Home || Engine Removal Motor Installation Battery Box Wiring


The first step to converting a gasoline car to electric begins with removing the gasoline engine.


The engine was a Saturn SOHC LK0 I4, and produced 85 hp (63 kW) and 110 ft·lbf (149 N·m) of torque. This engine was used in base model S-series vehicles (SC1, SL, SL1, SW, SW1) from 1991 to 1994.

The engine did not run. The timing chain had broken, causing the pistons to bend their valves and crack the head and block. It was beyond repair.

This is what it looked like the first time I opened the hood:









The intake, battery, and battery tray were the first to be removed. This exposes the top of the transmission and the car's frame.





After the cover was removed, the air filter and throttle body are exposed.



The A/C compressor was unbolted and I eventually cut the lines with a utility knife. Normally the refrigerant would have to be reclaimed from the system, but the A/C hadn't worked in years due to a slow leak. There was no refrigerant left.

The two caps seen are the high and low pressure valves. This is where refrigerant would be added to or reclaimed from the system.


Oil, coolant, and washer fluids were drained. Coolant and washer fluid tanks were removed as well as the headlights. The engine and transmission each have drain plugs near their bottom-most points. The coolant was drained from the bottom of each radiator.

In the picture, you can see that there was a plastic cover in front of the radiator to channel air into it. This must have been necessary since the car really doesn't have much of a grille. All the air had to be drawn from through the black plastic bumper.


Body panels were removed and stored. Most of the bolts holding these panels were either 10mm, 8mm, or 7mm. These seem to be the most common sizes in autobody. Also, push-style pins were used along the plastic liner in the wheel wells. These things often break when removing them, but they're easily available at any autoparts store.


This car had two radiators and a fan sandwiched together in the front of the car. The first radiator is for the automatic transmission and the second is for the engine. The engine's radiator was recently replaced and still looks new in the photos. The transmission radiator is significantly smaller in depth. I'm sure this is because the tranny produces much less heat than the engine would.


The valve cover and engine mount were removed. The chain on the left side of the engine is the timing chain, which broke off of its gears. It is jammed in this position. Spark plug wires were also removed, exposing the plugs themselves.


Thermostat was removed.


throttle cable was removed from the throttle body.


The exhaust manifold was removed from the front of the engine. Things start to look like they're clearing out.


After unbolting the engine block from the transmission, I unbolted the engine mount which held to the bottom left (passenger side) subframe. I thought the engine would be able to slide off and tried lifting it. It began to separate from the transmission, but wouldn't budge any farther.


The transmission has what is called a "service cover" underneath it, which conceals several bolts holding the flywheel on the engine. The cover is just a lightweight piece of metal. Once removed, one bolt is exposed at a time. The exposed bolt must be removed, the flywheel must be rotated by hand, and the next bolt can be removed. Repeat for something like 6 bolts. Time consuming.

Meanwhile, to gain more lateral clearance, I removed the serpentine belt tensioner and other pulleys from the engine. Also in this picture, the alternator can be seen on the left.


The starter was removed from behind the engine. The starter is just a small electric motor which connects to the flywheel via a gear on its shaft. The gear that you see in the picture is the flywheel. The timing chain cover was also removed. The chain appears to have jumped over a piece of metal, forcing it between the chain and the topmost gear.


The motor was eventually broken free. I had a jack underneath the oil pan, a jack under the transmission, and an engine crane holding the engine up. Normally the engine would be removed by taking off the car's subframe, which the engine is attached to. Then the car would be lifted up, leaving the subframe and engine below it. I didn't have a hydraulic lift, and I didn't quite understand how I was going to lift the car OVER the engine without one. So I pulled the engine out without disturbing the subframe.

The engine and transmission were bolted to each other, so when I removed the engine but not the transmission, the tranny was being held by only jackstands and axles. I removed it, too, shortly after lifting the engine.

You can see the new manual shifter cables coming in from the bottom-center of the firewall. There are two cables now: one for the X- and Y-directional movement of the shifter.


Not much is left in the engine bay. Don't tell mom about the mess on the garage floor. Coolant seems to spill out of everything as you lift the engine out. Believe it or not, I had actually cleaned the engine bay before I took these photos.


Getting the transmission out wasn't easy. There are two CV driveshafts in this car. Remember--it's a front-wheel drive vehicle. In order to remove the transmission, the driveshafts had to be removed from it. To remove the driveshafts, the entire brake, wheel hub, and suspension assemblies had to be removed. Holy crap that's a lot of work.

The passenger side after the driveshafts were removed:


It was easier for me to remove the entire driver's side. The suspension assembly, wheel hub, sway bar, etc. were all removed as seen here.


Here's the "new" used manual transmission. Dirty, greasy, and heavy. Hello beautiful! You can also see the mess that's been accumulating outside the garage. To the left, you can see the manual transmission flywheel. I won't be using that since this is a clutchless system. Also, see the "Orange CLEAN" bottle in the picture? Don't bother with household degreasers like this. Get a heavy duty degreaser. The kind that comes in a huge jug.



Where did this transmission come from? A car in better shape than mine! A 1996 Saturn SL2 with 166k miles at a local junkyard. My shifter also came from this car. The car had nothing wrong with it besides a seized engine. What a shame, it could have easily become my electric car.


Nonetheless, here she is: now without an engine or front clip. The wiring harness was just hanging out for now, very few of the wires would ever be put to use again.

Somewhere along the way, I took the opportunity to clean up the engine bay and paint up some of the rusted areas. It's a much easier task to do when you can stand in the engine bay.


I kept busy with the interior too during the engine removal process. I would be swapping the transmission from an automatic to a manual, so the automatic shifter would have to go. The center console was held on with several obvious screws and was pretty easily removed.


The shifter has two cables attached to it. The black cable gets pulled by the shift lever and connects mechanically to the transmission, through the firewall. This is what determines which gear you're in (P/R/N/D/3/2).The grey cable goes to the ignition switch (key). You know how you can't start the car unless it's in park? This cable is why. In manual vehicles, this cable doesn't exist. Luckily, I was able to simply cut the cable and now the key will turn regardless of the cable's position.


The shifter itself was removed easily via a few nuts. To my surprise, the manual shifter fit right into the automatic shifter's place with no issues. It was almost too easy! Well, except for feeding the new manual shifter cables through the firewall. It was very difficult to see where I was feeding the cables through, and I didn't want to remove the dash.

Doesn't the car look like so much more fun now that it's a manual?



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