Many things can lead tothe necessity of having to remove the engine from a VW, for example, driving around without the fan belt can hasten the inevitable. A bad clutch could do it too, eventually. Certain oil leaks can also create enough irritation to lead to problems. However, there also are several good reasons to remove the engine just for R&R. No, that's not rest and relaxation; it's removal and replacement. When you can't put it off any longer, plan to make the best of it. Sure, it'll take a little time and yes, you will get dirty and greasy, but this R&R will result in many miles of trouble-free driving pleasure.

* A clean car.

If it runs, it would behoove you to drive it through the car wash and use a couple of dollars' worth of quarters to clean the engine area. Be sure to clean under the car between the engine and the transmission where it gets the dirtiest.

* Workspace.

Of course, a nice garage would be best, but any cement floor will do. You could do all of this in the dirt if you had to, but I wouldn't recommend it. For one thing, it's just too easy to lose little parts, not to mention how could you possibly keep things clean when you're working in dirt?

* Wood.

Find a couple of 4x4s and 2x4s, 12 to 16 inches long and a 1x6 about 12 inches long. You'll use the 1x6 between the jack and the engine and you'll use the two 4x4s to block the tires to keep the car from rolling away while you're trying to work on it.

The others will be used between the jack and the car in a couple of places.

* Rags and some hard cleaner.

My personal favorite are some old t-shirts and some heavy-duty hand cleaner. The idea is to keep the car and you clean!

* Tools.

If you don't have at least a small toolbox with an assortment of metric wrenches, some screwdrivers, a pair of pliers and an adjustable-end wrench, take this article to a friend and nicely ask for help.