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Preparing the Garage


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We recently moved to a house with a detached two-car garage, which was a long-time goal, and the reason I finally embarked on the engine swap. I had a lot of work done on the garage before we moved in, including electric, lights, drywall, and a sound-insulating wall between the the garage and the tenant living in the garage apartment. One thing I hadn't done was the floor. It was a 40-year old floor, and I just couldn't get the dust up no matter how I swept, mopped, and vacuumed. Anything that touched the floor was soon covered in dust.

What I really wanted was one of those hi-tech epoxy coatings with the primer and base coat and flakes and sealer. But that takes a lot of preparation and finish work. Plus it would run me about $1000 for the materials. So instead I went to Lowe's and got a couple gallons of cement primer and a couple gallons of light gray gloss floor paint. Linda and I cleaned the floor pretty well, and scraped up all the oil-soaked dirt. I primed and painted one half of the garage at a time. It looked pretty good when it was done. I could tell that it wasn't going to hold up for too long, particularly to car tires, but it was much better than what was there before.

I had previously bought a couple rolling toolboxes off Craig's List, as well as a rolling work cart. I spent some time organizing the toolboxes and cart and garage, and then it was time to get to work. The basic plan was to put the Jaguar into the garage, pull the V12 engine from the Jaguar and prepare the car for the transplant. Next, put the Jaguar back in the yard, drive the Caprice into the garage, and pull the LT1 engine. Then take any other desireable parts from the Caprice and send it off to the junkyard. Finally, roll the Jaguar back into the garage and install the LT1. It couldn't be simpler! I estimated about six months at the outside for the whole job.

Getting the Car in the Garage

Now I was faced with getting a 4000 pound non-running vehicle up a dirt incline into the garage. Fortunately the tow truck driver had left the car positioned so it could be backed into the garage. I tried to push the car up the incline into the garage, but there was no way that was going to work. I couldn't get any traction on the dirt, plus the car weighs about 4000 pounds. Fortunately my friend Rob came by, and put a 5/8" Hilti bolt in the floor at the back of the garage, and bolted a really stout bracket to it. (He does that sort of thing a lot). Then he attached a Coffing hoist to the bracket, and a series of straps to the hoist, and then hooked the last strap to the Jaguar's trailer hitch. (Did I mention the Jaguar has a 1" receiver?). After a lot of chain pulling the car was secured in the garage.

I got the CD player and CDs ready, and hung up my Homer Simpson clock. Time to start on the car. See the work starting here