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12 Steps to Remove an Air-Cooled Porsche Engine for Repairs

Does it really only take 12 steps to remove an air-cooled Porsche engine for repairs?

How to remove a Porsche 911 engine
Porsche 2.4 liter engine removed from a 1972 Porsche 911T

I wouldn’t have believed it, but Air Brigade recently “shadowed’ Air Brigade Charter member Charlie Hickey as he tackled his winter service project to fix an oil cooler leak in his 1972 Porsche 911T Targa.


In a previous service Charlie had replaced the gaskets, but the leak persisted so Charlie knew the engine had to come out again so the oil cooler could be sent to a radiator shop for internal repairs to the unit.

Porsche 911 oil cooler repair
The Porsche 911T Oil Cooler on the engine (L) and off the engine (R).

Charlie recruited Air Brigade members for assistance including TD King, Don Therien and Joe Esposito. Also on hand were PCA members Bob Disney and Mark Cigal. Air Brigade Commander Jim Moore thought it would be the perfect opportunity to record the process of engine removal.


Please be aware that every step was not photographed because there are many wires and cables requiring disconnection. Only the major mechanical steps were recorded.


Charlie is an advanced “shade tree” mechanic and has his garage set up with a two-post lift and a full complement of tools that makes the job easier. This was not the first time this numbers matching 2.4-liter flat-six engine had been removed, and will probably not be the last time.

Home garage lift for Porsche repairs
Garage two-post used for Porsche repairs

The process started with an overview of what the team was tackling on top and underneath the engine bay. Contrary to new Porsches, you’ll note that the engine is readily accessible which facilitates the engine removal with only 12 steps.


Porsche 911 air-cooled 2.4 liter engine
1972 Porsche 911T 2.4 liter engine, topside and from underneath

Step One – Start the process by draining the oil. Since this car requires 10 quarts, allow time for everything to drain completely.


Step Two - Disconnect the shift linkage in the tunnel as opposed to at the shifter so that you can re-hook-up at installation without having to adjust the linkage.


Step Three – Set the proper placement of the jack points to lift the car so you can start disconnecting all hoses and wire connectors. On many early Porsches this lift points are crushed from owners using floor jacks without a lift puck.

Porsche 911 jack points
Use the special lift puck to attach to Porsche lift points (L) so you can start disconnecting hoses (R).

Step Four – Disconnect the Universal joints

Porsche 911 T univeral joint
View of rear suspension to access universal joint

Step Five – Disconnect clutch cable, throttle linkage, speedometer and ground cable.

Porsche 911 clutch cable and throttle linkage
Loosen the nuts on the clutch cable (L) to disconnect. Pull out ball from collar on throttle linkage

Step Six – Disconnect half shafts using a hex wrench extension.

Porsche 911 half shafts
Use hex wrench extension to remove the half shafts from transmission

Step Seven – Disconnection of oil lines requires special large Porsche wrenches that Charlie has owned for years.

Porsche Oil Cooler lines
Oil Cooler lines are accessed inside the fender

Step Eight – Lower lift and check that all wires and cables are disconnected in the engine bay. In this case Charlie is disconnecting the electronic ignition.

Porsche electronic ignition
Disconnecting the wires from the electronic ignition

Step Nine – Slide lift table under engine. A floor jack is positioned under the transmission while the lift table is positioned under the engine. Two by four’s are used on the lift table to provide a cushion for the heat exchangers to rest on.

Porsche 911 engine removal with lift table
Engine lift table under engine (L) while floor jack goes under the transmission (R).

Step Ten – Unbolt the two engine mounts on top and the two transmission mounts on the underside.

Porsche 911 engine mounts
The two engine mount bolts are accessed from the engine bay

Step Eleven – Lower the lift table slowly and then slowly start to raise the lift to separate the engine from the chassis.

Porsche engine removal with lift table
Separate the engine from the chassis with a lift table while raising the lift

Step Twelve – Notice the combination of the lift jack and lift table that needs to slide out from under the car.

Porsche engine removal with lift table
Jack supporting the transmission while lift table supports the engine.

Porsche 911 engine removal
Sliding the engine out from under the car

Porsche 911T air cooled porsche engine
The engine is now out for easy access to the oil cooler

While the Air Brigade team was in the garage and crawling over an early 911 with its engine out, Charlie provided several of the unique aspects of the 911 that members may not have been familiar with including its side oil filler door and the MFI system.


Unique to a 1972 911 is the side oil filler door on the rear quarter panel. This appeared only in 1972 because Porsche found gas station attendants were mistaking the oil filler for the gas filler. Remember that back in 1972 gas stations actually had attendants who serviced your car.

1972 Porsche 911 Oil Filler door
Porsche oil filler door on rear quarter panel unique to the 1972 911

The 1972 911T engine featured MFI, mechanical fuel injection so members also took the time to inspect the Bosch unit while Charlie described its intricate engineering aspects that brought fuel injection to Porsche motors.

Porsche 911 MFI fuel injection
Porsche 911 Bosch fuel injection MFI



Thanks to Charlie for sharing this process with Air Brigade.


Key words: air-cooled Porsche engine, Porsche engine removal, Porsche engine repair



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1 Comment


Mitch Covington
Mitch Covington
Jan 30, 2023

Love this kind of article! If there are more, I'd love to participate, either for older 911/912 or 356.

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