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Engine Short Block Guides

Replacing your Engine Short Block

If your vehicle is working on a short block engine, then it is important that you are aware of its parts and how to maintain them. An engine short block contains the cam pistons, connecting rods, and a crank. It may require you to install additional internal parts like an oil pump, cylinder heads and gaskets, or camshafts and timing parts. When this engine sub-assembly wears out, there is nothing left to do but to replace it with a new one. You may want to try taking it to your trusty mechanic for an assessment and repair, but nothing beats replacing it with a new one. It may be difficult to do, but with the proper tools and instructions, you can install your new engine short block in a jiffy.

Difficulty level: Moderate

What you'll need:

  • Bolts
  • Floor jack and jack stands
  • Torque wrench
  • Replacement engine short block

Step 1: Install new motor mounts if applicable. Since you are installing a small block to replace an inline six-cylinder, you will need new engine mounts.

Step 2: Secure engine mount bolts. These should be bolted right in place on the chassis. It may take a little articulation to get to the bottom nuts in the chassis though.

Step 3: Prepare the hardware that you will need for the installation. These are two long engine-mount bolts, three torque-converter-to-flexplate bolts, and five bell-housing bolts.

Step 4: Install the torque converter. It is important that the converter slide onto the transmission input shaft all the way. If not, it will cause the converter bolts or the flexplate to not align properly. You may put a floor jack under the transmission to put it in the right angle.

Step 5: Secure the engine to hoist. Using the holes on the front and back of the cylinder head, mount a chain to the engine. You may also consider installing an old set of spark plugs because these might get broken during installation.

Step 6: Lower the engine into the bay. You might need to ask an assistant and practice extreme caution when doing this. Do not reach in below the engine and make sure that the other wires and hoses are lowered into position.

Step 7: As the engine gets closer to being in position, it is also important to align the transmission. You will see that the engine has two locating dowels that help in making the big connection. When the engine and transmission are aligned, you may want to install the bell-housing bolts and start the threads. Do not tighten them yet.

Step 8: Align the motor mount bolt holes while the transmission is still loosely connected. Install the mount bolts on both sides once you are confident with their alignment.

Step 9: Align the torque converter and the flexplate. Install all the bolts and tighten them with the specified torque.

Step 10: Install the radiator and the cooling system. You may want to consider upgrading your radiator if you can afford it.

You may finish the installation in an hour or two depending on your familiarity with your vehicle's engine. It would be great to have an assistant while doing this.

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