How to remove the rear lifting bracket on a Camaro 3.8 V-6
After researching everything I could find online about how to remove the rear lifting bracket on my son’s 98 Camaro 3.8 V-6, not once did I find a written procedure describing what it took to get it off. So after almost 3 hours of trial and error, I came up with a solution that worked. Mind you, it still is not easy, but at least this may save you 2 hours of knuckle busting and making up new explicatives.
First off, in order to reach back far enough to get to the bracket bolts, I finally figured out that I needed to lay across the motor. I have a 1 ½” thick piece of dense white foam I use when laying on the ground. I laid that across the front end/engine so my feet stuck out straight ahead of the car and I could in reasonable comfort stay there for an extended period of time. This was the most helpful thing I discovered, because it allowed me to experiment with different techniques without wearing myself completely out. I tried doing it standing on the passenger side, but I could not get both hands back there to manipulate the tools. I also tried standing in front and reaching over. That is fine in the very short term, but this is a task requiring time and patience, so get comfortable.
After trying multiple things to no avail, this is what I found worked for me. The tools I used:
· ¼” drive ratchet
· 6 pt 13mm ¼” drive shallow socket
· 13mm 12 pt combination wrench
· 18” to 24” tire spoon (Harbor Freight) OR
· A long regular screw driver.
· Small block of wood, like a piece of a 2X2.
· Inspection mirror
· Follow the steps in your repair manual until you get to the part of removing the right (passenger) side valve cover. Although it does not say to remove the heater core hoses in the manual, I did to give myself more room. If you remove them, be VERY careful not to damage them. (They are about $160 bucks to replace.)
· Get into position lying across the front of the car/motor on your foam.
· With your inspection mirror and flashlight, locate the bolt closest to the opening of the lifting bracket.
· Reaching back with the ¼” socket and ratchet, feel the location of the furthest left bolt. (This is the one in the indentation closest to the protruding part of the lifting bracket.)
· After making sure the socket is securely square on the bolt, hold the wrench onto the bolt head with your left hand pressing the ratchet head to keep it from slipping off the bolt.
· Now, bring the ratchet handle so it is visible through the hole of the lifting bracket.
· Reach THROUGH the hole of the lifting bracket with the tire spoon or long screw driver and pry against the handle of your ratchet, using the bracket as the fulcrum point for your tire spoon. This will break the bolt loose, but you may have to reposition your ratchet handle a couple times to get it loose enough to move easily. DO NOT REMOVE THE BOLT AT THIS TIME, ONLY BREAK IT LOOSE.
· Now for the second bolt, which just locating it in the first place was a challenge. FYI, it is NOT the nut that is straight down from the one you just broke loose. That nut is for the exhaust manifold, and has nothing to do with the lifting ring. The second bolt is further to the right directly behind the valve cover. Use your inspection mirror/flashlight to spot it if you can, but I had to just feel for it because of the tightness to the firewall.
· I could not get my socket on the bolt in that tight area, so I switched to my 13mm 12 pt combination wrench. The trick here is to get the wrench handle approximately in the 10 to 11 o’clock position to pry on.
· Now you will see why you don’t take the first bolt out. Take your 2X2 scrap block and wedge it between the valve cover and the lifting bracket. You may have to shave the block to make it fit properly. Since you only have 2 hands, and one is on the wrench, you need the block to fit snuggly to stay in place to pry against.
· Again, reach in with your tire spoon/screwdriver between the wood block and the wrench handle and pry.
· VOILA! The second bolt should have moved. You may have to repeat the procedure a couple of times to get it loose enough to unscrew by hand, but it does come out. Use the open end side to work the bolt out.
· Take your ratchet and go back to the first bolt, zip that out and you are done!
Now take that #$%^&%! bracket and practice your best major league pitch.
I hope this helps you out!