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Some years back there was an issue with our Sable with the engine making a loud tapping noise while running smoothly. Thread is here in the archives. Well never did find it despite having it apart twice. Heads checked, valves checked, pushrods checked, lifters checked, valve covers no marks, pistons no marks. I've been toying with the idea of getting a rebuilt short block and then transfer everything else over. Since the car is in the garage there isn't a way to get it high enough so I thought of stripping it down, again, then removing the short block from the top like other engines once disconnected. Unless I am missing something this would seem doable?
 

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I did an engine removal recently.
Remove the plastic intake and the fuel pressure sensor and anything else that's high on the engine.
Disconnect the steering column, exhaust, hoses and various fluid lines and electrical connectors. TIP. After removing the battery, disconnect the main alternator power cable from the fuse box near the radiator rather than from the alternator. Far easier.
Remove the front wheels and both suspension struts, and lower the front of the car until the engine was resting on a dolly you can get from Harbor Freight.
It says polypropylene but the main rails are steel and have no problem with the weight.
30 in. x 18 in. 1000 lb. Capacity Polypropylene Dolly
Removed the 4 subfame bolts then you only have to raise the front of the car about 18" before the dolly with engine/trans could be wheeled out from the passenger side.
 

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I did an engine swap on my '02 DOHC the way NMNeil describes and it worked well. I've got a thread documenting the process if it helps.
 
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I hope my engine removal days are gone, but I will have to remember (if I can) this trick should I need to do one.
 

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To answer the original question - Yes, it is POSSIBLE to take the engine out the top, but takes much more disassembly.

I've done it on a gen 3 (1997) to see if it could be done on a car I had no intentions of putting back together and know another guy who had a similar problem to yours and did indeed get the car back together.

Taking out the radiator and radiator support was necessary for me.
 

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FWIW my local mechanic told me he does them out the top because it's faster for him but of course he has all shop luxuries and tools.
 
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