How to pull your Mustang Engine

If you have never pulled an engine before, and you have at least some common sense, give it a try.  However, if you think  you don’t have the aptitude for it you may want to invite a friend along who does or farm the chore out.

By reading these instructions, you can see if you have the aptitude and desire to start such a task.

First of all, I have pulled many engines by myself.  However, I do find that having a friend along to help is quite a bit easier.  When I am under the car and need the car engine lifted an inch one does not have toe get out and lift then crawl back under again.  Also, for safety reasons, I strongly recommend a helper.

As I describe the process, I will describe what will need to be done if you have every option on your vehicle.  If you don’t have an option or component, just skip that section and move on to the next.

Before I get started, I want to tell you to use a digital camera and take notes. Go slow and document everything. Buy some labeling tape or use cloth medical tape to label your wires, vacuum hoses, tubes and harnesses.  Before I start, I sketch out the engine bay, draw how wiring harnesses route and take notes. If I separate two wiring harnesses I mark the ends. If I remove an electrical lead from a location, I mark the lead.  Generally when I mark leads, I mark them as E001, E002 or V001, V002, etc. Then on a sheet of paper I record the E001 = FL, lower engine, oil sending unit, Black w/ white stripe.

That tells me the Electrical wire (E) will hook back down on the (F) Front and (L) Lower part of the engine compartment and, that it hooks down on the lower part of the engine on the oil sending unit.  Also just in case the tag comes off, I know the wire is a Black with a white stripe.

When restoring a vehicle, I may have the engine out for over a year or two.  You cannot believe how this documentation will help.  Especially since I generally have multiple cars apart at and y one time. Ready to start.

Here are the steps that I follow:

1. Go to a car wash and really clean your engine good with a high pressure water spray and engine cleaning degreaser.  Although I usually do not recommend products, one of the best engine degreasers I have found is in a purple 1 gallon jug at Wal-Mart. It is not a foaming cleaner, use a spray bottle, spray it on and let it sit for a short while then hose it off. There are other products, but the aerosol cans are very expensive and really don’t work as well.

2. Set up your engine puller.  I have welded together a swing-set out of 4″ and 4″x6″ thick wall steel square tubing.  I have an electric winch that will do a vertical pull of up to 1200 pounds. If you are not pulling engines all the time, go rent an engine puller for the local rent it shop.  They are fairly inexpensive to rent and are easy to use.  You will need it for an afternoon when you pull the engine and again when you put it back in.

3. Disconnect the battery leads and pull the battery out.  Do not set it on the concrete floor. An old timer told me that the concrete will drain the battery.  I am not sure of this, but I always set mine on a board.

4. Remove your hood! This is a simple process.  First take a sharpie marking pen and trace an outline around where your hinge is located on the underside of the hood. Next, if there is a grounding wire, windshield washer hoses or any electrical wires going to the hood label them and then disconnect them. Have your buddy who is helping you hold the hood on one side while you remove your bolts, and then you hold your side while he removes his. Lift the hood off and set it safely aside away form your vehicle.

5. Remove your radiator next.  There are four bolts that hold older radiators on and two bolts on newer radiators. But first, drain the radiator into a small bucket carefully catch all the liquid and keep it away from your pets.  If they drink it it will cause liver failure and well, you can guess the rest.  Now remove the Upper and lower radiator hoses. Next, if you have an automatic transmission, remove the two metal cooling lines from the transmission. Remove the fan shroud. It will be held on by 2 or 4 small bolts and perhaps set in a tabbed notch. Now if you have an older transmission, there are 4 bolts, usually 1/4 inch with 1/2 inch heads that hold the radiator in.  If you have a newer radiator, there are 2 bolts that hold the upper saddle on , remove them. Your radiator should now lift out. Make it so.

6. Remove the fan shroud and the fan. When I take things apart, I will put the bolts back into the holes they came out of then put a rubber band around the threaded end to hold them into their holes.

7. Next, remove the air cleaner, the leads, linkage(s) and lines to the carburetor, and then remove the carburetor. At this point I will tell you that if you are taking gas lines off and they are tight, use a line wrench.  Many times I didn’t and ruined the fittings. Now I always do, and find I save time and money. Now that the carburetor is off, use your roll of manly duct tape and cover the holes where oxygen goes into the manifold. If you have fuel injection, and not a carburetor, the steps are vaguely similar. Take off the upper intake.  Separate the high pressure fuel lines using a line separator. Take the fuel rails off the injectors, take the electrical leads off the injectors, separate the wiring harness and lay it aside.

9. (Steps 9 – 12 can be performed in whatever order is easier or most logical on your engine.) Next remove the air conditioner compressor. Close the valves to the compressor.  Remove the electrical lead that goes to the clutch. Unbolt the compressor and if possible lay it aside. Many times you do not have to separate the lines form the compressor. If you can get away with this it saves money later on. If you do need to take the lines off the compressor, be careful not to get anything inside the compressor and seal the ends with plastic baggies and strong rubber bands. The oil in the compressor will absorb moisture from the air and can cause your unit to fail after reassembly. When reassembling the lines always use a good vacuum pump as this will draw out some of the moisture and give you a better chance of success. Put bolts back into the holes they came out of.

10. Remove the alternator.  This guy is usually held on with 2 bolts unless you have a newer 4.6L engine.  If that is the case, you are on your own on this one, I have not yet had to work on one of these engines. Once you can get to the wires, carefully mark them and remove them.  I label the terminals on the back of the alternator and label the wires to ensure I get them back on correctly. Set the alternator aside and move on.

11. Remove the air pump and all hoses and pipes attached.  Set it aside.

12. Remove the power steering pump and set it aside.  There will be 2 lines to the power steering pump.  A high pressure line and a return line.  They generally can not be reversed. Although I am tempted to say never, I am very cautious with that word and will say almost never can they be reversed. Ok, they can never be reversed!

13. If you have a manual transmission. remove your clutch linkage. from the transmission.

14. Remove the fuel lines from the fuel pump on older engines.  If you have fuel injection, you already did this in a previous step.

15. Hook up the engine puller to the engine. It is perfectly acceptable to bolt an engine pulling bracket to the place where the carburetor was attached. I have read several articles and all of them through the tests proved that that mounting point is strong enough.  I however use a pulling tool that attaches to the front and back of each head in 4 locations. It has a crank that allows the engine to be tilted up and down. Using this tool makes it easy to pull the engine and transmission both at the same time. I will get a picture of this tool and post it later.

15. Next unbolt the motor mounts, but leave the bolts through the holes.

16. If you are pulling the engine and transmission together, disconnect the driveshaft from the differential and the transmission mounting bolts from the transmission crossmember. Next unbolt the crossmember from the transmission tunnel support (leave the bolts in ). This is also a good time to remove the speedometer cable from the transmission. In preparation for pulling the engine and transmission pull the drive shaft out of the rear of the transmission. Have heavy duty plastic baggie and a good strong rubber band ready put the baggie over the tailshaft of the transmission to catch any leaking transmission fluid that will drain as you pull the transmission and engine out.

17. If you are only pulling the engine, remove the bell housing bolts from the engine. And, remove the starter at this time. If you have an automatic transmission, you will need to remove the inspection plate on the bottom front of the bellhousing and remove 4 brass nuts that hold the torque converter to the flex plate. To accomplish this task, you will need to put a breaker bar on the harmonic balancer bolt on the front of the engine and rotate the engine until all 4 bolts are off.

17. Now everything should be disconnected from the engine Except the exhaust, disconnect the “Y” pipe from the manifold or unbolt your headers. Everything should now be disconnected but, double check! Triple check.

18. Lift the engine and remove the motor mount bolts.  If pulling the transmission, now is a good time to gently raise the tailshaft and remove the 2 bolts holding the crossmember on. Lower the tailshaft onto a dolly or board that will move forward as the unit is pulled.

19. Now start raising the engine as you lower the tail shaft.  Either separate the engine and transmission and lift the engine out, or alternate raising the engine and moving forward a few inches until the engine and transmission are out.

To put the engine back in reverse the steps and use the notes you took to ensure success. If you are rebuilding your engine, see my notes under how to rebuild your engine.  You will also need to refer to the individual engine to get torque specs for any particular engine.

Good Luck!.