The Day the Body Came Off
Today was a huge day and the day we felt the most accomplished. From the very beginning, our main goal was to get the body off. A couple of reasons why: with the body off, it looked like we were actually doing something with our ‘build’ time, it meant we were that much closer to rebuilding, AND we could actually start sending everything to get painted. What’s a cool car without a cool paint job? Since we had slowly chipped away all the smaller stuff in the previous weeks, the body was just a few bolts and a ton of wires away from being free. Before we all dove into wrenching, #PretTyInPink and #BucketBetty glued on more upholstery kit blocks. This is a very slow process with only five clamps. Pro tip – invest in a lot of clamps!
In the meantime, #HotWheelHoney and I started tracking wires and tried to figure out what could be lifted out with the body. We also realized that taking the trunk bed and fuel tank off of the car was required before disassembling the body, so #PretTyInPink, #BucketBetty and #TinyT set out to disconnect remaining wires and bolts.
After tugging wires and wrenching bolts, we thought ‘it’s finally time!’ With one girl on each corner and me checking for connected wires underneath, we tried to start lifting the body off of the frame. Surprise! Wires like to hide. After a few frantic minutes of trying to find the right wrench to get those last hidden wires off, the body FINALLY came loose. We gently set her on a moving blanket off to the side with her fiberglass friends– the fenders, aprons, and truck bed.
Up next was removing the engine and transmission, gulp. I don’t care what you say, there is something slightly terrifying about having to move a very heavy and very expensive piece of car. #watchyourtoes
Things to consider – you definitely need a cherry picker and some extra bolts/washers. Engine stands are also SUPER helpful but are not necessary. After a quick lesson on how engine hoists work, we started jacking the engine up one small, slow crank at a time.
Surprise number two of the day – you need to make sure the engine is completely detached from the frame before you try to lift it up. Otherwise, that hoist will lift everything up in one piece. There were two bolts still in place under the transmission and two more bolts on each side of the engine that needed to be loosened to get the engine free. Fun fact: Engine bolts are literally the longest bolts on the face of the planet. (Okay, maybe not literally, but still.)
After we got the engine jacked up, we took it upon ourselves to put the engine stands on. Each one of us took a turn trying to break those three bolts free of the engine mounting plates and those were the tightest bolts we’d yet encountered. #PretTyInPink and #TinyT almost got a face full of valve covers. But don’t worry, #HotWheelHoney came to the rescue, like usual, and managed to break the rest of them free. Seriously, what would we do without her?
Another round of pivoting and slowly lowering the engine and tranny to the ground resulted in a mini dance party and a huge sigh of relief. We did it. The frame was officially bare. What better way to celebrate our accomplishment than giving the frame a little Betsy love and then jumping in it like a Jamaican bobsled team?
Up next: Now that all the big stuff is out, it’s time to really get in there and start tearing all the little pieces apart. The five of us should be able to divide and conquer… under close supervision of #HotWheelHoney that is.