expect problems, then when it goes together without a hitch, your reeeallly happy. LOL
- Installing the engine/trans as either a unit or separately both have their pros and cons. As a unit, if you have the nose of the car still on, you have to lift it high enough to clear the pan over the radiator support, then you have to get the installation angle correct, the balance adjusted, pull the trans tail down to clear the firewall all the while bumping it. Then try to get the engine/trans somewhat level by jacking up under the trans just enough so you can drop the engine mounts over the engine cradle mounts. Of course, much easier with the front end sheet metal off.
Split it up, the engine goes in nicely, but now you have to tilt the engine down slightly at the rear so the trans doesn't hit the transmission tunnel, then lift/balance the trans on your floor jack at just the right angle while trying to roll it into place hoping it doesn't slip off on you, work on your back/belly, and fight it to get the pilot shaft on the input shaft to go into the pilot bushing (always test fit my pilot bushing on the pilot shaft just to make sure it will go). Then sometimes it slips all the way forward and seats while other times you have to use one of the trans bolts to draw the tranny forward that last 1/2"-3/4" being aware that you cannot use too much torque on the bolt or you could break the trans ear off.
So it is almost half a dozen of one, and six of the other. I have also installed my engines with the factory cast iron exhaust manifolds on. The RA manifolds are larger and have read here on the forums that clearances are tight, so we all learned not to install them until after the engine is in place. I like to use studs instead of exhaust manifold bolts. Now I wonder if you could install the RA manifolds with the studs sticking out of the heads because you would need additional room to slip them over and onto the studs - probably not the thing to do.
- I just pulled a rear end assembly out of a 1969 Olds Cutlass yesterday. What I found as I unbolted it, and because I save some of the good mounting bolts, was that the upper control arm bolts that attach to the rear housing had the flat ends while the lower control arm bolts used the taper end.
Installation can be more of a problem with all new bushings as opposed to the sloppy or worn out ones on an original car. Sometimes I get a little inventive. Have used a pipe wrench fitted over the top of the control arm as it can be adjusted to grip the square-ish shape of the arm, and then pull it to tweak the arm at just the right angle while installing the bolt. The bolt never seems to be a problem going into the hole, the problem is always where it comes out through the other side as it hangs up. The pipe wrench can be a real handy tool working on these older cars, and not just for the plumber.
And, sometimes by raising or lowering the rear end assembly it can change the angle of the control arms to ease bolt installation.
But, the tapered end on the bolts is the way to go. When you typically replace the control arm bolts (I use Grade 8 from my local Tractor Supply Company store) or get a non-factory kit of bolts and nuts, I will grind a taper on the end of the bolt. I install the nut first, leave plenty of stick out past the nut, then grind a taper on the end. Then I back off the nut, use a little drop of oil on the ground threads and work the nut on/off the threads to clean them up so I can reinstall the nut once I have the bolts in. The taper end is the way to go and most likely why the factory bolts have that taper to self align those control arms.