Engine Cradle - Top 6 for 2023

Rough terrains can cause incidental impacts on the vehicle's underside, which can damage some parts of the engine. The vehicle engine needs to be protected even while the car is in motion.

The engine cradle was designed to counter this issue, and this article contains all you need to know about engine cradles. Some engine cradles have a unique coating that protects against corrosion and rust, while others are made of heavy-duty steel.

What is an engine cradle?

Engine cradle with engine attached

An engine cradle refers to the sub-frame fixed to the frame of a vehicle or its underbody. This structure exists to support the vehicle engine. Engine cradles may also help the car's suspension and transmission system.

Also called powertrain cradles, they are designed to be strong enough to support the vehicle's engine's heavyweight in addition to being light enough to be moved around easily while working on the engine. Engine cradles have control arms that get attached to the vehicle. Alignment of engine cradles involves performing a pre-alignment inspection before aligning the car.

It is important to note that the engine cradles' control arms affect the car's alignment angles. At the same time, a crooked engine cradle affects the vehicle's camber angle. Camber angles play a significant role in the wear and tear of vehicle tires.

Importance of an engine cradle

Engine cradle

An engine cradle serves several purposes for a vehicle, and it draws its importance from these functions; they include the following.

  • They provide reliable structural support for several of the vehicle's subsystems. These subsystems include the steering system, the powertrain assembly (transmission and the engine mounts), and the front suspension module (stabilizer bar and lower control arms).
  • It provides ample protection for components of the powertrain from ground contact.
  • Engine cradles play significant roles in ensuring the car body's structural safety and rigidity in its entirety.

What are the best engine cradles?

Whenever you go looking to get yourself an engine cradle, you will find several out there. This section will let you know the top six best engine cradles in the market so you can make an easy choice when it comes to it.

Jegs block-off kit

Jegs block-off kit

This product comes with protective covers that prevent dust or water from damaging the manifold chambers. It works best with low-cubic-inch motors, and you can get one for around $54. 

Manufacturer JEGS 

Brand JEGS 

Item weight 5 pounds 

Manufacturer part number 80064K1

Product dimension18 × 19 × 24

Jegs 80064

Jegs 80064 engine cradle

The Jegs 80064 remains an ideal example of when affordability meets functionality. It can hold an engine weight of up to 750 pounds without difficulty. While this product does not come with its block-off kit, it functions well without blocking plates.

Key features

  • It is incorporated with the required bolts so you can store your car's engine without stress.
  • The product is designed with heavy-duty steel and has a 750lb capacity.
  • While the product won't fit LS engines, it works well with GEN-1 SB-CHEVY and BB-CHEVY with side motor mounts.
  • Steel casters ensure optimal maneuverability with 360-degrees movements.

Manufacturer JEGS

Brand JEGS

Product dimensions 22.4 × 15.9 × 3.1

Item weight 18 pounds

Manufacturer part number 80064

Tril gear 1000lb cap auto engine cradle stand

Tril gear 1000lb cap auto engine cradle stand

The Tril gear ford comes with wheels that ensure easy piloting. In addition to being light but still sturdy, the product comes with mounting hardware. However, the mounting points are not going to match 4.6 or 5.4-liter designs. Related Product

Key features

  • The product's capacity is around 1000lbs.
  • It is fit for transporting, storing, and holding the engine during repairs.
  • This product works best with Ford engines.
  • Fully equipped with four 3" swivel casters.
  • The tril gear is designed with heavy-duty steel construction.
  • It has a powder-coated finish that ensures longer durability.

Manufacturer: TRIL GEAR 

Brand: TRIL GEAR

Product dimension: 65.02 × 12.7 × 38.1 cm; 

Weight: 8.48 kilograms

Item part number: Tp 29-3193

Manufacturer part number: Tp29-3193

Item: ASINBO7YHRWS5G

Speedway Motors GM Chevy V8 LSx

Speedway Motors GM Chevy V8 LSx 1

The speedway motors GM Chevy V8 LSx works best for holding an engine block as well as maneuvering it in your workshop. It is also possible to hold the motor with the transmission attached with a jack stand's help. buy product.

Key features

  • The product is compact and light, allowing it easy movements and navigation.
  • It comes with mounting bolts.
  • Mounting plates were constructed using ¼" steel.
  • While the engine is mounted on the stand, the transmission can remain attached.
  • The product fits all LS series engines like the LS1, LS2, LS3, LS7, LS9, LM4, LM7, LQ4, and LQ9.

Manufacturer: Speedway motors 

Brand: Speedway motors

Item weight: 16 pounds 

Product dimension: 22.2 × 18.2 × 4.5

Manufacturer part number: 91081137

Motors 1000lb

Motors 1000lb

If you are working with large, heavy displacement motors, the Motors 1000lb works best for this purpose. The product comes with metal casters bolted on for easy maneuvering. The swiveling casters make it almost effortless to transport the engine. Its casters are fixed on reinforced brackets, which provide strong support for the Motors 1000lb.

Key features

  • The product is ideal for handling, holding, and transporting heavy engines.
  • It comes with swiveling metal casters that ensure top navigation and movement.
  • It is constructed with solid heavy-duty steel.
  • The product comes with wheels for Chevy.

Manufacturer Motors

Brand Motors 

Item weight 10.83 pounds

Product dimension 27.75 × 20.66 × 3.46 inches 

Manufacturer part number RS-ECS-A1

Folding No Load capacity 1000lbs

Casters 4Diameter of wheels3"

Redline SD1K

Redline SD1K

Each arm's top is padded for protection as too many variations exist for the product to have pre-drilled mounting holes. While the Redline SD1K is rated to hold a lot of weight, it is also suited to handle most vehicles and motorcycles' engines.

Key features

  • The product has a 1000lb capacity.
  • Protective pads measure 2 inches in width and 14 inches in length.
  • The Redline SD1K has an adjustable width within the range of 18.25 inches to 25.25 inches wide.
  • Its height is adjustable up to three levels; 11.74 inches, 13.5 inches, and 15 inches.

Manufacturer Red Line

Brand Red Line

Item weight 31 pounds

Manufacturer part number SD1KASINB00ZDUSUNQ

How to replace an engine cradle

The following are the steps involved in replacing an engine cradle.

Step one

Move the car to a position above the jack stands. The two front stands should be close to the engine cradle. Ensure that they are well-positioned.

Step two

Unbolt everything attached to the cradle. These things should include the rack suspension, the motor mounts, and the steering sway bar brackets. Make sure that you support the engine using a hoist.

Step three

Remove the old engine cradle and put in the new one. Go on to reassemble all the parts that were unbolted. Ensure that the control arms are loosely bolted, then put the jack stands in as much proximity to the ball joints as possible.

Allow the vehicle's weight to rest on the jack stands before tightening everything up. The reason is to make sure the bushings don't get bound up. While engine cradles support the vehicle's engine while it is in the car, the tool that helps it outside the car is called the engine stand. Choosing the right engine stand is also essential in keeping the vehicle engine safe always.

How to choose an engine stand

Engine stand

Engine stand come with various specifications and attributes. Picking the right one makes sure that you can always work with ease. The following are the things to look out for before choosing the engine stand to purchase.

  • Compatibility with engine crane.
  • Weight capability.
  • The rotation angles of the engine stand.
  • The stability of the stand.
  • Quality casters and brakes.
  • Adjustable height.

Compatibility with the engine crane

Compatibility with the engine crane

When you want to mount an engine onto an engine stand, you use an engine crane. It would be best if you looked out for the space between the crane legs because it shows how close the crane can get to the engine cradle. Also, checking for the shape of the crane's legs is a good idea. The greater the crane's proximity to the engine cradle, the more comfortable you can mount the engine.

Weight capability

Another thing to look out for when choosing an engine stand is the amount of weight the frame can take. To use this information optimally, you need to know the weight range of the engines you will be working with. Then, compare it with the amount of weight the engine stand can take. Failing to pick the right stand in terms of supported weight can make it hazardous to work with it. Once the stand begins to struggle with the engine's weight, you will notice that it will start to tilt, and that can prove to be dangerous.

Rotation angles of the engine stand

The engine stand can allow you to rotate the engine while working on it to access some obscure regions on the engine. The amount of angles that the engine can be stationed using the stand varies from model to model. Therefore, checking for the one that suits the angles you will prefer the most is very vital.

The stability of the stand

This feature is closely tied to the weight capability of the engine stand. The difference lies in the fact that when checking for stability, you mostly look at the casters' placements. Most engine stands come with four casters, and those are the most stable ones. Some come with only three casters forming a T-shaped base. These types are less stable in that they tend to tilt easily when under severe pressure.

Quality casters and brakes

Quality casters and brakes

A known fact is that casters make it possible to maneuver the engine stand with ease. However, the condition and durability of the casters matter a lot. Because when an engine is mounted, fewer quality casters can find it challenging to support the cradle's weight. Most of the engine stands out.

There might not even come with caster brakes, which can be uncomfortable. When working with the stand, having total control of the cradle's movements is very vital. No one likes to continually pull the cradle back to position while working because its casters do not have good brakes to hold them in place.

Adjustable height

Some engine stands have adjustable height; you can adjust the height at which you want to work. You will find some stands with three levels of adjustments and some with levels more than that. These types of stands have added ease to your posture when working and the suitability for people of varying heights.

Key Takeaways

This article covered engine cradles, their functions, their importance, and the best ones out there. In case you cannot go through the entire article at the moment, this section points out the significant points.

  • An engine cradle refers to the structure attached to the body of a vehicle or its underside.
  • It provides structural support to the vehicle engine and protects some of the car's subsystems from damage.
  • They are also called powertrain cradles and may provide support for the engine's suspension and transmission.
  • Currently, the best engine cradles out there is the Jegs block-off kit, Jegs 80064, Tril gear 1000lb cap auto engine cradle stand, Motors 1000lb, Speedway motors GM Chevy V8 LSx and the Redline SD1K.
  • It is vital to ensure that the control arms affect the alignment angles of the car.

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