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How To:- Engine Removal

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My thanks to Paul Woods ( mk1_turbo ) for allowing me to reproduce this article, very much appreciated.




I often get numerous emails or phone calls from owners wanting to have a go at removing their MR2 engine and gearbox themselves. Now although I really don't mind helping MK1 owners at all, I thought it was about time someone did a step by step pictorial guide on how to do this in the most efficient way.

Personally I remove a MK1 engine in around 2 hours but I do this type of thing everyday. For the novice I'd expect it to take a long weekend or an afternoon for the more experienced. Either way this guide should prove useful to someone.


A garage is preferred to do this but not essential, and all that matters, if it is done in a garage, is that there's at least 4ft of roof space above the car allowing for the rear of the car to be jacked right up. Also a good selection of tools is needed but mainly 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 17mm spanners will undo just about everything. A good 2 ton plus trolley jack is essential and a pair of axle stands. Also if there's no engine hoist above the car for lifting the car up, a 4ft long 3"x4" timber is essential for placing across the crossmember on the front bulkhead of the engine bay for spreading the load so that a 2 ton trolley jack can lift the whole car safely.


Safety always comes first, at no time should you attempt to crawl under the car with just a jack holding it, sounds like common sense but it needs to be said.

Ok first thing to do is disconnect the battery terminals, no other  wiring must be removed until this is done first.


The two 10mm bolts on the battery clamp are undone and the battery can be removed - for safety always remove the earth clamp first, a swinging spanner on the positive terminal touching the car body can cause a nasty burn, and in extreme cases a battery explosion - not good!


Next all of the yellow circled bolts or clips are undone and the plastic box removed. The red circled areas show the idle up VSV which must be unplugged and its vacuum pipe removed from the inlet on the blue circle. The intake tubing can now be removed.


The reversing light switch is now unplugged and the two 12mm nuts removed from the thermostat housing together with the gearbox earth strap and the two hoses circled blue.



The remaining heater and radiator hoses are removed from the thermostat housing together with a brown temp sender plug. On the right the two yellow circles roughly depict where two 12mm bolts must be removed from the driveshaft shield and the speedo cable circled blue is also unscrewed, this may be seized so lube it generously with wd40.



Next the three bolts holding the throttle linkage are removed and the throttle linkage bar prised off, the linkage can be tucked behind the battery tray, also circled blue the two 12mm bolts are removed to free the fuel lines from the coolant housing. On the right the electrical plugs are removed from the coolant temp sensor and engine bay fan probe. Also one of the gear change cables is removed by taking out its split pin.



The two 12mm bolts holding the clutch slave cylinder onto its bracket can now be undone but this won't come off until a larger bolt is removed from under the car. On the right the expansion bottle is removed.



Next the brake servo clip is removed and the pipe taken off. Also the two large clips on the coolant filler point hose are removed and this hose removed too.



Now the MAP sensor can be unplugged and its vacuum hose removed from the manifold. On the right the TPS sensor is also unplugged.



Now remove the cam cover breather pipe and also start disconnecting the distributor wiring/coil pack and oil pressure sender switch wire that is directly below the distributor.



Unplug the HT leads and remove, now undo the two 12mm bolts holding the distributor in place and then slide it out. It may need to be rotated left and right when doing this as they are a tight fit.



The remaining coil/amplifier wiring plugs need to be disconnected along with an earth connection. There should be nothing else electrically connected in this area now.



You can now undo the two 10mm bolts that hold the fuel pressure regulator onto the fuel rail, once this is off the fuel line can be tucked behind the battery tray. Also disconnect the alternator thick white feedwire, unplug the multiplug from its rear (blue) and undo the 12mm bolt on the alternator adjusting arm. Remove the 14mm bolt from underneath the alternator and remove it from the engine bay.



You aren't able to see the bolts in question but there are three 10mm bolts on the inlet manifold, two of them secure a fuel line and the wiring harness to the manifold while the third is an earthing point, remove them all. Also unplug the four injector plugs, you may want to sticky label these with tape numbered 1 to 4 from right to left as they can get mixed up during refit.



You can now remove the cold start injector banjo from the fuel rail (yellow) and remove the fuel return line fitting from the end of the fuel rail (not shown), unplug the electrical plug to the cold start injector (blue). The three 12mm fuel rail bolts can now be removed.



Remove the fuel rail completely. Now you can start to remove the engine wiring harness, start at the distributor and lift it off feeding it through the inlet manifold eventually lying it all over the passenger side of the car.



On the right there's five bolts holding the inlet manifold on, there's also four underneath the manifold and also a manifold steady bar that's bolted to the manifold and also the block, remove all of these and lift the manifold off the engine. The engine will actually come out with the manifold left on but its much easier with it removed.



Remove the two water pipes that feed the waxstat on the throttle body, the manifold is now ready to slide off.



Now the t-vis rail can also be removed, sometimes this comes off with the manifold. If you are refitting this try to look after the gaskets. Now that the manifold is off you have good access to unbolt and remove the alternator, again this would come out with the engine but its easier if its removed. A 12mm bolt on the adjuster and two 14mm on the pivot bolt.



Undo all six nuts on each driveshaft and tie each shaft up out of the way, I use thick cable ties secured onto the strut tops for this but anything will do. Undo the exhaust middle hanger bracket and remove.



Remove the three exhaust to manifold nuts (yellow) and the two front torque mount 14mm bolts circled red. On the right remove the rear torque mount via the two 14mm bolts on the chassis (yellow) and the two 14mm bolts on the gearbox (red).



With the engine supported either by jacking trolleys underneath or by a hoist from above, undo and remove the right engine mount, one 14mm bolt from above and two from underneath. Undo the two from underneath first as a safety measure. Undo the 17mm bolt that passes through the right hand engine/gearbox mount.


Gently lower the engine/gearbox to the ground taking care not to foul anything on the way down. Now place a jack under the front engine bay crossmember supported by a large piece of 4x3 to spread the load. Slowly jack the car up off the engine until there's enough height to pull the engine out from the rear.

Under no circumstances must you rely on this jack and beam alone before attempting to pull the engine out. Make sure a couple of axle stands are in place beforehand.


Finally pull or walk the engine out from underneath the car, its quite light and swivels around easily. The refit procedure is an exact reversal of this article.

 I hope it proves useful to someone attempting this for the first time.

If you have any queries at all then please ask, advice is always free.


Paul Woods.

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