Over the last couple of evenings I've been busy digging out the engine and transmission from the Ranger. I'd gotten everything unhooked from the engine last weekend, and took the manifolds and accessories off, so I basically ended up with a long block plus tranny. One problem I ran into is that I don't have an engine hoist. I know of at least two people that have them, but I couldn't borrow them on short notice as they were out of town, and apparently places like Part Source don't rent engine hoists. Being the impatient person that I am, I decided to pull the engine without a hoist, through the front of the truck. I took off the bumper and frame cross members, cut out a bit of sheet metal from the front of the engine bay, and struggled to get it out on a couple of jacks. It took about 3 hours in total to get the thing out, including the disassembly of the front of the truck, but it turned out to be a royal PITA. Although I had gone over and made sure everything connecting the engine to the truck was disconnected* I had forgotten one critical step - draining the engine oil. So, the engine ended up tipping a bit onto its side while I was shimmying it out, and dumped several litres of old oil on my garage floor with no room to get a drain pan under it. Grrr! Gumption escaping...
*I had once pulled an engine from an Oldsmobile to put into my Fiero, and had forgotten to disconnect the clutch hydraulic line. Amazingly, that line was strong enough to lift the whole front end of the car up, at least for a few seconds before breaking and letting the car crash back down onto its stands.
Anyway, now that I've gotten the engine out I've started to test fit it to my frame to see where I should put the remaining upright tubes (H tubes) and engine support bars (G tubes). I'm not sure yet how far back to put it as it's a trade off between foot room and shifter position. In order to have the shifter behind the dashboard I'd have to have the bellhousing quite far back making the foot well narrow. I may ended up putting it forward and making a remote shifter like I saw on Horchoha's car.
Here is the engine slid forward to clear the bell housing (ignore the mess, still haven't finished cleaning up after the oil spill):
I enjoy the construction of the frame as it's a nice, clean, straightforward job. The disassembly of the donor is less than stellar, on the other hand, as everything is covered with a 1cm thick layer of 20 year old oil sludge. As much as I dislike cleaning, I thought I would start spiffying up the parts a little:
Hopefully by the end of this week I will have the engine support tubes and top frame cross-members in place, and will be able to start on the rear end. I also want to start on the suspension soon, but I'm undecided whether to go with Heim joint rod ends or bushings. The bushings would be preferable from a ride comfort perspective, but the heim joints offer ease of construction and adjustability which I like. I was thinking of getting something like this for the rear axle: http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-LINK-1-2-x-1-2-20-ROD-END-KIT-WITH-BUNGS-HEIM-JOINTS-/370187834938?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item5630ea163a&vxp=mtr