Miles Cook
July 1, 2000

Step By Step

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Sometimes all it takes is a little innovation to turn something complicated into something less daunting. Such is the case with removing the engine in a 4.6 Mustang. It’s a fact that 4.6 Mustangs are considerably more sophisticated and more complicated than their previous 5.0 brethren. This also applies to removing and replacing the engine—well—until now, that is.

Both the 4.6 Two- and Four-Valve engines are considerably wider than a pushrod 5.0 or 351W small-block. As such, pulling the engine for either a rebuild or any other task that requires removal can seem quite intimidating. We thought so, too, until we heard of another way to get that wide-load 4.6 out of the Mustang’s compact engine bay.

If you know how Ford installs these engines in the first place, then the concept is obvious: Remove the engine from the bottom of the car and don’t bother fighting the shock towers on the way up. The only problem is having the proper apparatus to actually perform the job in this manner. Enter the never-resting mind of Mark Sanchez at Advanced Engineering West, whose Ontario, California, shop is always bristling with wild ideas on all-things Ford. There we had a chance to look in on a slick little invention he dreamed up that holds the front K-member, engine, and transmission in place while the car is raised on a hoist. The engine/transmission cradle actually supports the entire drivetrain while the K-member is unbolted from the car. Once the car has been loosened, it can be raised up on a hoist. The engine and trans are miraculously left on the ground where complete access is afforded to both components. Let’s take a closer look at how the AEW cradle works using a ’97 Mustang GT convertible as our guinea pig.