C3 Corvette Engine Removal Tips

by Wesley Tucker

The Chevrolet Corvette has had a “small block” V-8 engine exclusively since its second model year in 1955. (Originally, the Corvette came with an inline-6). Since that time, the engine has been improved and made more efficient and powerful, but the basic engine remains the same. Between 1968 and 1982, the Corvette C3 model was known as the Mako Shark, with its fluid lines and aggressive profile. Removing the Corvette C3’s engine can be the best means to perform major maintenance on this decades-old car.


When removing the C3 Corvette’s engine, consider completely removing the hood over the engine bay to allow easier access to the engine and position the engine hoist. The C3 Corvette’s hood is fiberglass and the body panels on the forward section are also fiberglass. Removing the hood simply involves removing the bolts securing the hood to the hinges. Once removed, set the hood panel aside and try to keep it perpendicular to the floor. This prevents anyone from stepping on it or dropping something on the paint and damaging the finish.

Engine Hoist

Removing the C3 Corvette’s engine requires an engine hoist. This is simply an A-frame jig mounted on casters with a winch and chain combination attached. (Imagine a child’s swing set with a winch attached in the middle of the cross bar). The engine hoist is moved over the engine bay, and the chain is attached to a connection point on the engine and lifts it clear of the Corvette. You may not need to buy or make an engine hoist. Many auto parts and industrial rental businesses have them available for short-term use. They can be disassembled, transported and put together with only a wrench and a screwdriver.


Removing any vehicle’s engine requires some space. If your home garage is just large enough for your C3 Corvette, where will the engine be moved to work on it? Consider this strategy: Lift the engine clear of the vehicle, leave it suspended on the engine hoist and then move the C3 Corvette out from under the engine. Of course, the C3 Corvette will have no engine so it will have to be either pushed or towed out of the garage. Once the C3 Corvette is moved, the space it formerly occupied is now available to work on the engine.


Make sure you have all the tools needed for an engine removal project before starting. You need a full selection of screwdrivers, socket wrenches, open-end wrenches, pliers, clamps and rubber mallets (for freeing frozen components.) Also, have plenty of light to get into the engine bay. Finally, have a large work bench for the tools and parts removed from the C3 Corvette’s engine--stuff strewn around the garage floor is a great way to lose an irreplaceable nut or bolt. Finally, the Corvette C3 was manufactured in the United States between 1968 and 1982. All fasteners and engine specs are in English measurements. There’s no need to worry about having a full array of metric tools.


About the Author

Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera corvettes image by michael langley from Fotolia.com