I just changed a 2.4 in my 96. I pulled the whole thing because I coudn't get at the converter to flywheel bolts. After reading further, I saw information to pull the trans out through the drivers wheel well without the engine. They removed the starter to access the flywheel bolts to the converter.
I haven't tried it but it would make sense and it does make it a lot easier. Without the trans attached, you wouldn't need to remove the master cylinder or beat the sh-t out of the battery tray to get the think out.
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the easiest way to remove the engine in your cavalier is out the top, if you remove the damper weel from the crank then the engine will lift right out with no problem, when installing it also leave the damper weel off untill you have it bolted in place, then install the damper weel and torque to specks
remove the mounting screw on the lens, then remove the top 2 bolts holding the headlamp, pull headlamp out to gain access to the mounting nut on the turn signal. Remove the nut and the turn signal light will pull straight out allowing you to replace the bulb.
its not hard to remove engine from the top. take off any pulleys or tensioners that may be in your way. its really quite simple. remove starter,exhaust,motor mount bolts, torque converter bolts,trans bell housing bolts. remember you have six bellhousing bolts, one on the inside above the trans. also there is a bracket bolted to the trans from the engine just above the cv joint on passenger side. remove rad fans,,alt, compressor,rad hoses, heater hoses,. Please leave comment how it goes.
Theres 2 they are on top of the trans. The input is closest to the engine,below the trans lines going into the trans. The output is to the right of the lines about foot still on top. 1 inch deep well socket need to remove. 20 lbs torque. Make sure to use new o-ring
It can be done either way.It is likely less work to remove it from the top,and leave the transmission in the car.Remove the a/c compressor while leaving the lines hooked up so you don't lose the charge on the system.Disconnect the trans bellhousing bolts and torque convertor bolts,support the trans from below with a floor jack while hoisting the engine up out of the bay.Unless the hood opens wide enough,the hood will have to be removed to accomodate the height of the lifting crane.Mark and index all wires and connectors as to what they go to with masking tape and a pen or marker.Before removing the hood,scribe around the hood hinges to give a good outline so that the hood is bolted back exactly as it was in relation to the hinges,otherwise the panels won't line up properly,hood to fender gap,hood to door gap,etc.