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dmorales-bello

Engine lift for front cross member removal

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After completing my '78 280Z rear end refresh I've been gathering some upgraded components for a front end refresh for the last few months: Tokico Illuminas, new ball joints, Apex Engineered inner and outer tie rods, steering knuckles, and some PU bushings. I plan to media blast and powder coat the my OEM control arms, steering rack components AND front crossmember. My problem is how to safely and effectively suspend my engine to remove the crossmember while the front end is up on jackstands??? I've thought of holding the motor up with a couple of taller jackstands, fabricating a "bridge" to be placed between the top of the strut towers and hang the engine from it, etc.

Has anyone done something like this? Ideas and opinions would be greatly appreciate it.

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1 minute ago, ryanotown22 said:

Why not just take the engine out


Sent from my iPhone using Classic Zcar Club mobile

My engine is fully detailed/finished and I really don't need to take it out for any other reason so I'm trying to avoid that extra work.

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Be safe.  Be smart.  Take the engine out and put it on a stand and you'll have the cross member and suspension free and clear to work on.  The "extra work" would come from trying to work around the situation you're trying to create to avoid the extra work...

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The key is stabilizing things.  Put the car body on stands with the suspension hanging.  Otherwise when you lift the engine the car body will lift also.  Support the engine at both front back and sides so that it can't tilt.  If you get everything supported and stabilized you should be able to loosen the engine mounts and verify that it's stable before actually disconnecting it from the car body.

A potential problem is getting everything ready for separation then finding that you do have to lift the engine for clearance.  You should be able to visualize what needs to move though, before actually dropping the cross member.

The big realization is that once you get the cross member out, you're stuck with the car and engine in that spot until you're done and it's back in.

Of course, you'll want to be able to move the car around so all of this is probably moot.  Think of the disaster it will be if the engine falls of of the rigged up mounts.  Good luck. 

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Here's a thought that might stand alone - get another cross member and just do a swap.  Faster, easier, doable without removing the engine.  The car is only stuck in its spot for a short time.

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@ZedHead , preparing another crossmember for a "quick" swap is a great idea. It would certainly cut down the time exposed to risk. I'll have to start the search for a crossmember in great shape that only needs cosmetic work (like mine).

Does any member have any experience performing this type of operation?

Anyone with a spare '78 front crossmember they would like to sell?

Edited by dmorales-bello

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@dmorales-bello

This is what I did back in 2005...

http://legacy.classiczcars.com/photopost/member-galleries/p14307-motor-mounts-3f.html

The front cross-member is removed, as are the front fenders, and the engine was supported using Uni-strut as pictured, WELDED TO some Uni-strut pieces as an upside-down 'U' resting on the uni-body that is covered up by the fenders. It is best to remove the fenders, and position the support pieces in place PRIOR to welding. Found that out the hard way. Also, most have a coating on them, make sure you grind the coating off or you get booger welds that don't hold. Don't ask why I know this.....

Sorry, I no longer have that Uni-strut assembly, but various lengths can still be purchased at home improvement stores, in the electrical aisle. 

EDIT:: If I did this again, I would change the orientation of the engine support strut for the 'top' of the "U" to face up, to provide additional welding surface on the body support struts...

@Mike

It appears as though since the last update in 2015, all previous images reside ONLY on the legacy site, is that correct?

100_1767.JPG

Edited by wal280z
found original picture for mobile users

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I did this in October on my 240z. Rebuilt everything under the car but didn't want to remove the engine. Started with rear end and then did the front. Here is what I did.

- Entire car was lifted up on heavy duty jack stands.

- Bought extra crossmember on ebay and powdercoated it.

- BTW, transmission is installed and trans mount is installed. Just letting you know since you have had the rest of the car apart. Both of these help stabilize the engine.

- Removed radiator, control arms, steering rack, struts, TC rods, everything since all was being powder coated...not radiator.

- Removed hood.

- Used engine hoist with tilt attachment, connected to stock engine lift brackets.

- Loosen engine mounts.

- Lifted engine off mounts.

- Removed old crossmember.

- Installed powder coated crossmember with engine mounts. Installed mount fasteners but kept loose. 

- Getting the engine to drop in place on the mounts is kind of the same challenge it always is when you reinstall the engine. At first I was trying to keep the crossmember mounted but loose. This didn't work because it wasn't where it should be. Ended up tightening it up and the install went far smoother. Keeping the mounts a bit loose though helped. I had to fiddle with the hoist and tilting device, lifting, lowering, re-balancing, etc. I did a little pushing and pulling with a pry bar too. Eventually I was able to fasten the mounts and tighten.

- I don't think I would attempt to do this without an engine hoist and tilting device. Also, my engine hoist has a nice long arm / beam which helps since the car was in the air. Trying to do it by supporting the engine with jack stands below, to me, would not give you the movement you need to get everything lined back up.

Yes, I would do it this way again and plan to this summer with my dad's 280z.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

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@jonathanrussell That sure looks like ALOT of work. I suppose I'm lazy LOL

IIRC, I left the transmission mount (to body) connected, but removed the nut that connected the rubber insulator to the transmission mount (body). Although I found out later that really wasn't necessary as I didn't change the angle of the engine to the body significantly.

Wayne

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Many great points to consider in all your experienced comments. I will digest all the numerous tips before I decide which way to go. I don't have an engine hoist so the Unistrut route or a variant thereof might be my method of choice. I'll report back. Thanks for all the great help fellas.

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19 minutes ago, dmorales-bello said:

Many great points to consider in all your experienced comments. I will digest all the numerous tips before I decide which way to go. I don't have an engine hoist so the Unistrut route or a variant thereof might be my method of choice. I'll report back. Thanks for all the great help fellas.

You could probably rent a lift for the day fairly cheap. Or if you're like me you use it as an excuse to go by one"...but honey, it was on sale!" LOL

If you already have the cross member to put back in, you would only need for a few hours.

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17 minutes ago, Patcon said:

You could probably rent a lift for the day fairly cheap. Or if you're like me you use it as an excuse to go by one"...but honey, it was on sale!" LOL

If you already have the cross member to put back in, you would only need for a few hours.

Hi Charles @Patcon, I never needed a lift in the Uni-strut idea I posted. I attached the chains while the motor was mounted to the cross-member while it was still attached to the body and made adjustments to the chain sling (not shown) prior to removing the cross-member. I told ya I was cheap.... I can squeeze 6 Lincoln's out of a Jefferson nickle if need be...

It's too bad hat I scrapped THAT car as it had so many good bits and piece...

I sure wish that I could find that color code for that yellow... Not a Nissan OEM for that year.

Wayne

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Interesting this came up now. I also found a much nicer cross member that is being powder coated. I want to swap it out without removing the engine.

Not sure of the method yet. I do have access to a engine lift to use if needed. But I would like to leave the hood as is if possible.

Its way too cold now in the garage so the plan is being a spring project. Looking into ideas now. I have lots of unistrut already.

 

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10 hours ago, wal280z said:

 

@Mike

It appears as though since the last update in 2015, all previous images reside ONLY on the legacy site, is that correct?

@wal280z, all of the images were migrated over.  Your image was in the body work and paint gallery which is here: https://www.classiczcars.com/gallery/category/2041-body-work-and-paint/?page=29

If you want to see all the images you posted, here's the link:  https://www.classiczcars.com/profile/5508-wal280z/?do=content&type=gallery_image&change_section=1

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