by Gary T. Hellings previously published as: “HOW MANY WAYS CAN YOU SKIN A CAT?” in the February 1985 issue of the RootesReview
My wife and I have owned Sunbeam Tigers for almost fifteen years and in that time have made many major overhauls to the engines and drive trains. We are presently restoring a ’66 Tiger, hoping to have it ready for the next United.
Pulling a Tiger engine and transmission is always a job, to say the least, and any shortcut is a blessing. The last four times I have pulled engines from Tigers, it has always been from the top, just like the book says. However, for years I’ve been told that the engine could be dropped through the bottom with no hassles — a piece of cake! My attempt to do it through the bottom became a nightmare of problems and about four hours of wasted time.
I was informed that after all the normal items were disconnected, including the usual removal of the manifolds and water pump, to pull the engine and transmission forward; then lift it until the transmission tail cleared the cross member; then lower the transmission to the floor. At this point the instructions were to push the engine and transmission back as far as possible and lower the engine to the floor, then merely pick the car up above the engine and push it clear of the car. Easy, right!
Well let me tell you, it almost works. I couldn’t get the engine back far enough to clear the “A” frames. In order to lower the engine through, it seemed that both “A” frames would have to be dropped to make that extra 3/4″ required to let the engine pass through. Still determined to make it happen, I dropped one “A” member (which was a BIG MISTAKE). Because of the high tolerance, the clearance is almost nil and unless you have a coil spring compressor, putting the “A” frame back is a real monster. At this point, I decided to abandon the “out through the bottom” method rather than drop the other “A” frame and face even more problems. The British knew what they were doing when they put in the manual to remove and replace the engine from the TOP. As you can see, I was successful!
If there ever comes a Tiger engine pull #6 (Oh no, God forbid!) this guy is going by the book!