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HomeTech Articles > 911 Engine Removal Made Easy

Pelican Technical Article:

911 Engine Removal Made Easy

Difficulty Level 5

Difficulty scale:
Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a 911 Motor is level ten

Jump to Page 2


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Figure 1: Oil Filter Removed

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Figure 2: Oil Filter Removed

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Figure 3: Oil Tank Drain Plug

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Figure 4: Emptying Oil From Tank

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Figure 5: Oil Drain Plug

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Figure 6: Draining Engine Oil

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Figure 7: Not Recommended: Straight Jack on Engine

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Figure 8: Protecting the Underside of the Engine with Newspaper

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Figure 9: Jacking up the Car from the Underside of the Engine

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Figure 10: Supporting the Car from the Torsion Bar Tube Covers

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Figure 11: Disconnect Hard Line Connection Point

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Figure 12: Stuff a Paper Towel in Oil Cooler Outlet

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Figure 13: Stuff a Paper Towel in Oil Tank Fitting

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Figure 14: Clutch Lever Arm Assembly

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Figure 15: Loosen Clutch Cable Adj. Nut

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Figure 16: Clutch Cable End

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Figure 17: Disconnect Return Spring

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Figure 18: Remove Circlip

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Figure 19: Sliding Off Clutch Arm

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Figure 20: Removing Large Clutch Lever Arm

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Figure 21: Clutch Arms Removed

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Figure 22: Cables Attached to Starter Solenoid

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Figure 23: Cables Attached to Solenoid

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Figure 24: Disconnecting Reverse Lamp Switch from Tranny

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Figure 25: Heater Hose Connected

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Figure 26: Disconnected Heater Hose

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Figure 27: Access Panel to Coupler

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Figure 28: Boot Covering Coupler

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Figure 29: Shift Coupler

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Figure 30: Shift Coupler

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Figure 31: Disconnecting Shift Coupler

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Figure 32: Shift Coupler Removed

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Figure 33: A/C Compressor Bolt

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Figure 34: Rear A/C Compressor Mount Bolt

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Figure 35: A/C Compressor Adjustment Bolt

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Figure 36: Sliding A/C Belt

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Figure 37: A/C Compressor Electrical Connection

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Figure 38: Protecting Paint with Towel

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Figure 39: A/C Compressor Tucked out of the Way

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Figure 40: A/C Compressor Removed

     Well, after several months of absence, I am back where I enjoy myself, here at the keyboard writing technical articles.  I had stopped for a bit, leaving the website to fend for itself, as we focused our efforts on expanding and releasing our on-line catalog.  With the majority of that initial effort aside (it is a never-ending process), I eagerly return to the composition of tech articles in order to help out anyone who is listening.  Hopefully, in past tradition, people can learn from my mistakes.

     Additionally, I am excited to announce a whole new series of technical articles based on the 911.  We are starting two project cars, a 1982 911SC, and a 1973 1/2 911 Targa.  Both are similar, yet from different 911 vintages (early targa / later coupe) that they make excellent subjects for our series.  This series will correspond with a new book that I am writing for MotorBooks International!  We'll leave it at that for now, except to say that there will be a tremendous amount of tech articles appearing on the site for the 911 very soon.

     That aside, our first article in the series is this 911 engine removal (engine drop) article.  Unfortunately, performing engine work on the 911 requires that you remove it from the car.  The tight spaces within the engine compartment don't lend themselves to easily repairing oil leaks or other significant problems on the car.  Basically, there are a few things that you can do with the engine in the car (valve adjust, fuel injection work, carrera chain tensioner update), but most operations require that you pull the engine.

     In this article, we used a 911SC as the model.  The procedures for most other cars are going to be similar except for a few modifications.  I will try to be as clear as possible in describing the potential pitfalls with other models of 911s.  If I do leave anything out, don't hesitate to email me with some more suggestions.  Our tech articles improve with age as people continuously write in and give additional hints and tips learned from their own experience.

     For your reference, I have summarized the steps required to remove the engine into a handy table.  I would suggest that you print this out and check off each item when you complete it.  It is very easy to damage a hose, wire or linkage if left connected to the engine when you are trying to drop it down.  Here's Master Checklist for Lowering your 911 Engine (911SC):

  • Disconnect Battery
  • Remove Fuel Pump Relay
  • Empty Oil from Engine Sump
  • Empty Oil from Oil Tank
  • Raise Car on Jack Stands
  • Disconnect Hard Oil Line
  • Disconnect & Remove Rubber Oil Line
  • Disconnect Clutch Cable, Arm, and Helper Spring Assembly
  • Disconnect Starter Solenoid Electrical Connections
  • Disconnect Reverse Backup Switch from Transmission
  • Disconnect Heater Hoses From Heat Exchangers
  • Disconnect and Remove Shift Coupler
  • Disconnect A/C Compressor and Tie to Side of Car
  • Disconnect all Fuel Lines
  • Disconnect Main Engine Wire Harness
  • Disconnect Breather Hoses
  • Disconnect Accelerator Linkage Bar
  • Disconnect Cruise Control Cable
  • Disconnect Oxygen Sensor
  • Remove Four Nuts that Hold Engine to Tranny
  • Remove Engine Motor Mount Bolts
  • Lower Engine Down
  • Pull Engine Away from Transmission
  • Lower Down onto Cart and Remove

 

     The first step in removing your engine from the car is to disconnect the battery.  You do this for quite a number of reasons.  Firstly, the cable that connects to the starter is always live, and you will have to disconnect it to remove the engine.  Secondly, you don't want to accidentally turn on the ignition and the fuel pump when there is nothing attached to the lines.  Disconnecting the battery is important; don't forget it.  Additionally, you might want to remove the fuel pump relay in the front trunk as an added precaution.  Sometime later on, when the engine is still out of the car, you may have an opportunity to test some part of the car that needs electricity, and you may forget that the fuel pump might go on.

     Once the battery is disconnected, it's time to empty the oil out of both the engine and the oil tank.  The 911 motor is designed around what is called a dry sump oil delivery system.  This name is somewhat deceiving, however, because there is a rather large oil reservoir at the bottom of the engine case.  If at all possible, make sure that the engine is warmed up when you remove your oil.  The hotter the oil, the more smoothly it will flow out of the engine.  This results in more particles and debris being removed from the engine.

     The first step in changing your oil is to remove the oil filter.  You want to do this first, because there is often oil left in the filter, and when you remove it by twisting it, this oil has a tendency to flow back into the tank.  911 oil filters can be notoriously difficult to remove.  The oil filter is located in the engine compartment on the passenger side.  Filter removal wrenches are sometimes a good idea, but I haven't been ever able to find a wrench that I was able to easily fit around the filter in any of my cars.  I recommend first trying to remove it using your hands.  Ask your 240 lbs, weight-lifting, 23 year old neighbor to help if you happen to have one of those handy.  You remove the filter by turning it counter-clockwise.  Make sure that you place paper towels under the filter, as it will leak some oil onto the wire harnesses that are located directly below, as shown in Figure 1.  If you cannot get the oil filter off, then you need to use other means.

     For pesky oil filters, I usually drive a long screwdriver through the filter and out the other side.  This then gives me a long torque-arm to remove the filter.  The disadvantages to this method is that you can no longer drive the car once you poke a hole in the filter, and you can create a large mess as oil leaks from this hole.  You can also tear the oil filter, and be stuck with a worse situation than before.  This, fortunately, has not happened to me yet.

     Once you get the oil filter off, make sure that you clean up the oil that spilled.  If you don't , Murphy's law says that you will drop a tool into it, or accidentally stick your hair in it when you are trying to remove something else on the engine.

     The next step is to empty the oil tank.  The oil tank is located on the passenger side of the car (the oil filter actually screws directly into a console that is attached to the tank, as shown in Figure 2).  The tank is located just inside the fender of the car.  The drain plug for emptying the tank is located on the bottom of the tank, and can be see if you look under the rear bumper.  Figure 3 clearly shows the drain plug that you need to remove in order to empty the tank.  Use a socket wrench to remove this plug, and just as it is ready to come out of the tank, be sure to be careful, as hot oil will come out at a rapid pace.  Make sure that you have a large pan underneath the oil tank.  The maximum size that you would need is about nine quarts, but the oil that comes out of the tank is usually never that much.  Make sure that you have plenty of paper towels too, and that your drain pan is large.  This is because no matter how many times you do this, the oil stream will flow in a different direction, usually away from your drip pan, as shown in Figure 4. 

     After the oil tank is empty, re-install the drain plug into the oil tank.  Chances are that the plug fell into the oil drip pan when you were removing it, so careful dish it out when the oil cools down.  Make sure that you use a paper towel to clean off the plug well, as shown in Figure 5.  These plugs are often magnetic, and trap bits of metal that wear off of the engine.  Clean it very well using a paper, not cloth, towel.  Any stray paper fibers will dissolve in the engine oil later on; the cloth fibers have a tendency to clog tiny oil passages.  Tighten the drain plug - don't leave it loose - as you could forget to tighten it when you are adding oil later on.  The anxiety to start up an engine that has been out of the car is so great, that you will have to resist the temptation to rush things.  But more on this in another article.

     The emptying of the engine sump is similar to the draining of the tank.  Figure 6 shows the underside of the engine with the oil sump plate visible.  Remove the drain plug on the bottom of the sump plate in the same manner that you removed the oil tank drain plug.  Be careful once again of the hot engine oil.  Once the oil is all drained, clean the plug and reinstall it.  Don't tighten either of the drain plugs too tightly, as they don't need to be cranked down.

     Now, you are ready to jack up the car.  I don't usually like to jack up the car before emptying the oil because once the car is up in the air, the engine is at a severe angle, and all of the oil may not drain out.  You jack up the car by placing your jack under the engine sump plate.  Get a real jack for this task, as the jack that came with the car will not do, and you will also need one later on for removing the engine out of the car.

     Make sure that you place a block of wood, or an old rolled up newspaper under the sump plate to avoid damaging it with the jack, as shown in Figure 7.  The newspaper acts as a nice firm cushion, and protects the bottom of the engine, as shown in Figure 8.  I recommend jacking up the car as far as it can go with your jack on the engine, as shown in Figure 9.  Unless you have a really huge jack, you will probably have to place a block of wood under the engine or jack and jack it up even more to achieve the desired ground clearance.  You should place your two jack stands under the torsion bar covers, as shown in Figure 10.  The first time that I heard of using these covers to support the car, it didn't seem like an intelligent idea to me, but after talking to many, many people, it seems like these covers are more than strong enough to support the weight of the car.

     I feel it necessary to say a little about jack stand safety.  Every year, there are a few people who are killed by their cars falling on them.  I do not wish to see you be one of them.  A rule of thumb that I practice whenever I jack up the car is to check the entire support of the car after you are finished jacking it up.  I always try to knock the car off the jack stands by pushing it, shoving it, jumping on it, etc.  You should not be able to move the car even a sliver of an inch.  If you can, it's not correctly supported.  It is better to have the car fall off the jack stands when you are testing it, instead of when you are underneath it.  I always use a backup set of jack stands placed underneath the floorpan too.  All of these seem to be manufactured in China and other parts of Asia nowadays.  Without knocking Asian products, occasionally there are quality problems.  I would hate to see a large bubble in the casting of the metal used in my jack stand be the reason I became crushed by my car.  My point - use a backup pair of stands just in case.  These are also good if you live in earthquake zones like I do.

     In order to have the engine's fuel injection system clear the rear of the car, you need to raise the car pretty far off of the ground.  I found with the CIS system, you needed to elevate the car 24.5" at the torsion tube covers, which resulted in a total of 32" clearance from the bottom of the rear spoiler to the ground.  Of course, these numbers vary depending upon what type of fuel injection you have on your car, and also the ground clearance of the cart or jack you are using.  You can always increase the HEIGHT of the car later on, but this is a bit more difficult, because you probably won't be able to jack up the car using the engine, and you may be using your only jack to support the engine.  Figure 75 can give you an indication of how high you need to jack up the car prior to removing the engine.

     Once the car is elevated to a good HEIGHT, you can begin working underneath to disconnect everything that you need removed in order to pull the engine.  Start by disconnecting the hard metal oil line on the passenger side of the car.  There should be a junction towards the right rear of the car, as shown in Figure 11.  The other line connected to this junction is connected to the bottom of the oil tank.  Use two adjustable crescent wrenches to loosen this nut up.  On my relatively rust-free 1982 911SC, this took a tremendous amount of force to remove, so be prepared.  You may need any extra long wrench and/or breaker bar.  Be careful not to bend or damage the hard line that runs underneath the engine.

     Now, remove the soft rubber line that goes between the oil tank and the oil cooler.  This line is usually connected with hose clamps on each end.  Make sure that you have a drip pan handy, as there usually is some left over oil in this line that will drip down onto the floor.  Carefully inspect the oil line when you remove it, and if it looks old, cracked or worn, then count on replacing it.  Make sure that you stuff the oil cooler hole (Figure 12)and the oil tank hole (Figure 13) with a paper towel to soak up any additional left over oil that might seep out.

     Now, move to the clutch cable lever arm assembly under the car, as shown in Figure 14.  Start by loosening up the nut that holds and adjusts the clutch cable, as shown in Figure 15.  You should be able to disconnect the clutch cable end and remove the clutch cable out of the way, as shown in Figure 16.  Now, remove the small return spring that helps remove the backlash from the linkage, as shown in Figure 17.  Make sure that you disconnect and remove the spring , because it will most likely get lost.  Now, remove the small circlip on the small lever arm, as shown in Figure 18.  Slide this arm off its shaft using a small screwdriver.  This is shown in Figure 19.  Once this arm is off, the main arm assembly should be able to be slid off.  Beware of the 'U-shaped' clutch arm helper spring, as this is loaded pretty tight, and will spring back when you pull off the arm.  The helper spring can only move within a small radius, so you don't have too much chance of getting hurt unless you purposely stick your fingers in there.  Figure 20 shows the entire lever arm assembly being removed.  After the entire assembly is removed, the bottom of your transmission should look like Figure 21.

     Now, move to the starter and disconnect the wires that lead back to the engine.  There should be a few of them that lead towards the rear of the car, and one or more big ones that go to the front of the car, and to the battery.  At this time, it would be a bad idea to have your battery connected, so if you didn't disconnect it previously, go do it now.  Figure 22 and Figure 23 show the wires that you need to disconnect from the starter.  Make sure that you tuck them out of the way.

     Move to the rear of the transmission, and you will find a plug for the reverse light switch.  Remove the wires that are plugged into the transmission and push them off to the side.  Figure 24 is a bad picture of the area where the plug is located.  You might have some trouble getting your fingers in there to remove the wires.  Be aware that if you use some pliers to pull on the wires, then you might have to resolder the ends back onto the wires if they pull off.

     Now it's time to disconnect the heater hoses from the heat exchangers.  No need to remove the exhaust here, as it will come down with the rest of the engine.  Figure 25 shows the heater hose connected, and Figure 26 shows it disconnected.  Just push them out of the way for now.

     An often overlooked step is the disconnection of the shift linkage in the center tunnel.  If you don't disconnect the transmission from the link prior to lowering the engine, then you can bend and damage the shift lever in the transmission.  You can guess how expensive that is to fix!  Start by moving to the inside of the car, and removing the access panel that is located in the center of the car, just behind the two front seats.  This panel is shown in Figure 27.  Remove the four screws that hold the panel on, and you should see the shift linkage coupler covered by a rubber boot, as shown in Figure 28.  Pushing the boot aside reveals the shift coupler, shown in Figure 29 and Figure 30.  Use an 8mm hex key or socket wrench to remove the small cone screw that holds the coupler to the transmission selector shaft.  Then, slide the coupler off as shown in Figure 31.  Once the coupler is removed, then your car should resemble Figure 32.

     Now, you are ready to tackle the inside of the engine compartment.  Start by removing the A/C compressor from the engine.  When you remove the engine, you don't want to have to disconnect the entire A/C system, so the recommended procedure is to push the compressor off to the side of the car.  Start disconnecting the compressor by removing the bolts that hold it to the compressor bracket.  Figure 33 shows the mounting bolt in the lower rear corner.  Figure 34 shows the mounting bolt that is located behind the compressor, hidden from view.  Figure 35 shows another mounting bolt and the belt adjustment screw.  You need to remove all of these bolts and loosen up the belt tension adjustment bolt.  Once the compressor is free, and the belt is loose, you can slide it off of the compressor clutch, as shown in Figure 36. Make sure that you disconnect the electrical connection to the compressor as shown in Figure 37.  Make sure that you grab a thick terry cloth towel and drape it over the side of the car as shown in Figure 38.  Place the compressor against the towel, and tie it up firmly with a bungee cord or  tie down, as shown in Figure 39.  When the compressor is removed, the engine mounting bracket should resemble Figure 40.

Jump to Page 2

Comments and Suggestions:
Jarhead Comments: Wayne, read your article on removing a 911 engine. EXCELLENT! Question: I have a 1970 911T and need to drop the engine to repair oil leaks. Do you have instructions for my model and year? THANKS!
June 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not for that specific vehicle, no. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ravey Davey Comments: i have a 1989 carrera 4 i need to remove engine to replace starter motor is there much more i need to do other than what you have listed in you article how to remove an engine of a 911. are there any ways to confirm that the problem is the starter motor as when i try to start it all i get is a ticking sound from the RHS of the engine. the car has not been used for approx 2 years , and the battery is new and fully charged.
April 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Before replacing the starter, voltage drop the battery positive lead to it. Then check for a good start signal from the ignition switch. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
1-ev.com Comments: Here is my thread with lot of info from fellow Pelican, [url]http://forums.pelicanparts.com/porsche-911-technical-forum/764914-what-fastest-drop-engine-time-did-you-guys-have.html[/url]
August 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the thread - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Lina Comments: what do you call the metal connected to a chain that used to lift a car's engine?
March 3, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A hook or bracket. Speaking in general terms. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nicolas Comments: Hi, i try to disconnect the hard metal oil line on the passenger side of the car fig 11 on my 1977 911s but without succes. Does somebody have a trick or do i have to cut the line and put a connection??

thanks
Nicolas From Montrιal, CANADA
January 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the nut is forzen, you can try to loosen it with a sharp fast action. if that doesn;t work, you may have to heat it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
baus Comments: FYI hex bolt for the shift linkage coupler is 4mm no 8.
July 28, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jet man Comments: @ Terry, just measure how tall the entire engine is, and give the car that much clearance off the floor plus thickness of the floor jack, and then make it happen.
July 27, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
terry Comments: Hello Wayne,

I have made the decision to drop the engine on my recently purchased 1973 911T USA version. When I got to the part in your article about removing the hard line to the oil tank I ran into a problem. It is attached to the oil tank with a single large nut that I am unable to break loose. The oil line itself is a single unit with no other couplings except at the engine and it is not accessible unless I drop the exhaust system. I referred to my factory shop manual and the oil tank connections shown for a 73 911 do not look anything like the ones on this car - Any suggestions?
June 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Terry, see Jet man's reply

@ Terry, just measure how tall the entire engine is, and give the car that much clearance off the floor plus thickness of the floor jack, and then make it happen. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
pablo Comments: Wayne,

Many thanks for making this info public - it is a great help in sizing the job as I need to change the valve guides. Question: is it easier to remove the engine and transmission together? And also, does pelican take heads to change the guides?
thanks
PV
August 14, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's a big debate - this engine / transmission question. A lot of people don't like to remove just the engine, because that's not how the factory did it. I had a bad experience a long time ago with CV joints and other issues trying to get the transmission out, so I'm biased. If I can leave the tranny in and not mess with it, then that's okay with me. I personally think it's easier to just take the engine out, but many people disagree with me. Sorry, Pelican doesn't refurbish heads at this time. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Magneto504 Comments: I have a 1997 Porsche C4S. do I have to drop the motor to drop the tranny?
July 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, it does make it quite easier. I know Porsche recommends dropping the engine and trans as unit, then separating. That really is the easiest way to do it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chongo Comments: i need to do some clutch work and 1st 2nd syncro work on my 915 on my 85 targa. my concern is how high do the jack stands to be to allow the engine be removed from the 911? its the 1st time i have done this repair and dont want F anything up.
April 26, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Great question. I would say about 2 feet. To be sure, measure the tallest part of the engine assembly. This will be what you have to be able to slide out from under the vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
andyt11 Comments: Whats the procedure regarding clutch cable / line on a G50? Any special instructions?
February 7, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The G50 doesn't have a cable, it's a hydraulic system. So, you can ether disconnect the entire slave cylinder from the transmission, or you can disconnect the hydraulic line from the slave and leave the slave attached to the transmission. Depending upon your configuration and where you are in the drop process, one may be easier than the other. But, if you disconnect the slave, then you will have to bleed the system later on, which is an added step. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
papa Comments: should i rebuilt my 1978 3.0 911 engine{3 broken head studs amd 144,000 miles} or should i install a rebuilt 1986 3.2 911 engine for same price {has 92,000 rebuilt at 80,000}. is the 3.2 a better engine?why or why not?
February 2, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The 3.0 and 3.2 are nearly identical, and suffer from nearly the same issues. To rebuild the 3.0 is expensive these days (but still fun!). If you didn't do the rebuild yourself, then who knows what's actually in the 3.2 as well. It's really a crapshoot. Also, you'll have to update your car to run the 3.2 Motronic system, which is not too difficult, but involves a bunch of different steps (you'll need a new tachometer that is matched to the 3.2 computer too). - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Crowsfeet Comments: I bought a 3.0 liter 911SC engine and I borrowed a hoist to move it from
the back of a pickup truck. the hoist has a central hook but no other chains. What length chains do I need? Where are the attachment points?
January 1, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There should be an attachment hook on the rear of the engine, right above the flywheel area. However, this hook was meant to hold the transmission *and* the engine together, so if you use it to only lift the engine, the engine will list quite a few degrees and will try to spin slightly. This can bend the hook - keep the engine under careful control when lifting only the engine by this hook. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
sean v8 914 Comments: jackstands: I throw a tire under teh belly pan as added insurance
is it easy to remove 911 sc eng/trans as a package like a 914 or is it easier to remove engien by its self?
September 15, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's all a matter of opinion. I like to remove the engine by itself because I find it easier to handle when you're by yourself. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
stick Comments: i have a question inside the rear drivers side wheel arch on a rhd 911 sc 3.0 is there a oil cooler or is it a somthing esle
June 14, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have no clue, you'd have to upload a photo here for me to tell for sure. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Joey D Comments: Were is the jacking point on a 3.2 87 911 eng?
June 3, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use one of these handy tools here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/ksearch/PEL_search.cgi?command=show_part_page&please_wait=N&make=POR&model=911E§ion=ENGmis&page=6&bookmark=37&part_number=55-6641-030-M230
- Wayne at Pelican Parts
 
vwgooroo Comments: Thanks,This will help me alot!!As i will be doing a clutch job and fix some oil leaks soon on my 1982 911sc.
December 11, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
wingman Comments: awesome will come in very handy when i get about to putting in the short shifter and uprate the bushes in the linkages
September 22, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ali Comments: this was very helpfull thank u verey much
April 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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