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.


1 comment:

Bob Smeja said...

Thanks, I used your page to remove my engine, and it was VERY helpful.