289 Kaput - Next Steps Advice From This Great Forum

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by 68conv5sp, Dec 21, 2013.


  1. 68conv5sp

    68conv5sp New Member

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    We bought a 65 coupe 4 speed 289 A code knowing it had serious engine probs. We just did a careful compression test and found several very low compression measurements. Also lots of valve train noise. Has new plugs, wires, carb, dist, timing confirmed at 6 BTDC, etc. And the engine has been rebuilt before per statements from old owner and visuals. We have made the decision to pull it and replace with a rebuilt 71 302. Budget does not allow for a nice roller crate (sad).

    I have never pulled a motor. Do we have to pull the trans with it? If not, where does it separate? On the engine side of the bell housing or does the bell come out with it? How do we deal with the clutch? So many questions as my son and proceed into the unknown!
    #1
  2. DukeGnarley

    DukeGnarley Member

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    you can pull it with or without the transmission. It will separate at the bellhousing at the rear of the block. I prefer to pull the engine with the transmission, although you might have to lift the car up on jack stands to get the clearance to angle the transmission out.
    #2
  3. horse sence

    horse sence Please don't call me Mom SN Certified Technician

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    i would pull the motor and tranny and then get a step by step as you go. it will keep things fresh in your head .remember you are dealing with a lot of weight so be careful. use a good hoist
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  4. jackson0215

    jackson0215 Member

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    I pulled my 390 with the transmission in an afternoon. I removed the starter, alternator, fan and a few other misc. items. Remove the carb and use a lift plate. Once you get it hooked up take a little weight off of it and remove the transmission support. Just unhook the clutch fork from the pedal and you are all set. lift it little by little to make sure nothing is still hooked up. I did need to put the car on stands to get it high enough to get the transmission out.
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  5. DukeGnarley

    DukeGnarley Member

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    you might also want to consider cutting out a piece of thin plywood to go between your radiator and water pump to help prevent damage in case your engine swings forward a bit too far.
    #5
  6. 68conv5sp

    68conv5sp New Member

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    Does pulling the trans with the motor give an advantage? Maybe it balances the process? Seems like it would be easier to pull just the motor, but all replies here suggest doing them together. Interesting, and a little intimidating.
    #6
  7. jozsefsz

    jozsefsz Active Member

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    I think the major advantage is minimizing the amount of work you have to do laying on your back while under the car and working in tight spaces. You then also don't need to have a transmission jack available. With or without the transmission it balances pretty well if you locate your chains / straps properly.

    On a manual, I like to pull the transmission itself (leaving the bellhousing still attached to the engine). A manual gearbox is relatively light and easy to detach since you're not working up against the firewall. It's only 4 more bolts and sliding it away from the bellhousing to detach it entirely than to pull it with the engine.

    On an automatic, I like to entirely detach the transmission from the engine and pull just the engine. To me that minimizes work because I don't have to pull much of the exhaust or the crossmember / driveshaft or to get fluid everywhere. On an automatic you can easily re-connect to a transmission that's sitting in the car -- you can't really do that with a manual (a manual transmission either comes out with the engine or before you pull the engine but it's coming out due to the difficulty of seating the input shaft while maneuvering the engine -- and while I'm sure it could be done doing so without destroying your clutch components would be pretty tough).

    If you're planning to do motor and transmission together, you'll definitely want one of those balancer-bars to allow you to easily change the angle as you move up, and jack / ramp the car as mentioned above because the tailshift will have a harder time clearing. Which also means you'll need some headroom and make sure your hoist can extend high enough for everything to clear. And a 2nd set of hands will be needed to avoid sending an errant tailshaft through your windshield. :)

    I hear you on the intimidating part -- I hate getting the whole assembly near-vertical, it just makes me uneasy (that and I don't have a balancer-bar and I usually work without a 2nd set of hands). But when you see guys doing it with a big-block using just a carb-plate on an aluminum intake then it might make you feel better pulling your 289. Still, you might find the right balance between "easy" and "un-intimidating" by pulling just the transmission (not the bell or clutch components). Which will minimize the amount of time you're spending under the car and also minimize the angle you'll need to get the engine out.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
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  8. DukeGnarley

    DukeGnarley Member

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    Don't be intimidated. Just take your time to make sure everything is out of the way. Get the balance bar, they aren't that expensive and they are totally worth it.
    #8
  9. horse sence

    horse sence Please don't call me Mom SN Certified Technician

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    the next time some does an engine pull it would make a great resource post
    going from start to finnish with pics. i would do it but i dont have anything needing the motor pulled :shrug:
    #9
  10. robert912005

    robert912005 Member

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    i wish i would have known about this about a month ago. I would have taken pics of removing my engine. I went ahead and pulled engine and trans because i going to do the t5 swap. The one thing you have to worry about if you just pull the engine is supporting the trans in you car somehow. I also pulled the radiator and fan out when i pulled the engine and trans so that i didnt damage the rad.
    #10
  11. 68conv5sp

    68conv5sp New Member

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    We are struggling to sort his out. Good compression on all 8 (175 psi after 5 cranks),. new dist, wires, plugs, good spark at all cyls, but #3, and #8 are dead at idle (pull the wires - no effect on idle). Pulled cam covers - rockers appear to be moving up and down as much as the other cyls, so I guess not a flat cam. Arghh!!!
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  12. woodsnake

    woodsnake Active Member

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    Do you have any specs on the previous build? Have you heard the engine run at all? Does it start, but not run? Seems like a couple of things going on here....
    If you end up pulling the engine, bring the trans out as well. There are bushings you will want to replace, in the shifter, as well as the outside of the trans..
    #12
  13. 68conv5sp

    68conv5sp New Member

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    It runs smoothly but is clearly underpowered at highway speed. At idle it is missing. When we start pulling plug wires, we can pull #3 and #8 with no effect. They both have good spark. Then I thought maybe the cam was flat, but the rockers appear to move just as much as the others. For compression, we got between 172-176psi on all cyls. I know that's not a leakdown test, but I don't know if that would be critical new info if we have one done.

    What else could make #3 and #8 basically dead?
    #13
  14. horse sence

    horse sence Please don't call me Mom SN Certified Technician

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    check the spark plug gaps .see if they are closed up it is possible they got the ends smashed putting them in
    #14
  15. horse sence

    horse sence Please don't call me Mom SN Certified Technician

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    with 172 -175 psi compression on all 8 i would believe it is dist. ,wires or plugs.
    was it messing up before the new ones were added? what dist. are you running ? points or electronic?
    #15
  16. 68GT500KR_Vert

    68GT500KR_Vert Member

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    Could be not enough power due to bad or misgapped plugs or the wires could be bad or the dist cap could be bad for #3 & #8 - sometimes they need to filed down.
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  17. 68conv5sp

    68conv5sp New Member

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    New plugs .040 gap as recommended w/ Pertronix under a new dist cap. Good spark at all plugs. All this was done to try to solve the dead cyls and poor idle. Carb was also rebuilt by a pro and no change. I'm starting to wonder if a rag is bi-sected and lodged in the #3, and #8 intakes - very unlikely, I know.

    If I can fine someone with one of those huge old Sun oscilloscopes with all the electrical leads, would that tell us about spark quality and timing? Or are those for something else. I haven't seen one used in many years and don't remember what they diagnose...
    #17
  18. horse sence

    horse sence Please don't call me Mom SN Certified Technician

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    the next question would be what carb do you have and did you check for vacuum leaks? holleys do not like to seal using those thin base gaskets.
    #18
  19. 68GT500KR_Vert

    68GT500KR_Vert Member

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    Good Compression & Spark - all you have left is fuel - are the spark plugs wet? What color are they?
    #19
  20. dennis112

    dennis112 Active Member

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    A vacuum leak that affects the suspect cylinders can cause a similar issue, as will weak valve springs. Either will give good static compression on a tester but poor cylinder firing when running.

    Those old Sun machines can give an experienced operator a wealth of information on cylinder firing. Unfortunately finding an operator who still knows what they are doing with them will be a challenge.
    #20

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