Not sure if this has been asked already. Basically I've got a MkIV Golf 1.6 L 16v with a knackered head.

I've bought a replacement engine (yes it's correct AZD for my car). So, I've prepped the new engine (cam belt kit, alternator belt, etc), come to fit it on Saturday & had an absolute nightmare trying to get it to mate with the box. I got the old block out no problem - with box & drive shafts still in situ.

Ended up buying Haynes manual online to check engine removal procedures. They state removing drive shafts & taking out engine & box as one, then splitting on bench.

My question is, do I need to follow Haynes' chapter & verse approach or is there something I'm not doing right i.e removing OS drive shaft first?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even if to confirm that the only way to refit the engine is by first removing the gearbox.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! I've not pulled the engine on this particular setup, but was wondering if you have a manual or automatic transmission? I'm assuming you have a manual transmission. Usually, with a manual transmission, if you're having issues putting it back in, it's because the clutch isn't aligned correctly. You don't say exactly what the issue is fitting the engine back into the chassis. It's been my experience, though, if the engine comes out readily, it should go back in readily. If it came out easy, you shouldn't have to pull the tranny along with it.. Mar 19, 2018 at 14:20
  • Hi, yes manual box. Clutch is true - used an alignment tool to set. I've just watched a couple of vids on YouTube & both times the front end is dismantled with engine & box being removed as one. Mar 19, 2018 at 14:35
  • Hmm, "used a tool" - there is always play so I always used to check by eye for concentricity - all the round bits and spaces being equal looking through the pressure plate at the centre plate...
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 19, 2018 at 15:04
  • Also, sometimes the splines don't exactly line up from the input shaft to the friction disk. Just a little turn of the input shaft will allow it to align and in it goes. When I say "a little", very little is needed. Mar 19, 2018 at 15:45

2 Answers 2


You are going to find it more difficult to assemble the engine to the box than you would to assemble the box to the engine.

As stated in the previous answers, you will have to use a clutch alignment tool to line up the clutch assembly before mating the gearbox to the bellhousing. The problem one tends to have is that, if the angle is even very slightly off, the gearbox input shaft will knock the clutch plate out of alignment. This means you're going to have to take the engine out again to re-do the clutch alignment.

You should consider removing the box as well, given that it only means popping out the two driveshafts and disconnecting a mount or two.

  • Thanks for the input. Well guess what I did Sunday? Yup, gearbox out & bolted to the engine ready for this weekend when I'll be dropping both into the car. Thanks everyone for the advice. Mar 27, 2018 at 12:07

Two things come to mind:

1) make sure that the clutch centre plate is correctly centered - if not then it makes a hard job harder or impossible.

2) The amount of "free" space to move the engine relative to the box when it is in the car - if it is "very" tight then it may be more time-effective to do it on the bench as per the manual.

  • Thanks for the responses guys thus far, I think sadly its going to be a full on strip down. Mar 19, 2018 at 14:37
  • 1
    Wish you luck - it WILL go back together so Don't Panic and no large hammers... :)
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 19, 2018 at 15:05

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