Monday, June 30, 2008

Removing the Fuel and Exhaust Systems

I spent most of this afternoon and evening removing the fuel tank and exhaust system. Since this part of the car wasn't steam cleaned like the engine compartment, I got complete covered in dirt and gasoline grime.

I'm using the floor jack to raise the back end of the car. If I don't use these blocks, I can't raise the car enough to insert the large 6-ton jackstands.

This shows the rear jack-stands installed and the rear wheels removed. Since the parking brake holds the rear wheels still, I didn't have to loosen the lug nuts while the wheels were still on the ground.

Here are all four wheels gracing my front hallway (What? You don't store your tires in the house?) I need to do this since I only have a tiny one-car garage.

Yay, I got the muffler out without too much hassle. I pried off the rubber rings holding the exhaust system to the car so I didn't have to cut them.

Death to the catalytic converter and the last of the exhaust system! This looks like a large bassoon over in the corner of my garage. I'm giving all these parts to the guy who is buying my engine. They passed the emissions test wonderfully, so I hope some gas guzzler can make use of them.

Okay, now for the fuel tank. The first thing is to disconnect the wires from the top. In order to lift up the back seat, there's a small bolt holding the seat down that goes through this ring. It was a pain to get to, but it's there.

After raising the rear seat, you get access to the service cover for the fuel tank.

Here's the service cover removed, exposing the fuel supply hose, the return hose and the electrical connections.

Same picture with the electrical connections removed. The red one was very gummy, but I don't know why.

The instructions call for draining the fuel out of the tank by unscrewing the drain plug. This proved to be a big mess because the grime and surface tension of the gasoline caused it to run down the tank and all over the floor. I tried capturing this for about two minutes and then gave up. The tank only had about two gallons in it, so I plugged it back up and continued on.

After tearing off the plastic covers for the fuel hoses and the filler line, the instructions suggest that you use a floor jack to hold up the tank while you loosen the holding straps.

After removing the straps and filler hose, the tank lowered easily to the floor. I'll be very happy to finally get rid of this gasoline-fuming mess.

Here's the tank outside over a clean oil pan so I can get out the remaining fuel. I'm leaving the tank outside tonight to air out since the whole garage reeks of gasoline fumes right now.

This job was actually much dirtier than I expected. There was quite a bit of dried mud caked around the fuel tank and behind the plastic hose protection shields, so it all came down on top of me when I pulled things out.

I'm looking forward to a shower.

Tomorrow: yanking the engine and trying to find a place to put it...

Adding Chain for Engine Pull

My buddy Andrew is coming tomorrow morning to help me hoist the engine out of the compartment. I went out to Home Depot and purchased the following:
  • four foot length of 1/4" chain
  • one 10mm x 1.25mm thread bolt 30 mm long

The engine didn't come with hoist brackets, so I put the 10mm bolt into this hole on backside of the camshaft cover (drivers side) to hold one end of the chain.

I picked a reasonable length on the chain and used one of the bolts on top of the tranny to hold the other end.

When I pull the chain tight, it has a reasonable 90 degree angle in it. I've also moved several items like the spark plug wires out of the way so the chain doesn't pinch anything when we raise the engine.

One more critical measurement we need to take before removing the engine is the height of the transmission. If we install the motor and the transmission is too high or low, it won't behave properly with the drive-shafts. With both the front and back of the car up on jack-stands, I found that the bottom of the transmission is almost perfectly level with the bottom of the front bumper. Here is my level touching the bottom of the transmission case.

Here's the other end of the level touching the bottom of the front bumper. The bubble is showing just about perfect. Now, my garage floor is slightly sloped and the jack stands may not be perfect, but this is good since I'm not moving the car before installing the motor/tranny combination. Other people might need to make their own measurements based on a different slope in their garage.

Looks like I'm good for when Andrew shows up to remove the engine.

Next Up: removing the fuel and exhaust system

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Civic Engine Removal - Part 1

Okay, this is an attempt to document the process I used to remove the Honda Civic engine with manual transmission for conversion to an electric vehicle. There will probably be several edits, so bear with me.

One thing that helped immensely in this process was getting the engine compartment steam cleaned beforehand. Not only does everything look better, but you can see things clearly and you don't get as dirty.

Here's my trusty Civic Helms manual. I'll try to relate the following pictures with the steps in the Helms manual.

Before we begin, we need to jack up the front of the car and put it on jack stands to keep the car stable during the removal process. Here is the location for the front jack point under the front bumper. Also, you'll probably want to loosen the lug nuts on the two front wheels so that you can easily remove them after the front wheels are dangling off the ground.

Here is the front car up on 6-ton jack stands. The stands are so high that I needed to add two 2x4s to the floor jack so that the jack stand points were high enough for the lowest setting on the stands. If you have a floor jack with a larger throw, you may not need the 2x4s.

After the car is up on jack stands, give it a good shake to make sure the raised car is stable. You're going to be torquing heavily on several large bolts under the car and you don't want the whole thing crashing down on you.

Step 1: disconnect the negative then positive battery cables.


Step 3: raise up the car (already done on jack stands)

Step 4: remove the front tires and...

Remove the front splash shield.

Step 5: Drain the engine coolant.
Note: I had real problems with this because, although the radiator drained fine, the was still much coolant in the system (see later pictures). I didn't follow all the instructions as directed in section 10 of the manual. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has ideas on how to prevent the big coolant spill coming up. The directions mention to put the heater lever in the driver compartment on "hot" to open up all the plumbing, but this still didn't work for me.

Step 6: drain the transmission fluid. You can remove the cap with a 3/8" drive. Note that the fluid will come rushing out and possibly spew past the oil pan on the ground, so choose your oil pan location wisely.

Step 7: Drain the engine oil. Again, it will spew horizontally for a bit, so choose your drain pan location accordingly.

Step 8: If your car was on a hydraulic lift, you would lower the car now, but I didn't since I'm on jack stands.

Step 9: Open the hood as far as possible. My hood stand could be jammed into a hole in the hood to make it stand almost vertical; however, the bracket on the garage door would have smashed into the hood when I closed the garage door, so I'll do this step later. In short, be aware of the clearance in your own garage.

Step 10: Remove the under-hood ABS fuse/relay box (I didn't have one)

Step 11: Remove the air intake host, resonator and air cleaner. You'll have to undo the trim under the right-front fender to get at the resonator assembly. There are a few hard-to-find bolts that hold things in, so keep searching.

Here's the right-front fender trim pulled back to reveal one of the hard-to-find bolts that holds in the resonator.

The trim is held in by a fragile plastic screw with a philips screwdriver head. Make sure to not chew this up too much.

Here are all the air intake pieces removed.

Step 12: Relieve the fuel pressure by slowly loosening the service bolt on the fuel filter about one turn. I put a rag around this to prevent fuel from squirting everywhere. (no smoking during this procedure!)

Step 13: after relieving the pressure, remove the fuel hose entirely and...

...remove the charcoal cannister hose from the intake manifold.

Step 14: Remove the throttle cable by loosening the locking nut, then slip the cable end out of the accelerator linkage. I did this differently by loosening the adjusting nut (left nut as your facing the car) and moving it past the "missing-thread" point so I could weasel the cable out of the bracket.

Step 15: Remove the wiring harness on the left side of the engine compartment. When the Helms manual talks about the "left" side, they mean from the drivers perspective. So this refers to the harness on the driver side of the vehicle.

Here are the three connectors just in front of the driver.

Step 16: Remove the fuel return hose and...

... the brake booster vacuum hose.

Step 17: Remove the engine wire harness connectors, terminal and clamps on the right (passenger) side of the engine compartment.

Step 18: Remove the battery cable/starter cable from the under-hood fuse-relay box and ABS power cable from the battery terminal.

Step 19: Remove the engine ground cable on the cylinder head. I may have the wrong picture for this one. The cable might be attached to the camshaft cover.

Step 20: Remove the power-steering belt and pump. Do not disconnect the hoses. I forgot to take a picture for this.

Step 21: Remove the air conditioner belt and compressor (I didn't have A/C)

Step 22: Remove the transmission ground cable and auto-tranny-fluid cooler hoses (I have manual transmission).

Step 23: Remove the upper and lower radiator hoses and heater hoses. Since I'm converting this car to an electric vehicle, I took the liberty of removing the radiator as well to give myself more space to work in.

Here's removing one of the heater hoses. I realized that there was still coolant in the system, so I tried to catch it in this plastic container while removing the hose.

Alas, there was so much fluid left, it spilled out over the engine and onto the floor. I'm not sure how I could have prevented this in the future, so suggestions are welcome.

Step 24: If the car was on a hydraulic lift, you'd raise it now to get at the underside.

Step 25: Remove the exhaust pipe and stay.

Step 26: Remove the auto-tranny shift cable (I have manual transmission)

Step 27: Remove the clutch slave cylinder and pipe/hose assembly (manual transmission). Do not disconnect the hose.

Step 28: remove the extension rod and...

... the shift rod. Here is a picture of the shift rod clip (in the center of the picture just to the right of the bolt head) that I was able to pry off with my fingers.

After you pry off the clip, a spring pin (often called the "bitch pin" in Civic circles) is revealed.

I removed this pin by using a hammer with an old bolt just slightly smaller than the diameter of the pin. Other people have used a C-clamp with a short bolt and piece from a socket set to capture the pin into.

Step 29: remove the damper fork. I had to do this on both sides of the car.

Step 30: Disconnect the suspension lower arm ball joint with the special tool. Refer to section 18 for proper procedure. This involves removing the cotter pins from the castle nut, removing the nut and pushing the threads up while pulling the bracket down.

I didn't have the time to go out and get the "special tool," so I used a small, three-arm posi-lock gear puller instead (as shown above). If you use this method, be careful that the one arm under the brake shield doesn't bend the shield to interfere with the disk brake.

Here's the ball joint removed and moved away so that we can...

Step 31: remove the drive shafts. You'll have to pry with a screwdriver to get them started, but then they should just slide out. I had to remove the damper fork and ball joint on both sides to give enough space to pull out the drive shafts from the transmission.

Tie plastic bags over the driveshaft ends (I used zip-loc bags) to protect them from dirt.

One thing I've found really helpful during this process is putting all the little parts in ziploc sandwich bags and labeling them. This has been invaluable for remembering which parts go where and not losing the small pieces like cotter pins and such.

Next Up: attaching the engine hoist, removing the supports and hoping we don't drop the whole darned thing.