by Curt Hoffman
I was involved in a discussion in the newsletter some time ago on which was the best way to install a Tiger engine; from the bottom or the top (I supported coming up from the bottom). I based this opinion on the difficulty I had removing the engine through the top. To test the bottom theory and the fit of my spanking new headers, I practiced installing the engine with headers installed from the bottom. I was able to bolt up the engine in around 30 minutes from the time I hooked up the winch to the body. Obviously, there could be no doubt as to the ease of this method. Now, a year later (I never said I was quick or rich), I had a rebuilt engine-the headers coated-and was ready to install the engine for the final time. I invited a few friends over with the assurance that this would be a 30 minute job again and they could then go about their business. Four hours, a case of beer and several new volumes of disgusting descriptions of the potential heritage of the Tiger originators later, I finally had the engine bolted in. What caused this tum for the worse? The transmission. In all my practices I never had the transmission attached. As I have now pieced the sad story together, my problem looks to be the backup light switch attached to the linkage. I have a MkII and the switch sticks back from the linkage about 1.5″. This switch hits the frame of the tunnel and prevents the engine/transmission assembly from going far enough back to allow the headers to clear the crook in the frame without undoing them. Obviously, when I only installed the engine, I did not have this problem. I don’t know if the MkI has the same switch or not since I don’t recall seeing the same backup lights on all Tigers. Without that switch, I am fairly certain nothing else would have prevented me from backing up the engine another inch. And that was all I needed. There is no way to remove that switch (that I can find) without removing the engine (entirely) or the linkage. I’m not sure which is harder although the linkage looks impossible while in the car. Needless to say, I had to undo the headers. It wasn’tas hard to bolt back up as I thought mainly because the brake and clutch master cylinders were not yet in place. Still, it defeated one of the good reasons I thought the bottom up method was superior. Perhaps it still is. Another interesting quirk I ran into; with the weight of the engine now on the frame, the bolts coming up through the cross member would not line up by approximately 1/16″. I had to lift on the engine to take the weight off and keep the frame from spreading that small amount. Any misalignment will cause the cross member bolts to not go. Again, very frustrating. In any case, it is all bolted in; and I hope to still meet my original goal of having the car ready for the United. After two years on the blocks, I am almost ready to commit to what year the United will be in as well (1987?!?).
(Newsletter editor’s note: not too long after we received Curt’s hard earned Tech experience, a follow up ending to the tale was forwarded)
P.S. The switch on the MkII transmission that prevented me from pushing the engine as far back as I like turned out to not be as hard to remove as I thought. Once I got the car up on jacks (approx. two weeks after I sent the last note because of my sour state of mind), I was able to see it could be easily removed. As I was rummaging through the literature I received with some of the many parts I installed in my newly installed engine, I noticed a warning from Hays. Basically, it said to be sure (in no uncertain terms) to remove the spacers in the new pressure plate from between the lever arm and the cover prior to installing the pressure plate. It is a terrible thing to not only cry over your Tiger but also to want to murder an inanimate object like a car. I was sorely tempted to let the spacers remain in their current location deep within the bowels of the Tiger. My neighbor assured me, however. that ten years from now (or when my pressure plate blew up) I would be sorry for not taking care of the problem now. So, in spite of my feelings, last weekend out came the engine again. This time I removed the switch on the transmission. Having done that. I was able to remove the front cross member, brake lines, engine and transmission; remove the stupid little spacers staring me in the face from the pressure plate; and reinstall the engine again in the space of about 2-1/2 hours. I am now back to where I was before I wrote the original note. This time, though, I did not have to remove the header on the driver’s side saving me at least an inch of skin on my knuckles. Particularly since I had the brake and clutch master cylinders in place by the time the second go around came.