New engine installed-back on the road!

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    Michael Ketcham


    It’s been just over a year since my engine died on the way to a car show in Cambridge Ohio. It took a couple of months to find a replacement engine. I finally found one at a salvage yard with 14000 miles on it. The manager provided a video of the car running (light front end damage) and I bought the engine, carburetor, automatic transmission, shifter and console, wiring harness, computer  and shift linkage.

    The old engine was a 1979 Chevette. The new one is a 1984. After studying the differences, I decided to make the new engine think it was a 1979, so removed the smog pump and plugged the holes, and installed the 1979 carburetor on it. Vacuum hoses were far more complicated on the new engine and directing them was a job. The new engine did not mate with the old transmission torque converter so I opted to install the new transmission also. I spent the winter lining up engine lift, engine stand and tools.  Spring finally came.

    Getting the old engine out was a two month headache. The car was built around the installed motor, and there was not enough clearance at the top of the tunnel to lift the transmission mount off the frame bracket. There was no way to separate the engine from the transmission.  I had to cut a slot in the frame bracket to slide the rear assembly straight out through the front of the car (radiator and left fender removed). cut-here-2 Even with the slot I still had to remove one of the front mounting brackets from the engine to give myself enough clearance for the engine/transmission assembly to slide out. While the engine was out I swapped the oil idiot light for a pressure sensor for gauge, and lined the firewall with heat reflective insulation. I didn’t like the angle of my master cylinder.  It tipped up too high and the lid was almost rubbing against my steering column… I 3D printed a wedge to mount against the firewall which straightened the master cylinder considerably.  It still tips up a bit but I have about 3/4 inch clearance now. almost-in-2

    The new engine went in a lot quicker than the old one came out.  Hardest part at this point was reinstalling body skins and making all the parts line up. Long story short, everything works. new-engine-in-3 new-engine-in-2-2            Idle speed is a bit high at 1200 rpms, I’m working on that…either  a problem vacuum or my first time ever carburetor rebuild kit installation wasn’t up to par. The nice thing is I have a basket of spare engine parts for future use as well as some I wont need (air conditioning compressor and bracket, smog pump and tubes, 1984 computer module, partially good engine block, etc.)



    Thanks for the great write-up. You put in a lot of work. Congratulations!



    Great job. Enjoy!


    Bill Ascheman
    Fiberfab Ford
    Modified 5.0, 5sp., 4:11
    Autocross & Hillclimb
    "Drive Happy"

    edward ericson


    Congratulations. You’ve accomplished something few have attempted.

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