Topics

Raising the Body Off the Frame and Rolling It Over


Bruce Derenski
 

Good evening, Crosley Fans!

I'm the guy that posted about the CD Wagon electric conversion last month. I'm just now doing the grunt work that goes with any restoration, and I'm still many moons away from the sexy stuff of the actual conversion. This month's project is separating the frame and body and attacking the repair and preservation of the undercarriage. I know the traditional way of lifting a body off a frame involves half-drunk friends and metal oil drums, but all my friends are in rough shape, and I didn't want to lose any to cardiac arrest, so I thought through a different way.

Behold my patented lifting rig! After stripping everything off the car and removing the doors, I jacked under the front and rear axle to raise the car as far as I could, and placed it on sturdy jack stands. I cut two 2x6s and two 2x4s to 6ft, and used them to span across the door openings. The 2x6s went closest to the floor and were notched to clear the tunnel. The 2x4s go above them; the front one tucked under the dash and the rear one all the way up along the rear of the door opening. The 2x4 under the dash has a couple of notches to clear the two bumps on the underside of the dash. The front two boards are attached using 1/4" bolts through the door hinge holes. I had to drill holes in the door opening frame for the rear boards. I feel badly about that, but I'll weld-plug them later. These four horizontal boards bear the entire weight of the body, so it's important to attach them well. I cut two 2x6's in half to make the 4 vertical supports, but I didn't attach them yet. I bought three 1000lb trailer jacks from Harbor Freight  (about $25 each with the coupon and borrowed a fourth one off my jet ski trailer.  I raised one jack all the way up, then lowered it an inch and used it to position the lower end of each of the four vertical supports. The vertical supports were attached with a bunch of screws to all four horizontals, and the four jacks were lag screwed to the vertical supports. I lopped off the top of the verticals even with the roof of the car, and I added two more 2x4s to the top and bottom of the verticals on the PASSENGER SIDE ONLY, running from the front to the back of the car. And I added a couple of short lengths of 2x6 to the bottom of the vertical supports. These lengths have an arc cut in them, and are positioned so that they "catch" the car on this side when the jacks on this side are almost completely lowered.

Now the fun part. After I unbolted the body, I put concrete blocks under the four jacks and raised the body up 4", ensuring that I hadn't missed any bolts (I did). With the body clear of the frame and supported by the trailer jacks, I used my trusty rolling jack to support the axles while I removed the jack stands and lowered the frame. With the wheels off the car, the frame still rolls easily on the brake drums. I dragged the frame clear of the body with about 4" to spare between the top of the shock towers and the bottom of the floorboards. Now, the body is high in the air and the frame is out in the driveway.

I then used the trailer jacks one at a time to remove the blocks on the PASSENGER SIDE ONLY.  I lowered the passenger side as far as I could, removed the blocks then repositioned those blocks to the driver's side, raising it as far as I could. When the passenger side was completely lowered, it was caught and supported by those two curved pieces I mentioned. Now the car was tilted about 30 degrees, and I could lift the driver side without any further help from the trailer jacks. It rolled over the rest of the way on the arcs cut in the bottom ends of the 2x6 extensions, and came to rest on the previously-vertical-but-now-horizontal supports.  It is stabilized by the 8' long 2x4s that run from front to back on the passenger side.

I probably haven't done a great job explaining this, but the one thing I can make clear is this: It cost me a couple of afternoons and about $125 in parts, lumber and fasteners to save countless hours on my back under this car. I can do a far better job working upright, and I didn't have to say "Hold this" to my wife or any of my geriatric neighbors. The whole thing is reversible, so when it's time to put the body back on the frame, I can do it without drama.

Can I get an Amen?


John Stein
 

 raised my super sports built a frame on top of a old hospital gurney .
works great. I love works in progress


 

Bruce that is awesome! Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.


On Feb 21, 2020, at 6:38 PM, bruce.derenski via Groups.Io <bruce.derenski@...> wrote:

Good evening, Crosley Fans!

I'm the guy that posted about the CD Wagon electric conversion last month. I'm just now doing the grunt work that goes with any restoration, and I'm still many moons away from the sexy stuff of the actual conversion. This month's project is separating the frame and body and attacking the repair and preservation of the undercarriage. I know the traditional way of lifting a body off a frame involves half-drunk friends and metal oil drums, but all my friends are in rough shape, and I didn't want to lose any to cardiac arrest, so I thought through a different way.

Behold my patented lifting rig! After stripping everything off the car and removing the doors, I jacked under the front and rear axle to raise the car as far as I could, and placed it on sturdy jack stands. I cut two 2x6s and two 2x4s to 6ft, and used them to span across the door openings. The 2x6s went closest to the floor and were notched to clear the tunnel. The 2x4s go above them; the front one tucked under the dash and the rear one all the way up along the rear of the door opening. The 2x4 under the dash has a couple of notches to clear the two bumps on the underside of the dash. The front two boards are attached using 1/4" bolts through the door hinge holes. I had to drill holes in the door opening frame for the rear boards. I feel badly about that, but I'll weld-plug them later. These four horizontal boards bear the entire weight of the body, so it's important to attach them well. I cut two 2x6's in half to make the 4 vertical supports, but I didn't attach them yet. I bought three 1000lb trailer jacks from Harbor Freight  (about $25 each with the coupon and borrowed a fourth one off my jet ski trailer.  I raised one jack all the way up, then lowered it an inch and used it to position the lower end of each of the four vertical supports. The vertical supports were attached with a bunch of screws to all four horizontals, and the four jacks were lag screwed to the vertical supports. I lopped off the top of the verticals even with the roof of the car, and I added two more 2x4s to the top and bottom of the verticals on the PASSENGER SIDE ONLY, running from the front to the back of the car. And I added a couple of short lengths of 2x6 to the bottom of the vertical supports. These lengths have an arc cut in them, and are positioned so that they "catch" the car on this side when the jacks on this side are almost completely lowered.

Now the fun part. After I unbolted the body, I put concrete blocks under the four jacks and raised the body up 4", ensuring that I hadn't missed any bolts (I did). With the body clear of the frame and supported by the trailer jacks, I used my trusty rolling jack to support the axles while I removed the jack stands and lowered the frame. With the wheels off the car, the frame still rolls easily on the brake drums. I dragged the frame clear of the body with about 4" to spare between the top of the shock towers and the bottom of the floorboards. Now, the body is high in the air and the frame is out in the driveway.

I then used the trailer jacks one at a time to remove the blocks on the PASSENGER SIDE ONLY.  I lowered the passenger side as far as I could, removed the blocks then repositioned those blocks to the driver's side, raising it as far as I could. When the passenger side was completely lowered, it was caught and supported by those two curved pieces I mentioned. Now the car was tilted about 30 degrees, and I could lift the driver side without any further help from the trailer jacks. It rolled over the rest of the way on the arcs cut in the bottom ends of the 2x6 extensions, and came to rest on the previously-vertical-but-now-horizontal supports.  It is stabilized by the 8' long 2x4s that run from front to back on the passenger side.

I probably haven't done a great job explaining this, but the one thing I can make clear is this: It cost me a couple of afternoons and about $125 in parts, lumber and fasteners to save countless hours on my back under this car. I can do a far better job working upright, and I didn't have to say "Hold this" to my wife or any of my geriatric neighbors. The whole thing is reversible, so when it's time to put the body back on the frame, I can do it without drama.

Can I get an Amen?

Attachments:


Ron D.
 

Bruce,
   I took all of your pics, saved them to my desktop, where I was able to rotate and zoom each one to get a better perspective on how you did this. After zooming around the pics, I determined that you have some good ideas on how to do rehab on the bottom of the body, and I will probably make something similar to this when I get the time to remove my body off my car. Thanks for the pics.

Ron


Bruce Derenski
 


Thanks, Ron. It didn't cost much and it didn't take long. I had to drill 6 holes, but I keep track of those and will fill them all in when the day comes. It's worth every penny and every minute it took to make it. I'm taking the undercoating off the bottom, and the thought of doing that on my back in the driveway still gives me the jitters. It's terrifically nice to pull up a chair in the garage next to the car, put on Fifties on Five and go at the undercoating with a heat gun and scraper without dirt and hot tar dropping onto my face. I stripped more undercoating in 4 hours than I did in four weeks on my last frame-off job.

Some comments:
-You want the car to sit as low as possible when you roll it over, so it isn't unstable when it's up in the air. So mounting the jacks so you can lower the car after the frame is out is important.
-You want to take the wheels off and roll the car on the drums. I didn't have the drums on the rear, so I rolled it on Harbor Freight "wheel skates" and it worked fine.
- If you try to roll the frame on the wheels/tires, you will really have to lift the body high in the air for the shock towers (the highest point of the frame) to clear the rear footwells (the lowest part of the body). If your rig is that high, then you won't be able to lower it all the way down, since there is only about 18" of travel in the trailer jacks. And if it can't lower way down, it will be very difficult to tilt, and it won't be stable when you do tilt it.
-Watch your overhead clearance. When the car is tilting, the overall rig height is quite tall. I have 11 ft ceilings in the garage, but I only had about 7' under the garage door tracks. When I tilted the car, the rear driver's side vertical support bumped the garage door track. I lowered it back to the ground, lopped about 8" off the vertical support, and tilted it again. Nothing hit.
- You can see those curved ends on the vertical support extensions on the passenger side. They're important. They take the strain on that side off of the jacks when the passenger side is fully lowered. I was concerned that the flimsy part of the trailer jack (the fork that holds the wheel) would bend if the jack was side-loaded. Also, if you leave the passenger side wheels in contact with the ground, the whole shebang will roll sideways when you try to lift it.
-Even though I had a pretty good angle on with the jacks alone, there was still some weight to lift. I'd put it under 50 pounds. I could have jacked up the driver's side more, but I was out of blocks. The more angle you get with the jacks, the less weight you have to lift. But keep in mind that the jack travel is less with more angle, and the steeper the angle gets, the less effective the jack is, since it will be working more sideways than up/down.
-I should have used a friend on a strap or rope to help control the rollover. As it rolled over, it wasn't violent or anything, but it certainly went quick. A little bit of braking force would have been less dramatic.

Hope this helps. Have fun!


On February 24, 2020 at 7:46 AM, "Ron D." <rdole417@...> wrote:

Bruce,
   I took all of your pics, saved them to my desktop, where I was able to rotate and zoom each one to get a better perspective on how you did this. After zooming around the pics, I determined that you have some good ideas on how to do rehab on the bottom of the body, and I will probably make something similar to this when I get the time to remove my body off my car. Thanks for the pics.

Ron