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Thread: best way to lift body off frame??

  1. #1
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    best way to lift body off frame??

    I have a 54 stude 2 door C coupe and want to come up with a contraption to lift the body off the frame yet keep the body as complete as possible such as leaving fender on. I figure I'd have to pull the steering column, probably radiator to keep from damaging it. Has anyone else tried this (meaning the whole body not just center body section)? I would suppose it would need to be supported in several locations. (front cowl, body and rear member). Was thinking cherry pickers, come alongs or jacks etc..)
    Any ideas or pictures would be helpful.

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    wow you'd leave the front fenders on?
    ? yr M5 under restoration
    a bunch of non-Stude stuff

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    They have no rust. I understand that you cant lift by the front fenders.

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    It is not as much the fenders that are the issue as the inner fender panels clearing the motor, if that is still in there.
    Then there is all of the wiring that goes in and out of the fender wells and in and out of the frame. I am not speaking of your model specifically, just general concerns on lifting any body off of a frame without stripping it down at least some.

    As far as lifting it up in general, with or without front clip, is easy if you do it with jacks or a cherry picker on the front and a jack under the back and then just go slow and use blocks to space the body up, then move the jack down with spacer blocks and shorten the chain on the hoist. Lift again, more spacer blocks between the frame and body, lower the jack again.....repeat....lather, rinse, repeat.

    Remember to be careful, take your time, and do not get between the parts with any of YOUR parts.
    Also remember that your dunage that you use to support the body between the frame is the safest when it is longer and running all of the way across the frame and NOT little square pieces of 2x4 that will roll over easily like JENGA tower.

    If you google images of how they move a house and how the stack dunage that may help, not that you can do the same technique with stacking 2 left then 2 right like they do, but the principle will be similar.

    Then once the body is high enough to clear the frame/engine or whatever you need to clear, you can run some timbers {minimum 4x4 preferably 4x6 stood upright or better 6x6} or steel beams to support the frame and make supports for those OUTSIDE of the body line and roll the frame out from under the supported cab.

    You WILL get alot of the nay sayers who will cry "NO DONT DO IT like that, or it cant be done, or it should NOT be done like that"....but I have done this twice and it woorked just fine. There are dangers, but there are dangers sitting on your couch too. I know a guy who died while sitting on his couch when a plane crashed into his house....moral of the story, dont live in a flight path, and be VERY carful under your car....but have fun and post some pics.

  5. #5
    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    A number of years ago I built a simple but effective body lift, as we lift of a lot of bodies.
    I will submit pictures when I return to the shop after the Xmas break.
    But, I still don't understand why you would want to leave on the front fenders??
    Good Roads
    Brian
    Brian Woods
    woodysrods@shaw.ca
    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

  6. #6
    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    Peterson's 40 Pontiac 017.jpgPeterson's 40 Pontiac 018.jpgPeterson's 40 Pontiac 014.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by woodysrods View Post
    A number of years ago I built a simple but effective body lift, as we lift of a lot of bodies.
    I will submit pictures when I return to the shop after the Xmas break.
    But, I still don't understand why you would want to leave on the front fenders??
    Good Roads
    Brian
    Here is a 40 Pontiac we were lifting with my device.
    Brian Woods
    woodysrods@shaw.ca
    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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    Hi,

    Now might be a good time to warn folks that if they have a garage with the roof framed with prefabricated manufactured trusses - trusses joined with punchplate gussets - that those trusses are usually not designed to carry a lot of weight on the lower chord and lifting engines and car bodies with chain falls or winches connected to those trusses can (and often does) damage the trusses and threaten the structural integrity of your garage, shop or house. I know this because for the last 15+ years I've been a professional home inspector and I've seen, literally, dozens of structures unwittingly damaged by well-meaning folks who were simply pursuing their favorite hobby.

    Before you attempt to suspend weight like that with the lift device anchored to framing above the car, make sure you have a structural engineer look the structure over and determine whether the structural members bearing the load are capable of doing so without damaging the structure. If not, have them altered/reinforced as the engineer suggests.

    Mike O'Handley
    Kenmore, Washington
    hausdok@msn.com

  8. #8
    President Member Johnnywiffer's Avatar
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    Hey, even Studebaker had the fenders off--when they built 'em.



    John

  9. #9
    Silver Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    A cherry picker worked just fine for me:



    Craig

  10. #10
    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    I have done several vehicles off frame, both, cars and trucks. I have never lifted the body using an overhead lift. I have also managed to do it without removing the steering column, or clutch and brake pedal shafts. However, I have always removed the front clip. Due to the fact that everything beyond the firewall is supported at the front of the frame, the overhung weight of those components could cause warping, flexing, and distortions that would be nearly impossible to correct for reassembly.

    The first part of the process is to make sure you have your most valuable tool handy. (Corny part here) That is your "patience." Without it...mistakes and injuries are likely. Next, keep a chair handy, so that you can rest for a few moments as you think about your next move. Keep in mind that taking a car apart, requires room to store the parts. Since upholstered parts like seats, door panels, etc. need to be protected...behind the couch, under the bed, and closet space is good to have.

    Once you have the front clip, seats, etc. safely off and stored, you can remove the steering wheel, gear shift lever, column jacket, pedal pads, accelerator linkage, hand brake linkage, and wiring. Instead of removing the steering column, I remove all but one mounting bolt from the steering gear. I back off the one bolt that I leave in the gear box. That way, I can pivot the column as I raise the body. When I get the body high enough to roll the chassis out, the steering column will simply pivot and slide out of the hole in the firewall.

    No matter how many times I do this, there always seems to be something I miss. For example, the hoses to the under seat heater, a ground wire, or something a previous owner has done that is only discovered later. Once you get the bolts, wires, hoses, and linkages removed, you can start at what I call the "four corners" of the body and begin jacking it up off the frame. What I do is use four bottle jacks and lift an inch or two at each corner.(Of course, four jacks are optional...you can simply support the body and move your jack.)

    As I get the body in the air, I use jack stands, (good healthy) cement blocks, and wooden beams. I slide the beams between the body and chassis. When the body is high enough to get the beams in place, you can then lift on the beams until the body is high enough to roll the chassis out.

    If you support the body at the chassis mount locations, it should not flex or warp unnecessarily.
    I have done this many times and it has worked well for me.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC


    SDC member since 1975

  11. #11
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    Some good ideas and advice esp about today's trusses. And wow ya Stude had the fenders off but the hood on? Wild.
    When I was a kid having nothing overhead to pull on I made an overhead support from 5 tree trunks I had cut which were about 4-5 inches in diam. Made a triangle at each side and then the last one stretched across the top of the two triangles. I think I used 3/4 threaded rod to go thru and thru the tops of the triangles, then the 5th section lays in the small V at the top, use 2 more thru bolts to stabilize the cross bar, and i think i used cables to the ground from the cross bar to further stabilize. Looked Neanderthalian but was strong and worked fine
    ? yr M5 under restoration
    a bunch of non-Stude stuff

  12. #12
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    I put up a warehouse rack over top of a SilverHawk side-to-side and ran two oak 4x4 12' beams front to back. Used four cable come alongs & chain loops over the oak beams so there were 4 points to lift. The two front come alongs hooked into the openings at the firewall-to-frame supports. Cut an oak 4x4 to span inside of trunk left to right and attached come alongs. As long as you raised the body fairly level...all was very secure & safe. The body was suspended for about 3 months. The trunk structure was not damaged at all by the timber. Of course, the front clip was removed prior to lifting the body.
    Ray Stewart SDC
    51 pick-up
    57 silver hawk
    62 lark

  13. #13
    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    Sandi's 61 Hawk 122.jpgSandi's 61 Hawk 123.jpgHere are a couple of pictures of Sandi's car as it was lifted off of the chassis and placed on the roticery.
    Good roads
    Brian
    Brian Woods
    woodysrods@shaw.ca
    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

  14. #14
    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    Misc 2011 074.jpgMisc 2011 073.jpgPicturesMisc 2011 075.jpgof my lifting device.
    It is made frome .125 wall 1 1/2" sq. tubing & 1 1/2" angle iron. 64 1/2" long, 12 1/2" wide,
    & 6 1/2" tall (Actual frame) with the rings 9" tall. I have wooden shoes that can be moved in and out depending on the width of the car c/w with rug buffers. The lift chain is a 6' piece of chain with a fixed centre hook and clevised locking hooks on each end.
    Works like a charm on all types of cars and truck cabs.
    Good Roads
    Brian
    Brian Woods
    woodysrods@shaw.ca
    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

  15. #15
    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    Picture of my ceiling hook.Xmas 2011.jpgPlease note that those four scres are #10's 2" long and the ceiling is 5/8" plywood.
    Have you ever tried to pull 2" screw straight out of a piece of 5/8" plywood???
    Brian
    Brian Woods
    woodysrods@shaw.ca
    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

  16. #16
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    Woodsy,
    I like your lifting rig, it looks like a nice piece of equipment.
    Please dont take this wrong, but I would not have the confidence in the wood screws holding your ceiling eyelet that you have.

    The industry standard of testing states that A #10 wood screw installed into 3/4" plywood (they did not even test 5/8") with 5 plys and using the exactly correct pre-drill bit (.190) and tightened to the exact correct torque spec (I could not find the correct spec in my book right now) only has a 395 lb. pull out strength. So that means that your 4 screws can only hold 1580 lbs....total. That number would include the weight of your eyelet, chains, pulleys or winch/comealong/chainhoist....your lift rig AND the weight of your body of the car/truck.

    You could pretty easily exceed that. There could be a serious consiquence if that eyelet let go.
    Please be careful.
    I also think hausdok was saying that it is less the way you attach but the type of rafters you are attached to.
    Housing tract houses and many modern home use a roofing truss that is an engineered truss that usually uses 2x4 that are cleated together with a punched plate. They are great to work with and easy to install. They are quite strong, right up to their "engineered" weight rating. Then they buckle like a house of cards.

    If your shop has joisting that are more substantial then you are like fine on the structutal capabilities to hold you body's weight, but I would still really worry about your screws on the eyelet.

    And yes to answer your question of "have I ever tried to pull a #10 wood screw out of plywood?" YES and it is not that hard. I usually clarify my technical comments with things like "I am no expert or I am not positive but you MIGHT...." or things like that....but in this case, carpentry, I am an expert and no qualifications neccesary..... 4 years of an apprenticship program, a life in construction of 35 years in tool bags, and 15 years as a Foreman reading blueprints and engineering spec binders....I would NEVER lift anything with 4 #10 screws.

    As a matter of fact, in the last 2 years the UBC, UL, ASTM and all cities in California have removed ALL weight bearing allowances from ALL drywall type screws. That means we can NO longer use a drywall screw, even the heavier #10 size, to support or "carry" and downward load other than the drywall itself. We can not even mount a flourescent light to a ceiling with drywall screws any longer. That is straight from the Unified Building Code.

    I would use 1/4" lag bolts and make sure that they were screwing into a joist, or better yet into a block that is nailed into the joist.
    Your shop, your life, your crushed collector car...do as you wish.

  17. #17
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    My car has been hanging in my garage for a week.
    I have two homade eyes, two 1/2 x 4 lags each and two cable come a longs and they hook onto a flat bar that slides in my door hinge pockets in the front and a reinforcing bar in the rear.
    Works really good because I can just slide the hook on the flat bar th balance it.
    My body goes on and comes off with the front fenders on.
    The only pita is having to jack one side at a time three and a half feet takes a few minutes.

    Dean.

    Dean.

  18. #18
    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    Sorry kmac530
    I wanted a response but did not mean for you to type so much.
    Everyone that comes into my shop and sees a car hanging from the ceiling has to throw in their 2 cents about the 4 screws holding the plate in place.
    And I always use the "have you ever tryed to pull 4 2" screws straight out?" comment to answer their question.
    You can sleep tonight knowing that the 4 screws are there for "SHOW" only.
    The eye in the middle of that little plate is 3/4" 16" long extendining up thruough the 5/8" plywood, three 2x10's to bring the flat surface up to the top of the ceiling truss, then thru a 12' 4x4 that picks up 5 of the trusses and finally through a 1/4" plate before it is washered and nutted.
    My chain hoist probably can't lift what the ceiling can handle???
    Once again Sorry! Guess I had too many sweets over christmas and was feeling a little silly.
    Good Roads
    Brian
    Brian Woods
    woodysrods@shaw.ca
    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac530 View Post
    I also think hausdok was saying that it is less the way you attach but the type of rafters you are attached to. Housing tract houses and many modern home use a roofing truss that is an engineered truss that usually uses 2x4 that are cleated together with a punched plate. They are great to work with and easy to install. They are quite strong, right up to their "engineered" weight rating. Then they buckle like a house of cards.
    Hi,

    Woodsy, I wasn't specifically criticising your install, because I had no idea what's above that ceiling; but kmac530 is correct - my concern is primarily with manufactured trusses and folks need to know that hanging cars on the lower chords or pulling engines with them is straight-up dangerous

    It's actually scary the number of homes where owners have used the lower chords of manufactured trusses for storage and/or pulling engines or, in the case of the photos below, lifting the cab off a pickup truck. The lower chords of manufactured trusses are actually not designed to support any live load. They are in tension and are meant to keep the walls plumb. Then the diagonals function like a bridge to keep the roof plane flat and the whole thing works to keep the ridge straight. Everyone in the construction business knows that one never loads the lower chords unless they've been reinforced under the direction of an engineer and one never modifies one of these trusses unless an engineer designs a repair to take up the support lost by the modification.

    Homeowners don't seem to know it though. In the case of the house below, it was a 5 year old half million dollar home. The husband's hobby was building off-road pickups before he ended up losing the home in foreclosure. According to the realtor, a week before I inspected that home the attic of the garage was full from end-to-end with spare auto parts and household goods. Photo one shows the chain that held his chainfall. Follow the chain's journey up through the drywall ceiling (Photo #2) to the peak of the truss where it's wrapped around a cleat nailed between the top chords and bolted (Photo #3). Now go back and look at Photo #2 again. Notice the diagonal brace missing from truss? Think that's bad? Look at Photo #4 where a whole row of diagonal braces have been pried out of the trusses. Photo #5 shows you how large that attic was. According to the realtor it was filled end-to-end with personal property. After seeing that and learning from the realtor about the personal property, I went up on the roof of the garage and stretched a carpenter line along the ridge. The ridge on this 5-year-old home had sagged 4 inches. Where the braces had been pried out of the trusses the roof plane sagged about 2-1/2 inches at the center and the walls were an inch out of plumb at the top on both sides. We haven't had a heavy snow here since January of 1996, but if he'd kept his house and we'd had a heavy snow comparable to what we had in 1996 this winter I think it's a safe bet that the roof of this guy's garage would have collapsed. By the way, I was told that though the cost to repair the damage was minimal, total cost due to engineering fees went over $12,000. That's fees that the bank will add to what he owes after the house is sold and he still has to pay off the balance of his mortgage.

    Now, that's not to say it's OK, when a ceiling isn't part of a manufactured truss, to simply run a bult up through a ceiling and wrap it around a timber that's lain across a few ceiling joists and expect it to be safe. Just because it's worked for a few folks here and they didn't have any disasters, doesn't mean it'll work for everyone in every circumstance. When that kind of thing goes bad, it goes really bad and really bad quickly. Someone could get badly hurt. Again, if you're going to be lifting that kind of weight, spend a few hundred bucks to have an engineer come by, look at your structure, look at what you want to do with it, and sketch out a plan for you to adequately reinforce the timbers that you're going to be hanging that weight from. A friend of mine hired an engineer to help him design truss modifications when he raised his living room ceiling. The engineer came by, looked things over, sketched out a plan on note paper, stamped it and it cost my friend just over $300. The city accepted the drawing, which allowed him to modify the trusses legally and his living room ceiling came out beautifully. When he goes to sell and an inspector finds those modified trusses, he'll be able to pull out the engineer's stamped drawings and immediately quell any question/concerns/objections that a potential buyer might have.







    Mike O'Handley
    Kenmore, Washington
    hausdok@msn.com

  20. #20
    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    All the discussion about rafters, bolts, etc....Kinda lets me know that taking the body off without lifting it from overhead is not such a bad method after all. (Post # 10) Keeping the chassis rolling on its wheels allows you to maneuver it as needed. Once the chassis is rolled out, the body can be lowered to the dolly of your choosing or mounted on a rotisserie if you happen to be fortunate enough to have one.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC


    SDC member since 1975

  21. #21
    President Member mmagic's Avatar
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    Thanks... You just confirmed what I intuitively believed. DR Horton may by build a decent tract house but even if the design could support an extra load of dead weight in the center of the garage span, there is no assurance that the hired help who couldn't speak English would build it exactly as designed or the city inspector trying to get through a list of houses by lunch would catch any mistakes.

    I'll jack from the bottom with what I can see. My bigger problem is restoring a 17' car in an 18' garage!

  22. #22
    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmagic View Post
    Thanks... You just confirmed what I intuitively believed. DR Horton may by build a decent tract house but even if the design could support an extra load of dead weight in the center of the garage span, there is no assurance that the hired help who couldn't speak English would build it exactly as designed or the city inspector trying to get through a list of houses by lunch would catch any mistakes.

    I'll jack from the bottom with what I can see. My bigger problem is restoring a 17' car in an 18' garage!
    Make sure to back the car into the garage before you start taking it apart. The chassis needs to roll forward if you leave the steering gear box and column shaft in place.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC


    SDC member since 1975

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    Woodsy,
    Not a problem on the typing....I think that was a funny prank, I bet you get alot of "oh wow....no no no".
    I am sorry if I was long winded explaining a basically simple thing. I just wanted to be clear as to WHY that is a bad idea, and that it was not just my "opinion" in this case but actually based on research and independat testing. But it sounds like you have it pretty well covered. I am very glad it was a joke. Good on you.

    If my long typing, coupled with the Doktors structural info actually helps even one person make a safer choice then it was worth a few minutes of typeing and pulling out some spec books.
    I would bet the Dok feels the same way, better safe than sorry. Just like everyone here is so helpful with what they know, Stude stuff, then we are happy to share what we know...construction stuff. Well at least I feel like that, at it looks to me that dok feels the same based on his informative posts.

  24. #24
    President Member mmagic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclary View Post
    Make sure to back the car into the garage before you start taking it apart. The chassis needs to roll forward if you leave the steering gear box and column shaft in place.
    Good point. As much planning is going into this part of the project as procuring missing parts. First step will be a stop at Sports Authority to pick up a set of soccer shin guards!

    I plan to set the body on 4 car dollies so it can be rolled to maximize useable floor space or even moved to storage. The chassis may make multiple trips to storage. Working on sequence of body vs chassis work. While I always believe in working from the foundation to the finished product, I'm more concerned about parts procurement and delays on the body element...

  25. #25
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    All preseeding post offer a lot of good ideas. but remove all four fenders if you want to do a good job. leave the doors on. 4 healthy young men can lift the body section off, roll the chassis out from under it. make sure you mark the body shims, rubber/mretal where the came off. reuse them in the same places, same direction, why you ask, doors will operate as before removing the body.
    Richard

  26. #26
    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    I have another hand set of tools we use lots. They were a simple build, and are light weight and require little storage space.
    They are like saw horse ends made from thin wall tubing. A4x4 slips thru them to form the top of the horse.
    I made them tall enough, that once your body is raised almost "ALL" complete chassis can roll out from under them. Even with the carb and air cleaner.
    They put the body up high enough that you can get under it to scrape of undercoat before sandblasting, weld in patches, replace rockers, etc, at a comfortable level.
    They also work great for the reverse proceedure of putting the body back on after the chassis has be restored and reassembled.
    I will post some pictures.
    These were another one of those great investments of time and very little money.
    Good Roads
    Brian
    PS
    A Cherry picker attachhed to a chain bolted to the two rear body mounting holes inside the trunk is a great way to get the back up.
    And a second Cherry Picker (engine hoist) can be hooked to a longer chain hooked thru the forward firewall body mounts to lift the front from above the cowl. Or one end a little at a time if you do not have two Cherry pickers.
    Brian Woods
    woodysrods@shaw.ca
    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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