EnviroKarma.org - Electric Vehicle (EV) Conversion '...it's (NOT) hard to be Green' - what Kermit should have said


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DeICEing your Donor Suzuki Swift (Geo Metro/Pontiac Firefly)...
(removing Internal Combustion Engine, etc)

    It is amazing how much 'stuff' you DON'T need when you remove the gas engine! Exhaust, gas tank, radiator, power steering, air conditioning, ECU and the engine itself... all go. If you are lucky, some pieces may be sellable on ebay.com, craigslist.org, or at your local salvage yard. I actually sold my old engine for $150!

    This page is really just to list the order I did things as it seemed to work out pretty well. I also wanted to record the time it took because I want to see how many working hours the process actually takes.

    Before I started removing anything, I took some measurements so I can compare before/after weights and heights to see the affect of the weight distribution for adjusting shock and springs afterwards. I took some measurements of:

    • dist. front wheel center up to fender well edge = 14"

    • dist. rear wheel center up to fender well edge = 15"

    • weight at each wheel: lf=570#, rf=520#, lr=340#, rr=380#

    Then, I got the car up on four tall jackstands to give easy access to exhaust and gastank... and get engine bay up so I wouldn't have to bend over so far. I started by removing the exhaust, mostly just in sections with a sawzall since the pipe was rusted through in several place and not re-sellable. The final front section was much tougher than expected as it was double walled and very thick.

    I did attempt to drain fuel from the high-pressure gasline starting at the engine... but would recommend doing it back by the gastank. There are several lines from the gas tank for the pressurized fueline, the drainback, the fuel filter etc. You have to be careful, wear eye protection, and drape a towel over the fuel lines when cutting because they really squirt. I drove the car almost empty, and once the fule lines are cut and the fill tube disconnected, it was fairly easy to support the gastank and lower it with a jack... and empty the remaining fuel.

    Then... to the front of the car... mark and remove hood, remove battery, and worked my way around the engine disconnecting vaccuum lines, fuel vapor canister, fuel lines, draining and removng radiator, heater hoses (lots of dripping!), disconnecting accelerator cable and bracket, and finally cutting the last wire harness for all the engine sensors right by the dipstick.

    Engine is ready to pull... time de-ICEing so far = 5.5 hours

    The engine is VERY tight between the chassis rails. Some people recommended pulling the engine and tranny as a unit, but I sort of wanted to avoid disconnecting shift linkages and axles if I could avoid it. I decided to try pulling just the engine... Turns out that this IS just possible!

    One thing I did not do, but wish I had was drain the tranny.... as I tipped and wiggled, the passenger axle pulled out of the tranny just far enough to allow most of the transmission oil to leak out around the seal. What a mess! Anyway, you do have to remove the end transmission mount bracket, and all the transmission mount bolts as well as motor mount bolts to gve you enough room to wiggle. The actual engine removal REALLY needs two guys to get it done safely with all the tipping and wiggling. I would suggest doing things in this order:

    • loosen ALL motor mount bolts, all tranny mount bolts, and engine/tranny bolts

    • remove starter

    • drain tranny

    • support tranny w/ floor jack

    • support engine w/ engine crane

    • remove all mounting bolts

    • tip engine up, and tranny down until pulley clears chassis rail

    • remove engine/tranny bolts, and separate engine from tranny

    • remount tranny

    Oh, and a side note on engine cranes.... I looked at renting, but they only had huge ones requiring a trailer to move,and wanted $50/day. I poked around some local stores, then the internet, and found great prices at JCWhitney.com with reasonable shipping cost. I think that I can buy it, use it, and then either sell or rent it....

Time pulling engine: 2.5 hours
Time to clean up engine bay: 2 hours
misc gas tank, exhaust, etc... 5.5 hours

Total time to De-ICE, including pulling engine: 10 hours


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Disclaimer of Liability and Assumption of Risk: Working with high voltages in electric vehicles can be dangerous. Working with welding equipment or plasma torch or sawzall and other power tools necessary to fabricate battery racks or create holes necessary to lay the battery racks within an electric vehicle can be dangerous. The purchaser/builder solely assumes all risk. Further, the viewer of this site, and builder of the vehicle, agree to hold harmless Daniel T. Baker and any associates from all loss, liability, or damage resulting from any failures or defects in any project completed with these instructions. It is suggested that the builder follow common-sense safety procedures, such as the utilization of gloves where working with high voltages, and ear protection and goggles when working with power tools.