cyclopticgaze

bmw 2002

Pulling the Engine

Jan 13, 2019


The 2002 has been sitting in a car port for a number of years while other things have taken precedent. I've tinkered on it here and there, but haven't done any major work—nothing I felt compelled to write up. In the intervening time, I built a garage, which has been a boon to doing all types of projects, even in the gross Georgia summer but in the winter as well. With newfound motivation, I'm back to the 2002.


I was very happy to finally put the car in the new garage. (Obviously not a very new garage—I really need to re-stain those doors.) I managed to get the engine running and drive it in. But it starts unreliably, runs unreliably, doesn't idle well if at all, and it smokes. So, I decided to finally do the thing I've always known needed done. Time to bite the bullet and pull the engine out for a rebuild.

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Besides smoking and not running great, here's my other reason for pulling the engine out: the fan's been digging into the radiator since I got the car. I thought I had rectified this a while ago, but looks like it's walked itself back. I'm hoping once it's out I can investigate the clearance issues better.

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I decided to take the hood off to make the whole process easier. You don't need a shop crane for this—a couple of friends will suffice—but the hood's big and awkward, and the crane made it an easy solo job. It's very nice working in a garage again!

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I hung the hood by wrapping a strap around the spring tube, guided down through the center support (up near the grilles). This ended up working really well.

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The hood wasn't removed when the car was painted black long ago. Lots of hardware was painted over and it was clearly a cheap respray job.

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The clamshell hood tilts on two hinges at the front clip, and I'm pretty sure it had never been removed since it was put on at the factory. No surprise one of the hinge bolts snapped. I managed to cut it with a small hacksaw. While doing this, I was especially glad that I hung the hood from the crane instead of enlisting helping hands.

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Much better access to the engine bay now! (The garage serves as a quasi-greenhouse in the winter.)

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With the radiator and coolant hoses out, there's a lot more room in the engine bay. Next out was the rusty battery tray, which freed a lot of space. The distributor has to come off so it doesn't hit the firewall when the engine gets lifted. I took the carburetor off just for good measure. I'm running a long aftermarket exhaust manifold so I unbolted it at the head; a short stock one could be detached at its downpipe and left on. I took lots of pictures of all the wires and hoses before disconnecting them and labeled many of them, too.

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There seem to be three schools of thought for how to remove/install an engine in the BMW 2002: 1) Use a crane to pull just the engine out. 2) Jack the car up a little and pull both the engine and transmission out at a steep angle. 3) Disconnect the subframe that the engine sits on and drop it and the transmission (and much of the front suspension) out the bottom by raising the car.


To a man, each of these is the best way and why the hell would you do it either of the other two ways?


I decided to go with #1, leave the transmission in and just pull the engine. If you have the equipment to do #1, it wouldn't be any harder to go route #2 and pull both together (and might actually be easier). I just didn't feel like messing with the guibo and shift platform, but if I had to do it again, I might pull them both because I'm worried that mating the engine and transmission back together will be a lot easier on a bench. I suppose I could drop the transmission later and reinstall them as one. Method #3 might sound odd but really is quite elegant, especially if you have a lift.


The bell housing unbolted from the block fairly easily. There's also a small metal plate at the bottom held on by two 10mm bolts that needs to come off. Some forward pulling separates the two. With the fan and water pump still attached to the front, the thickness of the clutch in the back makes for tight clearance lifting the engine out. The load leveler was good to have for tilting the engine while raising it.

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I just made a lot more work for myself. . .

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There's a lot of cleaning to do in here, but at least now there's room to operate. The transmission is currently resting on the steering's center link; I ought to have supported it on something.

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Honestly, this wasn't the hardest job I've done on this car, and there is certainly a feeling of satisfaction at the end. I've wanted to rebuild the engine for quite a while, and much of the other work I've done has felt like half-measures, like making improvements but never addressing the central problem. It's good to stop half-assing lots of things and start whole-assing one thing.

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