My first job on the new engine was to paint it in the correct colours. Having taken time to source the appropriate paint (heat-resistant), I duly masked out and applied Alpine Blue to the valve covers. Preparation for this task was minimal as Erwin had ensured the engine was clean before I took it away. This was a little cosmetic but it would save time later - and access was simple with the engine on a low trolley.
I set to work fitting many of the new parts I had accumulated over several years. As a matter of course, clutch, distributor cap etc would be changed but I had a new starter, clutch slave cylinder, water pump, engine mounts and a whole host of other 'new' parts to fit. This was a very enjoyable and satisfying part of the build. Hours spent in the garage were not wasted at all, my wife kept me supplied with tea, coffee and any number of fruit juices, all of which have an undesirable effect on the bladder. Luckily there is a toilet in the garage!
And then it was ready for fitting. It looked fabulous and there were times that I walked into the garage just to look at the engine. Sad, but true!
In comparison, the old engine looked simply awful! And I thought it was OK really. The messy task of removing the big oily bit began in earnest. I had bought an electric engine hoist a couple of years ago and now was its time to shine, or rather just work - the fact that it was shiny was of no consequence! Off came the engine cover, complete with the monster rear wing, all carefully stored out of harms way until the deed was complete. I have always been of the opinion that Alpine used high-quality nuts, bolts etc when the cars were new and I have normally found that any fixings that are reluctant to come undone actually do so after only light persuasion. The fixings on Groupie were no exception and, apart from a very tight engine mounting bolt, everything else came undone easily. Phew!
There was Groupie, receiving a huge amount of attention, but having his heart ripped out, never mind - a bigger one was replacing it. I am fortunate to have a huge amount of space in my garage, with workshop space at the back. This means that I am able to do most jobs without falling over the project itself. And a large vice is absolutely de rigeur!
Anyone who thinks that an engine swap is done in a day and forgotten, unless the engine going in is exactly the same as the one coming out, is mistaken. The extra jobs I had to do could (and will one day) fill a book. I decided, whilst the engine was out, to take advantage of the good access and rewire the rear lights. A simple enough job, apart from the fact that once I had reconnected the new cables into the loom, most of the lights didn't work! The earth leads were fine, all connections well made and yet lights were strangely absent. I spent several hours desperately trying to locate the obvious mistake I had made...and failed to find one. The answer, when it came, was like most of these situations: quite obvious, straightforward, logical and confirms what an utter idiot I was to miss it. I had taken the battery off the car. Of course I had, but at that time it simply did not occur to me. Adding the power back revealed a back end lit up like Blackpool in September! Job done.
So back to the engine transplant. With all connections to the old engine firmly severed, the hoist was attached and the moment of truth approached. Would the hoist manage the weight? The spec sheet confirmed that it should easily cope. It's at times like this that doubts creep in. But, onward and upward. Well, upward, anyway.
With all eventualities anticipated, the lift began. I had assumed that some manipulation of the engine would be necessary, but quite honestly, the hassle involved in hoiking the damned thing from its place of safety beggared belief. Trying not to crush the rear lip spoiler, the engine would jam itself in the hole it is meant to come out of and it was getting ridiculous. Frustrated, I lowered it down again - for the umpteenth time - and looked at what the problem was. There wasn't one, but after deciding that this time it was coming out, it came out. Easily, without fuss or drama. Relieved as well as angry with it, I put it down to the poor old car not wanting to lose its friend. I am a sad old git. Although in the photograph right I look reasonably happy - must have been wind! Oh - the engine hadn't been lifted at that point, so I expect I was looking forward to the swap. The other photograph shows that a light-sabre can come in handy for removing stubborn bolts. Sorry Mr. Skywalker.
So the engine was out - a triumph. It looked incredibly sad in the garage, being looked at by the shiny new motor. Still, a future rebuild on the old engine should keep me busy during the cold winter months. Must make a note to buy a decent wood-burning stove for the garage. My space-heater is OK for small areas but not the cavernous space I have.
I will end this page by adding photographs. They will speak for themselves. Enjoy and keep watching as the pages will change regularly.
The old oily bits were certainly old and oily. Everything was cleaned and painted before the new engine went in.
See Page 3 when I've done it!