Wednesday, October 5, 2016

RV canopy collapse reveals need for under-belly repair

     An unexpected storm with high winds and heavy rain rolled through one recent summer night. Though normally I retract the canopy in anticipation of mayhem, I was asleep at the wheel on this occasion. A 5 am inspection revealed that the one of the two canopy side supports had broken away from it's mount on the side of the camper. In fact the entire mount was rather rudely ripped off the camper. Luckily the canopy was intact and the the screen house as well, but the RV itself would be needing a repair.

     An examination revealed that one of the support bars, the one on the front side of the camper, had pulled completely away from its mounting bracket on the camper. To my surprise, I found the bracket strewn under the camper, with the two three inch lag screws still in the holes. At first I thought that this was a design feature: have the bracket mounted so it could break away, thereby preventing damage to the canopy. I checked the other side and found the screws to be soundly affixed to some solid wood running along the bottom edge of the RV.
     The next step would be to open up the under-board or belly board, the piece of thin but strong material enclosing the bottom of the camper, and providing a physical barrier against road hazards as well as a vapor barrier. Cutting it apart in the area of the problem resulted in a bunch of wood splinters and dusty debris falling out. It was rotted away under there and that's why the support bracket pulled away. This was going to have to be fixed and it wouldn't be that easy. Granted, this is rather odd repair, but it does show some of the principles useful in repairing any kind of rot damage to wood.

                                                          The job at a glance
  • Tools: Saws, reciprocating, hand, circular or jig, oscilllating tool, drill, utility knife.  
  • Materials: 2x6 board or material appropriate to the size of the rot needing repair, poster board, wood screws, wood filler, tape and spray adhesive
  • Parts: NA  
  • Cost of parts: 
  • Time: Several days of intermittent work 

1) Open up the under-board with a utility knife and examine the damage. 

This is not good

2) Check out the parameters of the damage. A piece of a 2x6 board would fit in here nicely, provided more solid material that the original under support. 

3) Cut the replacement board to the rectangular dimension needed. 

4) Make a pattern of the form needed. This is the step that is common to any rot repair like this. I use poster board and cut it into pieces that can be fit around the specific edges of the repair and then taped together. There was a 1 1/2" square piece running right through the middle of the repair area that my replacement had to fit around. Do this step and the next two carefully and sanding and filing of the replacement board can be avoided.

building up the pattern

5) Transfer the pattern onto the replacement board. Again, try to be exact to avoid work later.

6) Cut the board to the shape needed. Several types of saws will likely be needed. Be exact!

The finished pattern on the cut wood block

7) Apply wood filler under where the board will fit. The necessity of this depends on the job. I had to account for some missing particle board so I put in several layers of filler to build it back up to where it would meed the replacement 2x6.

8) Set the board into place. Since I was working underneath, I used a jack to hold it there for the fastening step.

A nice fit

9) Fasten the board to the good exisiting wood under and around the repair. The length of the screws will depend on the situation. I used 2 3/4 and 3 inch wood screws. I consider this like an outdoor job, so I used galvanized screws.

10) Repair the cut belly board with tape and adhesive. I experimented with several tapes and found Gorilla tape and spray adhesive worked best. There is a special tape made for this application. 

11) Finally, I drilled new holes and attached the canopy bracket with weather resistant lag screws.

finished repair

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How to make an Ethernet patch cable

    At times when wireless connections don't work well, I'm glad I have wired Ethernet connections in my home. In this post I will show how to make a patch cable with two RJ45 ends.

                                                             The job at a glance
  • Tools: A multi-purpose crimping tool with cutting, stripping and crimping functions: such as Ideal model ND 5636-2
  • Materials: none
  • Parts: Ethernet (data) cable known as Cat5e in sufficient length for your purpose.  RJ 45 jacks   
  • Cost of parts: $.45 ea, cable usually purchased in bulk
  • Time: 20 minutes
     In this example, I had a piece of cable with an RJ45 jack on one end already. I only had to crimp the other end to match. 
1) Determine the cable length needed and cut the cable to that length.
2) Strip off at least 1" of outer insulation from the cable. The tool has a outer cover stripper built in.

3) Determine which type of wiring configuration to use, 568A or 568B. Just so both ends are the same. Either will work, but the "A" is considered the more newer and apparently preferred arrangement. One end of my cable was done up in the "B" manner and gave me no choice but to match that. 

T568B wiring arrangement

4) Arrange the wires in the scheme chosen. From left the right I set them up white/orange stripe, orange, white/green strip,blue,white/blue stripe, green, white/brown stripe, brown. Teasing them out in the correct order can be challenging and tedious. 

5) I find it helpful to temporarily hold the wires in position with some electrical tape and then mark the 14mm clip point.

6) Clip the ends off even with the tool cutter function  Leave no more than 14mm (9/16") between the outer insulation and the end of the individual wires. It is important to leave enough insulation to be crimped by the lower part of the crimper. 

7) Position the jack with the metal plates up and feed the wires into the guide slots. These are little slots molded into the jack to keep the wires dressed properly as they are inserted. Push them all the way in to the end. NOTE: do NOT strip the wires.

8) Make sure the outer jacket is in the lower crimp zone. If not push the cable further into the jack. The outer jacket must be crimped along with the individual wires. 

The outer jacket is beyond the lower crimp zone

9) Insert the RJ45 jack with uncrimped wires into the RJ45 crimp fixture. This tool comes with both RJ11 and RJ45 fixtures. 
10) While making sure the wire does not move in the jack, fully compress the handle on the tool to complete the crimp. It doesn't hurt to repeat the crimp a second time. 
11) Check for a good crimp, Making sure the outer insulation was crimped by the lower crimper. 

A good looking crimp

12) Test the cable in a known good wall jack. 


Sunday, July 31, 2016

How to replace front brake pads and rotors on a '1996-2000 Caravan, Voyager and Town and Country

     This post covers, in detail, how to do a front brake job on many Chrysler Corp minivans made from 1996 to 2000. We will replace the rotors and brake pads and perform some maintenance on the caliper pins. This post covers a van with extreme pad wear. The pad wear level at which replacement is recommended is 5/16" (5mm). Pulsing felt in the brake pedal indcates that the rotors are unevenly worn and will need turning down or replacement. This job is not difficult for a home mechanic and a good way to save some money and improve the safety of your vehicle. Shown is a 2000 Caravan.

                                                               The job at a glance
  • Tools: 19 and 10mm sockets, large straight blade screwdriver or pry bar, large (5") C-clamp.
  • Materials: Caliper grease, brake parts cleaner, rags, wire or wood blocks, dust mask. 
  • Parts: Set of brake pads and rotors (there are two sizes: one for 14" and one for 15" and larger wheels).   
  • Cost of parts: semi-metallic pads: $20 (Napa)  Rotors: 24ea
  • Time: 2 hours

Removal Driver's side

1) Break the lug nuts on the front wheels (19mm), jack up the front and remove the wheels. Set down on jack stands or other supports. 

2) Clean the brake calipers and rotors with brake parts cleaner. Wear a dust mask during this part.

3) Remove the two caliper bolts on one side at a time (I started with the driver's side). Note the way the caliper mounts on the steering knuckle to avoid confusion on re-assembly.

4) On the driver's side, use a large screwdriver in the small slot in the top of the caliper and pry down against the rotor. The caliper will kind of hinge downward. Pull it up then and out of the knuckle.

5) Support the caliper, either by hanging it with a wire from the strut spring, or setting it on some wood blocks. Either way, avoid allowing it to hang from the brake hose. 

6) Remove the outboard pad. Leave the inboard on for now. 

7) Retract the piston. Use the large c-clamp, with one end on the brake pad and the other on the outside of the caliper, to force the piston all the back into it's bore. Then remove the clamp and the old inboard brake pad.

8) Remove the rotor. It may be necessary to tap it loose with a hammer. If so, use a dust mask. Replacement note: There are two different sized rotors that are used on these vans: 14 inch and 15 inch.

Note the caliper, just hangin' out here

9) Check the caliper pins and boots. The pins should move freely back and forth in their caliper tubes.
The boots should be pliant and free of holes or tears. Replace if not in good condition. Even if in good shape, consider pulling the boots back on each end and applying fresh caliper grease to the pins with a cue tip.

These pins just needed a bit of fresh grease

Re-Assembly Driver's Side

1) Load the caliper with new pads. First apply caliper grease or anti-squeal compound to the part of the backing plates on the pads that will contact the face of the piston (inboard side) and the ears of the caliper (outboard side). It doesn't hurt to also apply some to the piston face and the parts of the caliper that will contact the outboard shoe. Snap the two pads into place. These are easier than most!

Preventing brake squeal

2) Mount the new or re-ground rotor. But first clean up the surface of the wheel hub with a wire brush and solvent such as lacquer thinner. A little grease on these surfaces isn't a bad idea. You may need to take the rotors off again someday! Holding the rotor in place with one lug nut sometimes is helpful during installation of the caliper.

3) Mount the caliper. If hung up, pull out the wire and seat the lower end of the caliper on the inside of the lower mounting edge of the steering knuckle. Then rotate the top until it seats under the top edge of the knuckle.

lower end detail

4) Bolt the caliper into place with the two 10mm caliper bolts. A bit of fresh grease on the barrel of these bolts won't hurt. Torque to 30 ft lbs.

5) Repeat all steps on the passenger side.

5) Test the brake operation. I like to have a helper apply the brakes as I try to turn the hub with a screwdriver. This is also a good way to check caliper release with brakes off.

Test it!

6) Jack it up and mount the wheels.

                                           Passenger side notes

The passenger side caliper mounts in the opposite way as the driver's side. It will be removed by placing a screwdriver under the lower end and prying upward. On reassembly, seat the upper end of the caliper under the lip of the steering knuckle first and then swivel it downward to rest against the lower edge of the knuckle. 

passenger side detail

Friday, July 22, 2016

How to sharpen a Scott's reel mower

Reel mowers quietly deliver excellent service, but do occasionally need a good sharpening. This post will show how easy it is to sharpen one of these useful and environmentally friendly machines.

                                                   The job at a glance

  • Tools: Sharpening kit, screwdriver, brush; optional: drill and socket. 
  • Materials: sharpening compound, solvent such as lacquer thinner. 
  • Parts: none
  • Cost of parts:NA
  • Time: 30 minutes

1) Test the mower's cutting action with a piece of paper. If it fails to cleanly cut the sheet, it needs sharpening.
2) Lower the cutting reel by loosening the inner bolt just a bit (counter-clockwise) and tightening the outer an identical amount. This will result in contact between the reel and the cutting edge needed during sharpening. Repeat on the other side.

counter-clockwise on inner; clockwise on outer adjustment screw

3) Tip the mower so that it rests on the rear wheels with the handle on the ground. 
4) Remove the hubcap
5) Remove the "C" clip with a flat blade screwdriver.

6) Pull off the wheel
7) Remove the pinion gear, being careful not to lose the little dog that rests freely now in the axle slot.

Under the pinion gear is a little "dog"

8) Place the hand crank over the drive axle.

9) Coat the cutting edges of each of the 5 blades with sharpening compound and rotate crank slowly and steadily in the reverse direction from mowing.  Continue for 8 minutes. Optional: use a 11/16 deep well 6 point socket, a chuck socket adapter and a drill.

10) Clean off all the compound with a solvent soaked rag.


1) Install the pinion gear.
2) Install the wheel
3) Push on the "C" clip with the screwdriver. 
4) Install the hub cap
5) Test with paper to confirm cut. If necessary repeat the procedure.
6) Enjoy some clean, quiet cutting.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to replace the starter in a '98-05 GM 3.4L or 3.1L Malibu, Century, Grand Prix and more

This post provides useful step-by-step instructions on replacing the starter on many 3.1L or 3.4L GM vehicles made from 1998-2005. This is not a difficult job for the home mechanic. These engines are found on GM models such as the Chevrolet Lumina, Malibu, Venture and Monte Carlo; the Pontiac Grand Am, Grand Prix, Montana, Transport and Aztek; the Buick Century and Rendezvous; and the Oldsmobile Alero and Silhouette.

                                             The job at a glance

  • Tools: 8mm wrench or socket for battery, ramps or jack stands, 8, 10, 13 and 15mm socket or wrench for the starter.  
  • Materials:  None
  • Parts: Starter
  • Cost of parts:  $98-118
  • Time: 45 minutes

Removal of the starter

1) Jack the car up and rest on jack stands or ramps. 
2) Disconnect the battery negative with an 8mm wrench or socket and ratchet.
3) Crawl under and locate the starter just under the radiator side of the engine, near the oil filter.

4) Unwire the starter. Unbolt the solenoid wire with an 8mm socket and the larger battery plus terminal with a 13mm socket. 

5) Remove the plastic dust cover for the flywheel. This needs to come out. It's in the way of one of the two starter mounting bolts. 

6) Remove the two 15mm starter mounting bolts. Hang onto the starter as you turn out the lower bolt last. 

7) Lower the starter from the vehicle. 


1) Install the lower 15mm mounting bolt while holding the starter in position. 

2) Install the upper 15mm mounting bolt. Torque both bolts evenly. Measuring torque is not critical on a starter. Snug 'em up good. 

3) Install the flywheel dust cover with the 10mm bolt.

4) Wire up the starter. First the 13mm B+ terminal and then the 8mm solenoid wire. Be careful not to over-torque the nuts.

5) Reconnect the battery

6) Test

7) Lower the vehicle. You're done. That was pretty easy as starters go!

Friday, July 1, 2016

How to replace the serpentine belt on a GM 3.1L or 3.4L engine

     This post will detail how to remove and install a serpentine belt on a 3.1L or 3.4L GM V6 engine.
These engines were found in many models of GM vehicles made from 1998 to 2005, such as the Chevrolet Lumina, Malibu, Venture and Monte Carlo; the Pontiac Grand Am, Grand Prix, Montana, Transport and Aztek; the Buick Century and Rendezvous; and the Oldsmobile Alero and Silhouette. This post develops an efficient way for one person to accomplish the job.

                                             The job at a glance

  • Tools: 8mm wrench or socket for batter, a 1/2" to 3/8" socket reducer, 1/2" breaker bar, the longer the better, a piece of pipe that will fit over the breaker bar. 
  • Materials: wood block 
  • Parts: belt AC Delco 6K864
  • Cost of parts:  $23 
  • Time: 20 minutes

Removal of the belt

1) Disconnect the battery. 8mm wrench or socket. A must for safety.
2) Fit a 3/8" adapter on a breaker bar into the square opening near the bottom of the tensioner.

I took this out just to show you! No...I had it out on another job

3) Lift up on the bar and then insert the end six inches into a piece of pipe. The end of this pipe, being used to help hold the tension off the belt, will rest on the front plastic "shelf" above the radiator. It may be helpful to place a block of wood in there to achieve full release of tension.

Whatever it takes to keep the tension fully off

4) Slip the belt off the power steering pump, then the alternator and tensioner. Reach down and remove from the the crank and AC compressor. Now slip it out through the gap between the wheel well and front of the engine and under the holding tools. Leave the holding tools in place for installation of the new belt. 

Installation of the belt

1) Slip the belt under the holding tools and then up and around the tensioner and the alternator.

The always helpful routing diagram. Thanks GM.

2) Slip it under the upper idler and make a loop up there between the PS pump and idler. 
3) Route it under the crank pulley and AC compressor. 
4) Make a loop down there and fit it around the lower idler.
5) Make sure the belt contacts the inside of the water pump. 
6) Holding everything in place (this takes both hands), take up the slack in both loops as you slip  it over the power steering pump.
7) Check that everything is still in place and remove the holding tools
8) Hook up the battery.
9) Test run it. 


Friday, June 24, 2016

3.4L GM Engine: How to replace the lower intake manifold gaskets

     Coolant was present in the oil of my friend's 2003 3.4L Pontiac Aztec. Both the 3.4L and very similar 3.1L have been plagued with leaking lower intake manifold gaskets. This job is not technically difficult, but the sheer volume of components and wiring to remove or re-route make it a frustrating and time consuming repair. In this post I will go into great detail to help someone attempting this job at home. Plan to be without the car for two hard working days minimum. These engines are found in many models of GM vehicles made from 1998 to 2005, such as the Chevrolet Lumina, Malibu, Venture and Monte Carlo; the Pontiac Grand Am, Grand Prix, Montana, Transport and Aztek; the Buick Century and Rendezvous; and the Oldsmobile Alero and Silhouette.

                                                  The job at a glance

  • Tools: a set of 3/8" and 1/4" metric sockets. breaker bar, inch and foot pound torque wrenches pry bar, ramps, vacuum
  • Materials: Oil, coolant, steel wool, 
  • Parts:  Fel-Pro gasket set  MS98003T
  • Cost of parts:  $64.98 
  • Time: 16-20 hrs.

                                      Removal of the upper manifold

1) Drive the front of the vehicle up on ramps or set on jack stands.The wheels stay on.
2) Disconnect the battery.
3) Drain the oil and remove oil filter.
4) Drain the coolant. Open the petcock on the lower left corner of the radiator. 
5) Remove the serpentine belt. This can be done now, or later. 
6) Unwire (13mm) the battery plus lug from the alternator. Then remove the wiring from atop the upper manifold. 
7) Mark and remove all six spark plug wires from the coil assembly. I marked them 1-6 from left to right for accurate and easy re-install. Disconnect the front bank wires from the rear wiring routing and stow the wires (still connected to the front plugs) out of the way.
8) Unplug 10 electrical connectors from the large harness crossing over the left (rear) of the top of the engine. Mark the cables and sockets if desired. I find it desirable. Here is a list of the components, their location in the order I removed them:
       1) Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF): located before the large rubber air inlet duct.
       2) Inlet air temperature sensor: atop the large rubber air inlet duct.
       3) Inlet air control valve (IAC) atop the throttle body
       4) Evaporative canister purge solenoid: Just behind the IAC valve
       5) Throttle position sensor: On the firewall side of the throttle body.
       6) Exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR) 
       7) Coil assembly wiring harness right side
       8) Alternator control wiring
       9) Coil assembly wiring harness left side       
      10) Upstream Oxygen sensor: on the left side of the coil assy

Now tuck the big harness between the radiator and the front engine mount.

9) Disconnect the cruise and then the throttle cable from the spring loaded winder. Rotate the winder counter-clockwise a half turn and hold it there. The cruise control cable simply unsnaps in a downward direction. Slip the barrel end of the throttle cable out of the slot. 

8) Option: Either unbolt the throttle mounting bracket (three 10mm nuts-the one underneath is very hard to get to until the six inch wide rubber air inlet is removed.) or leave it mounted and squeeze the black plastic spring retainers below where the cables go through the bracket and then pull them through. I opted for the latter. 

Squeeze and release the throttle cable from the mounting bracket

9) Remove the larger vacuum line from the top of the rubber air inlet duct. The other end fits into the rear valve cover and will remain there for now. 

10) Remove the air inlet duct. this is tight squeeze, but it can be is rubber.

11) Remove the evaporative canister purge solenoid valve (remove one 10mm bolt from the upper manifold and then loosen the two upper throttle bracket bolts to allow a little clearance to pull a vacuum line out from under it. Then pull the PCV valve from the front valve cover. Do not disconnect these lines from the valve.. Let them rest out of the way off to the side.

12) Remove the large rubber brake vacuum hose from the plenum.
13) Remove the MAP sensor. This is mounted to a bracket at the mid back of the upper manifold. Remove the two 7mm bolts mounting the MAP to the bracket. Remove the small rubber vacuum hose just under the MAP and also the thin vinyl hose going to the right front corner gas regulator. Remove all as a unit.

14) Unbolt the coil assembly. There are two upper 10mm and two lower 13mm mounting bolts. The lower are best removed from under the car, at least on this Aztek. Then the unit can be pulled up and another wiring connector at the right rear of the unit unplugged. Then pull the whole unit up and out.

15) Remove the other end of the vacuum line that came from the large intake duct.

16) Unbolt the EGR valve from the upper manifold. There are two 10mm bolts holding it in place. A 10mm nut for the transmission dipstick mounts on the right side stud. There is precious little room to get the right side one out. A universal socket adapter works well here. There is a gasket that goes between the EGR and the upper manifold. The EGR will stay in the vicinity, still connected to a small exhaust pipe. 

17) Unbolt the front 15mm alternator bolt. There is a bracket using the left rear upper manifold bolt/stud that provides a nut for that front alternator bolt. This must be removed/ Leave the two bolts back by the firewall alone for now. There isn't room to remove it the alternator until the upper manifold is removed. 

18) Disconnect the coolant lines that run through the throttle body.  With a 13mm deep well socket remove a nut that holds a bracket to the throttle that is connected to a water pipe that runs to the right of the throttle body. Unclamp these two lines and pull off the rear one. The front one is so short and straight it must be uncoupled when the upper manifold is pulled out toward the front of the engine. A blow dryer works well to swell and soften these rubber lines.

19) Unbolt the five 10mm bolts holding down the upper manifold (intake plenum).  There is a bracket in the middle that held the MAP sensor that will come out with the plenum bolt. There is a 13mm stud/bolt on the left rear corner that contains the nut for the long upper alternator bolt. First remove the nut holding the bracket, then the bracket. On the front left and middle the bolts also mount a wiring harness. 

20) Remove the upper manifold, pulling it off that little coolant hose under the throttle body. 

Removing the lower intake manifold

1) Unbolt the remaining two rear 15mm alternator bolts and remove it over the top of the engine. A box end wrench worked best here. 
2) Remove the alternator bracket. There are four 10mm bolts. One in the back, two on the front of the engine and one for the tensioner.

The alternator mounting bracket is three or four parts in one

3) Disconnect two electrical cables, one in front of the front valve cover for the camshaft position sensor and one above the power steering pump for the fuel injectors, map sensor and coolant temperature sensor.
4)  Remove the three power steering pump bolts using the through holes in the pulley for access. Move the pump to your left as far as possible. DO NOT disconnect the steel lines from the pump.
5) Relieve fuel pressure with a small allen wrench after cap is removed. A bit of fuel will jet out. 

Using a small allen wrench to relieve fuel pressure

6) Remove three 10 mm fuel rail bolts, two on the lower manifold and one on the lines toward the back of the engine.

The 3rd 10mm bolt is on the metal fuel lines to the right

7) Now gently pry up with a screwdriver and remove the rail and injectors from the manifold. They are simply seated in their respective ports. 
8) Disconnect the coolant temperature sensor at the water outlet to allow freedom to set the fuel rail off to the side without disconnecting the fuel lines. 

9) Remove an 8mm bolt holding the metal coolant line atop the lower manifold. Back up the hose clamp and remove the hose from this tube. 

Now remove another 8mm bolt holding down a coolant union between the rubber hose and the long metal line running in front of the front valve cover.

 This line can now be moved up and forward to allow clearance to remove the valve cover. 

10) Remove the press fit end of the coolant line atop the manifold from the water outlet. this took some prodding and prying and penitrant.

stubborn pipe removal

All components are now out of the way for valve cover and lower intake manifold removal.

11) Remove the front valve cover.  There are four 8mm retentive bolts. The lower two will require socket extension bars. 
12) Remove the rear valve cover.  The stud on the right  for the rear mount of the coil assembly is right in front of the lower right bolt. This necessitated removal of the stud. I had trouble here. The 5.5mm hex end stripped  when I applied too much torque. I had to use a vice grip on the smooth lower portion to turn it off.

13) Remove a coolant pipe leaving the thermostat housing at the rear of the engine. It is held to the lower manifold by a bracket. Push a wiring harness panel-type fastener through a bracket where it blocks access to a 13mm nut. Only loosen this nut to slip the "C" shaped bracket off the stud. 

14) Move the clamp on the upper radiator hose from the end that fits on the pipe to the thermostat housing. Then remove the hose from this pipe.
15) Remove the eight 10mm bolts for the lower manifold. The middle four are longer and easy to remove with a socket and ratchet. The four outer ones are shorter. The two tough ones are under the shelf of each side of the down part of the end air passage. These are harder to reach, particularly the ones on the engine front side. The one on the driver's side can be easily turned off with a wrench, while on the other side there is a limited turn radius. I used a wrench shortened to 3 3/4" to improve the turning radius. 

16) With all of them loose pry up under the right front corner. It broke loose rather easily 
17) Remove the lower manifold.
18) Remove the 12 pushrods. To remove, loosen the 10mm nut on the rocker arms just enough to allow the rods to be removed. Store the pushrods in a box, such as shoebox, in the same position as they were in the engine. They need to go back where they were. 

Make sure to store the pushrods in a box for correct re-assembly

19) Remove the two bad lower manifold gaskets.  

This gasket is compromised in several places

Other maintenance operations easier to do now

    Now it is much easier to do some routine maintenance on this engine, if needed or desired. The Thermostat can be easily be replaced. The rear spark plugs are right in the open for easy replacement.  

Installing the lower manifold 

1) Clean all mating surfaces thoroughly and finish with a solvent such as lacquer thinner. Vacuuming out the ports before reassembly is a good practice. 

2) Place the gaskets in position. They have guides to make seating foolproof.

3) Install the 12 pushrods back into their original position and torque to 168 inch pounds plus 30 degrees. 

4) Lay a 1/4" bead of black RTV in the valley between the two engine banks.

5) Prepare the manifold bolts if not using new. Using new bolts (usually already with sealant) is best. Apply thread sealant to the threads of the old bolts and the the top end of each long bolt. These have some history of allowing coolant seepage.

6) Place the manifold carefully down into place.

7) Install all the bolts in two stages, longer inner ones first. Use a crisscross pattern and torque first to 60 inch pounds and then to 120. Torque the four outer bolts to 18 ft lbs. 

A universal adapter plus an extension works on the under-shelf bolts

 8) Mount the valve covers. Turn the 8mm bolts in finger tight and then torque to 84 in          lbs.                           

                               Installing components on the lower manifold 

        (There are fewer pictures accompanying the install. Please refer back to the j-peg laden disassembly instructions if need on install.) 

1) Install new o-rings on the metal coolant lines. These are included in the Fel Pro kit.

2) Install the coolant pipe back into the water outlet. Tighten down the 13mm nut that holds the bracket for the pipe. A universal adapter helps here. Insert the panel fastener for the wiring back in the hole in the bracket. 

3) Reconnect the upper radiator hose onto the metal pipe. Clamp it back into place.

4) Clean the gasket channels in the valve covers and insert the new gaskets.

5) Install the coolant pipe crossing over the top of the lower manifold. It may be necessary to tap it gently into place with a hammer where it enters the manifold near the water outlet. 

6) Return the rest of the the coolant piping assembly back into position in front of the valve cover. 

7) Mount the coolant union back in the hole near the water pump and turn in the 8mm bolt. 

8) Connect the rubber hose into the coolant crossover piping and seat the clamp. 

9) Turn in the 8mm mounting bolt on the crossover pipe. 

10) Place the power steering pump back into mounting position. It doesn't need to be mounted yet, but the bolts can be started if desired. 

11) Install the fuel rail assembly. First plug in the coolant temperature sensor. Make sure the MAP Sensor wiring is correctly positioned, then position each fuel injector over it's port and gently rock the rail assembly until all are fully seated. Tighten down the the three 10mm mounting bolts.

12) Mount the right lower stand-off for the coil assembly bracket. Use a 5.5mm socket.
       This mounts over the right rear bolt of the rear valve cover. 

13) Plug in the harness that runs over the top of the power steering pump.

14) Plug in the harness that runs along the front of the front valve cover. Install the locking clip in this harness. 

15) Mount the alternator bracket. There are four 15mm bolts of three different lengths. If you got them mixed up, here is some help:

16) Mount the alternator with back bolts only. It is helpful to slip the left rear 15mm bolt into place first as it is nearly impossible, at least on the Aztek I worked on, to put in after the alternator is in place. 

Installing the upper intake assembly and components and finish

1) Clean the mating surfaces of both the upper manifold and the lower manifold

2) Place the two new gaskets in position.

3) Set the upper manifold carefully in place. Make sure to attach the small rubber coolant lines still on the manifold before seating the manifold. Re-attach the clamps and bolt down the 13mm nut holding the bracket attached to the metal coolant lines. 

4) Install the six upper manifold bolts and torque, oppositely and in stages to 18 ft lbs. Most of these do double duty, holding accessories. The right front holds the front spark plug routing bracket; the front right and middle hold a wiring bracket; the middle rear holds the MAP sensor bracket and the left rear holds the front alternator bolt nut bracket.

Here's a reminder of the bracket and accessory positions

5) Install the long front alternator bolt into the bracket that mounts on the left rear corner of the upper manifold. Then install the 13mm nut on the stud and tighten.

6) Install the three 13mm power steering bolts and torque to 25 ft lbs.

7) Install the EGR valve with a 10mm bolt on the left and a 10mm stud/bolt combo on the right. I re-used the gasket, but coated both sides with RTV. This is a tough install due to extremely limited room on the right side. When mounted, make sure to mount the transmission dipstick to the right side stud with a 10mm nut. A universal socket adapter works best in this space. 

8) Install the large rubber intake hose and tighten the two band clamps.

9) Install the tubing into the rear valve cover that goes to the air intake hose. 

10) Install the coil assembly. plug in the connector at the right side.

11) Plug in the rear bank spark plugs into the coil pack.

12) Install the MAP sensor.

13) Connect the brake vacuum hose back into the upper intake manifold.

14) Install the EVAP purge solenoid with the 10mm bolt. It may be necessary to loosen the throttle bracket bolts to reinsert the vinyl line back into the upper manifold. Reinsert the PCV valve into the front valve cover. 

15) Plug the other end of the hard vinyl hose coming form the rear valve cover into the port on top of air intake duct. 

16) Re-install the throttle and cruise cables through the mounting bracket and load into the winder.

17) Snap the large wiring harness back into position in front of the front valve cover. 

18) Route the ten connector wiring harness back into position.

A reminder of  how to dress the large wiring harness

19) Plug in the ten connectors in reverse order of removal. Make sure to route the                 harness into the snap-in holders. 

20) Connect the B+ cable back on to  the alternator lug and secure with the 13mm nut. 
      Snap into the cable router. 

21) Plug the front spark plug wires back into the coil assembly. Snap them into position in       the right rear cable router

22) Install the serpentine belt.

Plenty of components in this belt path

23) Replace the oil filter and fill the crankcase with fresh oil

24) Fill with new coolant. 

25) Reconnect the battery

26) Test drive the vehicle and check for leaks. Nice work. You saved some serious jingle.

                                                                         foot pounds             inch pounds