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Head swap... Motor in or out?

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Old 12-05-2017, 05:58 PM   #1
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Default Head swap... Motor in or out?

A good friend of mine used to work at an LS1 shop, and said he can get the motor out in 1.5 hours. So... If all I am doing is heads, is it worth it to drop the motor, or just do the swap with the motor in? I have Stage 8 locking header bolts and 1 7/8 headers.

From everything I have read, and experience with r/r on an intake, it seems like it would be about the same time.
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Old 12-05-2017, 06:34 PM   #2
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Most F body guys do H/C swaps with the motor in the car...if you happen to have the resources of a hoist and shop with a competent machanic; then you're right; prolly a horse a piece
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:28 PM   #3
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I have done two pulling the engine out the top and now I am doing one in the car. And only because the garage I am in doesn't have enough head room to either lift the engine or the car high enough. For me, it really sucks reaching or crawling in to get things done. Definitely not a time saver for me, but I'm old and cranky.
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:34 PM   #4
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I have done two pulling the engine out the top and now I am doing one in the car. And only because the garage I am in doesn't have enough head room to either lift the engine or the car high enough. For me, it really sucks reaching or crawling in to get things done. Definitely not a time saver for me, but I'm old and cranky.
I am old and cranky too. I like the idea of being able to sit in a chair and swap the heads. I get pissed off at screws and bolts a lot. And my back hurts after swapping an intake.
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:50 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=FCar2000TA;19785472]I am old and cranky too. I like the idea of being able to sit in a chair and swap the heads. I get pissed off at screws and bolts a lot. And my back hurts after swapping an intake.[/QUOTE]

Plus 1 Bro. I hate working under the cowl.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:30 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=wph351;19785483]
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I am old and cranky too. I like the idea of being able to sit in a chair and swap the heads. I get pissed off at screws and bolts a lot. And my back hurts after swapping an intake.[/QUOTE]

Plus 1 Bro. I hate working under the cowl.
my back is the 2nd issue. My wife hearing me damning children's souls to hell upon unicorn blood soaked fairies is probably #1.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:55 PM   #7
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my back is the 2nd issue. My wife hearing me damning children's souls to hell upon unicorn blood soaked fairies is probably #1.
Yeah, I can see where that might be a cause for concern by some....
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:21 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=G Atsma;19785540]
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Yeah, I can see where that might be a cause for concern by some....
as are post counts for the ....
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:21 AM   #9
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......for the WHAT?
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:17 AM   #10
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The 4th gen cowl really slows me down. Just pulling a coil pack rail in my 99 TA takes me half an hour because of that pesky rear bolt. Of course my back is killing me at that point.

Doing the same coil pack rail in my 91 RS that is much more open takes 5 minutes. No back pain.

Pulling the engine would be my choice.
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:50 AM   #11
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I have done two pulling the engine out the top and now I am doing one in the car. And only because the garage I am in doesn't have enough head room to either lift the engine or the car high enough. For me, it really sucks reaching or crawling in to get things done. Definitely not a time saver for me, but I'm old and cranky.
You pulled them out the top! Shirley you jest You can't pull the motor out the top, I'm tellin on you.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by FCar2000TA View Post
A good friend of mine used to work at an LS1 shop, and said he can get the motor out in 1.5 hours. So... If all I am doing is heads, is it worth it to drop the motor, or just do the swap with the motor in? I have Stage 8 locking header bolts and 1 7/8 headers.

From everything I have read, and experience with r/r on an intake, it seems like it would be about the same time.
**** that guy. Ive had no less then 5 motors in my car, FIVE, and have done numerous other LS swaps and would never attempt to drop an engine in 1.5 hours. At that point you really are snatching and grabbing. Dropping the engine opens new worms too, like now having to recharge the ac, bleed the brakes etc. The easiest solution is do it in the car, and take your time. Work until youve had enough and stop for the day. Start again when you feel like it.
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Old 12-06-2017, 09:33 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by FCar2000TA View Post
A good friend of mine used to work at an LS1 shop, and said he can get the motor out in 1.5 hours. So... If all I am doing is heads, is it worth it to drop the motor, or just do the swap with the motor in? I have Stage 8 locking header bolts and 1 7/8 headers.

From everything I have read, and experience with r/r on an intake, it seems like it would be about the same time.
I think any competent wrench can drop one of these in a similar time frame after having done it once or twice. But putting it back IN the car and back to 100% correct function is a different matter.

However working under the cowl sucks bad enough to make it a tough call.
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Old 12-06-2017, 10:16 AM   #14
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**** that guy. Ive had no less then 5 motors in my car, FIVE, and have done numerous other LS swaps and would never attempt to drop an engine in 1.5 hours. At that point you really are snatching and grabbing. Dropping the engine opens new worms too, like now having to recharge the ac, bleed the brakes etc. The easiest solution is do it in the car, and take your time. Work until youve had enough and stop for the day. Start again when you feel like it.
I think I am leaning in this direction. Only problem is I don't have a garage, but painters tape and a tarp should be ok for overnight.
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Old 12-06-2017, 10:21 AM   #15
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**** that guy. Ive had no less then 5 motors in my car, FIVE, and have done numerous other LS swaps and would never attempt to drop an engine in 1.5 hours. At that point you really are snatching and grabbing. Dropping the engine opens new worms too, like now having to recharge the ac, bleed the brakes etc. The easiest solution is do it in the car, and take your time. Work until youve had enough and stop for the day. Start again when you feel like it.
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I think any competent wrench can drop one of these in a similar time frame after having done it once or twice. But putting it back IN the car and back to 100% correct function is a different matter.

However working under the cowl sucks bad enough to make it a tough call.
It does indeed suck bad...lol
I'm 2/3rds of the way (or so) through my first cylinder head R&R...I am doing it as 01ssreda4 suggests...Taking my time, and quitting when my back has had enough. I have a bad back anyway...lol. Invested 2 hours or so after work, getting the car down to nothing left, but to actually unbolt and yank the heads off...I have head studs, so it'll be a trial & error thing down the home stretch. Once all the crap that's bolted on, is out of the way, it's not too bad of a job, so far.

I didn't even consider dropping the engine out...nor would I, and I have a lift and fully equipped shop.
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Old 12-06-2017, 11:25 AM   #16
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It's easier to work on the motor out of the car. I've done it both ways. And it takes longer doing it in the car.
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Old 12-06-2017, 11:34 AM   #17
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Depends on the engine bay. With the GTO, engine in car is fine as there is clearance. Having seen how tight it is in an F-body......do not know how you can do or head studs in an F-body with the engine in car.

Last edited by Felix C; 12-06-2017 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:16 PM   #18
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So as a play on his question, I want to replace my lifters this winter, along with new motor mounts and oil pan gasket. I would assume pulling the engine would be the best course for this since the k member will already be loosened for the oil pan drop.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:07 PM   #19
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Yeah, if the K member is loosened, then it would be easy to drop the whole works out the bottom.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:17 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=FCar2000TA;19785521]
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my back is the 2nd issue. My wife hearing me damning children's souls to hell upon unicorn blood soaked fairies is probably #1.
OMFG......that is sig worthy right there !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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