Technical Articles

How to Remove Your Engine

by Paul Eschenbach -- 8/26/00

This article may seem a little basic and unnecessary to many Broncos owners because, lets face it, most people who own vehicles this old are a pretty handy group of people. However, if you're like me, working on our Broncos is just a hobby and you are learning how to fix it as you go along. When I removed the engine in my Bronco, it was the first time I had ever tried to  remove and engine. I knew how to do it in theory, but I had never actually done it. Removing an engine from a 78 & 79 Bronco is pretty straight forward, however, it is still a complicated procedure and there are certain things that should be done during this kind of project that will save countless hours of work and make the project go as smooth as possible.


Get Help!

Trying to pull your engine by your self will be nearly impossible. Even with all the right tools, having someone else there to help you guide the engine in and out of the engine bay is a necessity. Safety is big concern here and each person should watch out for the other so that injuries can be avoided.


Get the Right Tools

Before you even drain the oil out of your old engine, make sure you have all the right tools to do the job. Listed below are the main tools you will need to pull the engine out of your Bronco.


An Engine Hoist or an A-Frame.

You can rent a "cheery picker" from many tool rental companies for about $50.00 a day. If you have a smooth, flat area to work on your truck, such as a patio or garage floor, then a cheery picker will be ideal because they have wheels and can be moved around with ease, even while supporting the weight of a 500 lb. engine.

If your are like me and do not have a suitable place to work on your tuck, then you may want to consider building or buying an A-Frame. I opted to build an A-Frame because I did not know how long this project would take me and the best spot I could find to work was on my asphalt drive way. It cost me a little over $160.00 to build it and it took me two full weekends to put it together. I used 3/8" bolts to assemble the A-Frame so I could take it apart when I was done. I also purchased a used 2-Ton chain hoist for $50.00. The A-Frame worked perfectly and did not even budge an inch with the full weight of the engine on it. I also strapped a tarp over the A-Frame to keep out of the sun light and to shield the vehicle from the rain while I was working on the engine compartment.  

wpe5.gif (11452 bytes) engine005.jpg (62373 bytes) A-Frame02.JPG (110899 bytes)

A-Frame Diagram

A-Frame setup w/

Tarp. My Dad and 

Brother help install

The new engine

Close up of




A Heavy-Duty Floor Jack

You will need a minimum of a 2-Ton floor jack to jack up and to support your transmission. Floor jacks are inexpensive and can be picked up from any auto parts store for $25.00 to $75.00 depending on the model and the jack's capacity.


A Complete set of Standard Hand Tools

Don't even attempt this project unless you have a complete set of standard sockets and wrenches. Remember that these Broncos were built when Detroit was still building cars with the "English" or "American Standard" measuring system. Metric tools will not do you any good. A good set of quality hand tools can get VERY expensive, so if you do not have access to a set, then you may want to consider having someone else do this project for you.


A Torque Wrench

You will need to use a torque wrench many times during this project. Even if you have been working on cars for many years and you can pretty much guess how much torque you are applying just by feel, it is still better to use a torque wrench in critical areas such as when you torque down your manifold, flywheel, or harmonic balancer.


Now that you have made sure you have all the tools you need and you have someone to help you remove the engine it's time to prep the vehicle for the engine removal.


Step One -- Drive or move the vehicle to a suitable spot. It is best to position the vehicle on a hard, flat surface. If a hard surface is not available, then at lest try to put the vehicle in a spot that is as level as possible.

Step Two -- Chalk the rear wheels of the vehicle behind and in front of the rear tires. Also make sure the parking break is set, just to make sure.

Step Three -- Remove the torque converter nuts. Just below the base of the oil pan on the engine to transmission plate is the torque converter access plate. Remove this plate to reveal the fly wheel. The torque converter is bolted to the flywheel with four nuts. There are two ways to remove them. 

Using the Starter -- If the engine will still turn over, have a friend sit in the vehicle and "bump" the starter until you have access to one of the nuts. Once you have removed the first nut, make sure you mark the hole with a piece of chalk with the number "1". Have your friend "bump" the starter until the other three nuts are accessible one by one. Once you have removed the last nut, make absolutely sure that this hole is marked well. That way, when you install your new or rebuilt engine you know that you are putting it in exactly the way it came out. A Word of caution --- You may want to disconnect the ignition coil wire so that the engine will not start, just to be safe. Also please remember not put your fingers anywhere near the flywheel. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Turning the Engine by Hand -- Another way to accomplish the same thing is to turn the engine over by hand. If you need to do it this way, remove the spark plugs first so that you will not be fighting the engine's compression. You will need a 15/16" deep well socket and a 1/2 ratchet to insert on to the harmonic balancer bolt. Simply place the socket on to the balancer bolt and turn the engine clock wise (with you facing the front of the engine) until each nut is revealed. Depending on how hard it is to turn your engine over by hand, you may need to slip a "cheater pipe" over the ratchet so you have enough leverage to turn the engine. You will need to remove the cooling fan and the fan shroud to gain access to the harmonic balancer bolt.

Step Four -- Disconnect the Battery Cables. From here on out, you will not need to have power to the engine. To eliminate the risk of electrical shock, it's best to disconnect the battery at this time.

Step Five -- Enlisting the aid of a friend, go ahead and remove the hood. Bronco hoods are all steel and are quite heavy. It will take two people to remove the hood off of the vehicle. Make sure you scribe a line around the hinges to mark their position on the hood before you loosen the bolts. You can also drill a 1/4" hole through the hinge and the hood. Be VERY careful not to drill through the top of the hood! When reinstalling the hood, stick a 1/4" dowel rod into the hole you drilled to align the hood before fastening the hinges.

Step Six -- Drain all fluids from the engine. Drain the Radiator and the motor oil. It is not necessary to drain the transmission.

Step Seven -- Remove the cooling system. Remove the cooling system components in the following order:

Remove upper radiator hose

Remove fan and fan clutch

Remove fan shroud

Remove lower Radiator hose. Be sure to place a bucket under the lower hose at the bottom of the radiator before you remove the hose to catch the remainder of the engine coolant that will come out when the hose is removed.

Disconnect transmission cooling lines from radiator. Be sure to put a drip pan under the cooling lines as some transmission fluid will leak out.

Remove the Radiator. I have always been able to remove the radiator by myself, however, it's not easy. Even the standard Ford 3 core radiator is heavier than it looks. There are only 4 bolts that hold it in. Simply remove all 4 bolts and lift it out.

Step Eight -- Remove the power accessories.

alt_old.jpg (42914 bytes)First, remove the Alternator. I did not have to disconnect the wires to the back of the alternator. Simply remove the bolts and set the alternator out-of-the-way on the passenger side inner fender well. If you decide to remove the alternator completely from the vehicle, make sure you mark the wires so you don't get them crossed during reassembly. It's easier to make a mistake when reconnecting them than you think! I did it when I hooked mine back up and ended up blowing the voltage regulator! But anyway, here is a picture of how it should be hooked up, just in case :-)

PS_old.jpg (67478 bytes)Second, remove the power steering pump. Like the alternator, it is not necessary to completely remove the PS pump. Leaving the power steering lines attached will save you countless hours of "aerating" the system. Simply disconnect the pump from the brackets and tie off the pump out of the way. I was able to set mine on top of the steering box and tie the pump to the driver side fender well. I have include a picture of my pump before I removed it just incase anyone needs a reference on how it should look when it's hooked backup.

AC_old.jpg (69132 bytes)Third, remove the AC compressor (if yours has AC). Again, just like the alternator and the PS pump, it is not necessary to remove the AC lines from the compressor. Simply remove the compressor from the mounting bracket, flip the compressor over and set it out of the way on the driver's side inner fender well. I tied the compressor to the hood hinge with some twine so it would not slip off of the fender well. I also tied the AC lines to the master cylinder to help keep them out of the way when removing the engine.

Fourth, remove the smog pump (if yours has one). My Bronco does not have the smog pump on it any more so I can't be of much help here. Also, only the 1979 models had SMOG pumps. However, if your Bronco still has one, now would be a good time to mark all of the hoses and lines that connect to the smog pump. I would suggest going ahead and removing the pump and all of it's related equipment and setting it all aside from everything else. Do not throw this stuff away because it will be very hard to replace later on. (I know, because I have been looking for a 79 Ford truck with all of it's original smog pump equipment still intact for over 2 years now and I still can't find one!)

Step Nine -- Remove the Water Pump and the pulleys. This step is actually optional. I had enough room when removing my engine to leave the water pump and the pulleys in place. I went ahead and removed them anyway because I wanted as much space as I could get. It's entirely up to you.



Please be patient, this article is still under construction!!! (Got to gather up the rest of my notes!!!!)