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Author Topic: '01 to '01 Powertrain swap  (Read 1777 times)
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Daisy
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« on: September 26, 2019, 05:51:06 PM »

Hi all,

I realize most of the chatter has migrated away from the forms at this point, but I unfortunately still have a great deal of respect for the forum format (searchability, archival, quality of information, etc.) so I'll post here even if nothing comes back to me.

Have a 2001 FWD Aztek (Mudmobile) that I picked up November 2017. Currently has close to 210K, and I've personally burned 51,000 miles into it. I've replaced the spark plugs/wires, motor & transmission mounts, rack/pinion, tie rod ends, all shocks/struts, Radio head unit, speakers (premium), wheels (premium aluminum rims), tires 2x, alternator brushes, belt, tensioner, installed a trailer hitch and RV plug, the list goes on...

In spite of all my attempts to thoroughly disintegrate the transmission (towed a 2k pound trailer from Portland, OR through Yellowstone back to central SC), I still only had minor slipping/thudding into gear, which has basically been resolved by a bottle of transmission stop slip I picked up a week ago. Recognizing this is not a permanent fix, I'm still in the market for a donor powertrain. Fortunately, a reliable one just showed up for the incredibly reasonably price of $450, with only 79k miles on it, and comes with a car attached. I'm planning to pick it up this weekend, and hold onto it for a while before I actually enact the swap. (subframe is rusted out, as it's a northern car) I also have a set of shop manuals, a decent amount of mechanical experience, and a lot of willpower to guide me (usually in all the wrong directions.  Grin )

The question I have is: while the engine is out of the car, what refurb should I be doing on it so I don't have engine issues down the line?
My list thus far entails:
Serpentine belt
Belt tensioner
Water pump (heh heh heh)
Spark packs (I have old ones, and I have rusted ones. I'm thinking new ones are probably in order. )
Exhaust gaskets (duh)
Timing chain (to allay future maintenance issues)
Motor/transmission mounts
Anything else listed in the book.

Anyone have experience in this area that can tell me the obvious issues I'm overlooking?

EDIT: (apologies to anyone who saw the triple-post. I encountered some "database issues." Should be sorted now)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 05:52:42 PM by Daisy » Logged

'01 FWD 'Tek - 'Mudmobile'; '65 Ford LTD 4bbl 352, auto - 'Clifton'
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2019, 11:15:58 AM »

With those type of miles, why not just swap the entire power train? I would not even bother with the timing chain. These dont have the nylon gears, and are known to last the life of the engine. With a 79k mile engine, your only concern is head gaskets really, and you could do that while the engine is out, driving your current Tek until you have the complete assembly ready to go in. Its what I would do personally. The only things you want to make sure you swap over, assuming one of the engines even has it, is the towing package oil cooler, and the towing package alternator.

I would do this as a complete 1 piece drop out and install.

Then you could use your old engine and tranny as a rebuild at your will, until/if you need it.
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Brian - Carpe Diem

01 Pontiac Aztek GT OPT AWD 121k - 04 GMC Envoy XUV 182k - 05 Mercury Montego Premier AWD 52k (wrecked)

lonewolf04
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 06:46:43 AM »

I would seriously consider replacing the rack and pinon and lines if the engine is out and never been done before or appear to be seeping and/or leaking. Doing it with the engine in the car is a pain. Also take a good look at the hard brake lines and fuel lines as they should be extremely easy to reach right now.

When I had the heads torn down for gaskets I addressed these issues to save some headache down the road. Hope this helps.
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Daisy
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2019, 04:03:33 PM »

With those type of miles, why not just swap the entire power train?
I do plan to swap the full powertrain, though honestly even poring over the shop manuals, I'm a bit unclear which components have to be removed before removing the engine/transmission (My previous experience is all with carbureted Ford vehicles that you have to take more or less everything off before removing the engine just to get it to fit out of the hood hole(?). The list above was meant to be in reference to parts I will be installing new, rather than picking from one of the two cars.

I would not even bother with the timing chain. These dont have the nylon gears, and are known to last the life of the engine.
With a 79k mile engine, your only concern is head gaskets really,
Huh, didn't know this. I've seen long road trip preps (10-15k mile +) that include changing this out, and as that's where I plan to go long-term, I thought it might be a good thing to do now...

and you could do that while the engine is out, driving your current Tek until you have the complete assembly ready to go in. Its what I would do personally. The only things you want to make sure you swap over, assuming one of the engines even has it, is the towing package oil cooler, and the towing package alternator.

I would do this as a complete 1 piece drop out and install.
This is the exact plan. Glad to see I'm on the right track.

I would seriously consider replacing the rack and pinon and lines if the engine is out and never been done before or appear to be seeping and/or leaking. Doing it with the engine in the car is a pain. Also take a good look at the hard brake lines and fuel lines as they should be extremely easy to reach right now.

When I had the heads torn down for gaskets I addressed these issues to save some headache down the road. Hope this helps.
Fortunately, I replaced the rack and pinion a few dozen thousand miles ago, and I can attest to the difficulty.
Ill take a look at all the lines when I eventually drop for the final swap, but as the Mudmobile is my daily driver, it will be waiting for a while yet.
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'01 FWD 'Tek - 'Mudmobile'; '65 Ford LTD 4bbl 352, auto - 'Clifton'
Daisy
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2020, 06:58:00 AM »

I'm glad to see the site come back up.
It's been (quite) a few months since I started this interminable project and here's where we're at:

The engine swap went off reasonably well. I damaged my intermediate steering shaft linkage because I'm a knucklehead. I also drained my A/C and disconnected it instead of just pulling it out of the way. Big regrets there.

Turns out the donor transmission was not "perfect," but in all reality was good for 1st-3rd gear, and simply had no 4th gear.

Of course, I couldn't learn that until everything was back in the car, so I ended up dropping the subframe to get into the transmission, following the shop manual (a fool move on my part), which resulted in taking the valve body APART instead of OFF, and the ball bearings went EVERYWHERE.
I could swear to you I put them all back in...
And yet, I still found one left over when scrounging around for my lugnuts...

Now the car hard shifts, slips out of gear on the way into second and whines from second through fourth.

Transmission shops won't help me out, so I'm heading out to try and put it back together on my own... What could possibly go wrong?  Roll Eyes

Takeaways so far:
Take your brake calipers off and hang them on the struts, don't disconnect the lines unless you want to spend half a week bleeding the car.
Always unhook your intermediate steering shaft linkage.
Don't follow the shop manual when pulling out the valve body to get at the 4th gear spindle.
Don't overtighten (even a little) the stud on the starter. It will snap off.
Wiring harnesses aren't easy, but far from impossible (fight me, random wire I couldn't find the terminal for)
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'01 FWD 'Tek - 'Mudmobile'; '65 Ford LTD 4bbl 352, auto - 'Clifton'
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2020, 07:59:44 AM »

Arent working on cars so much fun!....  Tongue Huh

You could always just go find some donor in a junkyard, drop the pan, take pics, drop the valve body, take pics, and get what you need to put it back together. Or see if you can find a tranny that has a GMGoodwrench rebuild sticker, grab the whole thing, and hope for the best.
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Brian - Carpe Diem

01 Pontiac Aztek GT OPT AWD 121k - 04 GMC Envoy XUV 182k - 05 Mercury Montego Premier AWD 52k (wrecked)

BlueGT
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2020, 10:12:16 PM »

I'm glad to see the site come back up.
It's been (quite) a few months since I started this interminable project and here's where we're at:

The engine swap went off reasonably well. I damaged my intermediate steering shaft linkage because I'm a knucklehead. I also drained my A/C and disconnected it instead of just pulling it out of the way. Big regrets there.

Turns out the donor transmission was not "perfect," but in all reality was good for 1st-3rd gear, and simply had no 4th gear.

Of course, I couldn't learn that until everything was back in the car, so I ended up dropping the subframe to get into the transmission, following the shop manual (a fool move on my part), which resulted in taking the valve body APART instead of OFF, and the ball bearings went EVERYWHERE.
I could swear to you I put them all back in...
And yet, I still found one left over when scrounging around for my lugnuts...

Now the car hard shifts, slips out of gear on the way into second and whines from second through fourth.

Transmission shops won't help me out, so I'm heading out to try and put it back together on my own... What could possibly go wrong?  Roll Eyes

Takeaways so far:
Take your brake calipers off and hang them on the struts, don't disconnect the lines unless you want to spend half a week bleeding the car.
Always unhook your intermediate steering shaft linkage.
Don't follow the shop manual when pulling out the valve body to get at the 4th gear spindle.
Don't overtighten (even a little) the stud on the starter. It will snap off.
Wiring harnesses aren't easy, but far from impossible (fight me, random wire I couldn't find the terminal for)

GO to junkyard and get another complete valvebody, hubs had to do that too, worked fine. Of course, when he replaced the 4th gear clutch hub shaft, it only made noise. Apparently the gears that the splines were stripped too so it needs a rebuild. We haven't done it, but we've taken it to Dallas and San Antonio and back with just 1st, 2nd and 3rd with only a minimal loss of MPGs, like 1 or 2.
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2001 Steel Blue Metallic GT 1 of 1956 FWD blue GTs.
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2020, 08:31:58 AM »

You are correct. The 4th gear sprag is a weak link.
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Brian - Carpe Diem

01 Pontiac Aztek GT OPT AWD 121k - 04 GMC Envoy XUV 182k - 05 Mercury Montego Premier AWD 52k (wrecked)

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