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Engine rebuild - In place or Pull engine?

 
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volox



Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:29 pm    Post subject: Engine rebuild - In place or Pull engine? Reply with quote

I'm working on a rebuild of my 95 Pathfinder engine and would like some advice from some of you that may have been there and done that.

I've got the cylinder heads off and am about to dive into getting the oil pan off so that I can hone the cylinders and replace the rings.

The instructions seem to indicate that the front axles have to be disconnected and the front differential dropped out in order to remove the oil pan. Steps also seem to indicate that the idler arm should be disconnected but I can't figure out why? It also looks like those rear oil pan bolts are a B*@#$ to get at regardless.

I have half a mind to remove the transmission to engine bolts and pull the engine out to do the work. Bur for some reason, even that procedure seems to indicate that the front differential has to be dropped and the transmission fluid drained. Anyone know why?

Would I be better off to pull the engine out? And if so, can I skip the differential drop?
Or should I just keep going with the engine in the truck?

P.S. I don't have a rack, so anything under the car is good old upside down turtle sliding. I'm not even sure if I would be able to get that differential out and back in again.
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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Location: Prospect, VA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have an automatic transmission, you can pull the engine out without touching the front axle or idler arm, although unbolting the idler arm and pulling down on the steering linkage give you some access to the torque converter bolts and starter. If you have a manual trans, the engine needs to be pull forward to clear the transmission input shaft, so the front axle must be lowered down or removed to provide enough space. Or, you could pull the manual transmission and leave the front axle as is, but, removing the trans requires dealing with rusty exhaust and also removing the crossmember/torsion bars and having to do a wheel alignment afterwards. If you are rebuilding the engine, I would think it would be a lot easier to pull the engine.
Another option would be to install a VG33E from an R50 Pathfinder or D22 Frontier. There are some minor things you need to do, put you get more torque and horsepower and VG33E engines are pretty easy to find at a reasonable price and possibly cheaper than the cost of rebuilding your VG30. There's lots of info on the web; just Google it.
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2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, Nitto Dura Grappler P265/65R17, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks
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volox



Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is an automatic 4WD.

Since I have the cylinder heads off already, I don't think pulling the starter will be much of an issue. So it sounds like at this point the procedure for pulling the engine would be...
1. Remove starter
2. Remove engine to transmission brackets
3. Support transmission and remove blots to engine
4. Remove engine mount bolts and lift out

Any need to drain the transmission? Seems like that would apply on the manual but not on automatic.

To your point about a VG33E... Seems strange that a rebuilt used engine would cost less than rebuilding the one I have? Granted the gaskets and stuff aren't cheap, but does the engine + mods to make it fit really pencil out to be cheaper than the gaskets and machining work?
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No need to drain the transmission. All you need is a jack under the bellhousing to support the front of the trans. If you are not planning to replace the front trans seal, you should wedge something under the torque converter or remove it while the engine is out to prevent damaging the seal.

I didn't mean a rebuilt 3.3L would be cheaper than rebuilding your 3.0L, but, swapping a used 3.3L engine with reasonable mileage would be less costly than rebuilding the 3.0L. If horsepower is more important than torque, you can swap the 3.0L camshafts into the 3.3L. It's just some food for thought, that's all.
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volox



Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick replies smj. And thanks for the great advice.

I've done rebuilds before but it's always this last mile of pulling the final pieces apart and trying to size up what needs to be done that gets me in the nervous zone.

For instance, I was checking the cylinders by feel today and notice a tiny vertical ridge in one of them... so now my head is chewing on whether or not I need to have the block machined as well and whether or not I need the oversize rings. On one hand I like tight tolerances and on the other I have to remind myself that it's a 20+ year old engine that I'm not going to be racing with. Laughing
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's a ridge you can feel with your finger, it'll likely need to be bored. If not, you can try honing it to see if you can remove it. You also want to make sure you check the bores with a bore gauge for out of round and excessive taper.
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volox



Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One last question... Anyone know off hand what size bolts I'll need for my engine stand to bolt the engine on?
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volox



Joined: 29 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or do the transmission bolts work? And if so, did you end up using washers?

P.S. I've got the engine stand from Harbor F, which seems like it has pretty standard arms on it.
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smj999smj
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The transmission bolts probably won't be long enough, but you can remove one of them to get the correct size and pitch. I'm pretty sure they are 12MM...but, I can't remember the pitch.
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volox



Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again smj999smj

I'm almost to the point of lifting the engine out but I seem to have hit a slight snag.

The bolts between the flywheel and the torque converter aren't accessible enough to get a wrench on them. The plate that covers the flywheel (thin metal sheet between the transmission and engine) is loose and it looks like if I could get it slid out of the way I could get on the bolts. However it doesn't have room to slide out.

If I try to go towards the passenger side, it hits the transmission cooler lines. If I try to go to the drivers side, it hits the front diff or the exhaust. When I try to go downward with it, it seem to be caught - not sure if it is the oil pan it is getting caught on or something else.

Suggestions?
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smj999smj
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know what you're talking about and it is a pain. I can't remember exactly what I used to get them off but I do remember wishing I was double-jointed at the fingers! The plate will come out and you're working a bit blind, but you can get them out even with the limited access. It's just getting the right tool combination to get in there. You may have to do something like put a socket on a short extension and get that into place and then put the ratchet on the extension, or something to that effect.
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Last edited by smj999smj on Mon May 01, 2017 6:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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volox



Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Managed to get that plate out of there... It has a bit of a bump in the middle of it along with some gasket material leftovers from around the shaft. Those were offering a bit of resistance that made it seem like it couldn't pull out.

Loosening the bolts to the transmission slightly and making sure the transmission isn't being lifted (which creates a pinch on the plate) were part of the key.

The other part of it was maneuvering... pushing the drivers side corner up and move as far to that side as it would go. Then pull down on the starter side while gently flexing the coolant lines for the transmission outward to make enough clearance. That managed to get that plate out of the way and then you've got a clear shot at the bolts. There was no way I was going to get at those bolts with that plate in place.

So now the trick is going to be whether I can get it back in the way it came out. <yikes> I guess the big question mark is whether the gasket material was just 'spillover' from the oil pan rear seal? Or whether it's expected that there be sealant on that plate? And if so, how the heck would I get that on there without smearing it all over the place as I push the plate into place?
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