How to Remove the engine from an MR2 mk1

In order to fulfil my plan for my MR2 I had to start with a quite difficult and daunting task – Removing the engine from my MR2


Basic facts

After a brief research I have realized the following facts:

  • The engine doesn’t come „up“ from the car, but it drops down.
  • It’s easiest to remove the engine and transmission together as one
  • It can be done without an engine hoist.
  • The BGB (Toyota MR2 AW11 workshop manual a.k.a. the Big green book) and Haynes are very helpful here. They list what needs to be removed and in what order.

(BGB pages: 109-115/ Haynes pages: 79-83)

What you need to remove before removing the engine

If you are crazy and don’t want to read the BGB here’s what you have to remove (from a much less reliable source). You have to remove almost everything that is not the engine.

The BGB suggests that you start by draining the oil and coolant. You don’t have to do this first. I removed bits during a course of 2 weeks and didn’t want the engine dry (coolant and oil prevent rust). I drained the coolant and oiled right before getting ready to remove the engine.

You need to disconnect / remove (this is the order I did it in):

  • Disconnect and remove the battery
  • Disconnect and remove the AFM and Throttle body.
  • Disconnect all the wire harness connections to the engine. There’s a quite a bit of these. Take it easy and it one by one. Don’t yank and don’t be aggressive. Gently bend harness away from engine once you disconnect everything.
  • Fuel delivery pipes and fuel rail. (You need to crank the car without it turning over several times to relieve the fuel pressure before doing this. Do this by removing the ECU fuse. Google it, its easy)
  • EGR piping and EGR vacuum modulator and valve
  • Vacuum lines/ hoses
  • Remove the Intake manifold (the T-VIS thing)
  • Exhaust piping, muffler, cat (if you have one), etc
  • Exhaust manifold
  • Drain Coolant and oil
  • Remove coolant and oil cooler hoses
  • Disconnect transmission cables
  • Remove the alternator
  • If I missed something you will notice it. I repeat: BGB. Do not start removing the engine untl you are 100% sure there is nothing in its way.

Engine removing logistics 🙂

Now it gets a bit tricky. All you are left now is a 140kg lump of metal and 4 engine mount bolts holding it in place.

Two things are very important:

  1. Something to keep the engine secure and lower it onto the floor once it is no longer held by the engine mount bolts
  2. Something to lift the car up very high so you can remove the engine from underneath the car once you drop it down. You will need to lift the car up at least 55cm.

1 Is solved by engine hoist. 2 is solved by car lift. Both are expensive and not an option for the average car enthusiast. Engine hoists can be rented but where I live that also can’t be done. No one rents them. I had to find an alternative to having an engine hoist and a car lift. The alternative was rather surprising: wood.

After a lot of research I have decided that the best and most sensible way for me to do the job is using wood. I would suspend the engine on a wooden frame with the help of a chain hoist and I would also lift the car up using wood.

(I know there are jack stands for lifting the car up. But i couldn’t find ones where I live that lifted the car high enough.)

The wooden engine holding frame

I believe this method for dropping the engine is a better idea than using an engine hoist. I have found out that many people had problems with the legs of the engine hoist getting in the way.

Here is the design. wood frame

This is my wooden frame construction. You can make it wider and taller but I strongly advise against this as more width will make it weaker in the middle of the top beam, while and more height will make it less stable. This fits snugly over the car.

What I did then was buy two pieces of chain and a chain hoist. One piece wraps around the top beam and the chain hoist attaches to it. The other piece of chain connects the two engine hooks on the engine head to the bottom hook of the chain hoist.

Here’s the frame in action:

20141025_181533 20141025_18154320141026_183158

 Raising the car using wood

As you might have noticed from the image above I have raised the car using wood cribbing. Google it. There are many design ideas out there and most are made to accommodate a car’s wheel. Since I wasn’t accommodating a car wheel I have opted for a much simpler design.

Here is my design.wood cribs

One unit is made of 3 pieces on top of 3 pieces. Make many of these (100+) and stack them on top of each other, alternating. Then put one piece that will be in direct contact with the jack up point on the car chassis.

Notes for the wood:

Obviously Do NOT use compressed, dried, already glued, etc. wood. Anything that looks even remotely like plywood, chipboard etc. is NOT an option.

Do NOT use nails. They can make the wood split. Split wood can break. Things will then fall on you.

Use raw, strong, undried wood. Get a carpenter to saw it. You will save hours of frustration if you don’t have a band saw. Even if you have one, a carpenter/ wood cutting professional is better.

For the wooden frame construction the best wood is the type they make roof frames from. It can have small cracks in it. Just make sure it’s heavy and sturdy and has a square cross-section. Do not buy anything plank-ish.

Dropping the engine.

  • 2 floor jacks
  • 100+ crib blocks
  • Chain hoist
  • The wooden frame described above

Attach the chain hoist to the wood frame and the engine hooks. Put some good tension on it. Lift the car up to required height (rear end has to be at least 55 cm from floor).  Check everything thoroughly. Shake the car to see if it’s stable.

If everything is stable and secure get under the car. Unbolt the front and rear engine mount bolts. First the one closer to the passenger cabin and then the one closer to the trunk. The left and right engine mounts can easily hold the whole weight of the engine. Once you unbolt these two you will not need to get underneath the car anymore.

The left and right engine mounts (the one that is one the right when looking at the car from the rear is actually a transmission mount) can be removed without getting under the car.

Make sure the chain hoist holds the engine and is tight. Unbolt the left and right mounts. The right one is easy and obvious. The left one needs a bit of maundering as the battery seat/holder/bracket is there. There are holes in the battery holder for this reason which will enable you to slide a wrench through them as you unbolt the mounting bolt.

Once mounting bolts have been removed use the chain hoist to slowly lower the engine to the ground. Check that nothing is in the way and go bit by bit. Get a good engine hoist that has a self-stopping mechanism which will keep the engine in the air even if you don’t apply any pulling force on the chain.

Drop the engine on a furniture dolly with wheels or just a piece of cardboard. It can be dragged on the floor bit by bit. It’s not that heavy.

You are done. Thank the heavens for being alive and pat yourself on the back for a job well done and all body parts intact.

MR2 MK1 engine removal4age toyota 16v enginemr2 mk1 without engine

Notice: This is what I did and how I did it. If you follow these instruction and end up maimed and/or squashed by your car I take no responsibility for anything. Be safe, ba careful, take things slowly and check everything 3 times. Do NOT crawl under a car unless you are sure its 100% safe. This will work great if you do it properly. It wont work if you rush things and cut corners.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *