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Taking the car off the frame. Worth it?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by thechondro, May 7, 2010.

  1. thechondro
    Joined: May 8, 2009
    Posts: 463

    thechondro
    Member
    from silverlake

    Im ridiculous when it comes to making decisions sometime. Should I paint this this way? Should I take this doohickey off? All that crap. Im trying to make my mind on if I should take my 59 off its frame to paint the frame and the undercarriage. Heres the catch.... Ive never done it before and have minimal help if at all sometimes. Im ready to jump right into doing this but I was wondering peoples opinions on this. Would it be easy to take it off the frame? its a huuuuuge car. I think Im ready to give it a shot. and Im ready to do the work. I just dont know if it will be worth it for me. (by the way, the car is half stripped already, interiors gutted, and the only thing in front is linkage, tires and frame.) Any tips would help to get an idea of what this would take. Horror stories r great 2.:D
     
  2. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,240

    Master of None
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The biggest thing you have to look at......what are you trying to do with the car when your done. As soon as you take the body off the frame it becomes well i should replace this to make it right..... then what about this bolt....turns into wonder what the factory marking are. First I would decide if your going to be building a driver, or a show car. what I mean by that is a driver is a car where you changed the necessary parts to make it safe(the worn or broken) by show car i mean the correct dated bolt and washer for the brake line mount.
     
  3. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,240

    Master of None
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    But at the end of the day its your car and what you decide to do is what counts. I would check into a nice body cart that is sturdy and strong since your mainly by yourself. Safety first.
     
  4. Steves32
    Joined: Aug 28, 2007
    Posts: 2,140

    Steves32
    Member
    from So Cal

    I've taken all my cars off the frame but wouldn't recommend to everyone. It's a huge commitment of both time & money.
    For me- it's the only way I'd do it. For many others- they want to build on budget & drive it. Your car, your decision.
     
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  5. If you intend to keep the car and you love it,you probably won't regret doing a frame off.It will come out so much nicer.
    I did a 56 with minimal help.I used a come-a-long attached to the rafters in my garage to lift one end and an engine hoist to lift the other end.Got it high enough and rolled the frame out.Also did a 64 by using a home made A frame made of steel tubing.That came in really handy.
    If you are the kind of guy that starts something and gets distracted then you might just want to leave it on the frame.Once its in too many pieces, they look intimidating and you might loose interest.
     
  6. thechondro
    Joined: May 8, 2009
    Posts: 463

    thechondro
    Member
    from silverlake

    Whats a body cart....LOL, Im so amateur. But this is how u learn right? I just want a nice safe cruiser. In no way a show car. Just safe and look like everythings been cleaned up a bit. Necessary things only. And I am not bringing it back to original. So this bolt can be blue and this fender can be pink. Just tryin to get as much rust off the car and make it look like its been takin care of. Tryin to make the car straight and a little safer. Body, paint all that stuff. So when u look at it from any angle its pretty much cleaned up. I dont expect a show car, cuz I cant build one yet!
     
  7. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 3,564

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from texas

    Lots of good deals on cars that have been taken off the frame. Thats when the magnitude of the torn apart car hits. Daily drivers are to be left on the frame. Thats another opinion.
     
  8. thechondro
    Joined: May 8, 2009
    Posts: 463

    thechondro
    Member
    from silverlake

    How much extra did it cost steves? rough idea.
     
  9. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,240

    Master of None
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Body cart, www.eastwood.com item #50051. or you could build something similar,that's what I did..
     
  10. dolsen37
    Joined: Mar 7, 2006
    Posts: 181

    dolsen37
    Member
    from Nebraska

    i had my 50 Merc blasted with the body on the frame. It was torn down just like yours . I must say that it turned out great and looks brand new on the under side. I have built cars both ways and plan on driving the Merc rain or shine so I thought I'd give this a try and could not be happier. The blaster lifted one side at a time and blasted each side when it was in the air. Just another idea that could turn out nice but not break the bank. Good luck.

    dolsen37
     
  11. Blown Mopar
    Joined: Oct 14, 2009
    Posts: 272

    Blown Mopar
    Member
    from abc

    I've done several frame offs. But I've never done a car that big, that could be a problem if you don't have at least some help. Why do you want to do it? Just to clean it up or do you plan some modifications? Are you going to drive the car in a normal way? If your leaving the car as it is underneath and you plan to drive it regularly I wouldn't do it. The clean up gets pretty crudy in very little time. SoCal is not as bad as the other areas, because the weather is usually pretty good. If you are going to lower the car and drive it often I'd forget it. Street/hot rods are a little different but they normally have frame mods so body offs are needed. Then as someone mentioned if you lose interest (very possible with a big project) it isn't worth nearly as much sitting in the garage all torn apart when you try to sell it.
     
  12. flamed34
    Joined: Dec 30, 2009
    Posts: 619

    flamed34
    Member

    Prefer the body off...have used chain falls (chain hoists) hooked to a chain on a large pipe over rafters. Have also used an engine hoist...raise one end at a time, support with a couple 2x4's across a couple barrels or saw horses...then roll the chassis out. The easiest method...pull the car under the lift, strap it to the lift, then push the magic button!

    The body cart would be nice if you're doing a LOT of body off cars, but if you're aiming to do just this one, build a ladder frame out of 2x6's, and get 4 heavy casters - cheap and can be recycled when you're done with it. I recently got a 4' x 6' push cart with 10" casters from work they weren't using...with a couple of outriggers it's been perfect for putting bodies on and moving easily..we had our '47 Merc on it, now a friend has his '57 Chevy on it.

    As others have said, taking the body off is a major commitment and does involve extra $...chances are the body mounts will fall to dust, you'll find more "problem" areas to finesse, etc. But, if you want it clean it certainly beats lying under it with a wire brush. It all depends on your budget and goal for the final result.
     
  13. resqd37Zep
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,203

    resqd37Zep
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    A body off project can add years and dollars to your project. Some never return to their glory days. If it's a daily driver and just a get around town car I wouldn't do it. If it's a car you swear you'll never part with and don't mind not having it on the road for awhile then maybe consider it but it's a huge undertaking if you're not prepared for it. I know a lot of guys who have fallen out of love over a body off project.

    I'm doing one now that is barely starting to see some life after 2 years and I can't tell how many $$$$$. In the end it'll be worth it but it's not a daily driver and at this rate it may see a trailer or two.

    Good luck to ya man!
     
  14. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,560

    hotrod40coupe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Pulling a '59 Ford off of the frame is a much bigger job than pulling a '32 of the frame. As I see it, the primary reason to pull the body is to accomplish some major chassis work otherwise leave it on. If you really want to pull the body, start with something more manageable for your first attempt. Just my opinion.
     
  15. NTAPHSE
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 1,029

    NTAPHSE
    Member

    You'll know when your ready for a frame off. Keep it simple for now and drive it. The further you go down the tunnel the less chance you will finish it.
     
  16. thechondro
    Joined: May 8, 2009
    Posts: 463

    thechondro
    Member
    from silverlake

    Ok, Im hearing some things that I wasnt really expecting but I TOTALLY respect that. Im gonna go with all the great advise that most people r telling me. Seeing how its such a huge fuckin car. and the fact that Im a little low on the friend department. Let alone friends that would help with a restoration. :) I think Ill take it slow and just clean it up till Im really ready. Its my only classic at the moment so maybe ill just clean it, work it and paint it. Why cant my dad be a hot rod guy to leed me in the right direction instead of being a fire extinguisher salesman. :p
     
  17. featured
    Joined: May 8, 2010
    Posts: 2

    featured
    Member

    I`d love to do a full frame off myself, but like others said - the stars must align, in a sense. lol

    In my opinion its not something i`d do in a drive way. A decent shop, and plenty of time to complete the whole thing would be best.
     
  18. thechondro
    Joined: May 8, 2009
    Posts: 463

    thechondro
    Member
    from silverlake

    The time I dont think is the real problem. I would be willing to wait but I thought to myself.....maybe best to have a nice shop at the least. Yeah.
     
  19. After you take the body off the car takes up twice as much room. Unless it's a truly rust free car, plan on all new body bolts and bushings. And if it's that rust free and you're not making major alterations, I'm not sure there would be a reason to take it apart.
     
  20. Domino
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 478

    Domino
    Member

    I pulled my 62 off the frame. It wasn't that bad. I removed 16 bolts and slowly jacked it up. I used simple floor jacks. We jacked up one end far enough to get a support under it and then moved to the other end. It took some time, but it was easy. I cleaned and painted my frame and the underside of the body while it was apart. I do have one suggestion. If you pull it off the frame you should replace the fuel line and brake line that runs from front to rear. I didn't do this and regretted it later. I actually pulled the body off a second time.
     
  21. whisky runner
    Joined: Feb 11, 2008
    Posts: 785

    whisky runner
    Member

  22. Von Dago
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 477

    Von Dago
    Member
    from New Jersey

    I wouldn't do it for the same reasons others have said. Years ago I had a '59 Vette, took the body off the frame, ended up selling it that way.
    Here's what I would do if I were you. It's a big car. I'd get the car on GOOD jackstands, maybe 6 of them, as high as you can, so you can get under it comfortably, or as comfortable as you can get rolling around under an old car. lol. Take your time, get the jackstands positioned correctly. Be safe! Pull the front fenders and hood off, radiator support etc.
    Have at it with wire brushes etc., clean and paint til your happy with the underside, frame rails etc. Do it in sections, like from the rear axle back. Get the gas tank out and cleaned if it needs it, paint under the gas tank, paint the rear axle, etc.
    Put the tank back in and finish that section. Do the same at the front end. You'll be seeing some progress as you move along, which will help to keep your enthusiasm going. Good luck.
    Checked your profile... beautiful pinstriping!
     
  23. shovelheadrider
    Joined: Sep 22, 2009
    Posts: 396

    shovelheadrider
    Member

    I'm in the midst of a frame swap on a 55 Buick. Modifying a 78 GM full size car frame to fit.

    Without the hoist we would be struggling a lot more with this. Supporting the body on the rockers and lifting with 2X4's between the arms and the rockers.
     
  24. Steves32
    Joined: Aug 28, 2007
    Posts: 2,140

    Steves32
    Member
    from So Cal

    Depends. I'm all about the details- sorta anal about it but it's what floats my boat. So with frame off- you will be replacing stuff you might have left alone. It's all visible now. I usually smooth & paint or powdercoat the frame so that means all new fasteners, fuel & brake lines, clamps, rebuild and/or replace suspension, etc.
    Then the frame is assembled as a roller. Body is on a rotissere & painted body off frame & then mated to frame after everything is shiny. For me, it's alot more money. Probably double, maybe even more.


    Agreed. I've also done sedans. I'd say my 37 Sedan was probably bigger than his 59 Ford by a long shot.
     
  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 17,763

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It boils down to how interested are you in having a fully painted or powder coated frame and a shiny clean bottom side of the floor pan?
    If that's a big issue pull it off and do the full meal deal.

    If a bit of wire brushing and spray bomb paint to make it look presentable if someone takes the time to look under it are fine don't.

    If it is gong to be a daily driver that you don't actually give a rip if there is a bit of dirt and crud on the bottom side (proof that it is a daily driver) then don't and get on with other stuff.

    But as several said it can add months or even years to the build in a lot of cases and if you aren't set up to lift the body off it is a bigger issue.

    For lack of a better description a body dolly is simply a frame work on wheels (casters usually) that you can set the body on and roll it around out of the way or work on it without having it sit on stands in the big middle of your work area for long periods of time.
     
  26. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,735

    tommy
    Member

    If like us, you decide that this is fun then this won't be your last project. Learn to walk before signing up for the Boston marathon. If you want to actually drive it when it might get rained on, then you probably won't enjoy cleaning and polishing the underside after you spent all that time making it look perfect underneath again. You can do a very nice clean driver out of a 50s car without removing the body.

    I had a friend that always wanted a highly detailed show car so he bought one. The frame was as glossy as the fenders with pin striping everywhere on the frame and suspension. He grew to hate it. He never drove it because he knew how long it would take him to clean it. He sold it.

    I don't think that it is necessary or desirable to remove the body on a 50s era car like yours for street use. I would and do remove the body on an early 30s hot rod.
     
  27. DocWatson
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 10,222

    DocWatson
    Member

    I may sound like an idiot here but not taking a car off its frame for a re-build or paint never would have crossed my mind. I have always thought if I'm going to do something, do it right.

    Doc.
     
  28. Chevy54
    Joined: Sep 27, 2009
    Posts: 1,615

    Chevy54
    Member
    from Orange, CA

    Unless your on that thing non stop to complete it your going to have alot of time invested..as said above your going to start finding things that need repair or replacing...Frame off will come out nice but I went years with out my car while building it..Id say be realistic about how long you want to be without driving your car then decide...good luck man!
     
  29. Steves32
    Joined: Aug 28, 2007
    Posts: 2,140

    Steves32
    Member
    from So Cal

    I will also add-
    Having another car to drive is a plus when doing a frame off. That way, you don't feel so under the gun to get it done as you have something else to drive.
     
  30. temper_mental
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,709

    temper_mental
    Member
    from Texas

    I bought a car dirt cheap last year because the guy took it off the frame and gave up on the project.
     

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