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A few questions - body frame removal

Mr. Solutions

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What started out to be an on-frame restoration is now possibly turning into a frame-off job... mainly because it appears to me to be FAR easier to remove the body & then take the engine & transmission out!


- what is the best way to lift a body off a frame? I only have a 2 ton engine hoist (big sucker) at my disposal. Is the body prone to bending; I will NOT have the doors attached...

- from what I can gather from my shop manual I do not need to take the rear coil springs out to take the body off, but it sure looks like they're attached to the body at the top; right or wrong?

- is there an easy way to remove the steering or column? What I have in mind is to only remove the steering wheel, but no the steering column, and then to "work" the steering column out through the brake access panel "hole" while lifting the body. Can this be done? Removing the steering & column looks like a lot of unnecessary work...

Any and all advise much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Ah yes, the old "stuff" snowballs approach to working on cars! I know it all too well!!!

Check a little more on the rear coil springs: I would think they'd be attached to a crossmember on the frame itself, not the floors of the car body. That's been my experiance, but the earliest Buick I've worked on is a '54.

Your plan for the steering column sounds good, but you could also disconnect the pitman arm from the bottom of the steering box. Then you've got to deal with turning the tires when you push the chassis around--six on one, half dozen on the other.

If you can rent a second engine hoist from someplace, I'd do that for the day. I've pulled the body off a '56 Chevy and a '57 Chevy wagon, and it's definately a two hoist job--one in front, one in ther rear.

Remember to remove the temp sending and oil sending lines from the engine to the gauges, the ground straps, and you'll have to do something with the brakes as well. On my '54, the brake master is under the floor, but the pedal goes through the floor and must be disconnected. Same with the clutch pedal.

I wouldn't know about the body flexing. If you're really concerned about it, make a brace to span the door opening (angle iron, 1-inch box tubing, etc), bolting it do the hinge and the striker plate holes I suppose. I didn't brace the Chevy's this way, but it would be prudent.

I made one mistake with the '56 Chevy: I built two huge saw horses and set the body on them. It sat there for three years while I was in college, and made the garage entirely uselss for anything else on that side. (Parents were not amused). Do yourself a huge favor and make the body mobile somehow--huge casters on whatever you set the body on, short "frames" with one big caster each bolted under the body to the body mount points, or something. If the body is mobile, you'll be able to work much more effeciently. It takes up more space because you can't park the chassis under the body, but you save time in the long run.

For the '57, I had a spare frame that I built while the old one was still under the wagon. This let the car easily go to the body shop, be moved around, etc., and when I had the good chassis all built, I took a day and swapped the body over. Man, if you can EVER do it that way, I highly recommend it.

Hope this helped,


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I have never taken a body off a 51 Buick but I can tell you that you can pull the engine and trans in less time. To pull the engine and trans shouldn't take you more than 1 to 1.5 hrs. Pull the hood remove the gas and electrical. Pull the radiator, disconnect the front and rear motor mounts and lift the 1100 pound piece out. Easy as pie. Just be forwarned that you need a lot of height. The front end will come up about 16 inches as you lift the engine.

Happy hobbying

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