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MG MGA - Engine removal

Hey folks, I am about to start the restoration of a 1960 MGA. I wish to remove the engin to repair some external problems and inspect the internals. My question is; Which is easierto pull, engine alone or engine & tranny? Thanks, Tom
Thomas McNamara

By far it is easier to pull the engine and transmission together. Unless you have a Twin Cam and then it is impossible to do that.
Hiram Shepard

By far it is easier to pull the engine first and transmission later. Unless you happen to have lots of headroom and a Tilt-Lift mechanism. See how simple these answers are?
Barney Gaylord

I agree with Barney. I always do them separately.
dominic clancy

What Barney said.
Andy Bounsall

Hi Hiram,

It is possible to remove the mga twin cam engine and transmission together.
I remove the radiator and oil pan. The oil pan comes off easily. I also remove the oil pump to prevent possible damage. Also turn the crankshaft to 90 degrees BTDC.

The five holes in the front crossmember make removing the front oil pan bolts easy, the side oil pan bolts are a bit difficult because the side of the Twin Cam oil pan is close to the chassis rails.

M F Anderson

I also am engine only.

Despite what the book says, the bonnet (hood) does not have to come off. I usually tie it back to the luggage rack.


Steve Gyles

I prefer the engine out separately. My lifting gear makes it easy.

Mike Ellsmore

I have attached a photo from a magazine cover.
It must be just posing for the camera, there is no way that Twin Cam engine is going in as shown.
With the carburetters, air cleaners, distributor, and oil pan fitted it would be impossible.
Even with no transmission attached it would not work.


M F Anderson

I just went through this after reading every thread on it in the archives. I've also done it twice before.

Removing them separately. It's hard enough to get the tranny lined back up and bolted to the engine when they are out of the car, let alone trying to do it in situ.

Removing them separately.
1. You do not need to loosen or remove the hood. Just tie it to a rafter, there's plenty of room to get them out together.
2. hook the lift close to the front so it will hang at an extreme tail down angle.
3. Dognut, timing cover need to come off. Good time to replace the tensioner. Cheap I have an MGB engine so the front crank nut isn't a dognut and it's musch shorter, but I'm not sure if it would fit an MGA engine.
4.make sure the rear flange is off the tranny. Tranny dipstick out.
5. leave car on the ground or jack up front the minimum if tires must come off for lift legs to fit.
6. heavily tape the front where the paint could get chipped.

Here's the secret I discovered. When the engine was out, I hammered the opening where the tunnel meets the front steel valance. I hammered it all the way back to the weld nuts, nice and smooth, following the top front tunnel arch filed it and painted it black. You can't even tell it's been altered.

When I reinstalled the engine/trans, it slipped right in without the up-forward-up forward etc etc that it usually takes.
Fred H


I note your comment in the "retirement" thread that you are sleep deprived. In your engine removal posting don't you mean "removing them together" as the heading for your 6 points?

M F Anderson

Lining the engine back up to the transmission is a five minute job in the car. You need a leveller on the crane, and when the input shaft is in the clutch hole, you just turn the dognut with a socket until the splines align and then allow the engine to slide backwards to mate fully with the gearbox- sometimes I have to apply a little backward pressure with a crowbar between the steering rack and the engine mount, but no more than that. The trick is to jack the gearbox up on a trolley jack and have the car on the ground,
dominic clancy

Over the years, I have removed engines on MGAs about 6 times. I always do it separately and have never had a problem mating the engine and gearbox. I lift the engine until the gearbox hits the tunnel, then put a jack or blocks under the gearbox to keep it there. I then remove the engine to gearbox bolts and lift while pulling the engine forward. When re-installing, I put the gearbox in gear and visually align the splines on the clutch with the gearbox. I lift the engine so it is hanging at about the right angle, then lower while pushing it backwards. Usually slides right in, but if not then I rock the engine gently from side to side to line up the splines. I do remove the dognut and pulley, but always had plenty of clearance with the timing cover on.
Jeff Schultz

Tilt the front of the gearbox up until it hits the firewall and then jam a wooden block (1 1/2" x 4" x 4") between the g'box and the chassis pipe cross member. This will help when you mate the motor to the g'box.
Mike Ellsmore

I love that gentle "clunk" you get when the splines engage and the engine slides down to the bell housing. It's got to be one of the best sounds in motor mechanics....or am I wierd?
Lindsay Sampford


I would advise/warn again tying the hood back against a rafter. If you inadvertently move the car you could do serious damge. That is why I tie it back against another part of the car. The luggage rack is convenient for me, but it could be the rear bumber with some padding underneath the rope to avoid any abrasive contact with the boot lid.

Steve Gyles

Steve, I though about that a long time. I had the ft end on jack stands, just high enough to remove the ft wheels. I also used bungee cord just in case. The bonnet captive nuts are so delicate and it's so hard to adjust, I was relieved when I saw there would be enough clearance.

Mick, thanks for clearing that up for me.
Fred H

Steve, I think I tie mine to the back bumper using a long rope.
dominic clancy

I tie my bonnet back to the luggage rack as Steve suggested, putting a shop towel under the rope anywhere it contacts an edge or surface to avoid chaffing. It works great and saves the time and frustration of removal and refitment.
Andy Bounsall

This thread was discussed between 11/09/2009 and 14/09/2009

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This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGA BBS is active now.