On most GM front-wheel-drive cars, the engine cradle, (cross member) is dropped out the bottom after the upper strut mounts, fuel lines, exhaust pipe, and wire harnesses are disconnected. The engine and transmission come down with it. That makes the job a little easier but there is one very important thing to watch for. When the cradle is bolted back in place, it can be shifted sideways. That will move the bottoms of the wheels and severely affect the alignment and handling. The affected alignment angle, (camber) can often be corrected with an alignment, but if you don't tell the mechanic about having the cradle out, he will likely overlook "steering axis inclination", (SAI). When that is not equal side-to-side, you'll still have real miserable handling even though the alignment appears to be correct. To avoid that problem and the need for an alignment, use spray paint to make "witness marks" around the four cross member rubber inserts. With those paint marks, you'll be able to position the cradle exactly as it came out.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 AT 12:03 AM