How To Replace Engine Mounts
Engine mounts deteriorate, get dry, and fail. To avoid damaging the drivetrain and help make the car feel new, consider swapping out old engine mounts.
Whether it's a hatchback, sedan, crossover, or truck, all vehicles have comprehensive service schedules and intervals that include a variety of tasks, from rotating tires to changing air filters. Usually, engine mounts are part of a major service and thus must be treated as a wear item.
Over time, the rubber of an engine mounts dries out, cracks, collapses, and finally separates, which causes excessive drivetrain movement and vibration. If the car was driven hard, engine mounts can break sooner, but most of the time, age destroys engine mounts. Either way, when the time comes to swap engine mounts, it actually isn’t too hard to accomplish in most cases, depending on where it is. It does take a little more bravery than usual, but it's perfectly doable for the wrench-yielding garage warrior.
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How To Tell If Engine Mounts Are Bad
Generally, it's only necessary to replace engine mounts when they fail. To make sure a mechanical issue is actually engine mount related, some simple power of deduction and diagnosis will confirm the problem.
The most common symptom of a bad engine mount is excessive vibration and engine noise. In the most extreme cases, the engine can even contact other parts of the car from movement, causing a loud clunk. Most of the time, it will be a small clunk whenever the driver lifts off of the throttle or applies the throttle.
The most common symptoms of a rear-wheel-drive or longitudinally engined car will be drivetrain vibrations that increase with speed and engine vibrations that change with engine revolutions. For a transverse-engined front-wheel-drive car, clunking and roughness is common with an extra indicator through the steering. On a transverse car, the engine and gearbox exist as one unit that needs to be located in the engine bay. If the engine moves around, the axles also move out of alignment, causing a change in the steering. If the car pulls slightly to one side when off the throttle and then pulls to the opposite side when the throttle is applied, it is almost surely an engine or transmission mount problem. Also look out for speed and rpm dependent vibrations.
The Basics of Replacing Engine Mounts
Estimated Time Needed: 3 hours
Skill Level: Intermediate
Vehicle System: Engine, gearbox
Doing this job requires supporting the heaviest parts of a car. To keep yourself safe, make sure to have heavy duty gloves, a long sleeve work shirt for reaching into the engine bay safely, and support gear like a hydraulic jack and engine support to make sure the engine is always supported in case of an emergency.
Everything You’ll Need To Change Engine Mounts
Then the tools you will need are also fairly basic. We don’t know what’s exactly in your toolbox, so we’ll list what you need. Just in case.
- Engine mounts
Organizing everything you need before starting the job will save precious time and frustration. Make sure the job can be done in one session and life will be easier. Trust me.
Here’s How To Change Engine Mounts
Most engine mount swaps are done similarly, even if they’re secured to the car in slightly different ways. Let’s walk through the general steps. If you're having trouble finding or accessing the engine mounts on your car, consult the service manual.
1. Support the Engine
Using a hydraulic jack from the bottom or an engine support bar from the top, lift the engine slightly to release tension from the engine mounts or to prepare for removal. On most longitudinally-engined cars, the engine will sit on its mounts. On most front-wheel drive cars, the engine will hang on the mounts. There is crossover, but keep that in mind for the method of supporting the engine.
2. Unbolt Engine Mounts and Lift Engine
Being cognizant of the style of engine mount, unbolt the engine mounts with the engine supported. Remove the engine side bolts first, then remove the chassis side. Once the engine mounts are unbolted, lift the engine as necessary. On cars with engines that sit on the mounts, lift the engine with a jack or engine support bar until the engine mount itself can be removed safely. On hanging-type mounts, the engine should not need to be lifted at all, but simply swapped with the engine in general position with a engine support bar.
3. Replace the Engine Mounts
Remove the old engine mounts safely. Make sure to not put your fingers anywhere they can be jammed or if the engine unexpectedly fell. Use two methods of supporting the engine for redundancy. Put the new engine mounts in position and loosely thread the bolts in.
4. Position the Engine and Torque the Mounts
With the bolts loosely threaded, make sure to position the engine properly from the top. Most engine mounts have a dowel pin that needs to be positioned. On sitting-type mounts, carefully lower the engine onto the mounts, making sure the dowel is in the right place, and then torque it down. On hanging-type mounts, position the engine by hand from the top until the mounts line up, then torque to specification.
5. Remove engine support and double check
With the mounts torqued, remove any engine support method. Make sure the mounts are still torqued, and the job is done.
Pro Tips for Changing Engine Mounts
- Use an engine support bar, it allows more options for clearance compared to a jack.
- Factory engine mounts are almost always best. Slightly stiffer rubber mounts can provide a reasonable performance benefit but can have noticeable downsides if they are too stiff. Avoid polyurethane and solid mounts and you’ll be fine.
- It is good practice to do transmission mounts at the same time as doing engine mounts.
- Engines are designed to move within the engine bay, do not worry about damaging anything when lifting the engine.
Some of us, including myself, learn better visually, so I chose a video that demonstrates how to replace an engine mount in an easy-to-follow format.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q. How long can I drive with a broken engine mount?
A. It depends on the car. For sitting-type mounts, it is less risky but can cause damage and strange handling. For hanging-type mounts, replace immediately. The mount can fail and cause the engine to move dramatically, causing issues with acceleration and handling, but that is rare.
Q. Can a broken engine mount cause the engine to fall out of the car?
A. Not usually, but incredibly rarely. It depends on the car, but generally an engine cannot fall out of the car.
Q. Can bad engine mounts affect performance?
A. Absolutely. Bad engine mounts can cause bad handling, losses of power, clunking, and general bad engine manners. Swap them as soon as you can.
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