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Pelican Technical Article:

Partial Engine Drop

Walt Fricke


1-2 hours






Flathead screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, metric socket and metric wrench set, wood blocks,

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)

Performance Gain:

Access to your engine for replacing engine components and lines

Complementary Modification:

Replace the idiot light sender

Here is a slightly more partial way to do a partial drop:

1) Release the shift coupler by loosening the rear setscrew. the coupler is below the plate with 4 sheet metal screws you need to remove to get to it on top of the shift tunnel between where the rear passengers' feet would be if ever anyone rode back there. This is a precaution, and when you put it back it will be just as before.

2) Take loose the connector on the wire loom which connects the rear of the engine to the relay etc panel on the left rear of the engine bay. Also loosen the greasy and oily oil breather hose which connects the engine to the oil filler/dipstick assembly - you can do this at the filler area (the engine breather line you couldn't release from its other end if your life depended on it). And the hose which connects the air filter area of the air box to this oil filler area.

3) Put your jack under the rear of the engine and jack it up until the rear tires are off the ground. Put jack stands under the rear using the ends of the torsion bars at the spring plates and lower the car until it is just about to rest on the jack stands completely.

4) Remove the two rear engine mount bolts over at the sides of the engine compartment.

5) Watching all other lines, wires, and so on which connect the engine to the rest of the car, lower slowly. When anything looks like it is getting tight or is going to get tight, stop. Don't come down too far, you just want some reaching and looking room over the air box and fuel distributor area, and you will get a bit more of that when you remove the rubber boot connecting the throttle body to the fuel distributor.

In your case you have already drained your oil and removed the oil line connecting the sump tank to the engine via the bottom of the oil cooler. It's been a while since I did this, so watch things closely. The engine scavenge oil line to the external oil thermostat should have enough flex for this, but you may want to disconnect it also. And it isn't hard to disconnect the two fuel lines. The efficiency of this sort of tilt lowering comes in not having to remove the CV s and the sway bar and the tranny mount bolts and the heater hoses from the heat exchangers to the valves, and the accelerator rod .

6) As a precaution, put some sort of wood blocks under the engine at this point to back up your jack (I once had a jack slowly lower the engine/tranny assembly over night, even though I thought I had tightened the release mechanism).

This will give you enough room to inspect the idiot light sender area and to replace the sender on general principles. If it is original it might indeed be leaking after 18 years. However, it is near the breather exit and that area seems always to have stray oil.

The discerning reader will notice that this general procedure of rotating the engine/tranny unit down using the compliance of the rubber in the tranny mounts is the same as the procedure you can use to remove the entire engine without having to remove the tranny also. Except you don't have to remove quite as many fuel lines and such, and needn't jack the car up as far.

Walt Fricke

Comments and Suggestions:
Mark T. Comments: Will the 3" drop be enough to get me to the point of being able to access the top oil cooler bolts to change out the 3 seals behind the cooler?
December 12, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Conan the Barberian Comments: Will lowering three engine this way give me enough room to R&R the internal thermostat on my '81 911 Targa? I assume the air flow sensor boot also needs to be removed for access.
October 26, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. You will have to remove all the hoses and components in the way once the engine is lowered. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
capt_troy Comments: I was able to install the hydro stops without having to drop engine at all.
I had everything pulled off the top of engine already as well as exhaust so I just had to remove rear piece of pan. Piece of cake. thanks for the info though.
May 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
abaurre Comments: Mine is a 1980 911 SC stock configuration. I need to replace the CSV and vacum lines. Thank you.
May 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be fine lowering it 3 inches. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
abaurre Comments: What would you say is the limit in inches that the engine can go down without damaging the transmission mounts? I assume that at some point it will be damaged.
May 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle are you lowering the engine on? Some models can go down 3 inches.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Capt_troy Comments: Will this partial drop give me enough room to pull timing chain covers to add the chain tensioner savers?
January 27, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think so. You should drop the engine out, this way you will have enough clearance. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kremer#2 Comments: Thanks Walt....I will let you know how I make out...
July 31, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for working with each other. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
bimmer135 Comments: I was able to replace the oil pressure sensor without dropping the engine. I removed the Air Flow Sensor Boot and used a deep socket 24MM with 6" extension to pull it out. I had to work only with one hand so it gets a little tricky but possible. I even used a torque wrench to insure proper installation.
October 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
a320 Comments: I want to remove the CIS in one piece to fix both oil and injection air leaks. Will this drop give me the room I need?

April 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It might - the clearance is very tough. I recommend simply splitting the manifold from the black plastic air box - it's a lot easier. - Wayne at Pelican Parts Comments: Hello. This procedure sounds great. Does this procedure also allow access to the upper valve covers for checking and setting valve clearance?
June 13, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Unless you have a 930, you should be able to easily get in the back there to access the valves on the top. It takes some patience, but it's definitely doable. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 1/22/2018 02:19:58 AM