

 Year Five:

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Week 210 Week 217 Week 224 Week 231 Week 238      
Week 211 Week 218 Week 225 Week 232 Week 239      
Week 212 Week 219 Week 226 Week 233 Week 240      
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