Body loose

After the bonnet removal and strip, April was time to get the body ready for removal.
First off were the inner wheel arches. Surprisingly, most of the bolts into the chassis came out easily but the 2 at the lower nearside outrigger were more of a problem. One was solid and sheared off whilst the other one just kept on turning without coming out so had to be sawn off. At the same time as the wheel arch removal, the heater motor and snail were removed. These were both in very bad condition and will need to be replaced.
Next up were the bolts holding the tub to the chassis which were quite rusted so the process started with a wire-brushing of the threads and a good dose of WD40 which was left to soak in for a few days. Most of the bolts freed up with a bit of force on the spanner but a couple needed a bit more persuasion and some more WD40. The 4 bolts in the foot-wells came away easiest. The seat belt floor mounts were a bit more of a struggle with the near side outer being particularly difficult but eventually it did free up. Next were the bracket mounts behind the rear suspension mounts. The offside bolt was siezed into the bush and needed a drift to persuade it out.

The final 2 bolts were in the boot behind the fuel tank. The bolt heads were welded onto large squares of steel which made it easy to unbolt them from below only.
With the body free from the chassis it was time to remove all the other items standing in the way of a complete lift off. This started with the wiring loom which involved cutting through the cable ties clipping it to the chassis and then labeling and disconnecting anything that wasn’t attached to the tub itself. Next came the throttle cable, clutch cable and the brake pipes. It proved easiest to disconnect the throttle cable at the carb and the clutch cable at the pedal end. The 3 brake pipes were unscrewed from the master cylinder and protected from dirt by taping some bubble wrap over the ends. I also decided at this stage to remove the master cylinder and servo to avoid any damage when lifting the body.
For the same reason, I decided to remove the heater matrix since I needed to disconnect the water pipes anyway. The mounting screws came away easily enough but I didn’t spot the bracket at the rear which was screwed to the tub and riveted to the matrix housing. In trying to free up the matrix, this rivet came out so will need some repair when going back together.
Next up was the steering column. There were 3 multi-pole electrical connectors which couldn’t be cross connected so were not labelled. The column itself has a front mount consisting of a bracket bolted to the bulkhead with 3 bolts. Rust was not an issue here and they came off easily. The lower mount was secured with 1 bolt to the pedal box and again came away easily. The final step was to disconnect the top UJ which again unbolted easily but needed a bit of persuasion with a drift to get it moving on the splines so that it could be withdrawn. The bolt has to be removed completely to do this since there is a flat on the steering rod preventing rotation and sliding.

Moving backwards, it was time to disconnect the wiring to the handbrake and reversing switch. This was easy enough once the centre console had been removed. Again, cables were labeled before disconnection since the rubber cable idents were all blackened.
Finally, in the boot, the fuel lines were disconnected. The rubber hose on the feed line seemed stuck on the pipe but some WD40 was worked up inside it between the rubber and the metal outlet pipe and this quickly got it moving. The plastic return pipe pulled easily out of the rubber hose connecting it back to the tank.
Progress so far has been slow due to working weekends only and fitting in a business trip to Germany but at least the body is now ready for removal. Let’s see what May brings.


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