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Saturday, November 22, 2014

And...She's Off..

I managed to separate the frame from the body and actually make it so I could roll the frame out from underneath. I did this by myself because it was cold (my boys elected to stay inside) and because...well, I'm stubborn and I wanted to see if I could do it myself. Success! Though, I will admit there were moments when I thought I was going to spill the tub. But, hey, no injuries this time, so I guess I can be happy about that!

I decided that I would use "custom made" sawhorses for the job. And, when I say custom made, I mean ones that took me about 15 minutes to put together with parts from Lowe's, eye-balling them by the "yeah, that looks good" method.

Sawhorse supports. Ended up cutting them to about 26" tall for the rear...20" for the front. Sucks not having a level driveway as I had to shim the legs...well, it shouldn't blow over in the wind!
I got the tub supported up so that I can roll the frame out from underneath. Once I got it relatively level and stable, I was able to "shim" either corner (using 4" long 2x4 "spacers") using only one arm. I am NOT strong by any means. Leverage helped, I'm sure, but the body is NOT heavy when dealing with a corner at a time.
On the blocks...like drydocking one of my old submarines!
Couple of things that screwed me up for those that are trying this. The fuel tank was gone, but the line from the motor to the tank remained and I had to get this clear of where it enters the boot.

Fuel Line Boot Entry
I cut the handbrake cable just behind the handbrake lever that is in the passenger compartment (sorry, no pics). It was in bad shape and, well, I would replace it anyway. However, this was NOT the correct cut. When trying to lift the body for what I thought was the "money shot", it was still hanging up on the frame. The handbrake line that is key is the transverse cable that runs between the back wheels. I cut this (I have the spare one of these). Again, no pics, but for my case, it was just easier to cut it (Dremel tool to the rescue) than deal with it.

All in all, unlike the red car, I have more concerns for this frame than I do for this tub. There are more areas on the black tub that have been dinged and dented that I don't find on my red tub...which means I have "ready-spares", I guess. However, for the black tub they are relatively minor and I think it will come down to decisions to be made as I prep the body for cosmetic work vice get it ready for the road, if you know what I mean (dents won't keep me from getting her registered...lack of tub structure will).

As I said, this was a one-man job. I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done. I used a jack, a bunch of 4" long 2x4 shims, 8-foot 2x4 cross-supports (which are the same as you see supporting the body above) and jack stands to make it all work. I will have to do the same to the red car and, lessons learned, think it will take about half the time. But, nothing earth-shattering to share with you on how to do it. It would be much easier with 3 or 4 strong friends once you get your sawhorses built, however. What took me about 6 hours would take a smart crew of 4 about 30 minutes. Again, I'm stubborn. Use this and the other posts on the forum, and you should be fine.

As far as other concerns...I spoke about the PO's ambition to install a non-standard tranny and engine in this car. He did frame modifications to do this. My red car has an original frame and, as far as I know (and am confident is true), the areas that the PO modified on the black frame will be good on the red frame. I include the areas of concern on the black frame below and would love feedback:

Cross-member is partially cut (bottom of pic) with modification-strength just forward of steering rack.

Mod-tranny mounts towards left. Driver's original mount (top) good, passenger's gone). Can I reverse this safely?

Firewall. Upper cross-member (where top of tranny tunnel would be) has a piece of square-iron in it. Steal from red car and tack-weld it in...followed by permanent installation?


  1. You've got my feedback in an email.
    As for the saw horses, those buggers look like they may close up if bumped. If you plan on keeping it up on those for a long duration, I'd scab a board across the legs to keep them from closing.

  2. Roger that. Once I get that frame out of there and decide where I want to keep the tub, I'll make the horses more secure.