How to Lift an Engine

by Russell Wood

The engine is the heart of your vehicle, and if it needs to be replaced, it can be a chore. But besides all of the complicated wiring, plumbing and grunt work involved in an engine swap, there's the physical act of lifting the engine to get started. This isn't complicated, but it does need to be done correctly, otherwise you could drop the engine on the ground or on you, and cause injury to you or the vehicle.

Find a location on the engine to bolt the chain to. The chain is going to go across the engine horizontally, so that it can distribute the weight easily across the chain. Good mounting points include the exhaust manifolds, intake manifold, or the motor mount brackets.

Bolt the chain to the engine using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, and the hardware on the engine. Make sure the chain goes across the engine for balancing purposes.

Adjust the lifting arm on the engine hoist depending on the weight of the engine. The typical engine hoist has marks for 1/2-ton, 1-ton, 1 1/2-tons and 2 tons. A V8 engine is typically around 500 lbs, so setting the arm at 1/2 or 1 ton is typically a good setting, as you always would rather overdo it, rather than undershoot the capacity.

Place the hook from the engine hoist around the chain, approximately at the middle. Place the handle from the engine hoist and place it in the jack handle, then pump up the jack. As you lift, the engine will start to elevate. Once it reaches the height you want, you can move the engine as you choose.

Items you will need

About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.