Monday, September 13, 2010

Removal of bodyshell from chassis

This task can be accomplished single-handedly, but it is recommended that four strong adults are on hand to do the lifting, plus an observer to shout out if you forget to remove or disconnect anything during the preparations. The most common reason for parting the body and chassis is floorpan repair or replacement and, if the floorpan is thus rotted then the heater channel/sill assembly is certain to have also rotted — and vice-versa. It is vital that the heater channels are welded to the body shell only with the heater channels bolted to the chassis, so that the bolt holes of the two are correctly aligned. Bolt or weld in stiffening braces across the door apertures and between the A posts to prevent the shell from distorting as it is lifted. Leave the rear seat support in position throughout.
Remove the seats, battery, fuel tank and wings, then bleed the entire braking system dry before removing the flexible brake hoses. On McPherson strut models, support the framehead and remove the strut assembly from the wheelarch. Disconnect the wiring in the engine bay, including the oil light, ignition and reversing light wide if fitted, and disconnect the speedometer cable.
Underneath the fuel tank there are two holes in which you'll find 17 mm headed bolts; remove these and also disconnect the brake master cylinder pipes. Remove the nuts and bolts from the steering column bottom flange (early torsion bar cars) or the clamp bolt on later cars.
Remove the 17 mm headed rear body mounting bolts from within the rear wheelarch, the two from the front of the heater channels and the 8 mm headed bolts which run along the heater channels. It is likely that some of the captive threaded plates which the 8 mm bolts run into will break free from their position inside the heater channels; grind off the heads of the bolts concerned. Some bolts will shear; leave these until later, when the bodyshell is off. Even if you are replacing the
floorpan and heater channels, be sure to keep the shaped outer washers from the heater channel/floorpan fixing bolts.
From inside the car, remove firstly the rear seat (leave the support in place to help brace the body), then the four bolts from the front end of the spine. Disconnect the heat exchanger ducts. Disconnect the starter solenoid wires and the red/white wire running from the battery to the regulator, Disconnect the earth strap. On the 1302/3 series cars, remove the steering stabiliser bolt under the spare wheel and also the two adjacent 17 mm headed bolts which run into the frame head and, from inside the car, the two bolts at the top front of the tunnel. Split the track rod end ball joints and tie the track rod ends out of harm's way.
Before attempting to lift the body it is a good idea if you have not already done so to internally brace the bodyshell before lifting it, by welding in lengths of box section steel across the door apertures and between the two A post bases.
The less you have to lift the bodyshell skyward the better, so always remove the front seats and seriously consider also removing the engine. Removing the engine obviously lessens the chances damaging it when the body is lifted away. Rather than moving the bodyshell away from the chassis, you can make up supports (BSW use plastic milk crates) so that the one end of the body at a time can be lifted and beams fitted between the supports. The chassis can then be wheeled out from underneath the bodyshell.
As a matter of course, it pays to renew all brake pipes and the fuel pipe with copper/nickel alternatives while the body is off the car. The steel originals do rust and burst brake pipes or a leaking fuel line present obvious dangers.

Popular Posts