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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.