This is my engine install preparation, it’s about trying to minimise unexpected surprises during the engine installation and making the process as easy as possible.   

First I check I have everything, gearbox mount, engine mounts, and all the fittings.

Then I check all the threads are clean, and bolts tighten easily.   When the engine is hanging in the hoist, this is not a good time to find that you have a bad thread that needs a clean. 

Check you have the imperial hex driver for the bolts that go into the engine mounts.  

Installing the engine mounts on the chassis is next.  This should be a simple task, but the first problem is the choice of instructions you follow: the picture manual shows washers only under the nuts holding the engine mounts and also no reference to where to find the bolts.  However, the old manual calls for washers under the bolts and the nuts, and as a bonus it also tells you where to find them (Fastener Pack 30P012A).   

This brings up another minor issue: there is one 5mm longer bolt which has been added, because Caterham used to use that for an engine earth connection.  This has now been moved to the battery and one of the bell-housing bolts, so I think I will source a fourth bolt to match the others.  

I always apply a thin smear of copper grease (and I mean thin) to make disassembly easier in the future. I know it’s old school, but I have never had a problem taking apart anything I have assembled.  The holes in the chassis were a bit snug, so the bolts needed to be turned to pull them through.  This is not unusual, a bit of powder coat or paint build up maybe.   Just make sure the skin hole lines up, so the bolt does not damage the paint/skin.   The mounts have been fitted and are not loose, but not tight either – you will want some wiggle room later.    

Next is the engine prep according to the manual, which is removing the alternator, starter motor and right-hand-side engine mounting bracket. To do this, you need to remove the fan belt with a 17mm spanner taking the tension from the belt tensioner, then slip the belt off the water pump. Remove the electrical connections from the alternator.  One is a simple nut under a rubber cover, and the other is a connector block that needs a little squeeze to come loose. This is pretty much the case for all the electrical connectors: squeeze the right place and they should just pull apart, if they don’t you’re not squeezing in the right place.   Never force electrical connectors!

 I understand why fitting the hose between the engine and the radiator is a good idea before the engine install.   However, it highlights how tight things get under the plenum of a 360/420R – especially in an S3 chassis. Under that plenum you are going to have to reinstall the alternator and torque the engine mounting bolt on the left-hand-side.   This basically makes life more complicated for not having to remove the plenum.   Therefore, I remove the plenum and the belt tensioner before the engine is installed, and refit it when all the plumbing and electrics are done under the plenum. There are only 5 bolts and two electrical connections.

My final precaution is the removal of the coil cover; mine is only the standard fibre glass item, but some can be painted or are made from carbon fibre, so you don’t want an engine hoist chain damaging it. I also removed the breather hose very carefully with a little spray rubber lubricant. I say carefully because replacing that cam cover isn’t cheap and its only plastic.  

Before I install the engine, I also take the opportunity to apply an engine lacquer to preserve the fresh look of my engine. I use Raceglaze Jetlaq https://www.raceglaze.co.uk/car-care-exterior/metal-chrome/race-glaze-jet-laq-non-paint-laquer/, which is a non-paint Vaseline based lacquer.  It’s just a simple case of spraying the metal (non revolving) parts of the engine, bellhousing and gearbox. I will spray the sump when the engine is installed. I leave this overnight to dry (or at least a couple of hours) or you will get greasy hands when installing the engine.   

Engine Lacquer

Finally the tools I used:

  • 3/8 Ratchet
  • 1/4 Ratchet
  • 3/8 Extension
  • 1/4 Extension
  • 17mm Combination Spanner
  • 13mm Combination Spanner
  • 10mm Combination Spanner (Ratchet Ring)
  • 10mm and 8mm Ratchet Ring Spanner
  • T30 Torx Bit
  • 6mm Hex Bit
  • 6mm Hex 1/4 Socket
  • 8mm Hex 1/4 Socket
  • 3/8″ Hex 1/4 Socket
  • 1/4 to 3/8 Adaptor
  • 13mm 3/8 Socket
  • 13mm 3/8 Long Reach Socket
  • 10mm 3/8 Long Reach Socket