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[VT-VX] Replacing engine mounts on a VX Ecotec

j_ds_au

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It was time to replace the collapsed engine mounts on my VX. I read a few How-To's for guidance, with this one being the most help :
https://forums.justcommodores.com.au/threads/changing-engine-mounts-ecotec-v6-the-easy-way.187855/
I initially tried the "stubby ring spanner" approach from another thread (which was also suggested a few pages into the above), but it was impossible to get enough torque onto the upper engine mount nuts to break them free that way.

So here's my write-up of how I did it, in detail. This should also apply similarly for a VT (and probably other Ecotecs too).

1. Special tools

Two "special" tools are required, which are merely cheap ring spanners, modified with the help of a sledgehammer! One is 1/2" or 13mm size, the other is 15mm. Ring spanners typically have a 20-30 degree tilt angle between the ring and the stem. This angle is excessive for this work, so to counteract this, we need to create an opposing bend in the stem, about 2-3cm from the ring. The end result is a shallow zig-zag shape near the ring end of the spanner. So place each spanner on a piece of wood and hit it with a sledgehammer at about 2-3cm from the ring, until the majority of the stem is about parallel with the ring. This works well on cheap spanners, as they are only hardened at the ring and crescent ends, while the bulk of the stem is relatively malleable. Higher quality spanners might be harder to persuade into the desired shape.

2. Access (prepping the patient)

The main difficulty with this job is the very poor access and working room, so the first task is to improve that, to make this all feasible.

a) Drive the car onto ramps (or an equivalent method), to provide adequate access under the car. Be sure to put the gear lever in the Park position and pull up the handbrake lever firmly.
b) Remove the engine cover, air intake hose and air filter cover. There are two connectors to detach, and these have a clip on one side that must be pulled outward to disengage each connector.
c) Using a 15mm socket & extender, rotate the belt tensioner pulley bolt anti-clockwise (downward) to free and extract the serpentine belt. If you need to, take note of how the belt feeds around the pulleys.
d) Using two small screwdrivers, disengage the locking clips on the left and right sides of the A/C compressor connector, and detach it.
e) Using the "special" 1/2" or 13mm ring spanner (from the front of the car), remove the side A/C compressor mounting bolt, located just above the two A/C hoses (behind the exhaust manifold).
f) Using a 15mm socket & extender, remove the front A/C compressor mounting nuts, located above the compressor pulley and below the adjacent idler pulley.
g) Secure the A/C compressor toward the front left corner of the car, without applying too much stress on the A/C hoses and tubing.
h) Disconnect the front-most spark plug on the driver's side, tucking the lead/connector out of the way. This will give your left arm access toward this engine mount through the small gap thus created.
i) With a small screwdriver, press in the metal leaf locking detent (tang) in front of the power steering fluid reservoir; lift up the reservoir and let it rest a foot or so toward the passenger side of the car. This will give your right arm access toward this engine mount through the small gap thus created.

3. The fun bit (the transplant)

OK, here we go!

a) Using a 15mm socket & extender from under the car, loosen the two lower nuts of the driver's side engine mount. Loosen them as much as possible without running out of thread. A deep socket is ideal here, but a standard socket may suffice.
b) Using a 15mm socket (again, a deep socket is ideal) from under the car, remove the two lower nuts of the passenger's side engine mount.
c) Place a jack under the centre of the sump. Place a thick block of softwood timber, long enough to span the width of the sump, between the jack and the sump. Avoid the front protuberance of the sump, as this is unsupported.
d) Raise the jack until a gap becomes visible under the passenger's side engine mount.
e) Using a 5/8" or 16mm socket & extender from above, remove the three bolts securing the passenger's side engine mount bracket to the engine block. Note that the rear-most of these bolts also secures one side of the knock sensor heat shield.
f) Pull the passenger's side engine mount & bracket toward the front of the car, so as to clear the knock sensor heat shield. Once free, run the mount & bracket under the exhaust manifold and extract them down through the gap at the rear of the engine bay.
g) Using a 15mm ring spanner (or socket, at least on one side), remove the two nuts securing the engine mount to the bracket.
h) Unless it comes pre-applied (in dry form), apply low-strength thread-locker to the two upper studs of the new engine mount, then secure this to the bracket, making sure the nuts are located exactly in their previous position (easy to spot; this will help with alignment next).
i) Feed the engine mount and bracket back into the front of the car, then manoeuvre it into position, with one corner under the knock sensor heat shield and the two lower studs inserted into their respective holes.
j) Adjust the jack and rock the engine mount bracket a little from side to side, so as to align the bracket with the mounting holes in the engine block. Some patience is required. Only finger-tighten the bolts at this point.
k) From underneath, check that the knock sensor cable that runs just under the engine mount bracket, isn't trapped between the bracket and the engine block.
l) Now lower the jack just enough to eliminate any gap under the engine mount, then go back up and fully tighten the three engine mount bracket bolts, using a 5/8" or 16mm socket & extender.
m) Using a 15mm socket & extender from under the car, remove the two lower nuts of the driver's side engine mount, and fit them to the passenger's side, just enough that the stud thread reaches the bottom of the nut.
n) Using the "special" 15mm ring spanner from above, remove the two driver's side upper engine mount nuts. To break these free, you may need to lever off the exhaust manifold and the engine mount pedestal. (Failing this, it might instead be possible to detach the engine mount bracket and remove this together with the engine mount. For this option, you would first need to unscrew the clamp securing the two pipes that will be in your way.)
o) Raise the jack sufficiently to remove the driver's side engine mount.
p) Unless it comes pre-applied (in dry form), apply low-strength thread-locker to the two upper studs of the new engine mount, then manoeuvre this into position. You may need to raise the jack a little more, since the old engine mount will have compressed somewhat over time.
q) Slowly lower the jack, while constantly checking that all the driver's side engine mount studs remain located in their respective holes. Remove the jack.
r) Using the "special" 15mm ring spanner from above, tighten the two upper engine mount nuts.
s) Using a 15mm socket & extender from under the car, fit the driver's side lower engine mount nuts and tighten the passenger's side nuts.

4. Finishing off (closing the patient)

Finally ...

a) Slide the A/C compressor onto its mounting studs, and using a 15mm socket & extender, lightly tighten the two retaining nuts.
b) Using the "special" 1/2" or 13mm ring spanner via the front of the car, fit and fully tighten the bolt above the A/C compressor hoses.
c) Now fully tighten the above two retaining nuts and refit the A/C compressor connector.
d) Refit the air intake hose and air filter cover, not forgetting to re-attach the two connectors.
e) Reconnect the spark plug on the driver's side.
f) Refit the power steering fluid reservoir into position. Check that the metal leaf locking detent (tang) adequately overlaps the step in the reservoir body, bend it back into shape if necessary using a small screwdriver.
g) Refit the engine cover.
h) Now lower the car. You're done!

Joe.
 
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