View Full Version : What do you use to lift/pull your engine?

01-12-2010, 11:37 AM
Just wondering what idea's anyone might have here for manipulating engines/transmission combos.

I've installed/replaced engines and transmissions on multiple occasions in my past, but have a different situation now - I live in a suburban type home that has "trusses" in the roof, and while I have a good electric winch - I don't have anything to hang it off of.

I'm going to be needing to replace the clutch in my STX soon and will need to at least slightly lift and be able to tilt the engine trans when I do that.

I don't want to rent an engine lift - not only because of the expense, but also because I have a bad situation - I have a one-car garage at the top of a driveway with a very large slope.

I've seen the thread by Tripod123 and some others with pics of some rig which seems to fasten to the shock towers in the engine bay and allow a chain/hoist to slightly lift and tilt the engine/trans.

Else - I could go the really difficult rourte and install a header across the width of my garage - but that would be a big job in itself.

Aside from that - I've thought about buying an old "swing set" and cutting the height down to fit inside the garage and then using my ~500 lb. electric winch tied to that for the lifting - obviously I could'nt PULL and engine with a 500 lb. winch - but I could lift/manipulate it.

Just wondering what others in a similar situation might use.

The Captain
01-12-2010, 01:43 PM
I use a cherry picker, however out the bottom is an option. No way I'd trust wood to support an engine/trans combo.

Maybe a transmission jack for the motor and regular jack to lift the body off?

01-12-2010, 01:44 PM
^X2 for the methods mentioned. Cherry picker is the most effective way to remove the engine. You can rent one fairly cheap.

01-12-2010, 02:06 PM
I have a similar situation to yours, one car garage (which is unfortunately occupied by one alltrac with a bad clutch) with a decent slope to my driveway. I did the clutch in an 01 jetta over the summer in that driveway...I just made sure I had the rear wheels blocked so there wouldnt be any movement. Then I did what you described about the unit that goes over the shock towers...although I only used a 4x4 post cut to size and used chains to hold the engine in place. Its a shitty way to do a clutch job, because theres nothing worse than crawling around on the ground trying to maneuver a transmission back onto the engine....a tranny jack would probably be the best piece of equipment to have on hand imo

01-12-2010, 02:30 PM
Running a 4x4 through the rafters to use as a mount for your hoist would be a simple solution. You could pick up a treated 4x4 and secure it for change.

The question then would be whether or not your rafters would support the weight.

As a youth, most of my engine pulls were done using a chain hoist secured to either a 4x4 'A' Frame or a large tree branch. Since you already have the hoist, the expensive part is done. With a little bit of fabrication, you could brace some rafters with 4x4s and run one across the rafters for your hoist.

This would also enable you to use the hoist often, thus being an investment.

01-12-2010, 03:24 PM
i drop the engine to the ground onto a 4 wheel dolly i have. use the engine hoist to lift the car up and then i roll the motor out from underneath

01-12-2010, 09:49 PM
i got a autoparts store boom hoist. it sucks, but it gets the job done every time

01-12-2010, 10:02 PM
i bought a engine hoist a few years ago. its paid for itself time and time again. its worth the expense to buy your own

01-12-2010, 10:55 PM
i have an electric chain hoist that tracks along an i-beam in my shop. in your case i would do as Murg said. if you fasten a 4x4 on top of 4-6 trusses then that will help to distribute the weight of the load.

01-12-2010, 11:21 PM
Good question that I have thought about a few times. Engine hoist and/or a transmission jack would be the best tools for the job, but for an ST all you really need is a helper. I helped my neighbor, who has a 6th gen ST, with his clutch and the tranny can't weigh more than 70 pounds. He actually got it off and on by himself the first time he did it. My GT tranny weighs more like 90 pounds and I could not get it off and on without help. I tried rolling it on my chest and pressing it up, but I could not get it to line up by myself. I had a helper hold the hole where the starter went to line up the dow pins as I bench pressed it up from below. I used a racketed tie down strap around the right side mount for safety when dropping it. It also went through the other 2 front and rear mounts and it worked ok, but I just had to get under there and bench press it down with a helper prying it off and guiding it down.


Transmission jacks are like $300+, some places rent them. Engine hoists are like $100-150. One problem with a ceiling hoist is that you have to remove the hood. Another thing that would work is a motorcycle jack because it's a big flat low jack and they are like $100.

Just bench press the ST tranny with a buddy prying it off or I would buy an engine hoist to lower and raise the anything.

Ho-made tranny jacks don't work too well.
See the 4 wheel dolly with the factory jack on top. That didn't work too well, had to just get under there and bench it up and down.

On a safety side not...You can also see the 2 jacks with wood blocks supporting the engine and 2 red jack stands with wood blocks supporting the weight of the car and the jack stands are in the normal front jack points, plus a backup jack stand behind them. With the 2 jack stands at the correct jack points and backup stands, plus the e-brake on and the rear wheels blocked, I feel safe under the car wrenching hard on things. I still find myself only wrenching hard toward downward toward the ground instead of side to side, front to back or upward wrenching just to be safe cause I would hate to get squashed.

01-18-2010, 02:46 AM
To drop the engine I'd recommend a cherry picker.

Not sure if the 4AFE is the same but on my 3SGTE I just left the engine/trans attached to the front to back and side to side cross members. Then I attached caster wheels to the cross members and pulled it out.

01-19-2010, 01:28 AM
Thanks to all for the advice.

In the past I was like Murgatory - I had plenty of land and would just use a big tree limb and a chain hoist to pull engines and trans.

I no longer have such a good situation - and also as mentioned the roof of my garage does not have the old time rafters and joists - it has the 2X4 trusses which would bend too much if I tried to even support a lifted engine by attaching a hoist - at the very least the sheet rock on the ceiling would crack. I do kind of wonder what would a 4AFE engine with trans attached weigh?

So for my upcoming clutch change on the STX I'll be going with the "underneath" route.

I've got a floor jack and a couple of good ratchet type jackstands - I think I'll buy a couple more cheap jackstands for extra temporary supports and pick up a couple of scissor jacks from the local wrecking yard.

I am also toying with the idea of buying a transmission jack - either this one:

or this adapter for a floor jack:

I kind of hate to spend the money - but thought maybe I'de get it and then might be able to sell it.

Either way - I'm not gonna rent a cherry-picker engine lift - as it's pretty expensive to do that and also I don't have a truck to get it here. If worse came to worse and I really needed to lift an engine out of the vehicle, I would install a header (beam) across my garage ceiling resting on the two load bearing outside walls - which, while expensive (~20 foot span) would probably be less money than renting an engine lift for even three days.

01-19-2010, 01:36 AM
Also wanted to add a special note of thanks to PittsburghCelli - that thread you and Joey have is the "cat's meow" for a clutch change - I've done plenty RWD clutches but never a FWD and was apprehensive about tackling the job until I saw that thread with all the great pics.

I had thought to just be lame and get a shop to do it - but of three quotes on the phone - $1050 was the cheapest!

So - looks like I'll be getting my hands dirty on this one....

01-19-2010, 01:58 AM

Cherry picker right out the top. No problems getting that thing right out the top.

3SGTEs come out the bottom. Be it an alltrac or an MR2, fine but a 4AFE out the bottom? Hell no.

My 2zz came right out the top with the tranny attached to it. I didnt have to remove shit off the bottom of my car.

01-19-2010, 02:06 AM
So - you're saying here that for a 4AFE (which is what I have in the ST that needs the clutch changed) it would be a "no-go" to try and just lift the engine from the top and then tilt it and pull the tranny out the bottom?

01-19-2010, 02:30 AM
Yeah, you could do that I guess.

Im not really a fan of the doing clutch with engine in the car thing, cause its so easy to just pull the whole damn thing out together and do it that way.

Honestly, its just as much work to remove a tranny as it is to pull the whole damn thing together in my experience.

Others may chime in, but Id rather pull the whole thing together than mess with trying to line a stupid transmission spline up while the things in the car.

When I do a clutch, I pull the tranny and engine together, set the engine on its side so its on the crank pulley and engine mount bracket, I pull the trans off from the "top" do the clutch, and drop the tranny back on, turn the engine back on its side and reinstall it.

I usually use the chance to change the timing belt/water pump/etc and freshen up any seals that need it, which is SOO much easier to do with the engine out of the car.

01-19-2010, 02:59 AM
Bottom. Easy. I'd just remove the trans, I wouldn't bother with the motor unless needed.

But then again, I'm trained on how to make the job as quick as possible.

Unless you're a 90lbs girl. Than it might be some effort. I dunno, ask Luni


01-19-2010, 03:19 AM
Well, I do agree that is a much easier and better way to do it - overall - I just don't know if I CAN do it that way - mainly due to "complications" with my current facility.

My problems are that I have a one-car garage - so I can't put a cherry-picker on the side cuz there is not enough space to do that. Also - I have a driveway with a vicious slope to it - for maybe three feet in front of my garage door there is a relative flat spot in the driveway, but after that it is at least a 7 degree slope for maybe 15-20 feet to the street - I can just imagine waving a cowboy hat while I'm riding my cherry-picker (with engine attached) going backwards down that driveway! (been there and done that in the past)

You bring up some good points - while my ST does just need a clutch right now it has ~241k miles on it and probably needs allot more - and as I have no maintenance records at all at the very least I will want to take this opportunity to change the timing belt.

So to pull the engine would be the best - but there are even more "gotchas" too.

To pull the engine I can either do it from the back of the garage (pull inside forward) or the front (by the garage door). If I have the cherry-picker in the back I'll have very little maneuvering room - the legs of the lift are about five feet long, right? So here I'll need to roll the car back at least seven feet before I even have the space to set the engine/trans combo down and work on it. Maybe I'll have the length to do that and still have the body sitting on relatively flat ground so I can push it back in when the time comes to re-install everything.

So at the other side - I could back the car in the garage and pull the engine at the front of the garage - so long as I've enough room to pull he hoist back before falling down the driveway. Here - I could remove my workbench I have at the back of the garage to make extra room.

Either way - I think for me a cherry-picker will be a PITA.

I need to measure my car and my garage and plan this - and I need to really decide whether I should pull the engine or not. I think for my own peculiar situation - that if I need to pull the engine, then a beam across my garage attic that I can attach a winch will be the best option - and while it would be some amount of work it would not be so expensive to do.

Your points make sense - especially considering the mileage of my car it would be best to pull the engine and do more than just a clutch R&R.

01-19-2010, 03:25 AM
Bottom. Easy. I'd just remove the trans, I wouldn't bother with the motor unless needed.

But then again, I'm trained on how to make the job as quick as possible.

Unless you're a 90lbs girl. Than it might be some effort. I dunno, ask Luni


Nope - not exactly Hercules here but not a "90 pound weakling" either - I also have my 27 yo step-son who is ~6'4" and weighs in around 205 for the tough jobs.

01-19-2010, 05:23 AM
Thanks Klapa anything to help a fellow Celica owner... Joey is my hero. The ST tranny is light, 65 pounds I bet, bench it down with someone guiding from above with a grip and don't have their elbow leaning on the radiator or anything either, and make sure you have a heavy shirt on also. hehe you'll be okay, go size it up. Just be safe with the jacks and don't be cheap with the brake cleaner. I like that tranny jack btw.

01-19-2010, 04:17 PM
LOL Joey. Thats funny, given that Im a much bigger dude than you are and Im sure I can lift more weight :p

You also use lifts and telescoping tranny jacks too.

01-20-2010, 07:12 AM
Not the dozen times I've done trans swaps in driveways. Honestly the easiest way I've found to do it is I'll put a sheet of plywood with a couple 4x4s underneath it on the sides to absorb the impact and just drop the trans on the plywood by hand (gently). I also just pull the trans up from the top by hand to line it up. Of course, this is on manual transmissions as if you tried this on an auto you'd probably throw out your back.

PS: Rob, don't make me tackle your Michelin man ass. PPS: I know you'd like it you ghey biatch.

01-20-2010, 01:28 PM
I pulled the 3sge engine/trans out the top on my celica with a boom hoist without issues. Removed the hood, and was plenty of room to lift it right up & out.

When I did my trans on the DD, I grabbed this trans jack.


Works great, I ditched the chain & used a strap though (the chain is a POS).