The time has come to accelerate the strip down and August saw the final bits and pieces removed from the tub connecting it to the chassis and, finally, the body lift. I had a few volunteers to help with this but wanted a quick peek at the chassis before I could get everyone together. As I started a partial lift using a scissor jack and some bits of 4×2 I realsied that I should be able to get the body clear on my own. The following sequence probably took a few hours longer than with a team of lifters but got the tub off a week or 2 earlier than otherwise possible.
The first move was to raise the body with a jack under the tub around the seat belt mounts. A short piece of 4×2 protected the tub from the jack. This lifted the back end quite a bit and I was able to support this with some more bits of 4×2 so that I could have a good nose around the chassis without the tub falling on my head.
At this stage, I moved the jack to the top of the chassis and got enough lift to slide a piece of 4×2 between the tub and the chassis so that I could get rid of the jacks and other supports.
This 4×2 cross piece was then fixed to the tub with large screws/washers through the drain holes behind the seats so that the rear could be lifted and dragged back to get the cross member sitting on the highest point of the rear part of the chassis. At this point, I realised that the 4×2 was too low to clear the rear tyres and too long to fit inside them – so I had to take them off and shorten them.
From this position, it was possible to drag the body back far enough so that the front footwells cleared the chassis by enough to be able to lift the front up and level with the back. Lifting the front was easily done by hand since this was a rotation rather than a lift. So it was easy to lift it high enough to slide another 4×2 cross member under the front.
In retrospect, it would have been better to drag the tub back further so that this cross member could be placed behind the handbrake lever and gear stick. As it was, the only hairy bit of the whole process was getting the front cross member over the gear stick – a bit of lifting, wiggling and pushing did it but there’s probably an easier way (I took the handbrake lever off but couldn’t find a way to remove the gear stick).
From this position, I was now able to drag the tub backwards off the chassis an onto a strategically placed table.
With the rear supported, I was then able to rig up a longer front cross member under the front of the tub so that it could be supported on a couple of chairs so that it was clear of the chassis and the rear tyres. This allowed the chassis to be rolled forwards and away from the tub.
Getting the tub down on my own involved a series of jacking up and then down to a lower support, alternating between back and front. A set of castors screwed to the cross member ends allowed the last move with the scissor jack to put the castors on the ground and slide the jack out.
The castors allow the tub to be moved around easily but the frame will need a bit of strengthening to avoid too much flexing.
The good news is that the chassis rust seems to be all surface rust with no holes that I’ve seen so far. Maybe the sandblasting will find something but its not going to be major.
Still plenty of work to be done so let’s see how long it will take to strip the chassis – maybe before winter sets in?