Today's vehicles have extremely cramped engine compartments. The Front Wheel Drive (FWD) design allows for more room in the passenger compartment and a lower, sleeker front profile. Unfortunately, this has made engine components more difficult to access.
Unlike the engines used in older, rear drive cars where the engine mounts were placed on the sides of the engines to minimize shake, the V6 engines covered by this manual have a different arrangement. These engines have their engine mounts installed on the crankshaft centerline, balancing the engine between a mount just behind the crankshaft pulley and just ahead of the flywheel. This means the engine has limited movement front (radiator side) to rear (firewall side). To stop engine shake, the vehicle has two wishbone-shaped engine struts to limit engine movement. If these struts are removed, the engine can be pulled forward giving at least a little more access to the firewall side (rear) of the engine. This is especially important for spark plug service and other firewall side service work on the engine. Even an inch or two makes a lot of difference when changing spark plugs on the right side (rear, or firewall side) of the engine.
Naturally, special tools are available for "rotating" the engine. Some are levers, others are ratcheting straps. The non-professional may have to improvise. The following may be helpful.
The engine struts are at the front of the vehicle, bolted on one end to brackets attached to the radiator support and on the other end to strong brackets on the engine.
- Remove the through bolts from the engine side of both struts.
- Remove the through bolts from the body side brackets and remove both engine struts.
- Reinstall just the bolts and nuts on the engine-side brackets.
- Attach a pulling device between the engine side bolts and the body side bracket. This could be a chain and lever or a hardware store turnbuckle.
- Pull or "rotate" the engine away from the firewall and toward the radiator to give a little more clearance at the back of the engine.
- When service work is complete, reinstall the engine struts.