Back in business

On Thursday evening we finally got the van running again.  We put the engine back in and carefully retraced the steps that we had religiously recorded while removing the engine.  When we were ready to try and turn the engine over, I took one last look under the hood and saw an electrical connection that hadn’t been rejoined.  With only the cosmetic front still unassembled (why put it back on if we had to take it off again, says I, the optimist), Chris turned the key and it started like it was the old engine.  On first try. With no hiccuping or grinding or nasty smells.

I admit I literally jumped in the air and made victory signs with both hands.  It was such an intense 10 days from when we seized the engine, that it was hard to believe we’d actually fixed it. Chris, the eternal engineer, is amused by this thought.  But there you go.

Chris and Stephen’s trip to California had been in the plans for almost a month.  Chris was going to a weekend workshop at All Power Labs, the company he bought the gasifier kit from in January and he was very much looking forward to it. He’d spent several hours talking to and learning from the folks at All Power when we were there last, and I think they were looking forward to seeing him, too. Chris has been blogging about putting together the gasifier and I think there were a few of the 70 participants (worldwide) who were hoping to talk to him before possibly purchasing a kit of their own.  When we realized that a week or more away from home wasn’t in the cards for me, we immediately gave my ticket to Stephen and this trip to Berkley was also going to be a dad-son trip for him and Chris.

That ended roadside 0n Hwy 5 just five kilometres from our drivway on March 27th. The girls and I had gone on ahead in the pick up truck. We were all headed to Kamloops to see The Hunger Games with our homeschool group and the boys were going to carry on to California after the movie ended later that evening.

A once-in-a-lifetime oversight by Chris during an oil change left the old filter ring hanging in the assembly. Chris attached the new filter and ring on top, making an imperfect seal; a problem, however, that wasn’t detectable at idle when he tested the van for oil leaks right after changing the filter.  Highway speed increased the pressure in the system and blew the seal and all the oil out of the engine. It took only minutes to seize the engine.

I think I got over the shock of this about 5 min after arriving back in Darfield after Stephen called me to tell me they were “broken down by the side of the road”.  I’m very much a don’t-cry-over-spilled-milk kind of person and see no value in stomping my feet and cursing and generally making myself feel crappier than I need to. I think once Chris realized I was taking it in stride, he managed to accept the fact that really, mistakes do happen and he was able to move on quickly as well.

We had several options.  One of the first comments made by another Delica owner on the Delica forums we post to (and Chris posted about what happened to get some advice and direction) was “mothball the van and buy another”!  This was not an option for us as we had invested a fair bit in the conversion to waste vegetable oil and couldn’t see the math working under this scenario. Our other options were not whether we would replace the engine, but if we were going to do it ourselves or pay somebody else to do it.

We spent a day calling every Delica dealer in BC to find out if anybody had a used engine, what it cost, and how many kilometres were on it. We got a range of prices:  $3200 for an engine with 167,000 kms and $2,300 for one with $115,000.  We explored how much it would cost to tow the van to a shop close to where we might buy the engine, and how much the labour would be to replace it.

Our local shop estimated roughly $2000 in labour, mostly because they wouldn’t have worked on an import vehicle like this before.  We loved the folks on the Island; they were efficient, knowledgable and responsive. However, the total bill to get the van over there and have them put the engine in would have been over $5000.  Just getting the engine back here would have been very expensive.  We looked at joining BCAA Premier, waiting the requisite 48 hours, and having the van towed to Richmond.  There would be 320km free towing for the $162 membership, but we would have had to have picked up the additional 80 kms at $2.25 per km.

In the end we decided to buy the $2300 engine from Amazing Auto Sales in Richmond. We decided that basedon some really fantastic shop manuals available on the internet, that we were capable of doing the engine job ourselves.  Mardy, at Amazing Auto Sales, did offer to remove our seized engine and replace it with the new one, for about $900 in labour. An extraordinarily good price. And, he has seven years experience working on these vans. In fact, the shop he would have sent it to was CVI, and we had heard amazing things about this shop, as well.

We decided to remove the engine ourselves and take it to Mardy. Included in the cost of the engine Mardy offered to swap the injector pumps (our van is automatic and the pump on his was manual). There were also some other small pieces to swap.

Chris and Stephen began pulling the engine on the 30th, and Chris made copious notes (which are posted on this blog). When I was not working in Kamloops I helped Chris.  My dad had an engine hoist and this was invaluable both for pulling and putting it back in. In fact, I think it would have simply been impossible for us to do this job without one.  We had the tow truck park the van behind our shop as it would have been pretty difficult to get it into the shop. The natural light made for good pictures (see previous posts) but left us open to the weather, some rain and snow. All in all it took three 8-hour days to take the engine out. I would attribute one day to recording notes.  Late on April 1 we swung the engine into the pick-up truck and made plans to leave the next morning.

We left Darfield at 4:30 am on April 2nd and arrived in Richmond at 10:30.  We loaded the new/used engine in the back of our pickup behind the seized engine end Mardy sent us to CVI to have their awesome mechanic spend 1.5 hours swapping parts. We elected to change the seal on the injector pump at the same time. We’d never get another chance to get at it so easily!

The foks at CVI were great and the mechanic didn’t seem too perturbed to have Chris and I hang out at the pickup while he swapped parts from one to the other. My attempts to start conversations didn’t go too far; the mechanic was fast and focused.

We headed back to Mardy’s shop and he borrowed a small forklift from a neighbour and we unloaded our seized engine.  Mardy is going to try to sell parts off it as a way to recoup some more dollars.

Mardy came to Canada from Japan at the age of 28.  If I understood correctly he was a shop supervisor for a crew that was working on the SkyTrain.  He got involved in importing vehicles to Canada from Japan after that.  I must admit that before we met him in person I wasn’t sure what our experience would be like. I found it difficult to understand him on the phone (but I never do well with any kind of accent; it’s embarrassing for me, actually).  I also think that cultural differences are difficult to appreciate until you are face to face with somebody.  I found Mardy to be genuine, eager to help and quick to give advice from his years of knowledge.  Since we picked up the engine, he’s given us information on how to cross reference the brake caliper part at our local parts shop.

At about 3:00 pm we’d strapped down the engine and headed back home. We elected to travel the Fraser Canyon route and the trip down and back was gorgeous.  Well, for me it was. As Chris started to pull the engine four days earlier, he came down with a nasty head cold.

This head cold persisted through re-assembly, which I was able to put two entire days toward.  It took two days to re-assemble (we were only reading our notes, not making them).  We even replaced the fuel filter, again because it was easier to get at partially assembled. We managed to get into only a few minor snarking events and the marriage is still intact.

Day 3 of re-assembly was the cosmetic parts for the front, and a look at a few things that had been waiting for attention. Namely the air conditioning (which we weren’t sure was actually air conditioning or a fan motor issue). I wanted to look at some of the interior light bulbs and give the sliding door mechanism a good grease.  We did test the WVO system and initially it didn’t work. Chris quickly tracked down a blown fuse and this was replaced.

I’ve been driving the van for the last few days and obsessively checking the motor oil (hey, who can blame me? I’m sure it will wear off).  I’ve been testing the van on WVO in different situations and we have not had a single stalling issue, in any situation whatsoever.  We had speculated that our stalling issues might improve as the weather got warmer.  I wonder (although Chris poo poos this) if it isn’t the new engine. I have to take my silver linings where I can invent them.

Chris is still recovering from his head cold, which I’ve been wondering might have been something more serious.  Because this was such a major project, we are now only catching up on jobs we had set aside. I had many things I was going to do when Chris was gone and I’m now just wrapping my head around them.  What was to be a holiday for Chris, was anything but, so he hasn’t had the restorative benefits of that.  The kids managed to keep up with the basics of school, but we are now trying to pick things up a bit with that. It was going to be right around now that Chris and I were going to talk about the earthship and form some sort of plan.  I suspect that will wait another few days until we both recover.

I’m not really whining.  We did well.  Five days of actual mechanic-ing and $2700 taxes included got us back on the road again. That’s stellar if I do say so!


Pulling the Delica Engine … Started

Actually started to dismantle the engine today.

I recorded all of these steps as I was doing the work … I want something that tells me where everything goes back.

Started by pulling following items out of the engine bay:

  1. Battery,
  2. intercooler with hoses and clamps,
  3. air filter with hose and clamp,

Took following off of front of van:

  1. bull board (3 17 mm bolts underneath, 4 12 mm bolts on front covered by plastic boots)
  2. front turn signal light units (one screw at top),
  3. front trim (radiator grill) with mitsubishi symbol in centre (uses plastic fasteners,  5 broken fasteners … most already broken)
  4. Wheel well splash shields … did not completely remove … just enough to drop it out of way of work area (2 screws and lots of two piece plastic fasteners … some broken)
  5. under cover panels (only one plastic connecter to frame of van … lots of plastic connecters that also fasten bumper and splash shield)
  6. front bumper (all bolts … the bolts at both ends (x4) were totally rusted … all 4 broken coming off) (left all fasteners for splash shields, panels and bumper in one of panels)

Drained the radiator.

March 30th …

Carried on with pulling items off the front of the engine compartment this morning.  Pulled the following:

  1. radiator – remember to re-attach transmission fluid lines and check level,
  2. air conditioning fan unit (five bolts, two electrical connections) (need glue to re-attach some of the foam that has come loose),
  3. front support T (frame) … took it off in two pieces so could work upper part around fasteners for headlights … tight fit.
  4. checked air conditioning system for pressure … no pressure … no surprise … we have not had air conditioning since purchasing van this fall … was going to look at it before summer … imagine I will be looking at it fairly soon …
  5. air conditioning condensor … wrapped lines to prevent moisture
Started pulling accessories off of engine:
  1. removed fan from engine.  Blue dot should be visible when re-installing.
  2. removed alternator, back bolt hard to get at, had to remove belts, inside belt needed tensioner loosened…installs right above fuel filter…replaced bolts in housing.  Loosened tensioner and removed two belts from pulley
  3. removed 2-bolt exhaust manifold from underneath (detached bracket attaching exhaust to transmission case … need to make sure I re-attach it) (Do not lose gasket for this manifold!)
  4. unwound alternator electrical line from engine  and marked electrical connections A-H
  5. Disconnected air compressor electrical line (Labelled it I)
  6. Disconnected two hoses attached to power steering pump … did not pull pump as it is bolted to engine face … not belt driven as shown in shop manual … twisted hose coming out of side of power steering reservoir to get it out of the way
  7. pulled air conditioner pump from bottom right side of engine, removed two hoses before pulling it, loosened tensioner and removed single belt from pulley, wrapped lines
  8. Removed two throttle lines from injection pump … loosened and moved screws closest to engine … red line goes on outside edge
  9. Pulled hose and fitting attached to top of Injector pump … guess line is a vacuum line and labelled it as such
  10. removed fuel in/out lines from injector pump, labelled front and back due to relative positions
  11. disconnected heat sensor from injector line (for WVO)
  12. Removed 3/4″ coolant lines coming off upper tee of back passenger side of engine … left tee fitting in engine.

March 31st:

Continued pulling items off of the engine:

  1. removed 2 bolts attaching transmission dipstick to engine … did not remove dipstick from transmission … do I need to?
Stopped to pull windshield wiper assembly from top of engine compartment … should have done this long time ago …
  1. Removed cap and bolt holding each wiper (passenger side wiper sits below driver side wiper on window) and removed wiper arms,
  2. disconnected electrical to wiper motor … had to cut after market line (red) … will need to solder this line later.
  3. pulled weather strip and popped moulding loose that sits above bay,
  4. Removed 5 bolts holding motor assembly to top of bay and 3 bolts holding each end of assembly (underneath wiper arms) (11 bolts total)
  5. Removed wiper motor assembly … very difficult … the passenger side end should be fed in first on re-installation.
Back to pulling items from engine compartment:
  1. Removed coolant line from lower fitting at back passenger side of engine (coolant line has two red or orange circles on it)
  2. disconnected line to pump on front face of engine (above idler for air compressor pump) … not sure what this pump is … steel line tons around side of engine and bolts on …. disconnected one smaller line that feeds off from this line separately (vacuum?)
  3. Detached two electrical lines to starter … starter is tucked underneath injection pump
  4. removed observation plate to access torque converter bolts … 4 10 mm bolts … akward … no rubber spacer?
  5. removed 6 bolts from torque converter
  6. Removed 13 bolts between transmission and engine; 2 longest bolts hold starter in place , next two longest bolts go in the top two positions,  total of 13 bolts, bracket goes in bolt location closest to exhaust (bracket supports exhaust)
  7. Removed 4 motor mount bolts total (14 mm) – tricky to get at … had to use long extension with buckle to get back passenger bolt
  8. Attached chain to two lifting points on engine and lifted out of van
  9. Only item left attached was block heater electrical cord … detached it.
April 3rd:
  1. Degreased replacement engine,
  2. Installed frost plug block heater in replacement engine,
  3. Replacement engine is either for a ’95 or because it was for a standard transmission did not have overdrive sensor … swapped engine fitting (including overdrive sensor) from old engine,
April 4th:
  1. Replaced fuel filter while engine was out of the way,
  2. hoisted engine back into engine bay; removed oil filter and drain pan plug for better clearance through front of van,
  3. Lined engine back up with transmission … being careful of sensors below engine on front axle,
  4. bolted engine mounts back onto van frame (x4 bolts … left loose for now),
  5. Bolted transmission to engine … started with two bolts w/ alignment liners … threaded all bolts into transmission and left loose,
  6. put starter back in place (very difficult to feed started down beside mounted engine … would have been better to have starter loosely in place when engine was slid into place) … loosely bolted starter in place,
  7. Snugged all bolts  connecting engine to transmission to required torque (in alternating pattern),
  8. Snugged motor mount bolts to required torque,
  9. bolted torque converter to engine flywheel (in clockwise orientation to avoid damaging engine timing chain) … went back and tightened to required torque (again going clockwise)
  10. Reattached exhaust to engine (2 bolt manifold … remembered to put gasket back in)


April 5

Started working backwards.  A 12mm racketing wrench would be good  Remember to make sure air conditioning  connections seat.  We had to pry on end in to seat it before the bolt would close up.  Air conditioning unit tight fit but easier than putting the starter back.

Pulling the Delica Engine … how?

Spent the day on wednesday trying to figure out how to pull the engine.  This is pretty technical … I am recording it more so that I have a plan on how to proceed with pulling the engine out of the van than with the expectation that anybody will read this … unless you’ve seized your engine …

Regardless, this is what I came up with after a lot of looking.  The pictures are not mine … I referenced the sites they came from at the bottom of the post … I listed them here more for a general idea of what needs to happen:

1. As components are being removed disconnect associated wiring.

  • tag wires with masking tape for re-attachment
  •  make sure wiring is tucked well back before moving engine

2. Remove items in engine compartment, including:

  • intercooler,
  • battery,
  • air filter,
  • wiper motor assembly (5 bolts) (remove windscreen mechanism from above engine … levers will unclip and leave a few bars ???)

3. Disassemble front of engine bay compartment.  This includes removing:

  • bullbar
  • bumper (mounting bolts behind park lights, remove lights to get at bolts?) (see 51-3 in Shop Manual)
  • AC fans and condenser (charge when re-assembled) (see 55-75)
  • grill (see 51-5)
  • 14-16 radiator + support panel (disconnect auto transmission pipes in front of radiator)
  • Panels
  • ???

4. Strip accessories off of engine (can leave some in bay?)

  • starter
  • alternator (16-11)
  • AC compressor (bleed air conditioning first) (55-62)
  • turbo (see 11a-9-1)
  • inlet manifold (see 11a-11-1)
  • steering pump
  • Note: ok to leave turbo and injector pump on engine
5. unbolt/disconnect gearbox in place.
  • support gearbox as close as possible to existing position (easier to line up when refitting engine).
  •  There is an access panel that allows you to undo the bolts that connect the drive plate to the torque converter
  • remove inspection cover on bell housing (engine side)
  • remove bolts holding flex plate to converter (crank engine over by hand to get at all of them)
  • Note: you do not have to drop the gearbox to reach the two top bell housing bolts, you will however need 2 x 500 extension bars or a combination of sizes to make up an extension bar of approx 800mm OR easiest removal is from rear by leaving drive shafts etc set up and dropping rear auto mounts, that drops engine down so they are accessible, once un-done remount rear gearbox up

5a. Or instead of 5 remove engine, gearbox and front transfer box (one long 7′ section – no gearbox bolts to undo or drive shaft re-alignment)

Pull engine out with a hoist

  • ??? pull engine straight out without lifting until it is free of the gearbox, makes it easier to put engine back in as all you have to do is align the engine onto the engine mounts (gives the correct angle).
  • definitely unbolt the torque converter first, makes life a whole lot simpler, + no need for a new seal + no loss of TXM fluid
  • When removing engine, be careful of a front diff sensor that the bell housing will fall/lower and rest on, put something in to protect the sensor

6. Possible problems to look for after engine is pulled.

  • seized pistons,
  • broken turbo shaft,
  • broken timing chain
7. On re-assembly
  • Install an EGR Blanking plate between the EGR And the manifold in place of the gasket