cutting the top off a Range Rover - plasma or Sawzall - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old August 22nd, 2011, 11:52 PM
cdb
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Clark Bowen
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cutting the top off a Range Rover - plasma or Sawzall

I'm cutting off everything above the door tops (where the window emerges) on my 1991 RRC.
I worry about the nearly full gas tank (vehicle is basically gutted) using the plasma cutter, but it would be much faster and cheaper than Sawzall blades.
Any reason that I couldn't use a plasma cutter? I have one but have only cut a few items with it.
Thanks
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  #2  
Old August 22nd, 2011, 11:58 PM
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Mike Hammond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdb View Post
Any reason that I couldn't use a plasma cutter?
How about setting everything on fire?

Why not drain and remove the fuel tank for peace of mind?
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  #3  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:14 AM
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really, if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't be doing it. But, sawzall blades? Yeah they aren't dirt cheap but I doubt you will go through very many. There can't be that much metal involved.

Post pictures...
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  #4  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:30 AM
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Paul
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Rather see the vid.

I'm sure you have something more tasteful in mind, but it reminds me of the guy back in college who after a few beers decided to install a "moon roof" in his friends Buick, using a radial saw. Lots of pretty sparks.
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  #5  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:49 AM
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Dave Lucas
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Most of it is bolted in place for the other parts I would use a sawzall or grinder with a thin cutting disc
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  #6  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:56 AM
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I've actually done this before...cut apart a unibody with a plasma. It was a green honda accord that I bought for parts so I plasma cut all the engine mounts and body sspension mount points.

Having done this, here's what will happen:

1. Stuff will light on fire inside the car. Wiring, insulation, plastic, paper, anything that you don't take out first will burn.
2. The paint on the body panels will smolder making copious amounts of nasty smelling white smoke.
3. The cut edge will be rough and ugly.
4. You might not be able to cut odd shaped and hollow members easily. Plasma relies on a electrical connection between the nozzle and it's not easy for the nozzle and cup to follow all concave surfaces.
5. Paint at the edge of the cut will peel back a good half inch or so due to the heat.


That said, cutting anything with the plasm is fun, so go for it if you want!
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  #7  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 02:20 AM
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Clay DeWan
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cb,
Damn you just missed a classic one that had a roll cage and went to the junkyard. Try William at Premier as he was cut the roof and made the roll cage but the customer ran out of funds 858 344 4455. there is also a Disco at the shop that has the top cut and is full of offroad goodies that the guy is looking to sell.
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  #8  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 07:49 AM
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Bill Adams
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Do what Jeff sez, but first take off the upper tailgate, take out the headliner and unbolt/remove the roof. Then take off the door tops, and all you will have left are the pillars.
If you remove the rear quarters as well, you will not damage any of the finish.
You can make it look clean or you can make it look like ass. Up to you.

If you clamp some guides ( I think they even have magnetic ones ) to the area you are going to plasma, you can get a very neat and clean cut without wiggles
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  #9  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 09:01 AM
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Dumb question:

Isn't a drained gas tank full of fumes more dangerous than a full one with fewer fumes?

I would get a piece of fire rated sheet rock or an asbestos blanket and cover the floors/sensitive areas while you have fun.
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  #10  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 09:06 AM
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  #11  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 09:08 AM
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Why?
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  #12  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 09:12 AM
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I used a saws all to cut a 1969 barracuda into 3 pieces. I used about 10 blades.
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  #13  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjfslaughter View Post
Dumb question:

Isn't a drained gas tank full of fumes more dangerous than a full one with fewer fumes?
An empty tank will go BOOM, that's why I said take the tank off.
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  #14  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 02:00 PM
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Clark Bowen
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Thanks for the ideas.
The vehicle is already stripped of all removable items, gutted and I have plenty of sheetrock lying around.
Why? Because I have a complete rollcage and custom canvass top from my rolled and parted 1991 and a decent 1991 with questionable provenance waiting for me to mess with. And, to paraphrase Bob Dylan: "when you gotta a plasma cutter you gotta cut something".
The burning, flaming part does give me pause.
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  #15  
Old August 23rd, 2011, 02:35 PM
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Jake K.
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Unbolt the roof 1st and remove and you will see where you need to cut. There are only six spots that need to be cut. Make sure you drop ALL the wiring up in the roof before you cut anything. The door tops can be unbolted for a better look unless you still want the electric windows. I've chop-topped at least 5 RR's and 3 D1's and even a P38 over the years and built cages for them all. Take your time and use a saw-zaw and go back with a grinder to make things look right. I can't find my pic's but I know they are floating around on the web somewhere. I even put Mog axles under one of them...now that was an activity. Good luck.
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  #16  
Old August 24th, 2011, 12:06 AM
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Clark Bowen
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Thanks Jake.....

Good to hear from someone that has done it.
Roof and wiring are already removed - as are doors, tailgate, vinyl coverings, carpet and rear seat.
I've already had a Range Rover with this modification, but I didn't do the work. the cut points are obvious like you said.
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  #17  
Old August 24th, 2011, 06:43 AM
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Dana Hammersley
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I have had gas tanks welded on. And they wanted it clear full of gas so there was no room for fumes.
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  #18  
Old August 24th, 2011, 05:20 PM
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PLEASE post pictures. Sounds like fun.
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