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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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