Introduction: How to Remove the Engine From a '96 Camaro

Every once in a while, there comes the need to remove the engine from your vehicle. This could be for several reasons; to replace the engine, to rebuild it, to clean it, or just to change one part on it. I have created a short set of instructions here that aren't too specific. This will focus around the LT1 platform engine in a 1996 Camaro, but the process is relatively the same for most other situations. I don't recommend a novice mechanic trying to take on a task like this. If you're unfamiliar with a lot of technical car parts and processes, this isn't for you. If everything were to be documented on removing an engine, you'd end up with a novel to read. With that being said, good luck and remember to just have fun with it.

Step 1: Remove Air Intake

First things first, remove the air intake all the way up to the throttle body. There may be a mass air flow sensor that will need to be disconnected as well. Usually, all this can be removed with just a spade bit screwdriver. After all this is removed, there will more room to get at the radiator and all the water hoses.

Step 2: Remove Radiator and Water Hoses

Next, you'll want to find a couple pans to set under the vehicle and a whole lot of rags. First, there will be a fan housing in front of the radiator. That just needs to be unscrewed and taken out. Then the water hoses need to be disconnected from the radiator. This will cause all the fluid in there to drain out, and it's very difficult to catch it all. Once the hoses are disconnected, there will be a couple screws under the radiator holding it in place. If at all possible, try and slide the radiator up without needing to remove the AC condenser. If the AC condenser is in the way, that'll will need to be removed as well. That however is very difficult to do, and I would recommend having that professionally done. 

Step 3: Remove the Alternator

Now the alternator will need to come off the engine. This is usually pretty simple. There will be a positive and ground wire that will need to be disconnected. Then a few bolts hold the alternator in place. Once those are out, the alternator should slip right out.

Step 4: Remove All Pumps

You will want to get all the rest of the hoses off the the water pump right now. Once they're all off, remove all the bolts holding the pump in place. The pump should now slide towards the front of the car and off the engine. Set that aside, and now work on the hydraulic steering pump. There will be a few hoses connected to that pump as well that will need to be disconnected. Once that's done, there will be a few bolts holding that in place. Unscrew those bolts and get the pump out and out of the way.

Step 5: Remove All Wires

Now all the wiring that's still connected to the engine will need to be removed. In the picture, the spark plug wires can be seen. These will need to be unplugged, but they have to plug back into the same locations. It's best to label them in a way that will help you to remember where exactly they go. Any other wires will have connections that can be unplugged. There is usually a different connection for each wire, so it shouldn't be too tough to get it all back together later. If there are difficulties, you can always take pictures, label wires, or buy a catalog specific to your car that has a whole lot of exploded views. 

Step 6: Remove Starter Motor

Underneath the engine, there should be the starter motor. If not done so already, there will be a positive and ground wire connected to it. Remove those wires, but mark which posts they were connected to. Now there will be 2 or 3 bolts holding the starter in place. Remove them, and slide the starter out of place.

Step 7: Remove Driver Side Header

On the drivers side of the engine, you'll want to remove the exhaust header now. For some headers, the steering linkage may need to be disconnected. Just find a knuckle in the linkage, remove a bolt, slide the knuckle apart and move moth halves out of the way. Now work on removing the bolts holding the header on to the engine. This may require special tools if the bolt is in too tight of an area to turn it. After that, slide under the car and remove the 2 bolts connecting the header to the exhaust pipe. Once all the bolts are removed, the header will come right off. Make sure to grab the gasket that goes between the header and engine.

Step 8: Remove Passenger Side Header

The same process will go for this header as the driver side one. The only difference is that there won't be any steering linkage in the way. However, the oil dipstick tube may be in the way. To remove this, there will be a bolt under the engine holding it in place. Remove that bolt, then pull up on the tube and it will come right out. Then just continue removing the bolts and header like in the previous step. 

Step 9: Disconnect Transmission and Engine Mounts

After doing all those steps, everything should be disconnected from the engine except for the transmission. Disconnecting the transmission is different for each car. In general, all the bolts around the transmission will need to be unscrewed. Then the fluid will need to be drained out. Once all that is done, the engine mount bolts can be removed as well.

Step 10: Remove Engine

You will end up with a pile of parts like in the picture. That means the engine is ready to come out though. You'll want to get ahold of a cherry picker and a buddy or two to remove the engine. Just connect the cherry picker to strong points on the engine and start removing it slowly. Make sure you have someone watching the engine so it doesn't pinch or dent anything when jacking it out of the car. If all of these steps have been completed properly, the engine will come out with no problems. Congratulations!