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Guest Message by DevFuse

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EA81 engine swap... First Timer ANY tips Appreciated.

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17 replies to this topic

#1 subaru420


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Posted 01 March 2004 - 07:43 PM

I have my engine on order, coming on thursday. I have an 83 GL wagon (baby blue) Pictures coming soon. It's my first engine swap EVER... Anything I should know in advance before I run into it outta the blue. Anything special I should have? I also plan on converting to a weber, if anyone wants to sell one I'm a buyin. Same deal with an EA82 5 speed. I'm tired of this 4 speed booshwah... I wanna do 70 without redlining (exagerated) So if anyone has a good working tranny they wanna sell I'm a buying those too! Other than that I was just looking for some advice, warnings, or anything you'all think I might need to know before attacking this project.

#2 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 01 March 2004 - 08:02 PM

Engine swap is easy.

1. Drain and remove the radiator.

2. Disconnect all electrical connections - alternator, distributor, and anything else you have (A/C, etc)

3. Disconnect the throttle cable.

4. Remove the starter from the bell houseing, and set it in the spare tire area.

5. Disconnect the Y pipe from the heads.

6. Undo the two engine mounts from the cross-member. Leave the mounts on the engine tho.

7. Disconnect the pitching stopper from the firewall side.

8. Remove the rest of the engine to tranny bolts and nuts.

9. Put a jack under the tranny, and lift it about 2" off the cross-member, and support it with a jack-stand.

10. Get a friend and each of you grab a valve cover and hoist the engine out of there. You could use a picker, or a chain and a 2x4 also....

Installation is the reverse pretty much.

#3 MilesFox


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Posted 01 March 2004 - 08:36 PM

if you want a 5spd, you will have to modify your motors bellhousing to fit the ea82 flywheel, search for "5 spd conversion"

you could drop in an ea82 motor just as easily, if you didnt have a new motor already

#4 Danbob99


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Posted 01 March 2004 - 11:26 PM

my recomendation to you is that you pick up some colored maskiing tape to mark off both ends of the hoses that you pull. There are so freaking many fuel, vacuum, lines and junk, that it's a pain to keep them straight if you've never done it before. Mark them, or remeber them well.

#5 Wrench Princess

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 01:40 AM

I have done many EA81 removals and engine swaps and I have never taken the starter off. I do agree with everything else everyone said though. One other thing VERY IMPORTANT when you go to put the other motor back in, look at where the motor attaches to the tranny on both sides. There should be some alignment pins and you need to make sure that you have a pin on one side and a hole on the other. It really sucks when you forget to check and you go to put a motor in with a pin on both sides. The motor and tranny don't go together well that way! When you take out the radiator don't forget the ground wire on the top. Take all your hoses and wires off at the motor. It is not that hard and it takes no time at all really. I am going to install a motor in Matt's wagon tomorrow! Fun times. Good luck!

#6 subaru420


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 02:16 AM

Sounds like this will be a walk in the park really... The metal, greasy park... Thanks for all your input. This is just step one of my ghetto SUV project. I'll make sure to post pics of how it comes along... Thursdays the day! And this weekend is going to be great. I feel like I just bought a dying friend that new lung they needed to live. Cant wait to move past reliability to Usability (ie... lift kit, big tires, MUD :D )

#7 SuperRallyRoo



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Posted 02 March 2004 - 03:44 AM

Yes I'm that Matt... :o And as for the ea81 to ea82 5spd d/r swap, u can use the ea81 flywheel the clutch fits fine! I dunno why everyone uses the ea82 it really screws you up when u try to adjust your timing. U will need to buy BratsRus's 5spd d/r kit, which will need to be slightly modified to fit the wagon because it is designed for brats, and U will need a custom drive shaft, so thats 268$ without tranny or new clutch. If u get your drive shaft done from the place in yakima that I got mine done at. or I hear u can use the ea82 2 piece if u have a welder or want to drill holes in your car. Hope this helps... I'm learnin :D

#8 The Scooby

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 03:54 AM

for the drive line, get the EA82 drive line and take it to driveline specalties in downtown seattle, on like 1st and something else, just commin off the 1st ave bridge stay to the left, and its down on the right a few blocks down.

take them the measurments and it should be like $100 for the drive line to be cut and ballanced.

#9 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 04:12 AM

Matt -

1. people use the EA82 flywheel so you can get the better clutch setup - or even the XT6 setup. Something you wouldn't understand since you have small tires. The timing marks can be transfered over to the new flywheel - you just have to plan ahead.

2. You don't NEED Jerry's kit for the install. His kit ALLOWS you to use the stock levers. It can be done just fine using the EA82 linkage. Your 4WD lever will just move is all.

3. His kit is designed for 4WD manual cars - not just Brat's. Your's was an auto - thus the needed changes. Austins was a single range EA71 - thus his needed changes as well. Floorpan sheet metal is different for almost every year/transmission, so minor asjustements are pretty much the norm for any sort of tranny swapping action.

Also - the 5 speed will not change your gearing appreciably. It gives you more gears, but in the same range. 5th gear on a 5 speed will be almost the same as 4th gear on a 4 speed. Your "redlining" in 4th will just be "redlining" in 5th. And if you lift it with big tires, you'll not be using 5th much at all - likewise, you'll not be using 4th on the 4 speed. (unless you have an 81/82 D/R with the lower gearing....). However - if a lift is in your future, then you WANT a 5 speed or an 81/82 D/R because you'll at least have 4 useable gears that way. The 81/82 is nice since it's a direct bolt in. The 5 speed requires considerably more work, but yeilds a slightly lower 4WD low range for the effort, and about the same gearing results - just with an unused 5th gear.


#10 hatch4x4


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 07:59 AM

If you swap distys for some reason (I did but I can't remember why) and it won't run after you do the whole top-dead-center thing with the flywheel marks, you might have the disty 180 degrees off. I just remember running into that problem. Everything else was fine.

Also, use a engine balancer if you hoist it, or at the very least, use two chains (think upside down 'V') and hook on the hook at the front, and the hook-ish piece of metal on the bellhousing. I didn't realize this my first engine swap, and it was a bitch getting it out with it hanging ~60 degrees off center.

Putting the new one in, you may have problems getting the transmission and engine to align. An engine leveler really helps here. Otherwise, just keep trying different angles, lifting the tranny up higher, that kind of stuff. Eventually they just sort of fit together leaving you wondering what you did different.

Good luck!

#11 viceversa


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 10:43 AM

color tape sounds like a good idea.

I suggest getting pb blaster and spraying exhaust manifold bolts. Mine were so rusty that I broke them off.

I removed the engine alone, using the tree and the chain method. Took me 3 days to be honest with you, but I've never done anything of that magnitude.

#12 NoahDL88


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 12:10 PM

when you put the engine back in jack the front of the tranny up about 4 inches, that way the engine will slide right in to the tranny splines and you won't have to worry about clearing the motor mounts.

As for the EA-82 flywheel there are two schools of thought, one that its ok and the other ie CCR that suggest that its a very bad idea because of the different size bolt holes that allow the flywheel to wobble. just a word of caution.

Good luck with your swap, i took an engine out sunday in 35 minutes. however i'm missing some parts and it won't go back in till thursday.

#13 Qman


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 01:55 PM

A couple of things, one, and probably the most important. Disconnect the battery. It will save your alternator. Keep in mind that everyone has a different method to remove the engine. Take all the information and find what works best for you and your equipment.

As far as the 5sp. conversion. There are alot of theories and misconceptions. I have done alot of these. You can use the EA81 flywhel. However, you may run the risk of having the disc stick to the flywheel. They are a slight bit smaller than the EA82's. I have ran EA81, EA82 and XT6 flywheels on EA81 engines and have not had any ill effects from any of them. I put 4+yrs on my old Hatchback and approx 10,000 miles offroad. I ran an EA81 with an EA82 flywheel and 5sp. My current brat is using the XT6 setup with the 5sp. The reason I am telling you what I used is to give you some reason to believe I may know what I am talking about.

When ever you remove the flywheel you MUST use thread lock on the bolts. This serves two purposes. One, to make sure the bolts don't work themselves out. Two, to seal the holes in the crank. They open up to the crankcase and oilpan. If they aren't sealed they will leak and you'll think the rear main seal is leaking.

If you choose to use the 5sp. All you need is the trans, mounts from the 4sp, crossmember from the 4sp 2 piece driveline from the donor car. You will need to weld in a couple of center bearing mounting tabs to hold the centerbearing. You will need to figure the wires out for your trans electrical as well. You must use the pressure plate that matches the flywheel and the throwout bearing that matches the trans and the 5sp disc. The splines are different between transmissions.

As far as the engine. Since this is your first, make sure to use some 1/2" masking tape and write numbers on the tape to help identify where the hoses go. Make sure you put the same number on the hose as you do on the port. Same for the electrical.

Good luck!!

#14 Wrench Princess

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 02:55 PM

Come on GD, just because Matt did his car different than you do yours, doesn't mean he did it wrong. Like Ken said, there are different ways to do it. He is still learning all of this too so he is trying to help from one newbie to another.

#15 subaru420


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 07:59 PM

How about the weber? I have seen a couple other people's rigs set up with different stuff... The dude that has the 40 or 44 Weber with the big stacks on his brat makes a good case with a nice looking piece of equipment. Other say the 32/26 is good and I can get one of those at a reasonable price, but I'm not sure if the same one that would fit on a volkswagon would fit on my car... are there different models for different cars? Or just different methods for mounting the same deal on my car as on something else? Thanks a million for all the good stuff, I've been learning a ton off this site and the community that uses it.

#16 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 02 March 2004 - 08:32 PM

Matt is a newbie to this stuff (not saying that I'm an old hand either, but I do know a couple things) - and he's giving out information that is neither accurate or cheap. $268 without a clutch or tranny?!?!? That's insane, and I want this person who is asking questions to know that it can be done for WAY less. Almost nothing beyond the cost of the tranny and driveline in fact - unless you need someone to do the little bit of welding on the carrier bearing tabs. Even that shouldn't amount to more than 20 minutes of work - $50 at the most.

The weber's are all the same - you want a 32/36 DGEV (electric choke model of the DGV line). Same thing commonly used on a VW. You just need the proper adaptor to fit the Hitachi EA81 manifold. I wouldn't reccomend the Kit - get a used rebuilt carb, or rebuild one yourself, and buy the adaptor and the air filter seperate. You will save a bunch of money over the Kit - which comes with crappy instructions, the wrong air filter for a non-lifted car, and no linkage kit. There was a post last week by a place in Canada that said he could do a "custom" kit for like $325 shipped, with the carb you want (basically your choice of choke types), the adaptor, linkage kit, and the air filter size of your choice. Way better deal in my opinion if you really must have a new carb.


#17 Ratty2Austin


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Posted 03 March 2004 - 12:21 AM

GD... again.. matt is a newbie, and he did admit that in the post! so let him post without contradiction! (after all, he DID do the conversion on his own car)


there are many ways to do what you want, and how much you can spend or save doing it.. it all depends on how you want your car to end up in the end.

so far each way that has been listed will work, but it will be different results for each setup (performance, installation, and price)

so now its my turn to tell you what I did-

I have a 1980 GL-1600 wagon, with a ea81. I used an ea81 4wd (large) flywheel, with a aftermarket clutch kit (listed in the schucks computer as a kit for an 88 turbo ea82 4wd wagon, basically an ea82 turbo clutch kit) disc, pressure plate and throwout bearing out of the same kit. (kit price for me was ~$250 with a lifetime warrenty)
I have a ea82 5spd D/R from an unknown year, with the "kit" that Jerry made, which makes the upper linkage inside the car fit like it was stock. (kit= $100)
the driveshaft is the driveshaft that was in my wagon to begin with, which I took to Jerry and he takes it to a shop in Yakima, where they lengthen it, and make it servicable (new grease type yolks) and painted black for $165 total!

as for engine removal, it is not that hard once your in there..
there are 4 bolts total, (2 studs, and 2 bolts) that hold the motor to the tranny.
2 nuts hold the engine mounts to the crossmember.
4 exhaust studs w/nuts
misc wires and hoses between the motor and car.
once those are disconnected, the motor should be removable by whatever meathod you can do.
my personal preference is to use a cherry picker, with a chain- and a jack under the tranny to make it easier...

but at the junkyard, my friends can remove a complete ea81 by hand (2 of us lifting by the asv pipes or heads) in 30 mins....

so read over the posts, look at your engine before ripping it out... and decide what what will work for you the best...
like- do you want nice parts, for a bit more money, or do you want to use used parts, and mokey with it till it works (the 2 piece driveshaft i wouldnt reccomend personally but it can work if done right) and save some money.
or mix-n-match :D

Qman is the guy to listen to in my opinion, he has been doing things like this for longer than most of us have been members (heck, probably before the board even came to be!)

good luck with your decisions and actions :D

#18 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 03 March 2004 - 04:46 AM

I will continue to contradict anything that I think needs it. I have what I believe to be better information, and if anyone would like to dispute it, I will gladly accept corrections. But I will NOT retract what I've said. False or misleading information should be corrected when possible - that's what this board is all about. Matt's information is incomplete at best, and I treated it as such. He simply used an unfortunate choice of words like "need" and "you have to" etc. Nothing is set in stone, and if I had my car to do all over again, I could have saved myself a couple thousand dollars if I had known some of this stuff.....

As Austin has said - Qman is the one who has done the most of these in this thread. His method is the one I am sugesting also (correct me if I'm wrong here Ken). It's also the cheapest - using mostly used parts or parts already present on your car.


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