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Oil Pan Gasket: Engine support

I’m changing out the oil pan gasket on my 1979 Toyota Celica (RWD).
The FSM says to (in this order) remove the (8) motor mount bolts from the engine block and THEN support the tranny with a jack and raise the engine about 1 inch via the jack.

I placed a jack under the tranny bell housing (with wood in between) and started loosening the bolts. I noticed the bolts getting harder to remove. Sure enough, the engine started to drop slightly, until resting on the wood/jack…

So, my question is: Is it safe to jack engine up from the front of the transmission? I didn’t remove the engine bolts fully, and wonder what would happen if I did. There IS a cross member under the front of the engine (hence lifting 1 inch before oil pan removal). There is a spot near the alternator where I can place another jack (and clear the pan).

I would like to assume that following the FSM would not get me into trouble. Or, should I get that nice $69 engine support bar from Harbor Freight and use the hook on top of the engine for support?

It should be OK, The only issue I see is the engine may tip forward because the jack is under the bellhousing and the engine weighs more than the transmission. It may make it difficult to fit the bolts after.

You can make your own engine support with a short 2xs4 or 4x4 across the engine bay resting on the strut towers or inner fender. You can drill a couple of holes in the middle and make a hooks out of threaded rod to then hook any convenient solid point to hold and thread the rods through the holes and nut them. Tighten until they support the engine without tipping. Cheap and safe. Leave the jack in place for extra safety.

I like that idea (I LOVE inexpensive!) I’d feel a lot safer with some support from above. Still can’t believe that the book would have me take the mounting bolts out first and then place a jack underneath.

Yeah, bolts first and jack second is rarely a good idea. Maybe an error in translation?

I had an English service manual for a 1971 Honda motorcycle that could be very funny reading at times because of the translation errors. Much like Chinese made electronics.

This reminds me of the time I worked on my Datsun 240Z. I bought a book written specifically for my Z and started disassembling the engine head. I went step by step and when I had the cam towers removed…the next page note told me that the cam towers should remain on the head. It would be impossible to re-install them and have them work correctly again. A machine shop saved my bacon on that one. I now read any manual from beginning to end before I tackle a job.

Yes! I owned a couple of 510’s back in the day. They had the same basic engine with 2 less cylinders. Those cam carriers were machined in place bolted to the head. Very tough to re-attach in the right place!