I have done simple repairs, such as the water pump, alternator, etc on vehicles. Having gone beyond simple maintenance (oil, brakes, spark plugs, etc) I have a collection of very common mechanics tools, such as socket sets, star bits, air impact wrenches, and so forth.

I may be replacing my 2001 GMC Savanna 2500 van engine, though, and it looks like I might be able to save $1k - $2k if I can manage it myself.

What tools or equipment should I plan to borrow or buy for this job that most diy mechanics wouldn't have?

  • If this can be answered in a generic way that would fit most vehicles, I would be happy to remove the references to the specific vehicle and make the question more generally applicable.
    – Adam Davis
    Dec 30, 2014 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


A full size GM van would not be my first choice for an initial engine change. Vans can be problematic as so much of the engine is under the dash. Most of the front has to be removed, grill, core support, radiator, a/c if equipped. You'll need an engine hoist a load leveler, a good floorjack and stands. A good digital camera to take pictures of where things were will be a big help during reassembly. Things to consider before you start. Can you be without the vehicle for a couple weeks (remember you'll be doing this in addition to your regular job). Does it look like the exhaust pipes will come off the manifold. Are the manifold bolts so rusty that they will break. A couple of friends to help with pushing things around. Also consider the investment in the new motor which may not have a warranty if you install it yourself.

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