Turbo Engine Replacement - First Generation Forum

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Turbo Engine Replacement
Saturday, October 13, 2018 8:16 AM
Well I just finished a two and a half week job replacing the engine in my Turbo. I bought an old stock rebuilt engine assembly about 4 years ago from a big rebuilder that I found closeout priced for 400.00. Mine was tired and I was fighting a low cylinder from the time I got it years ago. at first I thought I would pull it out the top, but it soon became apparent that it was going to have to be dropped with the trans to do it right and not be a fight. So, I dropped the suspension and out it came. Stripped it down and cleaned parts and painted and did it right. Turbo oil line was rusty and twisted off, had to bend a new one. Knock sensor broke and had to hunt one down. And pulling the harness from the car to mount all on the engine for re-assembly was the way to go but that stuff they seal the harness to the cowl on both sides was a job to remove, rubber. I will post some pictures later of the process. First fired it two nights ago and first drive last night. Smooth as can be. After an engine build on my 86 Fiero and an LS swap in my 96 Z71 this year I can say this was a tedious job. Lots of stuff crammed into a tight space. It also gave me a chance to cleanup and paint my front suspension. Still a few items to button up this weekend but she is better than ever.
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Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Saturday, October 13, 2018 3:26 PM
I'm going to be starting a similar swap on my '87 by the end of the month (if not sooner, I have a lot of other stuff to do along with it, to be done before spring). I'll be going from N/A to turbo though.
Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Saturday, October 13, 2018 4:45 PM
Beautiful job Philip!

The photos speak volumes - amazing you bagged a rebuilt engine for $400!! This engine ought to outlast you if the rebuilder did a good job.

Just don't fall into the pit so many guys do - get bored and sell. So many get caught up in the journey and get lost when all the hard work ends.

I wonder how many turbos out there are non interference - these little Brazil engines are fiddly but just something about them is appealing.....at least after one gets past opening one up. They are very straight forward to tinker on.


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Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Saturday, October 13, 2018 6:06 PM
Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Saturday, October 13, 2018 6:30 PM
My God - - - what a GARAGE!!

Some guys have all the luck!!


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Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Sunday, October 14, 2018 1:23 PM
That is some great work.I have had no time the last couple of months to do anything on my own J.My work is far easier and in my garage as it stays there year round.Again that is awesome.



Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Sunday, October 14, 2018 3:46 PM
Looks like the final product was worth all l the hard work.

Nice Job.

I did take my 84 2.0 with trans out from the top, so it can be done at least on the Cavs.








Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Sunday, October 14, 2018 3:56 PM
84conv wrote:

Looks like the final product was worth all l the hard work.

Nice Job.

I did take my 84 2.0 with trans out from the top, so it can be done at least on the Cavs.


Yep, I've pulled exactly one engine out of the bottom of a J-Body. I only did so, because I had no other choice at the time. 1990 V6 manual, the passenger side axle would not release from the stub axle no matter what I did. The rest, which is a considerable number, I've pulled out through the top, because I find it much easier to do so. The most recent was a 1.8L turbo/auto combo in a 1986 Skyhawk T-Type. *shrug*
Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Sunday, October 14, 2018 4:53 PM
Awesome work!

And that garage!




Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Sunday, October 14, 2018 5:51 PM
I did start out trying from the top. One of the big issues was getting to the wiring on the back. After doing a head years ago I knew what a pain the intake is to do in the car. Doing the wiring with it on the engine was going to be harder. By dropping it I was able to do all the hard to get to stuff with it on the dolly and lay the harness on top. Putting it back in was actually easy and very little assembly once in. Of course having a lift makes all the difference. Still a couple of small items to do. A TBI engine would be much easier, the Turbo cars have a lot less room. Looking forward to some fall cruising.
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Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Thursday, October 18, 2018 4:17 AM
Engine looks awesome, great job! I'd buy one for 400 bucks in a heartbeat .. kinda jealous


86 Skyhawk wagon 1.8SOHC 93 Sunbird two door 2.0SOHC 93 Sunbird four door 2.0SOHC

Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 1:53 PM
We went out the top, removed the head w/intake then pulled out the block it wasn't that hard. I looked at removing the cradle but that in my opinion was going to be a pain in the rear. But I started this back in late April and still not done. I like you looked for a rebuilt block. But I couldn't find one so had to rebuild the original. Finding parts,pain in the rear. Bottom end all new now.
Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 7:46 PM
Congratulations! It's all about what works best for you. The bottom drop allowed me to do a lot of cleaning and have everything out in the open for assembly. But I started out the other way. I did the whole thing in spare time and 2 weekends. The bottom drop was much simpler than I thought it would be. Good luck on your job! Post some pics. It's all about the experience.



Re: Turbo Engine Replacement
Thursday, November 01, 2018 5:21 AM
It was the realization of all the hard to get to parts on the back of the engine with the intake on that changed my mind looking at the re-assembly part that made me switch. Of course, having a lift to use makes all the difference there. With the suspension out I let the car down to a roll around dolly platform and unbolted the engine with it sitting on it an lifted the body leaving it there and rolled it out. With everything together including the harness I reversed the process. The one trick is having the rear mount bracket either out or very loose going back in to clear the power steering pump. I had gotten a couple of leads on NOS short blocks and they did not pan out, I kept looking and found that one on a clearance list online from that rebuilder marked down from over 2000.00 to 400.00 and I jumped on it with my fingers crossed. It was like the find I made at a tractor parts warehouse that had bought out old stock from a GM dealer and had the GM rebuilt turbos for these cars in their inventory and I bought 2 for I think 96.00 each plus shipping. I have a spare just in case. Do you have your engine back in yet? Post a pic of your project.



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