I was able to get the engine back in the car by myself with out any help, but I wouldn't ever recommend doing it alone, always have a partner with you to help in case something goes awry. Getting the engine, (with transmission attached) to fit back into the car requires a very delicate art of shuffling. It needs to go in at a very particular angle so as not to damage any components and fit properly. It requires a motion sort of like: up, forward, down, forward, tilt forward, down, forward etc...At the same time, there will come a point where the tail of the transmission starts to scrape the floor underneath the car, to counter this use a lifting jack with wheels. When you're lowering the crane to drop the engine, you should also be adjusting the jack for the transmission to set the engine level on its mounts.
Once the whole big lump is about halfway in, it's a good idea to connect the 2 electrical plugs for the reverse switch and neutral position switch, if you don't connect them now, it's near impossible to connect them afterwards.
About three quarters of the way in, it's now appropriate to hook up the electrical connections for the starter motor and the alternator. Each should have a thick gauge power lead, a ground lead and various other smaller connections. As you lower the engine down for the last few inches, you should be continually looking around to make 100% certain that there are no wires, or pipes being pinched or damaged, or else you'll have to re-do everything all over if you damage something.
Finally, the engine should be loosely seated in place, with the transmission still supported by the lifting jack. Secure the front engine mounts with the one nut on either side, accessible through the holes in the sub-frame.
Now that the engine is in place properly, it's best to address the transmission support, so that you can remove the lifting jack and it will be much safer to work on the car. The transmission mount should have been already mounted to the bell-housing, this cross member pictured below connects the mount to the frame rails of the car and will support the load of the transmission. Once you've lined up the 4 bolts for the mount, you can secure the cross-member with 2 bolts on either end into the frame rails, be sure to follow torque spec requirements according to the Nissan service manual, you don't want anything shaking loose later on. Then it's just a matter of securing the 4 nuts onto the bolts of the mount and the transmission is now self supporting and you can slowly remove the jack.
With the transmission secured, while you're down there you might as well handle the other associated bits. First bolt the rear prop-shaft to the output flange, make sure to line up the paint markings accordingly, these paint marks are made by Nissan service technicians when the car was built, they indicate the proper orientation. Once the drive shaft is secured, then you can install the speed sensor cable, turn it finger tight, and then give it just a little extra turn with a wrench, being cautious not to over-tighten it as it will break.
Lastly, the ATTESA All Wheel Drive pump, don't forget to re-install the shaft which triggers the pump. It should sit loosely inside the transfer-case waiting to be sandwiched by the pump, once you screw it in. Apply some RTV gasket maker to both the transfer-case and the pump attachment and press them together firmly, then tighten the bolts on either side and allow it to dry over night before you bleed the system. Bleeding the system is necessary when you disconnect the pump, and is covered in this tech article: How To Bleed the ATTESA pump
To continue with the transmission, we move up to the inside of the car, where you should find a hole that used to hold the shift lever. It's a fairly simple install, seat the lever ball into the slots and make sure it can move as it should, then insert the circlip ring into place using ring pliers. Once the lever is secured, place the the rubber boot over the lever, and secure it in place using a tie wrap. Then line up the large rubber boot and the metal holder with it's 4 screws. Now that's all been secured it's just a matter of slipping the shifter boot with the plastic trim on and screwing on the gear knob, as pictured below.Now we can move onto the engine bay; we start with the A/C pump, it requires a bit of shuffling to make the bolts go back into their positions, there are 2 bolts on top which are quite easy, which allow the pump to swing, and I believe one or two more underneath which lock it into position. With the belt tensioner set as loose as possible, it's easy to slide the new belt over the pulleys. Then it's just a matter of tightening down the tensioner pulley until the belt has a horizontal deflection of approximately no more than 120 degrees, meaning it's tight enough when you can't twist it and see the underside where the ribs are. The photo below is the A/C pump installed and finished:
With the A/C done and ready, we can move on to the next pump, power steering. The concept is the same as the A/C pump, just slightly different. Have a look at the assembly, there is one bolt that when inserted will allow the pump to still pivot, this is how you control the tension on this belt. So tighten the bolt that still allows the pump to sway up and down, now slide the new belt onto the pulleys. under the pump there is a long bolt, this is how you control the tension, but first you have to secure the other pump bolt which goes through a hole in the pulley. Once secured adjust the long bolt until the tension on the belt is proper, same way you did the A/C belt. The photo below shows the power steering pump installed:
Since we're focusing on the exhaust side of the engine at the moment, you can now connect the oxygen sensors to their appropriate plugs, be sure the front plug goes to the front sensor and the rear to the rear. Next you can hook up the Mass Air Flow meters, again front plug to front sensor, and back plug to rear sensor. All of these connections should have been marked accordingly if you follow my guide for engine removal, so this should all be quite simple. Next you can connect the 2 heater core hoses, secure them with hose clamps and make sure to connect each hose to the correct input and output or the heater core may not work properly later on. Again following the labels and tags placed everywhere during engine removal will make these steps trivial.
Continuing with the exhaust side of the engine we head back under the car, to install the down-pipe. Apply some RTV high temperature gasket maker to both sides of each pipe and the turbo dump tubes to make a proper seal. Depending on the design of your down-pipe, this can be very easy, or very hard. If you have a Greddy or Mines equal length down-pipe, it's just a matter of 2 nuts and bolts on each flange, and tightening them down.
How-ever, if like me, you're using an RS*R or any other non-equal length pipe, you're going to lose some skin installing one of these bolts, three of them can be had with just a few ratchet extensions, but the third will require either a helper or a very contorted position reaching one arm underneath and the other through the axle hole. Once all the nuts and bolts are secure, wait at least 24 hours for the gasket to set and seal before starting the motor. Continuing with the exhaust is pretty straight forward, bolt up the cat or de-cat pipe, and hang the rest of the cat back the same way it came down.
Now we can move on to the intake side of the engine, for the most part this is a matter of connecting everything in terms of vacuum and fuel lines. This would be easiest to follow in a list format, so starting at the rear of the engine and working your way forward:
- OEM boost sensor line to the rear of the balance tube nipple.
- 2 Brake booster vacuum lines.
- Fuel feed and return lines.
- OEM boost solenoid, one line in and one out.
- One vacuum line to the fender wall nipple for the BOV vacuum source.
- Tee line between fuel pressure regulator and balance tube for any after market boost sensors.
- Also re-connect the throttle cable to the brackets and throttle arms.
This should bring you to about where I was in the picture below:
Next you can handle all the electrical connections and plugs. Again a list format is probably going to be easiest to follow for this, so starting from the rear of the engine and working your war forward again with each connector:
- Top heater hose sensor.
- 2 plugs for the throttle position sensors.
- Plugs under intake manifold that connect to the same harness as TPS plugs.
- Secure long black plastic harness with 3 screws.
- 6 Fuel injector plugs, locked with small metal spring-clip holders.
- Intake air temperature sensor, and the 3 other grounds and plugs near the fuel pressure regulator.
- Cam Angle Sensor plug on the front of the belt cover
The photo below shows roughly where you should be after finishing off the wiring:
Now we can finally move on to the large gaping space in front of the engine. We start be re-installing the radiator fan onto the water pump pulley, it's quite straight forward with a small spanner wrench, just a matter of tightening on 4 nuts to secure the fan. Then you take your radiator with the fan shroud attached, and literally slide it vertically downward, being careful not to damage any of the fragile cooling fins along the way. It should drop into its lower radiator support mounts, then using the 2 upper radiator support mounts, you simply just bolt them down, and thats all that holds the radiator in place, one nut on each top support.
Now you can install the intake pipe that connects between the intake manifold and the frame, it requires a hose coupler and two clamps at each end. Next you can install the upper radiator hose, again quite simple to do, just a matter of tightening the hose clamps. If you have an after market water temperature sensor, now is a good time to connect that too. Then from under the car you can install the lower radiator hose, it requires a bit of an effort but its not that hard, again a hose clamp at either end will secure it. Next you're going to want to re-connect the OEM radiator sensor, seen in the photo below hanging onto the shroud.
Moving on to the drivers' side wheel well area, start by installing the blow off valves to their bracket, and connecting their vacuum lines and pipework. The picture below is how it should look, be sure to check out this article on How-To Rebuild and Overhaul Blow-Off Valves:
Then it's time to re-install the drivers side front axle, since you will have no doubt lost some front differential fluid during the engine pull, you can use this opportunity to top up the fluid, I used Redline heavy gear oil and a long tube and funnel to assist.
Axle in hand, it's simply a matter for pushing it into the differential, and it should click and lock into place on its own with out issue. Then you can slide the spindle onto the axle, secure it in place with the axle nut, just finger tight for now. The shock should be bolted in place and connected to the spindle now, followed by the upper control arms, lower control arms with ball joints and then the tension rod, lastly the sway bar end-links. Be careful with the end links, they are very easy to destroy if you over tighten them. Then slip the brake rotor on, and bolt up the caliper, its only 2 bolts for the caliper and adapter respectively. Now you can tighten that axle nut down to proper spec, put the crown cap over it and slide a cotter pin through the tiny hole to secure it forever in place. It's important to always use new cotter pins, never re-use old ones, the risk is not worth the benefit. Also, any surface that has threads exposed to the environment you should give it a thick coat of anti-seize, so that the next person to work on the car won't hate your guts, and that may very well be you!
If you followed my guide for engine removal and chose not to remove all the suspension components on the passengers' side (as it's not necessary), then to reconnect the front passenger side axle is just a simple matter of re-installing those 6 nuts and bolts that connect the axle to the oil pan output shaft, really quite simple to get to from under neath that car.
Take the time to overhaul your suspension components while they're off the car, you can follow this guide on How-To Overhaul and Rebuild Suspension and Traction Components. At this point you should be looking at a pile of remaining parts to install similar to this:
So, now you can install the lower intercooler piping near the blow-off valves, followed by the intercooler itself, which is supported normally by the recirculation pipe work. If you have removed your pipework as I did here, it still installs with the same mounting brackets and bolts, except it will be a little flimsy until you've secured the other side of the piping as well.
Onto the passengers' side, we now install the lower intercooler piping, and at this point the car can be lowered onto its wheels to make working on it a little easier and less hazardous. It's clear that after any sort of work on the suspension bits you're going to need an alignment before driving this car any great distance.
Now you should be feeling that excitement as we're nearly finished here. Install the pipe that goes from the fender to the "twin turbo" pipe. then working outwards from the turbos you can clamp the Mass Air Flow sensors into the rubber pipes on each turbo, and the air filters and brackets should all be secured now with their respective nuts and bolts. Many people use a wide variety of different intake kits, so this part will have been dependent upon which kit you have, but in any case its not complicated at all - considering you've just pulled the whole motor. lastly, you can install the strut tower bar onto the shock towers.
Now you'll need to fill the fluids. Fill up the engine oil, the coolant and reservoir, the power steering reservoir, make sure your oil filter is on good and prime the oil pump by disconnecting the Cam Angle Sensor, (the plug on the front of the belt cover) and crank the car over 4 or 5 times. This effectively primes the oiling system. Connect the battery, and run a quick systems check, use a multi-meter and make sure things are getting power as they are supposed to. Turn the key to IGN and make sure you hear the fuel pump priming. Check for any fuel leaks around the filter and the lines in the engine bay. Then your car should start, mine fired up first time with zero issues. If you're interested, take a look at this guide on How to Clean up the Engine Bay.
And.... you're done!