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Do it yourself frame off restoration

This is a discussion on Do it yourself frame off restoration within the Classic Muscle forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Just curious, who here has done a frame off restoration? I am about to get started on my frame off ...

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    2004 HEAD/CAM CTS-V 9t8z28's Avatar
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    Do it yourself frame off restoration

    Just curious, who here has done a frame off restoration? I am about to get started on my frame off resto on my 69 Chevelle. I was wondering if anyone has any tips that they would like to share? Especially the easiest way to pull the body without a rotisserie?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Yes I've done them,,,,I used my 2 post car lift to raise the body and roll the chassis out from under. Then I use a homemade rotiserie,,,,but they are cheap to buy,,,,about $800 gets you a pretty nice one. about $1,200 gets you one with hydraulic jacks to raise up and down as well.

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    someday joejenkinsglass's Avatar
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    The tools will make the restore! ? Get a rotiseri.

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    2004 HEAD/CAM CTS-V 9t8z28's Avatar
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    Well I don't have a lift, so I guess that I need to find another way to get the body off.

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    someday joejenkinsglass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9t8z28 View Post
    Well I don't have a lift, so I guess that I need to find another way to get the body off.
    get some buddies to help 4 should be able to pick it up without damaging it.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Hmmm,,,ya without the lift it would take a handfull of buddies, providing we aren't talking about a large car. Even completely stripped some of the bigger cars are pretty damn heavy but mainly awkward. Did a frame off on a 62 catalina this way over at a buddies shop. Big heavy car. We made swivel casters and bolted them to the cowl and rear end.

    Guess you could block it up and work that way,,,,but a rotiserie would make things less stressfull and keep crap out of your eyes

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    2004 HEAD/CAM CTS-V 9t8z28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Hmmm,,,ya without the lift it would take a handfull of buddies, providing we aren't talking about a large car. Even completely stripped some of the bigger cars are pretty damn heavy but mainly awkward. Did a frame off on a 62 catalina this way over at a buddies shop. Big heavy car. We made swivel casters and bolted them to the cowl and rear end.

    Guess you could block it up and work that way,,,,but a rotiserie would make things less stressfull and keep crap out of your eyes
    For sure!

    62 Catalina! Cool! I sell resto parts for them. Hard to find parts!

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    El Toro Grande jaslivers's Avatar
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    make sure to bag and tag all parts down to the bolts!!!



    i still have extra bolts laying around, where do they go??

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    someday joejenkinsglass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaslivers View Post
    make sure to bag and tag all parts down to the bolts!!!



    i still have extra bolts laying around, where do they go??
    +1 and make sure to brace the body real well to keep it from getting out of square

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    Rodzilla Tha Cavity Filla zero_proto's Avatar
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    wish i had the space to do something like that

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    People have done it in a 1 car garage.

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    Rodzilla Tha Cavity Filla zero_proto's Avatar
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    well i am doing alot in my garage, but i don't have room for much

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    El Toro Grande jaslivers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrondownhiller View Post
    People have done it in a 1 car garage.
    started out in my garage, now has moved to my grandpas old shop, it aint much bigger though.... its all about using the space wisely

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    Junior Member 1987BuickGN's Avatar
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    My first one was an a-body car also with an engine hoist, 4x4 lumbar, and 4 55 gallon barrells. On the rear you can slide a 4x4 in place inside the trunk (lid off of course) and engine hoist that end up. On the front I fabricated a 4x4 bottom to go under the car with chains on each end with a piece of steel at top to keep the chains far enough apart to keep from touching the body. I sat each 4x4 with the barrells on each corner far enough apart I could roll the chassis out. Now that was back when I was on a budget to the max and having to roll the chassis in and out of the 1 car garage every time I had to work on it. Now I rent a 1800sq ft warehouse to play in with a lift.

    It can be done. Take pictures and I mean of EVERYTHING. You are going to forget alot. Lots of bags and tags. If you reuse body sheet metal count all shims etc you remove. Send out to do the labor intensive things like blasting the frame. First one I did I sanded, then bought a sand blaster. Man that crap was everywhere. Never again. Dont take it apart until you can sink some time or money into it because long delays tend to lead to loss of interest or motivation.

    Keep us posted on progress. Im getting ready to do my 70 GS455 Ive had for 20 years and its been sitting in the garage. Its very original. Still has the GM hoses (3 rib heater hoses) and GM exhaust on it. Mines all there (including dash AM radio). Just shows its age. Hard to believe this cars almost 40....gesh.......

    Anyways............Its fun to do. Good luck!

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    Veteran Blackbird WS6's Avatar
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    iv restored a 69 t/a and a 79 t/a but not a frame off. both were show cars

    do it right the first time buy good oig. parts or new parts and take your time, do it in steps not everying all at one time it will be perfact when your done

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    2004 HEAD/CAM CTS-V 9t8z28's Avatar
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    This is all great info that you have all given me but my question was "how" to do a frame off resto? Meaning, how did you get the body off of the frame without using a lift or rotiserie? Give me some ideas?

    I have already done a resto on another 69 Chevelle including sand blasting the frame and under body while they were together.
    What a pain in the ass it was.

    Labeling and bagging everything? Yup, I did that. Still end up with extra bolts and parts.

    Yes, sand does get everwhere and there is nothing you can do about it!
    I use to do industrial sandblasting but now I never want to go to the beach again!
    Last edited by 9t8z28; 11-22-2008 at 04:47 PM.

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    2004 HEAD/CAM CTS-V 9t8z28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987BuickGN View Post
    My first one was an a-body car also with an engine hoist, 4x4 lumbar, and 4 55 gallon barrells. On the rear you can slide a 4x4 in place inside the trunk (lid off of course) and engine hoist that end up. On the front I fabricated a 4x4 bottom to go under the car with chains on each end with a piece of steel at top to keep the chains far enough apart to keep from touching the body. I sat each 4x4 with the barrells on each corner far enough apart I could roll the chassis out. Now that was back when I was on a budget to the max and having to roll the chassis in and out of the 1 car garage every time I had to work on it. Now I rent a 1800sq ft warehouse to play in with a lift.

    It can be done. Take pictures and I mean of EVERYTHING. You are going to forget alot. Lots of bags and tags. If you reuse body sheet metal count all shims etc you remove. Send out to do the labor intensive things like blasting the frame. First one I did I sanded, then bought a sand blaster. Man that crap was everywhere. Never again. Dont take it apart until you can sink some time or money into it because long delays tend to lead to loss of interest or motivation.

    Keep us posted on progress. Im getting ready to do my 70 GS455 Ive had for 20 years and its been sitting in the garage. Its very original. Still has the GM hoses (3 rib heater hoses) and GM exhaust on it. Mines all there (including dash AM radio). Just shows its age. Hard to believe this cars almost 40....gesh.......

    Anyways............Its fun to do. Good luck!
    70 GS! NEED PICS! What color?
    Last edited by 9t8z28; 11-22-2008 at 04:48 PM.

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    Veteran Blackbird WS6's Avatar
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    old school way take it apart and lift the fucker up and put it on blocks

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    2004 HEAD/CAM CTS-V 9t8z28's Avatar
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    This is what the car looked like when I first bought it and drove it home. I know, these pics are black and white.(my sister thought it would look more nostalgic) I was 17 years old and I paid $6,500 for it. So basically I stole it. The guy was desperate for money.



    [IMG][/IMG]

    Here is a pic of another 69 Chevelle. This car is Azure Turquoise as is mine also. Mine will look exactly like this one when finished.
    Last edited by 9t8z28; 11-22-2008 at 04:59 PM.

  20. #20
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9t8z28 View Post
    This is all great info that you have all given me but my question was "how" to do a frame off resto? Meaning, how did you get the body off of the frame without using a lift or rotiserie? Give me some ideas?

    I have already done a resto on another 69 Chevelle including sand blasting the frame and under body while they were together.
    What a pain in the ass it was.

    Labeling and bagging everything? Yup, I did that. Still end up with extra bolts and parts.

    Yes, sand does get everwhere and there is nothing you can do about it!
    I use to do industrial sandblasting but now I never want to go to the beach again!

    If you don't want to sandblast which can warp sheetmetal anyway,,,you can have the body chemically dipped, any rust in the car comes back with gaping holes,,,or there is a plastic media blast that is very gentle. I just got a quote to do this on my neighbors 61 vette (fiberglass) so sand blasting is out of the question anyway. The entire body was only $600 and it comes back spotless and ready for work. It's really the way to go. And there is no sandy mess in your backyard.

    As far as lifting the body,,,if you don't have a lift or a rotiserie the best you can do is either muscle it up with friends and set it on blocks, or carefully use jacks and blocks of wood. The trick is getting it high enough to roll the chassis out from under.
    Without a rotiserie,,,,at the very least I would fab some casters to bolt to the cowl and rear tail panel area so you can at least roll it around. I made a setup like this out of mild steel for my buddies 62 catalina as I mentioned. He had a small garage and had to roll it outside to work. I made them high enough to where you could sit comfortable under the car and work.
    It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional. still a pain to clean, weld and paint upside down though.
    I prefer a rotiserie anymore, and I made a cheap one with a pair of engine stands that were cut and rewelded a few times to get it right. It's not the best, sometimes hard to rotate and a little tipsy if not carefull but it works. I've thought of ways to make it better, and should extend the wheels for more stability. But I hate to spend more time on it when a purpose built rotiserie is only $800,,,,and scrap metal prices are rediculous now anyway.

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