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  #1  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Bradlee Duncan
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lifting the body (not plastic surgery :-)

OK, we get the replacement frame back from the galvy plant on Monday and this weekend we are looking at how we can lift the body off of the old chassis. I would like to do this and still leave the body in tact as much as possible (although the front fenders are gone because they were all bent up from the wreck). We just have to lift from the bulkhead to the rear of the car. I am throwing around a few options and trying to decide what would be the best because I have no idea how much the body weighs. The thoughts I've had are:

a) call over a bunch of guys and have them lift it while I roll the chassis out? I'm just worried about how heavy it is and how we are going to lift it high enough to clear the chassis everywhere. A normal car would be easy, but the D-90 is so high it's kind of hard to lift it very high.

b) Rent a crane/backhoe to attach to the top of the roll cage at various points and lift while we roll the chassis out (kind of ECR stylie)? A backhoe is only $39/hr to rent so I am kind of leaning towards that.

c) any other suggestions?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 08:44 PM
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David Shechter
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I don't think the roll cage idea will work. The roll cage is attached to the chassis, that is where all the support comes from so if it is unbolted from the chassis there isn't much holding the roll cage on. Underneath the front plates in the front fender is a big hole, where the bar is bolted to another piece of tubing, which is attached to the frame. My concern would be that you might pull the 2nd tubing through the aluminum with the weight of the body. I don't know if this is making an sense it's much harder to explain in text. In other words there is only a small sliver of aluminum hiding under those plates. The roof attachments are not cut out, but 2 bolts through to the inner hoop. I am describing a SW set-up, don't know how a ST is done. I looked at the ECR site, they have a rope going through the rear side window attached to a pulley on their ceiling and a pulley attached to the front bar under the windshield. They are utilizing a two point system. If you were to use a back hoe I think it would be hard to mimic their set up as I think you could only get a 1 point lift. Just make sure you give it all lots of thought and don't rush it. You may end up having to replace more than the fenders. Good luck, sounds like a huge job.

I just had a thought, what if you use a 4x4 piece of lumber running the length of the truck. Mount 3 eye bolts through it with the eyes on top. Run rope through the rear window and through an eye bolt. Run another rope through the front window and through the eye of another bolt. Use the last eye bolt, which will be mounted between the other two, to attach a 3rd line to you back hoe/cherry picker. This way the weight is better distributed and you can utilize one lifting point. The body won't weigh much, my guess is 200-300 lbs.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 08:47 PM
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bradlee-softtop or station wagon?
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  #4  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 09:12 PM
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Bradlee Duncan
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Sorry guys, the one we're rebuilding is our 94 ST. Anyway, with the backhoe idea, I was thinking of one chain going to the front roll cage bar (like ECR), another chain going to each side bar above the rear windows and the last chain going to the rear bar on the roll cage. Making sure they all have the same tension and then lifting (4 lift points all going to the bucket on the backhoe).

The part of the roll cage that goes through the front fender is actually bolted to a metal bracket that runs down to the frame along the bulkhead and then bolts both to the frame outrigger via one bolt and also bolts to the bulkhead via 4 bolts on each side of the truck. So it seems like a lot of the strength is coming from the roll cage being tied to the bulkhead I don't know though. Then for the b-pillar (if you will) it runs all the way underneath the body and attaches to the b-pillar on the other side thus created a complete cage around the driver.

If anyone has any other hints/tips as to how ECR suspends the body in the air without tweaking it too much, I would love it if you would share!!

Thanks for the replies.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Jim Cheney
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I dont think I've ever seen a pic at the ECR site of a ST Defender getting the body swap treatment.

Problem is, when you remove the windshield roll cage (which you have to do because it bolts to the fender locations) there is no structure tieing the bulkhead to the rear body. The floor boards are just sheetmetal and the sills are not going to keep the bulkhead from flexing in relationship to the rear body.

Its actually not going to take you more than an hour to completely take the roll cage out of the truck. After its gone, there arent many parts left. Heres my recommended method, it worked for me, YMMV.

1) remove floor and sills. there is now nothing connecting the bulkhead to the rear body.
2) transfer the bulkhead to the new frame. TAKE NOTE OF THE NUMBER AND POSITION OF WASHERS ON THE BULKHEAD TO CHASSIS BOLTS. These establish the spacing required to get your doors to line up with the rear body. You may have to fiddle later, but starting with the current setup will make it easier.
3) leave the seatbox attached to the rear body, remove. Now transfer the under-body roll cage section to the large central crossmember. Note that there needs to be M8 threaded nuts in the new chassis, and if they were already there, you'll need to tap out the holes. If not there, you'll have to install. Leave the bolts loose to make it easier to realign the body and roll cage.
4) drop the rear body in place. Bolt to rear crossmember and then outriggers.
5) install doors. Play with the positioning of the bulkhead until they open and close properly with acceptable gaps. Tighten the bulkhead down tight when the doors are good.
6) reinstall the floor panels and roll cage.
7) go drink

By the way, disassembled, no component is more than a 2 person lift. Its easier on the back body with 4, but two can do it.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 10:17 AM
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Bradlee Duncan
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Jim, those are very good tips. Thanks for that.

Here's ECR doing a ST frame swap, this is how I was planning on doing ours. http://eastcoastrover.com/99.html All I would do is lift the body up, roll the chassis out and then set the body back down on strategically placed cinderblocks, jackstands, etc that mimic the body resting points on the frame. Then I could work on moving everything over from the old chassis to the new one and when I was all done with that, I could lift the body again, roll the new chassis under it, and set it down on the new (now complete) rolling chassis.

That way I don't have to really take apart any of the body when I do this. I would rather not take apart the body very much, but You're right Jim, if I removed the bulkhead, it wouldn't be that bad. hmmm.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 04:33 PM
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Just leave the roll cage intact, and you will be OK to lift. Unbolt it from the bulkhead outriggers, unbolt the hoop under the tub, and unbolt from rear crossmember, and you should be good to go.

Chris
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Isn't the whole body modular? I.E. the bed is separate from the drivers floor area is separate from the bulkhead? Why not do it in sections? Cuts the weight down a lot while removing most of the issues of the floorboard area flexing too much.

-Hans
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Old April 24th, 2005, 10:07 PM
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Bradlee Duncan
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Thanks everybody for the replies. We ended up just trying to lift the body as a whole by the roll cage. It worked perfectly and was very quick and easy. A description of what we did is below.

We rented a roofer's style forklift like this one:
http://www.tractorloadersales.com/siteart/jcb-2.jpg

We put extensions on the blades and approached the truck from the back. Then we used a 30 foot tow strap from the ends of the fork blades to the roll bar just below the windshield. We then chained the rear of the blades to each rear corner of the roll cage. We also included one tree strap around the forks that lifted on the roll bar above the front seats. We adjusted the tension so they all lifted at the same time and started raising up the body. It came right up a few inches and we went slowly making sure everything was unhooked. I had missed a few small grounding wires, so we unhooked them and all was fine. We continued raising the body high enough to roll the chassis out from underneath and then just lowered the body back down. We used a combination of 2x4's and cinderblocks so that the body rested on it's same mounting points. That way nothing gets stressed while it's sitting off of the frame. We double checked everything once the body was down and the doors all line up perfectly (in fact, they're better than when it was on the frame because the frame was tweaked from the wreck). There are pics of the body and chassis below. Sorry, I didn't take any pics of us using the forklift because we rented it at 3:00pm and the place closed at 5:00 so we only had two hours to work and it takes a half-hour of driving each way from the rental place. We only had an hour to lift the body off and set it back down. It took us about 45 minutes max for three of us to do the work. The rate for the forklift was about $50/hr and made everything soooo much easier, I would highly recommend it. If we didn't live so far from the rental place, we could have done everything in under one hour easily. Anyway, here are the pics.

http://img122.echo.cx/img122/3303/pict01573nu.jpg

http://img122.echo.cx/img122/8099/pict01582pi.jpg
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  #10  
Old April 25th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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Well hell, you never said anything about a forklift. I think a backhoe would have sucked, but a forklift - thats pretty damn smart.

It was also smart to bolt the roll cage supports back onto the bulkhead.

Looks like you made good work of it.

BTW - you're gonna need the forklift again, or some other piece of machinery to bust the old v8 crossmember loose
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  #11  
Old April 25th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Bradlee Duncan
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True, I didn't. I was thinking backhoe because the rental place that is closer to us didn't have any forklifts that would work. We found the forklift at another place.

About the V8 crossmember, I am not even going to worry about that, lol! The frame is tweaked, so I am not going to do any more work than I need to, lol!

Thanks for the tips everybody!
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  #12  
Old April 25th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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David Marchand
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Use a hi lift for the v8 crossmember.
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