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Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Old 12-01-2018, 08:40 AM
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Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Looking to remove the K member/engine/trans as a unit - For those of you that have done this.....has anyone measured
how high the front of the car needs to be in order to slide the K-member out with the engine and trans still bolted up to it ???
What did you use to raise the car that high and how did you support it ?? I'm thinking of buying a portable
2 post lift (https://www.maxjaxusa.com/ ) that I'm sure would work good but also looking at other solutions for raising the car up high enough......ideas???
This needs to be performed in my 2 car garage with no overhead hoist capabilities (but I do have 10 foot ceiling so that is not an issue)

Anyone with experience doing this please share your thoughts/ideas.......thanks
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:51 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Car has to be lifted pretty high. See post #103,

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/ltx-...ml#post5438142

I have to do it again this winter. It was pretty sketchy the first time. Thinking about a better place to hook the chain.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:03 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/memb...ml#post6263651

I had the back bumper just about touching the driveway. In retrospect, raising the back end first would have made more sense. A lift would make life easier.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:04 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by QwkTrip View Post
Car has to be lifted pretty high. See post #103,

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/ltx-...ml#post5438142

I have to do it again this winter. It was pretty sketchy the first time. Thinking about a better place to hook the chain.
Ah ha !!! - That is exactly what I want to do......those are the pics I was looking for - Thanks a bunch !!
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:06 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/memb...ml#post6263651

I had the back bumper just about touching the driveway. In retrospect, raising the back end first would have made more sense. A lift would make life easier.
More good pics !!!
Thanks Drew (third gen Mr. Wizard) !!
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:24 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Honestly I wouldn't do it without a lift. It lifts out the top easily if you take the bumper cover off the car. Even my 4th gen donor I decided I couldn't get the car high enough safely. So I banged it out the top. Also lifting with the engine hoist works but then you are under a car entirely on hydraulics.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:29 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by Aviator857 View Post
Honestly I wouldn't do it without a lift. It lifts out the top easily if you take the bumper cover off the car. Even my 4th gen donor I decided I couldn't get the car high enough safely. So I banged it out the top. Also lifting with the engine hoist works but then you are under a car entirely on hydraulics.
I've been thinking of getting a lift for years - this is a good time to do it - thinking of this one http://www.maxjaxusa.com
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:59 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

If I had a larger shop I would own one. Just make sure your concrete is strong enough for one, alot of residential garage floors are iffy.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:01 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by Aviator857 View Post
If I had a larger shop I would own one. Just make sure your concrete is strong enough for one, alot of residential garage floors are iffy.
I watched them pour it and have pics - I have a house that was built 2 years ago - I am good with the concrete, that is no issue at all
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Old 12-01-2018, 01:56 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

With the engine, trans, crossmember, out of the front end, most of the weight is removed from the front of the car. Either way you're going to be lifting a lot of weight depending on a chain, hooks/hardware, and a hydraulic ram. I felt a lot more uneasy with a 305 and 700R4 dangling overhead from a hoist than I did with the front of the car in the air.

If I were doing the job again tomorrow, I'd fab up some Lincoln Log style dunnage to support the rear wheels. Hollow box style, that would capture the wheels. Pop them under the rear before lifting the front. But that's just me, I don't have high enough ceilings for a lift, so I have to come up with Lumber Yard solutions.
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:21 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
With the engine, trans, crossmember, out of the front end, most of the weight is removed from the front of the car. Either way you're going to be lifting a lot of weight depending on a chain, hooks/hardware, and a hydraulic ram. I felt a lot more uneasy with a 305 and 700R4 dangling overhead from a hoist than I did with the front of the car in the air.

If I were doing the job again tomorrow, I'd fab up some Lincoln Log style dunnage to support the rear wheels. Hollow box style, that would capture the wheels. Pop them under the rear before lifting the front. But that's just me, I don't have high enough ceilings for a lift, so I have to come up with Lumber Yard solutions.
I agree Drew, there is not all that much weight in the front of the car with the engine, trans and front suspension removed.
I may do exactly what you described - I need to source some tall jack stands to support the front end - unless of course I get the lift.
I may fab something for the rear tires to sit on or get a pair of 12 inch race ramp wheel cribs and hoist the front end and use the stands
to get the hoist out of the way after its up high enough - it's all under consideration still
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:07 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

If you look really close at the pics in my thread, you can probably make out the methods of my madness... I chained the engine, and hoisted it until the chain was tight, and with jackstands under the front end, I removed the last 6 K-member bolts. Then I slid a HF furniture dolly under the crossmember, and a HF car dolly under the trans pan, and lowered the drivetrain/crossmember onto the dollies. Then I switched the hoist to the chain bolted to the front sway bar mounts and lifted the body off the stands and rolled the engine/trans/etc out, before setting the body back on the stands. Point being, I was only ever very briefly under the hoisted body. The most finicky part was having the drivetrain on casters, the jackstands, and the hoist legs all under the car at once. Leaving the spindles and struts on also made the works harder to finagle because they kept wanting to drop down and drag off the edge of the dolly. Hence the ratchet straps in later pics of the stripped crossmember.

I've been working on a pair of clamps, off and on, that will run from the spring pocket in the K-member, down thru the spring pocket in the A-arm, that will allow the K - A - and springs to be locked down without the struts or the weight of the car... Call them a Jig, as they will hold everything in place for disassembly/reassembly... I just need to tweak the design a little more...

Really the big logic hurdle of lifting the body off the drivetrain is learning how to deal with lifting a car without the typical jacking points, and adapting tooling to allow it. It's not entirely uncharted territory, but it's not something in the owner's manual or a Chiltons. It's a bit of a new skill set, a learning process.
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Old 12-01-2018, 05:08 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

The things you can do with some 2X4's............
I think this may be a members car ?

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Old 12-01-2018, 05:19 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

I'm thinking these should help make things easier as well.....

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...8711_200318711
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:52 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by BizJetTech View Post
The things you can do with some 2X4's............
I think this may be a members car ?

That's pretty close to what I was thinking to support the back end.
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:56 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Apologize if this has already been shown in the links above, but here's a couple pics from removing from the bottom of my IROC. You can see I used a set of wheels/tires to sit the rear in. It not only raises it some but also allows it to pivot pretty easy as the body moves up & down. I used a set of HF jack stands and my engine hoist to raise the body and roll it out.






I used the 2x4 blocks idea on the rear of my 4th gen ...



and the large jack stands

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Old 12-27-2018, 05:21 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by KCG View Post
Apologize if this has already been shown in the links above, but here's a couple pics from removing from the bottom of my IROC. You can see I used a set of wheels/tires to sit the rear in. It not only raises it some but also allows it to pivot pretty easy as the body moves up & down. I used a set of HF jack stands and my engine hoist to raise the body and roll it out.
I used the 2x4 blocks idea on the rear of my 4th gen ...
Thanks for the pics !!
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:32 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

I don't have any experience with the technique you propose but I do have a question.
With the traditional method of engine and transmission together out the top being relatively simple and safe, what would prompt you to do it otherwise?
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:34 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by skinny z View Post
I don't have any experience with the technique you propose but I do have a question.
With the traditional method of engine and transmission together out the top being relatively simple and safe, what would prompt you to do it otherwise?
I'd be replacing the K-member, my whole reason for doing this, also, it's faster and IMO, makes for less chance of damage in getting the engine out thru the top
with the hoist
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Old 12-27-2018, 11:06 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Couple reasons in my case... I started doing it this way on 4th gens mostly because of the eng sitting back under the cowl. It just seemed difficult out the top. Maybe motor only would be different but I have always been needing both eng & trans out. I know a T5 isn't as heavy, but a T56 on your back under the car working alone is a different story. Plus once it's out as a package, you can get to everything eng/trans related and put it all in as a package...plugs, wires, harness, water pump, alt, ps, rack, headers, Kmember, suspension...all of it. You can see everything still attached in my pics. That's how it comes out and goes in if you want it to.
no problem changing a torque converter or clutch PP and lining it all up on the garage floor instead of on your back.
it just works for me. Other folks may not need everything out if you were only doing an eng or trans swap only.
oh, and as far as safety goes, I don't feel unsafe at all doing this. With the majority of the cars weight staying on the floor, the engine crane easily raises the body. I lift a little bit, then reposition the large jackstands as I go.

Last edited by KCG; 12-27-2018 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:12 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

I've done basically the same as Drew, in all descriptions. When I redid my 92 I needed to clean all the factory paint off the bottom, and be able to paint under there, so I made some 2x4 pillars/cradles as pictured in the one picture, but I had no drivetrain int eh car, so I had some jack stands on top of the towers and I supported the car under the rear frame rails, behind the fuel tank and in the front at the frame horns for the bumper. To put the engine in/out I removed the jack stands from the equation. I felt much more safe doing everything like this since the car was not as heavy and I was not trying to roll 800-1,000 lbs around on the engine hoist castors. The weight swinging on the hoist is very easy to upset when the boom is extended up and over the radiator support. When lifting the car up or lowering down, it was straight up or down and the engine/trans are sitting on a dolly on the ground. It may be a little more work since you have to disconnect more, but I feel this is the safer, and overall easier way.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:22 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

I did it for the convenience. The factory assembled the drivetrain outside of the body, and then lowered the body onto the drivetrain. It's much easier to do all that assembly with the entirety free of the confines of the body. Most people aren't going to put as much "stuff" back in, as what GM did. If you imagine trying to bolt all the AIR injection, and wiring harnesses, hoses and whatnot under and around the engine after it's in the car, vs when it's sitting on a fixture, you can see why GM did it the way they did. While 24 years of thirdgen'ing has taught me the skills of working in tight spaces, I'm lazy.

If a person is ONLY changing the engine, I could see it not being worth the trouble to drop the entire drivetrain. On the other hand, if a person is going to do more extensive work, why not remove everything at once.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:15 PM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by BizJetTech View Post
I'd be replacing the K-member, my whole reason for doing this....
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
If a person is ONLY changing the engine, I could see it not being worth the trouble to drop the entire drivetrain. On the other hand, if a person is going to do more extensive work, why not remove everything at once.
It makes a little more sense when placed in that perspective. And as I admitted, not having experience with that process keeps me from condemning it outright. Other than to say that without a lift, some of the workarounds seem a little precarious. Lots of ingenuity though.
For me, it's always been about getting the engine out and on a stand (with or without the transmission). Having to wrestle the k-member and engine mounts away in order to get the engine free is easier I would think, with those parts left in place.
Having said that, reading the posts about the "multi-mount" method, (one of the OEM terms used for placing the driveline assembly into the chassis from below) has been interesting. I hope the OP posts a thread about his results.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:55 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

If you are just wanting to replace the engine cradle, then just pick up a engine support from harbor freight.
https://www.harborfreight.com/1000-l...bar-96524.html

of course if you are needing the engine out, this doesnt help. Just a thought.
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:04 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

I have a 2 post lift so for me it's faster and easier to drop everything out the bottom. I have it down to less than 3 hours for engine, trans and the K member to be sitting on a pair of wheel dollies by myself. I have done it both pulling the motor out the top and dropping the "package" out the bottom and have found it easiest to drop it out the bottom.

One tip that makes the springs much less stressful is to put a floor jack between the 2 pivot bolts. Remove the bolts (leaving the ball joint connected) then slowly lower the jack to remove the spring. Reverse that to install it's seems backwards to do it that way but it's 1) faster 2) safer and 3) does not require a spring compressor. the floor jack will compress the spring and the pivot bolts are very easy to get lined back up...
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:06 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by bluegrassz View Post
If you are just wanting to replace the engine cradle, then just pick up a engine support from harbor freight.
https://www.harborfreight.com/1000-l...bar-96524.html

of course if you are needing the engine out, this doesnt help. Just a thought.
Thanks for the info
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:10 AM
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Re: Removing K member/engine/trans as a unit ??

Originally Posted by daferris View Post
I have a 2 post lift so for me it's faster and easier to drop everything out the bottom. I have it down to less than 3 hours for engine, trans and the K member to be sitting on a pair of wheel dollies by myself. I have done it both pulling the motor out the top and dropping the "package" out the bottom and have found it easiest to drop it out the bottom.

One tip that makes the springs much less stressful is to put a floor jack between the 2 pivot bolts. Remove the bolts (leaving the ball joint connected) then slowly lower the jack to remove the spring. Reverse that to install it's seems backwards to do it that way but it's 1) faster 2) safer and 3) does not require a spring compressor. the floor jack will compress the spring and the pivot bolts are very easy to get lined back up...
Good tip - this procedure for the springs is just how the factory service manual tells you to do it, the only difference is it tells you a special tool in needed but the floor jack works
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