It took three weekends, but I got the flexplate out. It was fine. Put it all back together.
1. An engine support fixture is worth the money, rather than a jack and block of wood under the oil pan. With only one engine mount still in place at the front end, the engine will rock too much to rely on a jack for support. Definitely a hazard if, as I was, you're working on even a slightly sloped driveway. Would have been far better to work on a level surface.
2. There's too little clearance between the back of the transaxle and the crossmember for maneuvering. Go ahead and shift the crossmember back. Here's how: Tie up the passenger-side end of the steering rack to the exhaust pipe with a piece of wire (the steering linkage will hold up the other end) and unbolt the steering rack from the crossmember. Then remove the driver's-side nut and bolt from the crossmember. On the passenger side, remove the nut and loosen the bolt. Pull the driver's-side end of the crossmember back. The extra work and few inches of space are more than worth it in easing the frustration of getting the transaxle in and out.
3. A proper transmission jack is a must. I rented one, but it was a two-ton model, really too big and just got in the way. I then bought the Harbor Freight 400-pound-rated dual scissors jack for $80, which actually worked better. Be prepared for the fact that a front-wheel-drive transaxle's center of gravity isn't really over the pan, which is the jacking point for most transmission jacks. You may need a floor jack in addition, to support the differential and tilt the transaxle--definitely necessary for the cheap transmission jack, which doesn't tilt side to side.
So that leaves a timing issue of some kind at the other end of the engine, if I can believe the printout I was shown of the cam and crank signals being out of synch with each other. I think I'll seek a second opinion before tearing down the front cover.
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 AT 11:47 AM