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1987 Hardbody auto V6

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Hi All.

A while since I intro'd myself and the 1987 Hardbody V6 auto trek terrano.

I was intending to start down the path of getting the engine out for a rebuild and then the plans went off track due to other commitments and it is only now back on the list of things to do. 

Having started on the engine removal over the last while and now having worked through the manual for the "how to's", I am down to trying to get the torque converter disconnected from the flywheel via the (supposed) access area between the sump and the bellhousing. Only issue is the V6 4wd/auto has a stupidly large rear sump pan that completely shrouds the bellhousing with maybe 5mm/3/8" space between.

I have dropped the front diff, all needed ancillaries, exhaust connections etc. and am now trying to see options to make some space.

In looking at the main challenge, the dropped front diff sits between the sump and front cross member so it is a challenge to raise the engine even slightly to try and drop the sump so as to get to the  torque converter bolts through the access area.

In looking at the options, I was considering one of any of the following :

1. Disconnect the torsion bars and drop the front diff completely out to clear the sump - drop the sump to access the torque converter bolts. 

2. Drop the middle span of the front cross member which would seem to then allow the front diff to drop and give space to more easily drop the sump and then access the torque converter bolts. This looks like a minimum number of bolts etc., on the front cross member and potentially less challenges but not 100% sure of any issues that this may bring up as well.

3. Remove the diff rear cross member from the diff, drop the diff, etc etc (have already tried to undo the three nuts holding this cross member on to not much success - even considered cutting the heads/connections off the cross member and then replace/repair afterwards)

4.  Take a large flame and..........

At present, it looks like the final torque converter bolts are the last items to disconnect before undoing the engine mounts and lifting the engine out.

So close, but.... 


I am used to getting engines in and out with far less hassle  in the past but not having had a 4WD before was expecting a "bit" more work. but this is getting to the point where it seems each step forward hits another blocker.


In reading all of the various online stories, takes of woe etc, it seems the v6/auto hardbody wasn't exactly designed in such a way to make this job straightforward, so any suggestions, ideas would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks in advance on any words of wisdom



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If you remove the starter, can you get to the flexplate bolts through the starter hole? I haven't pulled one of these engines myself but I don't remember hearing about anyone removing the sump to pull the engine. IIRC dropping the diff does help for getting the engine out, though.

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I can't recall exactly how I did mine, but I believe I removed the starter and got the converter bolts through the starter hole.


I have a 3" body lift on my Pathfinder, so I had a bit more room to work with and didn't have to mess with the front axle. However, if it was stock, the front axle housing and suspension cross member would have to be removed to be able to get the engine snaked out of the engine bay. I believe I had the upper intake off as well to make a bit more room for lifting and wiggling the engine to get it out and the replacement in. 

Edited by Mr_Reverse

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Thanks for the replies and suggested options. I finally successfully pulled the engine out today so very happy to make that step forward. I ended up dropping the front cross member which came out very easily (suspect the prior owner may have had it out at some point as the bolts were tight but easy to undo). I had already disconnected the front diff/axle assembly so when i dropped the front cross member, i was able to lower the diff at the same time (one large workshop trolly jack under the front diff and another standard one under the front cross member) so all came down ok.(That diff/axle assy is heavy!!). Once the diff and cross member were out of the way, i was able to get to the bolts on the flywheel/torque converter a lot easier and was a bit surprised/shocked to find them only finger tight, so likely a disaster waiting to happen if I hadn’t addressed that i suspect. 

I then made sure all areas disconnected and also made a temporary cross member to bolt into the mounting points where the back mounts of the front diff are so to support the front of the gearbox when i removed the engine. 

Looked to connect the engine hoist and had to try and find some places to connect chains. Apart from one location with convenient nuts on a brackets on the rear passenger side of the block, there wasn’t too much that was jumping out. Connected chains using the aircon and power steering brackets and then a strap around the drivers side manifold secured back to the front of the engine.

i had an engine leveller on my hoist so as i raised the engine, i found that the height of the terrano was too high so I wouldn’t be able to clear the top radiator cross member with the sump. I dropped the sump as well as the oil pick while raised and still in the engine bay so as to get as much clearance as possible as i was limited by the height in my garage and the lift of my engine hoist. 

i probably didn’t put the engine hoist leveller close enough to the block so lost some span - next time the leveller will be really down tight to the engine so as to make the lift back in a bit easier. I will likely also look to either make some connectors/plates for engine hoisting or at least sort something that is easier to manage.

I had also had stands under the front half of the body raised up so as to give me enough room to work underneath while prepping the removal but this also meant the whole body’s higher than needed for clearance for the engine removal. So, a bit of judicious jacking with extra blocks and lowering the axle stands to then lower the overall height to remove the engine followed. A bit challenging and added a bit of a heart stopper when one of the blocks on the jack decided to pop out and drop the body on to the stands - a bit unexpected but at least the stands where in the right place/height so no damage thankfully. 

So, back to the hoist, lift and seperate the bellhousing no issue and move a bit forward then lift.

Now the clearance was tight even with the sump/oil pickup gone. The rear spacing plate got rotated to sort that and then the engine leveller adjusted to drop the front down and raise the back for clearance. Tight squeeze with the top of the engine hoist jib just fouling the garage roof crossmember so very fiddle and back and forth, twist and then finally out clear. 

Brought it out and mounted on a portable engine stand to start the strip down and rebuild. 

Engine bay clean and some general maintenance while all out. Might also replace the torque converter at the same time - seems a logical thing to do while I have the engine out. Thoughts?

So, my findings from my way of removing the engine:

The Nissan engineers had no clue as to post assembly engine removal work and should be sentenced to working on removing and re installing the Terrano V6 auto 4wd repeatedly as punishment.

Purchase of some aviation ring spanners was a great assistance. The 14mm spanner was particularly useful to get to the two bell housing bolts at the top of the bellhousing and was worth the price of the set by itself. Aviation spanners are around 3 times as long a standard ring spanners- extra leverage as well as a lot easier to access some fiddly bolts.

Swivel connectors for socket drives and a couple of extension swivel bars assisted in breaking the set of some of the bolts.


In looking at potential re assembly, i am considering connecting the diff to the front cross member and make a jig that will help balance it to raise the whole thing up once the engine is back in. Hopefully the option to mount the diff/front axle and the cross member will work but that is a new chapter worry once the engine is overhauled. 


 So, for now, engine removal done, start of the clean up and prepping for overhaul. 


All of the work to date and todays efforts to remove the engine were all single handed, so a bit challenging on that front as well, but generally ok.


Won’t be a quick workflow moving forward but finally looking to getting it done and getting the beast back on the road and prepped for the 2020 trek rally

Will update as things resolve.

Cheers all.


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