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Removing crossmember with engine in-car


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I am in the process of refinishing all of the suspension components on my car and wanted to do the front crossmember while I had it all apart. Has anyone had success removing the crossmember while leaving the engine in the car? Do you think it would be possible to jack and block the engine up and remove the crossmember? I do not have acces to a engine hoist, and although I could rent one, I will have to get the crossmember bead blasted and painted before putting it back in so this would likely take a week or so and I don't want to rent a hoist for this long if I don't have to.

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I think you should be able to do it. I'm guessing the front of your car is already up on stands, since you're refinishing the suspension parts. And, if you haven't done it yet, remove the disc brake calipers, remove the rotors & hubs, separate the tie rod ends from the steering arms, remove the strut assemblies, torsion bars, sway bar & end links, and transverse links. Now all that should be left is the front crossmember and the steering rack assembly.

Unbolt the motor mounts from the supports on each side of the engine (2 bolts on each side). Position a floor jack under the bellhousing of the transmission. Jack up the transmission/engine only enough to raise the engine off the motor mounts a bit.

Now, place a jack stand under the oil pan. Put a block of wood on top of the stand, between it and the oil pan so you don't damage the pan. Adjust the stand high enough so that when you lower the jack out of the way, the engine is still raised slightly off the motor mounts.

With the engine supported, you can turn your attention to the front cross member. Place the floor jack under the center of the cross member, and raise it up so that it is touching the cross member, but don't over do it and raise the car off the jack stands. You want the floor jack to hold the cross memeber in place once it is unbolted. Remove the two bolts on each side of the cross member (on the outer edge of the frame rails). Now carefully lower the front cross member and roll it out from the car.

Hopefully you have a good sized floor jack, not one of those little ones. I bought a nice one from Napa, a 3 1/2 ton jack and it has a removable rubber pad that fits on the jack head. It distributes the weight nicely and won't scratch a painted surface.

I'd also recommend that you have a helper assist you with all of this. While you can do all this work by yourself, it might prove easier and safer to have an assistant.

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that's basically how i did mine (check before/after pics in gallery).

however, i used the jack with a block of wood under the oil pan to lift enough to allow the removal of the rack first. it seemed easier to unbolt and separate while still mounted than trying to on the bench. then just unbolted and dropped the crossmember. having the jack under the pan allowed adjusting the height as you are working to help with clearance.

if you want to bring them down as a unit though, kenz's procedure sounds like the way to go since the jack will help carry the combined weight.

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Home Depot sells some 12ga channel in the electrical department. I bought a 10' length of it, cut it in 1/2, and cut about 6-8 inches from each half to make a 'base'. I took the remaining of the two halfs and welded them together (you can use bolts w/o a welder), and draped some chain over them on each side of the engine and bolted it to the A/C bracket mounting holes and the alternator mounting holes.

See the pic in my gallery.http://www.classiczcars.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=14307&cat=500&ppuser=6279 Yes, the front fenders will need to be removed for this. Use the two scrap pieces to hold up the twin rails off the fender mounting points. Use jack stands at the very front of the frame rails.


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Thanks guys. In thinking it through it sounded feasible. I just wanted a sanity check.

Kenny, that's pretty much how I envisioned doing it although I hadn't planned on jacking from the bell housing. Great idea. I wasn't sure the oil pan was strong enough to carry the weight of the motor once the crossmember was removed. I had planned on propping it up along the outer edge with some 4x4 stock. Sounds like it is.

My floor jack is the 3+ ton SUV version from Sears. Unfortunately it has a small pad on it so I usually use a piece of 2x4 on it to spread the load and provide a softer surface for lifting.

I have already stripped everything off except for the front crossmember, diff and assoc pieces, and the moustache bar. Painting is coming along slowly as weather and time of day are a factor since I have to work outside.

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