Behind the Scenes of Purdue’s Engine Removal

This spring, the Purdue EcoCAR 2 team needed to remove the engine from its vehicle. Initially, team members had planned to drop the engine out from the bottom of the car because of the way the car was assembled. Based on feedback, they thought this would be an easy project, but then reality set in.

One of the project managers was able to get one of the bolts holding the cradle in the car, while another team member tried the other two bolts with no luck. After the original bolt moved about a quarter of an inch, it eventually got stuck. The team continued to use the impact wrench to attempt to get it out to no avail. What the team member didn’t realize was that when they did all of this, they actually cross-threaded the bolt, broke the nut and stripped the head.

This forced the team to switch the plan and start to drill a hole in the nut to try to fully fracture it with the idea that the bolt would then just fall out. After breaking three drill bits, they decided to call it a night. The next morning, the team returned with a brand new corded drill, new drill bits, two car jacks and the determination that the bolt would come out. After jacking the engine and the frame up, the team began drilling again. After 30 unsuccessful minutes, the team decided to give the impact wrench another try with a smaller socket. This time, the bolt came out as it should! After much celebrating, team members got the other bolts removed, and after disconnecting a few more parts and lines, they were able to lift the car from the engine and cradle. Cheers erupted in the lab with excitement that it was finally out.

This was a great learning experience for all students involved. Very few of the students had removed an engine before, and others had not dropped an engine from below the vehicle. The team excelled in the face of a challenge: Ideas were thrown out constantly, students were leaving to do get tools from home and communications was constant. Check out the video below to watch a time lapse of the engine removal!