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(Originally posted 10/5 on Facebook)

So, if there is one main benefit to replacing a gas engine with an electric engine… it’s that you no longer need to have all of your moving parts lubricated. It’s a much simpler mechanism, so hopefully… this engine removal will be the last time I have to deal with every single part being caked in a quarter inch of black grease when I work on it. Good lord.

Preparation
The plan was to have the engine hoist and Dave coming by to help on Sunday before noon, and I don’t want to spend all day on this… so on Saturday I started disconnecting wires and cables from the engine. I’ve got my Chilton’s manual, and I’m following the steps for “removing the engine”.

“Step one: Disconnect the carburetor pre-heating air control cable.”

10 minutes after reading that, I managed to find the carburetor section of the manual. 30 minutes in, I had located the carburetor itself. 45 minutes in, I decided in a not-so-sure way that my carburetor did not have one of these cables. Hmmm. 18 steps to go.

“Step 2: Remove the air cleaner hoses from the-” oh screw it, I’ll just unbolt the engine and if something looks like it’s gonna break off, I’ll disconnect it.

The Easy Part
Ok, so engine hoists are for cars that the engines come out of the top of. On a VW, the engine can only come out through the bottom. So, we get a floor jack instead of a hoist.

Look at the picture, this should be easy. They use a floor jack too!

Hans and Klaus look sporting as they efficiently lower the engine from the Beetle in their stylish trench coats. Wie Geht’s!

So seriously… there are 4 bolts that hold this engine onto the transmission. That’s it. This should be a breeze. We’re going to be Hans and Klaus in no time at all. As Matt tells me… these are the easiest cars in the world to work on because they are so simple. I like simple.

So we go to the top right bolt. It’s missing. That was easy! One down!

Then we remember the old rule of working under cars. Don’t try to loosen tight bolts while under a one ton vehicle because if you shake it off your jack stands… you die. Right. Good tip.

We lower the car and I manage to loosen up both bottom bolts. Actually… it’s scarily easy. It’s like the bolts weren’t tight to begin with. Maybe that explains the missing one. Oh well, that isn’t really my problem now.

The Hard Part
We go to the top left bolt, and it isn’t just stripped… it’s round. Like, I dont think that this was ever a hexagonal bolt. It’s a perfect circle. Crap. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to reach behind the motor between the oil filter housing and the firewall.

Dave: “I can feel the alleged former bolt right back here.”

Can’t turn it with a wrench. Can’t reach it with a drill, grinder, or dremel. But… if we reach in from the right hand side… we can just barely get a hacksaw on it. Awww… nuts.

Taking shifts for as long as we can possibly stand it, we take turns with our hands between the engine and the firewall, scraping the crap out of our knuckles and arms, sliding the hacksaw back and forth across the bolt until it finally falls off. That alone took 2 hours, and I’m bloody, greasy, and sore as hell… but it worked.

I assume that someone a few owners back tried to take the engine out, got three bolts off and then totally stripped the 4th one… only to say “screw it”, and sell the car after just barely managing to get the other three bolts back in place and finger tightening them. “Someone else’s problem now!”

Look at me! I’m just like Klaus! Except there was nothing about a hacksaw in the manual… and he was wearing a trench coat instead of a greasy ruined shirt.

We slid it off past the transmission and drive shaft and managed to lower it to the ground after only another hour of wrestling with it. Joy!
We can DO IT!!!

So, as disheartened and frustrated by how long it took us to remove 4 bolts from a car (granted… they were metric, so there’s that)… I am psyched to have this major piece of work done. The electric parts are new and clean and simple in comparison to a 40 year old car.

And Dave told me… “In all my experience working on cars… this IS how it is done. There’s the manual that tells you what to do and then there is the crazy half-assed monkey way you manage to actually get it done.” Maybe I’ve chosen the wrong partner. Probably not though.

Anybody want an engine?

Oh, and my neighbor somehow found a used replacement hood for like $60… so that might work to repair the one we destroyed.

Next steps:
– Remove Gas tank and any other remnants of the gas engine
– Clean off as much oil and grease as possible
– Find and try to identify as much of the existing electrical system as possible
– Start mounting electric parts!

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