You need to remove the transmission and make sure the input shaft seats fully where as only about 3/4 inch of the splines are visible.
If the transmission in the vehicle with the engine removed, do I still have to remove the transmission? Doesn't make sense to me... I can measure this with the transmission in the car or not, can't I?
now put the converter on and turn it back and forth till you get that final clunk where it drops all the way in. When all the way in the converter is about 1/8 inch from the case, just about to rub.
Boy, I'm pretty sure that's the way it was when I tried to put the engine in.
Now install the engine and line it up with the bell housing bolts, When you have a 1/2 inch gap, then line up the flex plate holes to the converter. Tighten up the bell housing. When fully tight, there should be a 1/8 -3/16 inch gap between the converter and flex plate.
Good information! That will help a lot!!!!! The 1/8 to 3/16 inch gap between the converter and flex plate rings a bell. I thought the converter studs were fully seated while there was still a bit of a gap between the engine and trans.
When you tried to install the engine if you did not torque the engine down hard, at the bell housing then odds are you did no damage. If there is damage it would be a broken pump gear meaning a new pump.
Is there a way to check for the broken pump gear? Can the pump be replaced with the transmission in the car thru the bell housing or must the transmission be out of the car? Is this an easy replacement, do a bunch of little parts fall out? Are special tools etc. required?