This spring, I yanked the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission out of one of my old British sports cars and replaced them with a 4.0-liter V-8 and four-speed automatic. I did the job by myself in my driveway using common hand tools I've owned for decades and a borrowed hand-operated hydraulic engine hoist.
Ever since my first engine job in 1978, I have been extremely safety conscious and cautious. You get that way when a Ford Mustang engine smashes your fingers.
Until recently, I never worried much about accidentally injuring myself working on a restoration project. What I think about now are stress and strain injuries from turning wrenches, from twisting and contorting under dashes and subframes, and from heavy lifting — activities that don't usually bother younger bodies.
Turns out I am not the only one with those concerns. The tool companies that supply the nation's technicians — Snap-On, Mac, Sonic and others — are keenly aware that the aging technician work force is susceptible to on-the-job injuries and is working to design tools that can help older techs stay healthy at work.