Bringing the engine on its bed

“Will the engine fit through?”

“The engine fits….”
“Lifting it through might be a little more challenging”

Hummm… So I did say it would be possible but 10 inch of clearance doesn’t seem like a lot to fit a lifting device and a rail to move our 800lbs forward. Off to the drawing board…

We needed a way to lift  and a way to translate the engine. Which ever mechanism we used it needed to be very low profile (less then 10 inch, including attachment of the engine).

We used an I-beam and trolley to move the engine forward. Without room between the beam and engine, the beam would need to be lifted with the engine. The I beam was set on a pivot on one end and lifted from above deck at the other end. The up and down motion of the I beam being limited, we would need to proceed in multiple steps to bring the engine all the way down.

This did require  a fair amount of forward planning.  Everything was measured tightly as there was no room for guess work. My fear was that I lack accuracy on some clearances or missed one motion to get the engine in place… Last thing I wanted was this mass hanging mid-air with no way to put it down. Eventually I will need to start trusting my models and stop worrying. It turns out all went well and smoothly.

The engine is as deep as the beams it is on, the oil pan sticks below the feet. The beams allows to put the engine down without siting it on the oil pan. As it is on the photo above, it just cleared the floor.


We were caught a bit by surprise on the first lift as the engine slid forward with a small push. Noted: add stopping blocks on both sides of the roller, no need for a loose sliding steel mass.


With no room to triangulate chains we made a big lifting bar specifically for this engine. The bar was directly incorporated to the trolley with a welded tab to make the lifting linkage as low profile as possible.


At the lifting end of the beam there is nothing very special. A 1 ton rated chain fall set on a beam accross the cabintop opening


The forward frame was made to sit on the engine bed as it’s a solid point designed to support the engine. Each piece fits together to be stable and stiff just by its geometry when clamped to the bed beams.


With limited up and down travel, we had to lower, block, pickup again multiple times to lower the engine in steps. The engine started with the lifting bar directly integrated in the beam roller but we then had to take it a part to add chain links so the engine could be brought low enough.

The view from on deck makes it look like a pretty basic setup. Make it simple.

As far and low as it needs to go, we made it.



One more stressful job out of the way! This one had be on my mind for a while, I’m really pleased how well it went.





  1. Again amazing DIY. You guys could be union gaffers . With the trolley welded to the engine chain bar how did you you make the first 90 degree turn?

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