Friday, March 31, 2017

Flywheel Removal In Situ

On the go at the moment is the seemingly never ending project to build myself a half decent engine. All seems to be working mechanically, however there is a slight, but very annoying vibration at all parts of the rev range that I want to nail. In this post here, I changed the top engine steady bushes, but didn't solve the issue. So today, I'm looking to remove the flywheel and swap it over with a spare to see what the effect will be.

I've decided to perform this task with the engine in situ as it's preferable to taking the engine out again, but looking at the engine bay, there is still a lot of work ahead as the flywheel is somewhere under this little lot...

Although this is quite a challenging little job, it's none the less very achievable for as long as you follow a few simple steps and more importantly have the correct tools.

As long as you have a fairly bog standard set of spanners and sockets, the only additional tools critical to removing the flywheel are a a reasonably long breaker bar and a 30mm socket.

Washer Bottle
So, let's get started with the easy stuff; removing the washer bottle is achieved with a simple pull up to release it from its mount.

Then just disconnect the electrical connector and the fluid pipe.

Front Air Intake
Next of the simple stuff is the front air scoop.

Much wiggling and twisting back and forth later, gets it to this position.

It's a bit awkward, but even more wiggling later, it eventually comes free...

Clutch Slave Cylinder
With that lot out of the way, the clutch slave cylinder is now accessible. I found that the universal joint that came in my socket set very helpful here as there is precious little room to work.

Once the two bolts are out, the cylinder itself just lifts off and can be tucked safely out of the way.

A further three bolts need to be undone to remove the mount, two chunky ones and a single thinner one. As ever, I always put the bolts back in their place to stop me from losing them.

Starter Motor
This is fairly easy to remove, I always take a number of photos of the wiring to the starter first, then it's just a case of removing the wires and undoing the two bolts that hold the motor to the flywheel housing and it just lifts out. Easy peasy.

Engine Steady Bars
The top engine steady is another super easy job consisting of the removal of two bolts that hold the steady to the engine block.

Once the steady bar is free, I always stick the bolts back in their holes so I don't lose them. I chose to undo the other end of the steady bar that attaches to the bulkhead, but it wasn't really necessary, but as it was just one simple bolt, it seemed sensible to get it out of the way.

As for the lower steady, I just undid the bolt that secured it to the gearbox mount and pushed it out of the way. The other end I left alone as it's quite hard to get to.

Engine Mounts
Now for the engine mounts. As I chose to go for the captive nut style of mount, it is simply a job of removing the two bolts under the car at either side of the front subframe.

Exhaust and Intake Manifold
So that I could get the most clearance possible, I decided it was worth undoing the six bolts that hold the intake and exhaust manifold onto the rear of the engine. Using a selection of sockets and spanners, it was soon removed without any drama.

Now the engine can be pulled forward to enable the inlet and manifold to be released from the studs.

Lifting the engine
Now that everything has been undone, released and set free, the engine can be lifted up to give the clearance to get at the lowest of the bolts that hold the flywheel cover in place.

I jacked it up as far as I could, which is limited by the gear selector rod when it makes contact with the underside of the car. I didn't want to crank too far after it touched, just in case it bent.

Flywheel Cover
Speaking of the flywheel cover: there are 8 bolts to undo which would be absolutely no issue at all if the engine were out of the car and sat on a bench somewhere in a nice warm well lit garage with its own beer fridge. Meanwhile, back in reality, there are 2 bolts that are particularly difficult to get at even with the extra clearance that we spent so long trying to create.

With nothing more than determination and an assortment of 11mm spanners, I was just about able to reach these tricky bolts.

And with even more determination, I was able to slowly and painfully turn them no more than 1/6th of a rotation before needing to re-position the spanner for another 1/6 turn. You can imagine that it took a while, but it worked.

Ta-Darrrrr!!!! Finally!!

Remove the Flywheel
If that wasn't bad enough, now I need to remove the flywheel which is generally a job of nightmare proportions as they are renowned for being incredibly stubborn to remove. Thankfully though, what I have in my favour is that it hasn't been on that long, so hopefully with the correct tools, it might not put up too much of a fight.

Speaking of the correct tools, it's pretty imperative to have a decent sized breaker bar at your disposal and the correct sides socket which is 30mm, yes it's weirdly in metric!!! Never quite understood why when everything else is imperial. Anyway, without these tools, your only hope of success is going to be based in magic, so good luck with that...

Another super important thing to remember when removing the flywheel is to have cylinder 1 at TDC, easy for me as I'd marked it on the flywheel when I'd built the engine, and also to have a flywheel puller at your disposal. This I kinda have in the shape of a home made effort built from a barbell weight. It's crude, but it always works as it allows a massive tensile force to be placed on the flywheel.

With the locktabs on the flywheel nut tapped back, the breaker bar soon had it undone. If you have an old bearing shell, now is the perfect time to use it as it's ideal for locking the flywheel, alas I forgot to take a photo of it in use, but it jams in the flywheel teeth and locks against the housing stopping the flywheel form turning. If you don't a screwdriver will do.

Now to mount my fantastic home made flywheel puller, once it was cranked up as far as I could turn it, a few taps on the barbell weight and the flywheel pops off the crank. Thankfully I remembered to leave the crank bolt loosely in a bit so that when the flywheel pops, it doesn't fall off completely.

Job done!!

Phew, that's all for today, I can't really face anymore if I'm honest as this has taken a lot longer that I anticipated. This was a very tricky job and quite frustrating at times, but with relatively simple and inexpensive tools, it is possible to achieve none the less.

So next time... well I'm hoping to get a spare flywheel on the crank (my old flywheel in fact), and fire the engine up and see what the effect is.

Oh, and the obscure picture from the previous post... it was a piston viewed though the end of this pipe... obviously!

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