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How to Remove a Chevy Van Engine

by Jeffrey Caldwell

The Chevrolet full-size van was manufactured with six-cylinder inline, V6 and V8 engines and was most commonly used as a cargo van or as a base for conversion vans. The engine and transmission should be removed as a complete unit. The process for removing an engine is complex, so before you begin make sure you have plenty of room to work, plenty of time and all of the tools you'll need.

Preparing a Chevy Van Engine for Removal

Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal. Disconnect the positive cable and remove the battery.

Remove the engine cover, if equipped.

Remove the air cleaner housing.

Separate the kickdown cable from the throttle linkage (automatic transmission).

Separate the throttle cable from the carburetor, and remove the carburetor.

Electrical and Accessory Drive Systems

Remove the accessory drive belts.

Label each wire attached to the engine for ease of installation.

Disconnect all electrical harnesses from the engine.

Drain and Disconnect the Cooling System

Open the petcock valve on the bottom of the radiator and drain all the coolant from the cooling system.

Remove the coolant reserve tank.

Remove the grille and upper radiator support.

Disconnect the transmission cooler lines (automatic transmission) from the radiator. Plug the lines and secure them off to the side of the vehicle.

Disconnect the radiator hoses from the engine and remove the radiator.

Disconnect Engine Accessories

Remove the air conditioning condenser mounting bolts and secure the condenser out of the way with the hoses still attached.

Remove the water pump pulley and fan.

Remove the air conditioning compressor and secure it out of the way without disconnecting the lines.

Unbolt the power steering pump and secure it out of the way without disconnecting the lines.

Remove Alternator, Disconnect Fuel and Vacuum Lines

Remove the alternator. Be sure to label the wires for reassembly.

Separate the fuel line from the fuel pump and plug the end.

Remove and vacuum hoses. Label each for reassembly.

Lift the vehicle according to instructions listed in the owner's manual and support with jack stands underneath the frame.

Position the Engine Hoist and Prepare the Engine to Be Removed

Remove the oil pan plug and drain the engine oil.

Disconnect the wires to the starter motor. Label each wire for reinstallation. Remove the two bolts that connect the starter to the engine block. Remove the starter motor.

Separate the head pipe from the exhaust manifolds.

Slide the engine hoist into position at the front of the vehicle.

Install a lift plate on the carburetor mounting surface.

Disconnect the Transmission

Remove the straps that connect the rear driveshaft u-joint to the pinion yoke on the rear axle. Then slide the driveshaft rearward, underneath the axle, to remove it. Plug the transmission tailhousing to prevent loss of fluid.

Disconnect the speedometer cable from the transmission.

Remove the bolts that connect the transmission crossmember to the frame. Remove the transmission crossmember.

Remove the clutch linkage and cross shaft (manual transmission).

Remove the Engine

Connect the engine hoist to the lift plate.

Raise the engine hoist just enough to take the weight off the motor mounts.

Check that all the connections between the vehicle and the engine, except the motor mounts, have been separated.

Remove the motor mount through bolts.

Slide the engine hoist away from the vehicle and remove the engine and transmission as a complete unit. You may have to tilt the engine to clear the firewall.


  • Spray a penetrating oil such as WD-40 on all fasteners the night before you intend to remove the engine. This will aid in disassembly.


  • Make sure the engine hoist you use has a higher weight capacity rating than the engine you intend to remove. Once you remove the engine, you must mount in an engine-specific stand. Allowing the engine to sit on the oil pan will damage the oil pan.

Items you will need


About the Author

Jeffrey Caldwell has been a freelance writer for over five months and has published over 250 articles on websites like eHow and Caldwell writes articles on a wide range of topics including travel, camping and automotive mechanics. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Millersville University.

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