I'm converting an old Nissan Urvan E23 long wheelbase van/minibus (1986) to electric - the current motor is a four cylinder SD-23 diesel that has to come out (currently seems like it's running on 3 cylinders - hey at least its enough to move it without a tow truck). My question for anyone that's ever worked on these is what's the easiest way to remove the engine - I heard some vague thing about the body having to be hoisted up off of the engine... The only time I have ever removed an engine was from a station wagon where of coarse it came straight up out the bonnet hole - this van only has the inspection hole accessed beneath the center passenger seat and made larger by removing the driver and passenger seats plus floor panels beneath - still looks like a small hole for the motor to come out.

My proposed work site for doing the engine pull has an overhead crane so hoisting the body is doable if that what it takes - otherwise I'm going to need to hire or purchase an engine hoist with a long enough boom to reach in through one of the doors. Would like to know what I'm up against before I get half way into it and find out I went the wrong route.

  • I can't imagine that it comes out through the car. That would be madness surely. I would guess that you need to either remove the entire front of the van and take it out that way, or drop it out the bottom as you have suggested. If you are converting it to EV, I guess that you have far far far bigger problems ahead than getting the combustion engine out!
    – tallpaul
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 12:26
  • True, but since I can't see what I'm coupling to on the transmission until after the motor is out this ranks pretty high on the problem scale.
    – norlesh
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 13:13
  • The alternative is, it may come out the front if you remove the front facia of the vehicle (grill and such). They sometimes have a straight bar which connects weirdly to the top of the engine and you can then pull it out that way. I'd bet it either does that or goes out the bottom of the van. Either way, the engine and transmission would probably stay together for removal. Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 13:58
  • OK I just crawled under the van with a torch, there doesn't seem to be any separate piece to make extra space to come through the front fascia... there was however a red back spider about 25 cm away from my face while I was down there!!! I wont be looking any further until daylight... and possibly a thorough drenching with a pressure washer. I did note though that what I presume is the steering linkage runs below the engine.
    – norlesh
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 14:29
  • 2
    ... just emptied quarter of a can of insect spray into the engine bay from a safe distance!
    – norlesh
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


The motor comes out through the passenger side door.

Remove the radiator, the thermal fan, the water pump, disconnect and remove the exhaust manifold if possible, otherwise leave it on and disconnect the exhaust pipe.

The remove the starter motor and unbolt the gearbox from the motor. Attach the motor to an engine lift from the passenger side. You have to free it from the gearbox and tilt the motor up and out.

I have done it three times and have to do another swap this weekend. Cheers, John. Oh and don't forget to undo the engine mounts.

  • Neat answer, also other vans of this style have the same system PA / PB series spring to mind...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 7:10
  • Thanks! Couldn't get the bolts tween engine and gearbox at first.. had started devising a way to drop the two together underneath (might have worked) but then after spotting your answer I redoubled my efforts and eventually seperated the two - used a Jack under the front of the gearbox to take off some of the stress on the bolts.
    – norlesh
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 16:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .