Day 4: Engine In

But Before the engine, the brakes had to be completed…

During the week I received the missing shake proof and 3/8th inch washers for the front brake pipes. I was in the garage on Saturday morning around 9:45am and sorted that small job out in ten minutes flat. The aim was to be ready for engine hoist erection by the time Craig and another good friend Paul came around at 10am.

The assembly guide for the flexible brake pipe fitting is OK,  but the pictures below should really help other self-builders. For reference I have the upgraded brakes, but the process is pretty much the same irrespective of your brake option.

Initially I removed all red and yellow plastic protective caps from hoses and callipers. I started with the flexible hose on the outer skin, and used the flat washer against the paint work. I then placed the shake proof washer on the inner skin and the nut that comes in the small bag with the brake hoses. I finger tightened and then seated the fixed brake pipe brass sleeve over the flexible pipe end, and tightened the sleeve, again finger tight initially.

I then moved to the calliper and screwed the female to female fitting finger tight into the calliper, just adding the copper coloured flat washer first. There seemed to be only two ways the flexible hose would position itself, based on the rotation of these fixings. The photos you see was the only way to fit these without them fouling on the steering, and it all seemed pretty obvious and straightforward.

Flexible brake hose in its natural curved position. Both sides look similar, and tests of steering lock-to-lock show no fouling

Tea break and hoist shenanigans

When the 3 of us were in the garage, we had a chat about the order of events, and then had a cup of tea to settle into the day ahead. I had borrowed the engine hoist from another friend, but none of us on the day had used one before. The hoist came without a load leveller, so I had purchased one from Machine Mart a month or so back in anticipation.

The hoist folded out and it was obvious that we needed to move the chassis further back into the garage to create enough space at the front, and also to replace the 2 axle stands at the front with just one under the centre chassis crucifix point.

This took all 3 of us to shift the car back, lifting at the back end, and using a jack at the front end. We then needed Steph (my wife) to quickly move the rear axle stands into their new position. I should have considered this requirement up front, and also it is so much easier with a single axle stand at the front, as it gives much more space for the legs of the engine hoist.

IMG_1547 (1)
Dry run: chassis lifted further back into garage, single axle stand at front now, stops hoist legs fouling on axle stands

Load Leveller

The Duratec engine has two diagonally opposed hoist mounting points, which is OK, but unfortunately twists the engine and gearbox assembly around, so that it’s roughly 10 degrees rotated axially. But more on that later…

Other than this rotation, it was plain sailing to lift the assembly and adjust the pitch of it so that the gearbox was pointing down roughly 30 degrees. This is the initial angle of insertion. Be warned, its like threading a needle. Imagine reversing child birth and trying to get the baby back into the womb. And this is with an SV. Or to continue the analogy, a “larger boned lady”.


Prep before insertion

I had read more than enough other blogs to feel confident about what I needed to do before the insertion. We removed the RHS engine mount arm, the alternator belt, the alternator itself and then cable tied it up to the plenum above. We got a fair way into the insertion when we decided that it would be easier to remove the LHS engine mount arm too. The belt was particularly simple, as its on a spring loaded tensioner and took just a few seconds to slip off. reversing this process was equally simple.

Trying to undo the bolt with the spanner attached actually pushes the sprint tensioner to the left and allows you to pop the belt off easily.


There were moments during this process, which, by the way, took hours, where I was convinced that it would never fit. The real challenge was the unavoidable rotation of the assembly, which needed the help of a short piece of wood and a jack under the bell housing to straighten up. In addition, the 5-speed gearbox is really, really tight in terms of its lateral clearance along the transmission tunnel.

The assembly guide implies this, but at the end of the day both the left and right side of the gearbox touch the transmission tunnel (or at least are rubbing up against the heat resistant sponge/foam that was pre-fitted. I have no solution for this, as there is little or no movement left to right, and therefore nothing that would make an appreciable difference. at least the gearbox looks centred from above and from the back of the car.

Even when we thought we were really close to solving the puzzle, we were actually another hour away, not including another tea break. Clearing the front diagonal cross member on the LHS was the biggest challenge. It really is a case of “down a bit, back a bit, level a bit” almost ad infinitum until the engine block confidently clears the chassis by half a millimetre (with foam lagging removed)

IMG_1554 (1)
The tightest clearance was the bottom front corner of the engine block on LHS, the bit immediately above the bar code sticker on the pipe lagging above. It seemed that it would never clear the lower diagonal…


Gearbox bolting

We were finally in a position to bolt the mounting plate to the gearbox from underneath the car, and then bolt the plate to the chassis.This was fairly easy, although we needed a long wobble bar inserted from above to be able to torque the captive nuts from below to the right torque setting. The trick is to NOT fully torque them until both engine mounting arms are re-attached to the engine block and then attached the the engine mounting rubbers.

Ancillary re-attachment

It was, as previously mentioned a 2 minute job to reattach the alternator belt, and not much longer to sort the engine mounting arms out, or reattach the alternator. Simply reverse the previous procedure.

The challenge was getting the long bolt to fit in the LHS mounting hole in the mounting rubber. I had to remove the plate that holds the washer bottle on, via the 4 small 8mm bolts, and then drop it out of the way.


I then fully torqued and paint pen marked the gearbox mounting bolts from under the car, but didn’t fully torque the front engine mounts, as the long bolts require an imperial allen torque bolt, and I don’t own one. So I hand tightened using a large allen key and I’m off to B&Q or Halfords again tomorrow for yet another purchase.

5-speed gearbox chassis mounting plate, central large bolts to gearbox, outer cap head bolts to chassis. 

Engine Hoist removal

We were then, five and a half hours after we started, able to remove the engine hoist and congratulate ourselves. This was a simple job and as the hoist was retracted it was difficult to describe the feeling of pure unadulterated joy. We all felt it, and I can’t remember the last time I felt this good about any achievement. It’s magical.

Bob (background, left), Steph (left), Paul (right)

Exhaust gone

I finished the day by driving my exhaust components around 45 minutes north to a place in Eastwood near Nottingham that does metal polishing, as previously mentioned. I should have a satin finished exhaust back with me within 2 weeks.

Engine insertion  video

This is the big day, all 6 hours converted into a 1 minute stop motion animation video. With cameo appearances by by father-in-law Bob, my next door neighbour Andrew, and my lovely wife, Steph.At times it felt like a party. Enjoy!

Fun Photos

Some of the nutters in my life, and a well deserved glass of wine, just before I started typing this blog this evening.


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