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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’m not going to cover the safety issues with jack and stands so use sense and don’t kill yourself or worse damage your car! This takes me 2 hrs start to finish with air tools. This is for a 6sp; I have never done an A4 or 04 so you will have to work out the differences on your own. Again LS2 6 SP, also any mods may change this too. I don’t think the LS2 A4 cooling lines would be a problem, if need be disconnect and plug. Do not unbolt rack or lines @ all!
I bought bar stock yesterday to make several sets of cradle guide bolts. I will lend them out for shipping. You can buy your own or not use any, I never have I was just thinking of safety and making this as EZ as possible.
I would say if you can do a clutch or RR an automatic transmission, you can do this no problem. This way is much easier than a clutch and if you use guide bolts no way can you drop the works LOL.

Park with wheels straight ahead take key out turn steering wheel off center to left so it locks.
Open hood disconnect battery and remove FRCs
Remove intake boot from TB and MAF.
Look down and remove this bolt for PS lines to cradle, just the 1 on R side.

Take plug wires off coil first then plugs. If they are stock carefully twist and pull same time use lube so you don’t break a coil. Take spark plugs out and unbolt manifolds. 13mm Save bolts and gaskets for later. Install 1 manifold bolt on each side loose to hold manifold from falling. On right side take 1 extra bolt out for dipstick tube and remove tube. 15mm
Slide a piece of cardboard between fan and radiator hose/water pump so it will slide down no problem or take hose off engine and cap both openings.



Jack up car and setup 4 jack stands remove skid. I want front stands out as far as possible for this job so there is room to work.

Ok took me 20min to unbolt everything up top and set on jack stands. Takes me 4 shots to set stands on a GTO with my cheap floor jack. Front tire is 9.5” off floor.



Check cradle alignment with handy hook tool if it’s not centered make 2 and cut to exact length set off to side left and right.




Disconnect 4 O2 wires and set out of way. Unbolt mid pipes from cat back pipe 2 nuts 2 bolts use short extension save all for later. 17mm or 15mm? Unbolt mid pipes from manifolds use extension and 13mm wobble socket use plenty penetrating oil. You can take Manifolds and Mid pips as one piece if you are carful not to damage Rack Boots.
Unbolt column coupler from rack. Remove safety clamp, nut and bolt use plenty penetrating oil.



Now position jack with 2x6 under oil pan and just support make sure jack is tight.
Remove 1 cradle bolt and install 1 10” bolt 12mm 1.50 till all 4 are changed 1 @ a time. Just finger tight about 1” in. Loosen lower motor mount nuts, same socket do not remove.
Let jack down slowly and look up top and all around make sure nothing caught make sure rack coupler is sliding off.
Remove 2 Body Brace Brackets held on with 4 13mm nuts. Shown in next post, only 10 pics allowed.
Use stepstool and remove last bolt from manifolds drop out bottom or take out top.
Another 15min and stock exhaust manifolds are on ground.



Now if you want to grind coupler for clearance this is the time also trim coupler bolt length so just long enough for lock nut to work.



I suggest mounting knock sensor wire on left side to keep away from heat. I use 2 starter shims and same clips as original.



Clean any surfaces as needed. Install O2 sensors in headers and mid pipes same location clean threads and use a little anti seize.
Slide headers in from under car left side coupler shaft has to be put in place through header.
I polish stock bolts and reuse install 2 bolts on each side loose to hold headers in place.
Make sure wheels still pointed straight ahead. Raise engine and cradle slowly back to body. Locating coupler @ same time.
Remove 1 long cradle bolt and install stock bolt tight and back off 1 turn. Repeat till all 4 are back in same location. Now use pry bar to move cradle where you want. Use handy hooks to either return to former location or align to center. Tighten all 4 bolts and 2 mtr mount nuts. Next either replace 1 bolt @ a time with new or remove and use lock tight on used bolt and torque to speck. Torque mtr mount nuts to speck.
Now install coupler nut and bolt get coupler aligned lock tight and torque to speck. Or install new nut and bolt. Leave safety clamp off for clearance. Install mid pipes loose with new gaskets as needed. With kooks I use longer collector bolts with washers exhaust springs and double nut.



Also 2 standard 2 1/2” 2 bolt gaskets from any parts house on cat back connection.



Remove 1 manifold bolt and install original gasket then the other bolt then all manifold bolts with ant seize and torque repeat other side. When doing right side header install dipstick tube. Tighten mid pipes and hook up O2s use extension wires as needed tie rap wires away from heat. You want as much space on left side of coupler as possible without touching or getting to close on right side. Turn key on and get under car turn coupler around watch clearance. If need be loosen 2 rack bolts and pry rack to side tighten when satisfied. Take key out. Let car down to ground install plugs with ant seize. Install plug wires. Look all around for anything out of place then install PS bolt to cradle and intake boot.
Hook up battery start and look for leaks and anything else going on. Should be good to go. Install FRCs and shut hood. You will need alignment soon if you moved anything. Be careful turning while on gas for coupler hitting and locking steering. I would try in open lot and really push it while turning just to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Top view with long Cradle Bolts installed.




Here you can see Cradle is down 5” and much easier to work on.



Bolts hold Cradle up and in place, as well as guiding back into place when you jack it back up.




 

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Needs another GTO
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I will say again that dropping the cradle for a header installation is exceedingly ill-advised.

http://www.ls1gto.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266648
Word.

Although the lines are a pain in the ars to get back in. The headers usually slip right in after disconnecting the lines and rack.

Usually letting the power steering fluid drain into a oil pan is known as lunch time for meh.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
To each his own I’m not here to argue the point. Just point out what I found. If you saw how EZ this is you would change your mind. No way can I do following Kooks instructions in 2 hrs which includes setting jack stands. This is how late model cars are meant to be worked on.
Think about it only 4 bolts to drop cradle 5”.

Oh you drop engine/cradle on Mustang and Camaro to do Headers also!
 

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I like to turn
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This is pretty good, but it doesn't take really long to do the PS lines, definitely not as long as everybody writes about. However, I think I'll do it this way in my car since I need to align the sub-frame anyway.

Could you provide more info on the alignment? I don't understand that hook tool.
 

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I never dropped the cradle for the headers on my 99ta.........it was about a 2-3 hour job....If u dissconnect the PS lines first before dropping the rack(so the lines don't bend at all)they will line right back up, and thread very easy! I cut a couple open ends down to about 3-4 inches for tightning them.....a piece of cake!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
This is pretty good, but it doesn't take really long to do the PS lines, definitely not as long as everybody writes about. However, I think I'll do it this way in my car since I need to align the sub-frame anyway.

Could you provide more info on the alignment? I don't understand that hook tool.
It’s not just the lines as I never undo the lines but take screws out of line mounting anyway the kook’s way. It’s more fighting with getting rack out of way and trying not to scratch up headers or car and moving engine around. I have done the Kooks install with my car on a lift and it is just plain more physical work. Dropping engine/cradle you just don’t fight with anything.

Thanks to JusticePete for great info here.
http://www.ls1gto.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106059&highlight=front+cradle+alignment

Instead of using fixture use a welding rod or equal to measure center. You can use a tape measure but I find the welding rod there is less variable and get same result as fixture. I had a Pedders Alignment done then used my car as a jig to make fixtures. There is a hole in body on both sides, just hook your bent rod in hole and pull to center. Mark your rod with a sharpie then repeat on other side and see if there is a difference. Split difference and that will tell you where to move cradle. They say replace 2 bolts with new. Replace shoulder bolts with non shoulder bolt, shown in pic above. I didn’t really want to get into this here as I’m righting a how to for suspension section.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Harbor Freight sells this as a transmission jack, not much good as a transmission jack. That’s not to say I haven’t used it as one when that’s all I had. They list $90 on line but when they are on sell for $40 great value. It is good for just moving things around and much more. It is perfect for this job goes much higher than floor jack and not hydraulic so you don’t have to worry about it failing.




I must admit this jack works fine for 6sp and to say clutch is EZ with cradle dropped would be an understatement!

 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
This shows cradle off center by 1/32. I didn’t use fixture since its coming apart in 3wks just bolted it up. I only checked today for this picture. Also the round hole is near the coupler the other 3 are slotted so cradle just swivels on that one bolt.





Oh on the ones I have done the bolt with shoulder take a 16mm socket the ones without shoulder take a 18mm socket so you can see what bolts are used without even taking one out.
 

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Rally Appachia 19 July 2011
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GJ trek!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is what I came up with ½” Bolts rethreaded to 12 1.5mm 10” and 12” length. I wanted to use original bolts and make extension out of bar stock but by the time it was joined they would be to short, most of the bolt disappears into unibody. Don’t bother looking for long12mm bolts.



I’m just waiting on Jet Hot for my recoated headers to try this out! I was disappointed I could not use black coating. On line they make it sound like by applying color over the high temp you still get high temp. He did not recommend that for me. There is a high temp black but it’s not done @ same location so that wasn’t an option. I wanted to do full exhaust in flat or satin black, except tailpipes.
 

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thanks
 

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... Also the round hole is near the coupler the other 3 are slotted so cradle just swivels on that one bolt.

Oh on the ones I have done the bolt with shoulder take a 16mm socket the ones without shoulder take a 18mm socket so you can see what bolts are used without even taking one out.
bold faced-is it possible to get pictures of this? thanks!

thanks for taking the time to post, and explain.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
bold faced-is it possible to get pictures of this? thanks!

thanks for taking the time to post, and explain.

I didn’t take pics of the holes through cradle. It doesn’t move much, just 3 bolts have some play and the one nearest driver seat doesn’t.

I did notice one thing You Can Start 2 Rear Header to Head bolts from underneath when you first hold it up. This holds header in place without going up top.
No way should header or car get any scratches this way.
 

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10 Sec Daily Driver
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Your intake manifold looks funny, wanna trade for mine ??
 

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Really how hard is this? I have gotten quotes to get my whole exhaust installed and damn its not cheap. I dont have air tools, but a pretty good selection of hand tools and four corners worth of jack stands.
 

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YES, SHE IS MY FIANCE :)
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Great write-up! You say you get them done in 2 hours, thats amazing, props to you for sure!!! Im saving this thread for future reference..since my fiance wants a Impulse Blue gto soon, yea she loves the GTO as much as I do and she gets just as siked as I do when I mod it as well...Keeper!!
 
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