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Do It Yourself New Engine?!

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience replacing the engine in an Odyssey (or similar)? Is it reasonable to try with the proper tools and a couple of good friends, no mechanics, but very handy…

What is your level of expertise with automotive repair?
What type of tools and equipment do you have in your garage?

This is not a job for a weekend hobbyist with little or no experience.

Well, I have done difficult work fixing the window inside of the door, I completely disassebled my dishwasher & clothes washer and fixed them. I have a friend who always does his own brakes and stuff… And another friend who once changed a Honda engine, quite a few years ago. We can rent the hoist. Other than that, we have the “usual” tools.

I agree. Experience is everything because there are just too many things that could go wrong and they usually do.

Then, “have at it”!

Just be aware that everything takes longer than you anticipate.
If you think that the vehicle will be out of service for a few days, change that perception to…maybe a few weeks.

At least one person should have a strong level of experience in actually changing an engine in a vehicle. You’ll need to figure out if the motor can be lifted out from the top or dropped down from underneath. Specific equipment is needed depending on how the motor is coming out. A front wheel drive mini van should drop out the bottom in most cases. Can you deal with the weight of the engine and transaxle coming out as one unit?

The motor will have to be an “exact” match, same year, same size, same transmission, same everything. Even one year off will mean a different electrical or fuel connector somewhere and something else you may have to troubleshoot.

Do you have a comprehensive manual with step by step instructions? What is your backup plan if you start this project and find you get hungup midway?

My quess it is beyond the typical weekend mechanic.

As UncleTurbo noted - a couple things - one is that you should basically expect not so much to pull out the old motor and drop a new one in, but to actually pull the van off of the old motor and then drop it back down on the new one. I.e. it probably has to come out the bottom. My guess is that you need more than a hoist.

The other thing I’d emphasize in UncleTurbo’s post is that you want the official Honda shop manual for the car. You also want to spend a lot of time taking pictures and taking notes.

This is just about the biggest job out there, as others have described. In addition to likely having to drop it out the bottom, you will need to spend a huge amount of effort labeling everything (wires especially) that you remove or disconnect, along with taking lots of photos. Your description of your group’s car skills makes me worry a bit, too. If this is something you can spend a week on, and maybe bring in extra (experienced) help if needed, well have at it. But if your plan is to knock this out on a weekend, hmmmm…

I’ll add… does it have air conditioning? Do you have the equipment to recover the freon in the system? You might need special tools to remove A/C lines. In fact you might need a variety of special tools to complete this job.

I don’t want to discourage you but replacing an engine on todays vehicles isn’t as simple as it used to be. Replacing an car engine from a 60s or 70s model was alot easier than what is involved in replacing one today.

I’m sure many of the regular posters can attest to that.

“Experience is what you got when you didn’t get what you wanted”