Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Explorer Engine Swap - Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

In my last article I explained what some of the required pieces are that it would take to do the Engine conversion into the Mustang.  Now I am going to go into some of the things you should replace since you are doing this.

We already know about the cam, valve springs, intake adapter, gasket kit, and oil filter bung.  So what else should be replaced?

Well, lets think about some of the parts that you need to take off of the engine to get this job done.  To get the camshaft out, you will have to take off the water pump, harmonic balancer, timing chain cover, and timing chain.  With the exception of the timing chain cover, all of these parts should be replaced.

Why you ask?  Well, depending on the amount of miles you have on your engine that you have purchased, the timing chain will be somewhat stretched and starting to wear out.  This part is not very expensive, so you might as well put a new one in.  Ask yourself, is $20 worth the trouble to take care of this now and not having to worry about it later?  Plus you can upgrade to a double roller.

Next we are on to the water pump.  This is a little more expensive of a part, but this is one of the most common parts that spring a leak and fail spraying coolant all over the place.  The amount of work that it takes to change this after the fact isn't worth the cost.  You have to pull the entire front of the engine apart just to get the water pump off.  Scraping those gaskets off in the confined space.  Yeah, no fun.  Just bite the bullet and buy the new water pump.  Not to mention, it comes with it's own gasket and has a lifetime warranty on it.

The last piece of this is the harmonic balancer.  This is the one item that if you really need to cut from your budget you could do it and replace it later with a "minimal" amount of work.  You can gauge this based on how your current one looks.  If the rubber is starting to protrude out around the balancer, it is time to change it regardless of if your budget can take it or not.

One other part you need to replace on this engine is the oil pan and oil pickup tube.  You can use your parts out of your mustang, but since you have this off, you should replace your oil pump.  An oil pump is the one item that can cause the most damage if it goes bad.  This is the heart of your engine.  It pumps the oil throughout it to make sure that everything is lubricated properly.  Without proper lubrication, you will start damaging bearings and causing excess wear resulting in you doing the engine change all over again.  It is under $20 so change it and the oil pump shaft while you are in there.

If you are still not convinced about the oil pump, here is how I had to explain it to my wife.  She asked, "How much would it cost to replace it after the fact?"  I said I would have to pull the engine out and replace it and put it back in.  If I were to bring this to a garage, it would be between $700 and $1000 for a $20 part that I can see and touch and will require very little more for me to change.  Heck you are 75% of the way to replacing it because you already have the engine out, oil pan off, and have to change the pickup tube to match the one for the mustang pan.

That pretty much covers it all.  So at this point you may be asking yourself, "How much is this all going to cost?"  I will cover that in the next post, "The Shopping List".  I will cover some of the ways to save money in this adventure and how much all of this stuff eventually costs.

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