An Engine Cradle Replacement cost in Santa Rosa in 2023

The average cost for a remove & replace cradle/frame assembly is $765

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An Engine Cradle Replacement costs by shop in Santa Rosa.

CarAdvise Customers save an average of $153 on An Engine Cradle Replacement.


Average cost of An Engine Cradle Replacement for popular vehicle models in Santa Rosa:

Car Model

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THE IMPORTANCE OF An Engine Cradle Replacement

What is an engine cradle and how does it work?

An engine cradle is a structural component of a unibody vehicle that supports the engine, transmission, and suspension components. Also known as a “subframe”, the engine cradle is made of a much thicker metal than the rest of the vehicle, which makes it suitable to hold these heavy components in place and handle all of the torque associated with them.

Years ago, nearly all vehicles featured heavy steel frames that ran from front to back along the underside. Such frames held the engine, transmission, steering system, suspension, exhaust, and other parts. The vehicle body was mounted on top of the frame. Most trucks, some large SUVs, and a few full-sized cars still utilize this arrangement today.

Beginning in the late 1970’s, another type of body structure became popular, driven significantly by fuel shortages and the need to produce lighter-weight vehicles. Instead of the heavy body-on-frame design, these vehicles featured comprehensive bodies made of much thinner sheet metal panels welded together. No heavy-duty frame underneath. Most passenger vehicles today are unibody construction.

The engine cradle is the only component of a unibody vehicle that resembles a frame (with the exception of a rear suspension crossmember). Because the engine cradle is thicker and stronger than the rest of the body structure, it is able to handle the torque from the engine, transmission, and front suspension, all of which is bolted to the cradle. Typically made of steel or aluminum, the cradle is bolted to the lower part of the vehicle’s underbody structure through rubber isolators that help to dampen vibrations from the drivetrain.


How do I know if my vehicle needs a new engine cradle?

An engine cradle, being extremely sturdy, does not usually need to be replaced unless it is damaged as a result of an impact or from corrosion. Generally speaking, there is no typical problem with an engine cradle. Instead, bent or deteriorated parts of the cradle can affect the components mounted to it. For instance, if a lower control mount becomes bent, the vehicle’s wheel alignment can be thrown off.

Signs that the engine cradle in your vehicle might need to be replaced include:

A clunking noise coming from the engine compartment when accelerating or decelerating

Abnormal vibrations while driving

Poor wheel alignment

Your vehicle does not track straight down the road (pulls to one side)

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How does a technician perform An Engine Cradle Replacement ?

The procedures associated with removing and replacing an engine cradle can be extensive. That is because the cradle holds the engine, the transmission, and the front suspension in place. If the cradle were simply removed, all of those components would fall to the ground. The process also differs from one vehicle make and model to the next. And it can be different depending on the size and orientation of the engine and transmission.

In general, steps that a technician will take to replace an engine cradle include the following:

  • Remove the front wheels and tires
  • Disassemble any steering and suspension components necessary, including the lower control arms, rack and pinion, and the like
  • With the vehicle safely lifted and supported in the air, and the engine and transmission supported by a special engine brace or lift, disconnect the engine mounts from the cradle
  • With supports in place to hold the cradle, remove the four cradle mounting bolts
  • Lower the old cradle and lift the new cradle into position; fasten in place
  • Relieve the supporting tension from the engine and transmission
  • Attach the engine mounts
  • Reinstall the lower control arm, steering components, and wheels and tires On some vehicles, other parts might need to be disassembled as well. Hoses and lines are often routed along the engine cradle. The rubber isolators might need to be installed into the new cradle. And a wheel alignment might need to be performed before your vehicle is placed back into service.


How important is an engine cradle?
An engine cradle or “subframe” is an essential structural component of a unibody vehicle, the most common type of passenger vehicle structure on the road today. The cradle supports the engine, transmission, and front suspension. Without it, the welded sheet metal structure that makes up the rest of the vehicle body would not be strong enough to support those components.
What is the plastic piece under the engine called?
There are a few different names associated with the plastic shield underneath an engine. It is often called a splash shield, lower engine shield, or skid plate (although that term is more often associated with a metal shield that protects the underbody from brush during off-road use). Its main purpose is to prevent water and debris from entering the engine compartment from below.
How do you fix a rusted subframe?
On occasion, an engine cradle or “subframe” will experience a significant amount of corrosion. That is especially true in northern regions where snow and salt are common, or in coastal areas where salt from the sea can be a problem. Minor corrosion might be handled with a special type of corrosion-encapsulating or nullifying paint. But an engine cradle with heavy corrosion should not be repaired, since it is an essential part of the vehicle’s structure and safety.

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