4.0L engine removal. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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4.0L engine removal.


May 13, 2010
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City, State
Glendale, AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 XLT
I have a 2002 XLT 4.0L 4x4. I need to pull the engine to change out chain tensioners for the balance shaft, front and rear timing chains. I have a Chilton's manual that says in order to pull the engine you must drop the tranny, drive axles, and transfer case. Before I made the decision to pull the engine, I pulled off everything in front of the front timing chain so I have a good 6-8 inches of clearance. Can I pull the engine without dropping the tranny, drive axles and transfer case? Thanks ahead of time for your response!

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Thanks, I have had great help from reading other threads for other problems. I guess I should add that this is an automatic not manual tranny.

I was just wondering this myself. I have to do my rear timing chain and already have all the front partially apart from fixing the front. I was wondering if I could undo the engine from the tranny to move it forward about 5-6 inches. I figure that should be enough clearance for my skinny arms. Also I wouldn't have to unhook everything. Any thoughts?

Changing the rear cassette

In order to change the rear cassette the flexplate must be removed. Then the jackshaft rear cover/plug must be punched out as shown below.

Also, the guide assembly lower pivot bolt and the jackshaft rear sprocket bolt must be removed. The pivot bolt is identified with the black arrow in the photo below with the broken rear guide assembly.

The exposed jackshaft rear sprocket bolt is shown in the photo below to the right of the drop light. The rear of the pivot bolt is to the right of the jackshaft.

After replacing the rear cassette the jackshaft sprocket bolt and guide pivot bolt will have to be installed and torqued to specification. Then a new plug will have to be driven in. I seriously doubt that all can be done in a 5 inch deep workspace.

So whats easier, engine removal or trans removal?

Engine removal

I know of only one member who has replaced the rear cassette by removing the transmission. I hate working under the vehicle and the workspace is very restricted. Also, I don't have an impact wrench to loosen exhaust bolts nor a transmission jack. If you have access to a shop with a hydraulic lift and extended transmission jack then you can work standing up but you'll need some way to support the engine.

It is much more convenient to work on the engine when on a stand but it is a lot of work to disconnect everything required to pull the engine.

Overall, I'd say it's easier to pull the transmission than the engine but harder to perform the repairs. Either way you'll have to remove the valve cover to replace the cassette.

Any suggestions on how to get to the bellhousing bolts?

the top ones? its a tight fit... so on my 4.6L i pulled hte intake manifold and got them from the top of the engine.. MUCH easier IMHO.

Removing trans/engine bolts

Any suggestions on how to get to the bellhousing bolts?

Some you can get by reaching thru the wheel wells to between the rear of the engine and the firewall. Some can be removed by working in the engine compartment and reaching down between the rear of the engine and the firewall. If the upper intake manifold is removed it improves access. Some members have removed the center console, pulled back the carpet and removed the access panel. Some bolts can be removed working under the vehicle with very long extensions connected to a wobble extension. It is safest to remove the 4 upper bolts first and the 4 lower bolts last. The weight of the engine and transmission will keep the two together as long as the lower bolts are in place.

SOHC V6 Timing Chain Saga

I removed the starter to gain access to the four flywheel nuts and removed those. I need to remove the 8 transmission to engine bolts and the motor mounts and I guess I am ready to pull the engine. I have looked at the transmission to engine bolts, some of them will prove to be difficult to remove. I'll give it a shot tomorrow. So far I have not had to drop the tranny, drive axles or transfer case to get to this point as Chilton recommends. Thanks 2000StreetRod for the suggestions!

Torque wrench extensions

Working under the vehicle aft of the transmission I was able to torque the top driver side bolt with the torque wrench configuration shown in the photo below.

The green arrow identifies the end of a wobble extension. For the top passenger side bolt I believe a second wobble extension is required at the location marked with the blue arrow.