I was finally in a position to set an entire day aside to work on the 2002 today. (Well, really about 4 hours.) The first item on the agenda was removing the reactor/exhaust manifold and installing a new header as part of removing the emissions controls. I will try to make an article out of this emissions control removal process. But not today because, you know, gauntlets.
Today I discovered 3 things:
1) The Previous owner or his mechanic tried to remove the manifold/reactor before. 2 of the 4 upper bolts were actually loose and all 4 lower bolts that you access from under the car were stripped. I should have known something was up when all of the nuts to the heat shields came off so easily.
2) You can't get a pair of vice-grips onto the nuts under the manifold because there isn't enough room. Why? Because my car has A/C and the huge compressor sits under the manifold.
3) You can't remove the compressor without removing a lot of other components. The compressor bolts are not accessible and the compressor bracket bolts attach immediately behind the fan. A couple of compressor bracket bolts were missing, meaning I'm following in the PO's (or his bad mechanic's) footsteps.
4) Normally, to get to the water pump for example, you can pull the radiator, remove the grill and go through the front of the car with a long ratchet extension. I thought maybe I'd do this since I have to replace the water pump anyway. Nope, the A/C condenser and an auxiliary fan sit in front of the radiator.
So one way or another, I'm going to have to pretty much remove the entire A/C system from the car before I can finish with the manifold/reactor/header.
Oh, and I think I mentioned earlier how bad the fluid leaks are. I spent a full day cleaning the engine from above, but I completely neglected to get underneath. There is anywhere from 1/8 of an inch to 1/2 of an inch of congealed oil covering the bottom half of the engine and all of the front suspension components. Now it looks like I'm going to have to clean everything by hand and I won't know where the leaks are until I get a few more parts off the car and the block cleaned up.
Here's a shot showing the A/C compressor and the lack of space to get anything bigger than a box wrench into the space by the manifold. No way a pair of Vice Grips will fit up there. Note the missing bracket bolt from somebody's prior attempt to remove it.
Here are the compressor mounting bolts up by the fan.
Here's the A/C condenser and auxiliary fan in front of the radiator.
And this image pretty much sums up how far I got today. Heat shields off, a couple of connections off, that's it. I put the plug wires back on to avoid damaging them.
So I did not get as far as I had hoped today. That's pretty normal. There is one small silver lining to all this. While I was under the car, I found the Weber air cleaner cover C-clip that the previous owner lost a long time ago. It was embedded in about 1/4 inch of oil sludge. If the engine had been clean, this would have bounced out ages ago.