I just went through all of this, and meant to journal the whole thing as I did it, but like anything else, once I get into things I tend to dive in and forget niceties such as actually taking the time to journal things.... so anyway, maybe someone can read this and NOT make all the mistakes I made, because it shouldn't have been so difficult!
So, with no further preamble, *this* my friends, is how you rebuild a 2.0L in a 1998 Contour like a true-blue idiot:
Step one: Use a cinderblock, flat-roofed garage from 1938 with 6'6" clearance and barely enough room for a 1998 contour on one side, and benches & stuff on the other side.
Step two: Don't read the Haynes manual or bother to research anything, just take the hood off and start pulling things apart.
Step three: Don't label the bolts, just stick them on the bench next to the part they go with and "Trust" that they'll actually *stay* there.
Step four: Be sure there are no markings on any hoses to indicate where they hook up, we wouldn't want to disturb 150,000 miles of grime, now would we?
Step five: As you disconnect said hoses, make sure you've got an insufficiently wide bucket to catch the coolant. Who doesn't like the smell of antifreeze on the floor?
Step six: Get everything all disconnected, engine mounts removed, transmission unbolted before you realize there's no way to pull it out by itself, that it's supposed to go out complete with the trans.
Step seven: Curse and swear a bit, realizing it now will NOT easily reattach to the transmission, now that the torque converter has come off of its splines far enough.
Step eight: Decide to give up and send the whole mess to the junkyard, because you're screwed.
Step nine: Over coffee the next morning, read the Haynes manual (yes, that you've had the whole time) and realize the converter can be unbolted from the driveplate from underneath the car.
Step ten: Somehow wiggle under there and miraculously manage to painstakingly take each of the four nuts off, thus releasing the converter
Step eleven: Screw around for two hours trying to get just the right angle on the whole thing without breaking transmission cooling lines to get the engine to slip out - but finally get it out.
Step twelve: Grin like you've won the lottery, until you hit the roof of the garage with the hoist and realize you're not clearing the fender. Not even close.
Step thirteen: Realize in that moment, there's no other angles for the hoist, this is it. Swear and curse a bit more. Look at the chain, nope, can't really get much higher on that.
Step fourteen: Do some incredibly dangerous pulling and levering to swing the engine over the fender while still hanging on the hoist, almost topple the whole thing, but manage to get it out.
Step fifteen: Impact wrench the driveplate off the back (My cordless 1/2" impact gun makes me feel like a GOD), and finally get the #$@#$^@ thing on an engine stand.
--- Take a day off, drink a lot, try not to think about how you're going to manage to get it back *IN* the car ---
Step sixteen: Start pulling all the bits and pieces off of the engine without taking pictures. Wow, really, no pictures? Nope.
17: Realize just typing numbers is easier.
18: Take it all apart and admire the three heavily scored cylinders, and the three pistons that were slapping them silly.
19: Off to the machine shop, for grinding, polishing, and inquiries as to whether the vehicle is even worth it. I just love it when they ask that.
20: Get everything back, .020 oversized pistons, .020 bored to match, it all checks out, then try putting piston rings on without checking the oil ring clearance.
21: Banging on a piston to get it in the cylinder is a fantastic idea. So good, in fact, you now have a chipped piston skirt to show for it. Hey, it won't throw the balance off *THAT* much will it?
22: Finally order a ring set with oil control rings that actually fit; wait for it to show up; pistons go right in.
23: For most of the rest of reassembly you feel pretty good; you put all the bearings in, checked clearance with Plastigauge like a good little shadetree mechanic, used assembly lube, torqued everything to spec, reinstalled the oil pan, flipped it back over, marveled that things were actually going well;
24: Then you torqued the cylinder head down on its brand-new gasket, etc. etc., set the cams in place, bolted them down .... wait, which cap went where? Crap. Photos woulda been nice. Thank Ford for stamping numbers on those caps, we managed to find an online photo... ok *whew* ... so, continue with confidence, and snap the intake cam spectacularly, perfectly in half. Yea. Brilliant.
25: Maybe now you choose to actually read the Haynes manual on the correct cam cap tightening sequence, which you were doing all wrong, of course.
26: You then start searching all over for a replacement, and realize salvage yards are going to be the only real option, here.
27: Realize 1998 Contours are NOT easy to find. Nor are Probes which share this engine.
28: Decide to give up and send the whole mess to the junkyard, because you don't want to spend hours and days traipsing around yards in a fruitless search for a car model that's outdated and nobody really seems to care much about.
--- Walk away before you start breaking things you'll probably need later.... ---
29: Change your mind the next day, and give it at least one afternoon of hitting a couple yards to see what-if.
30: Ask the owner of the yard where the Contours might be. Get told the absolute wrong place to look, of course. It's a junkyard. We should expect to be sent in circles.
31: Walk for around an hour, cursing the fact that you're wearing shorts, as the mosquitos have Thanksgiving dinner on your bare legs.
32: Decide to cut our losses, when we finally see the last car in the last row in the very back. Yep. Looks like a '98 Contour to me. Kinda hard to tell, the back end is trashed. At least we know it was running when it was sent here. (Always better to get engine parts from a totaled wreck than a clean-looking body, for obvious reasons.)
32: *critical mistake* Take a look under the hood, everything looks fine, same engine, same bits, it's all familiar. Should be good to go. We don't need to check the year code on the VIN *or* the door panel to verify the year do we? I mean, that'd cost us valuable SECONDS of our life. (Actually, I seriously blame the mosquitos for this major faux pas. It was hell.)
33: Zip off the familiar pieces, cut the timing belt, grab the intake cam, and get out of there. (Stash the other parts and pieces in the back seat for later, in case you come back.)
34: Drive home, put that puppy on the head, follow the CORRECT tightening pattern this time; all is well in the world. Something looks a bit off, but hey, the length matches and the timing marks are good... so it should be fine...
35: Try to set the timing without priming the oil-driven hydraulic advance on the exhaust cam. Try seven.... freaking.... times. Realize hand cranking apparently is never going to get enough oil up there. Or, really, any oil, when you finally remove the oil filter and realize it's bone dry. .... Oh, wait a second ....
36: Realize, another instruction in the book, IF YOU HAD READ IT FIRST LIKE A SMART PERSON, says you must prime the pump before assembling everything. D'ah, crap. At least we hand cranked it, not bumped it with a starter or anything.
37: Flip the engine upside down, pop the oil pan (man that sealant hardens FAST! need that rubber mallet again...) and pour that pretty Royal Purple directly in the pickup tube, hand crank it thru, pour some more, hand crank it, pour.... wait, is that... yeah. OK, NOW screw the oil filter in and do it again..... ignore the Royal Puddle you just made on the floor...
38: Button up the bottom, flip it back over, whaddaya know, it's getting oil up there now! Timing goes.... close e^#%^$nough. It'll either run or it won't.
39: Timing considered done, water pump / etc. bolted on, sensors .... wait, where do they go? Man, pictures woulda been nice... well, I'll guess at it and try to find photos online...
40: Engine's done. We hope it actually turns over, much less runs....
---- Step back, and wonder if $200 cash in hand woulda been better than pushing onward ----
41: Next day, get it back on the hoist, lever it up, somehow jimmy it over that fender and back over the engine bay and .... ponder. HowmIgonnadothis??
42: After some critical thinking, and maybe a bit of soul searching, we bolt the converter to the drive plate and figure if we really angle that transmission up *just enough* we can slip it down in there...
43: Nearly break the transmission line before realizing that disconnecting it is probably a good idea, but, finally get enough of an angle to slip the converter in the bell housing. Don't bother with the CV axle, just leave it hanging there like a total moron (more-on this later... see what I did there? Foreshadowing with a pun?)
44: The fun part; Try for hours to wiggle, rock, jimmy, remove and re-angle everything, shift, pull, push, swear, curse, nothing gets that converter onto the trans splines. Nothing!
45: Decide to give up and send the whole mess to the junkyard. Yea, even now, after all that machine work, all the assembly, screw it.
46: Come to our senses once again, come back the next day, think.... think....
47: Put long bolts to hold the engine in line with the trans, lower the whole thing down level, and try again. For another hour and a half. Install all the trans mounts in good faith, and to give it a little more support, and keep rocking it / shoving it / whatever. No good.
48: (this actually happened) Really and truly commit to giving up on the whole thing, give it one last shove out of sheer frustration..... and feel it slide *right into place!!!*
49: Desperately hold it there while scrambling around with your other hand for a bolt --- any bolt --- that you can thread in to secure it. Luckily find one lying randomly on the ground. Was that from the power steering mount bracket? Wedontcareatthispointjustsecurethedamthing
50: Stand back and realize we *might actually finish this...!*
--- This is a great time to look at the counter, the floor, the parts, the huge, incredible mess we've made ---
OK, reality sets in; We've got the engine in there, now we throw on all the bits and pieces; exh/intake manifolds, alternator, covers, wires, guessing at half of them, broke a connector? No problem just shove the wires onto their pins.... This part is all kind of a blur, but the finish line is in sight....
... Somehow we manage to find the right fasteners for the right things, or at least close enough that it seems to hold things in place. There are approximately seventeen bolts that apparently were birthed on the counter spontaneously during this exercise, but clearly there's no more bolts needed (right?) and finally we're ready to crank it. So we do, but nothing fires. No gas, no spark. Another hour of troubleshooting ensues, of course we never check the fuse box; why would the fuses be an issue? It ran fine when parked...
It's almost hilarious to think, after reassembling an entire engine and installing it, somehow we forgot that we pulled a random 20a fuse for my girlfriend's car when we installed her stereo. And as Murphy's Law would have it, that just happened to be the very fuse that drives the ignition module....
Now, after all of that, it seems a fantasy come true when we turn the key, and it cranks for a split second before firing up... and actually.... runs. We replace the transmission fluid and manage to back it out of the garage for the first time in six months.... what's that rubbing noise? Meh. We'll deal with that later.... it actually moves under its own power! Happy endings do exist, after all!