Yesterday I spent the day at my mechanic's shop "helping" with the engine swap for the blue Civic. It was a fantastic experience for me as I had never participated in such a big job as this. When I arrived at Pat's shop (well, his dad's shop that we were allowed to borrow), he had already been working for a couple of hours and was ready to hoist the almost dead engine out of the car. I realized that doing a swap when you have an experienced mechanic who has done this type of thing many times before, as well as the proper tools (including a big engine hoist) and a spacious shop, is not terribly difficult.
I don't think I contributed much, as I was asking a lot of questions and was only assigned simple tasks, but I got to witness the rebirth of my Civic. I wanted to put on the 15" wheels so that there was a visual change to hint at the change under the hood.
I got to help with the extremely satisfying step of lowering the new engine into the engine bay. It's not anywhere near as hard to do as I thought it would be.
When the engine was mostly installed, it wouldn't start. When it did start, it sounded like a lawnmower and was clearly not running on all cylinders.
Pat traced the problem down to a faulty ground wire (my fault) and the engine began to run properly. There were a couple of things left to hook up (throttle cable, exhaust system, air filter and housing), but the car was running, with only a day's labour.
One of Pat's four Honda's. This is the flat red drag project. Pat and his dad operate a bodyshop and they do great work He also has a Del Sol, an Integra and a Coupe like mine.
We were not to sure about the condition of our mystery engine, but so far it seems pretty good: no knocking and not too much smoke. Pat hopes to have the job finished in a couple of days. I can't wait!
This is how the car looked at the end of the day. Even though the throttle cable was not connected, the car exited the shop under its own power (using the idle).