Engine swap, woefully under-photographed.

As I mentioned in the last entry about the wagon, the engine had violently overheated while trying to drive the Falcon to work. Since I already had a spare engine for it waiting, I filled the radiator with water, cut & re-routed the heater hoses to take the now blown heater core out of the circuit, and limped her home, staying off the highway. On the way home I stopped and rented an engine hoist, & loaded it in the back.

While it had been bright & warm when I left work at noon, by the time I got home at 1:30 it had remembered it was early February and gotten cold & grey, with erratic drizzle. However I was already going to have to pay for the engine hoist so I pushed on with the swap anyway. You can see however why taking photos was not my priority.

I started disconnecting things, sawing off radiator hoses and generally swearing up a storm. After about an hour I had the motor disconnected to the point where I could start actually pulling. Ford sixes have no good place to hook up chains to yank them, ,so I ended up using two ratchet straps from my trailer to form slings front & rear. With my girlfriend manning the engine hoist I pushed pulled, pried & kicked the engine free of the transmission and guided it out of the engine bay & down to the pavement.

Once the old lump had been pried free, there was a bit of jockeying engine hoist & straps to get the “new” engine secured. Then that was lifted, swung around, and dropped into place.

Ok, that last sentence is technically correct, however what it leaves out is the 1.5 hours that it took pulling, prying, levering, shoving, swearing, bashing, cursing, praying, etc. to get the engine & transmission to line up and slide together. I hate putting engines in when the transmission is already in place, and doing in a cold driveway while being drizzled on does not improve the experience.

Once the engine was in place and bolted to the transmission and frame, the engine hoist was disassembled & loaded into Box to be returned and I went upstairs to shower off. Over the next few weeks the cold weather hung around, and once it started to lift my work went on insane amounts of mandatory overtime. So the wagon sat with the engine in place but other wise unattached for almost a month before I could carve out some time to start reconnecting everything. Most of it went smoothly, and with few surprises. I couldn’t help but be amused to use guides I had written up myself to rewire the car for an alternator & modify the radiator support to fix an thicker radiator. The only issue I had was swapping out the cracked exhaust manifold for the good one from the old engine. That was enough of a project to warrant it’s own blog post, so that will be coming soon.

4 thoughts on “Engine swap, woefully under-photographed.

  1. A friend of ours just moved across the country and we went to the going away party this past weekend at her apartment at 175 Whitney Street. As I locked my bike to the back stairs I had a flashback of a winter engine swap that involved a Nova, snow, and very cold hands. This one looked pleasant by comparison!

  2. I did a similar engine swap on my 69 T-bird with a 460, in early April, in Chicago. It didn’t help that the hoist I rented had both pivoting casters blown out (what a piece of crap), and I was doing it on the street so that the camber of the pavement kept the engine swinging to the side.

    What an enormous pain in the ass. However, all went well (eventually) and I was back to my usual 11 MPG on 53 cent leaded Premium…this was 1978 or thereabouts.

  3. Hindsight being 20-20 vision, I’m betting you wished you had changed out that manifold while the engine was out of the car…

  4. I wanted to do the manifold, paint the engine, etc before it went in, but it was too cold for paint, then I got myself rushed trying to get the engine swapped in one day as I had hoped to take the car somewhere the day before.
    The engine swap was a round of poor planning and impatience on my part all around.

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