Body Removal

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Roark
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:52 am

Body Removal

Post by Roark » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:26 pm

I would like to remove the body of my DE36 from its chassis so that I can have the chassis and all its components blast cleaned and powder coated. I have been receiving some excellent advice from two Australian gentlemen and one of them, who is restoring an all-weather from the Royal Tour of Australia, has advised me to be very careful if I do try to lift it off.
Strangely there are not quite as many fixing points as there are on an SP250. One of the items of the advice was that the body should be supported on adjustable points on a frame. Speaking to a Rolls Royce restoration specialist last year he said it would take a day to remove a body using jacks and scaffold poles. Has anyone on this forum ever undertaken such a task?
Someone must have done it on the Freestone and Webb bodied DE36 that Marcus bought earlier this year.

ron.rsp
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:42 am

Re: Body Removal

Post by ron.rsp » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Do you really need to do this, you could be opening a can of worms for little gain and end up with a big restoration job that could be difficult to fit together again. There is nothing simple when undertaking a restoration with big old cars and a lot can go wrong. Good luck to you if you go down that road though.

Ron

terryfrombury
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:25 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK

Re: Body Removal

Post by terryfrombury » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:55 am

Wow!!! You are an ambitious guy! To consider removing the body off a big car like that is very brave! I`ve rebuilt four ash-framed cars over the years, but nothing that size. Unless you`re willing to rebuild the body as well as everything else, then you need to be very very very careful.. You need to create a frame that will hold the body rigid and not permit it to move as you lift it off what is holding it together at present - the chassis! You need to fit bracing struts in the door apertures to maintain the correct distances, and I would say you need to lift it equally - in other words, don`t lift or jack up one corner a bit, then the next corner, and so on.
Good luck!
Terry from Bury

Roark
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:52 am

Re: Body Removal

Post by Roark » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:51 am

Thank you for your comments Gentlemen.
These bodies were built on the chassis as we know and built from the chassis up. I had intended to keep the doors shut as I was not proposing to remove them. I could fit slim packers between the tops of the door frame and the door aperture to try to maintain the door gaps as best as possible.
I have an adjustable frame that could be raised over the body with a forklift and it's 8' wide but adjustable for length. Chains from the frame down to the body. I do have a gantry as well which might be a slower and more gentle way of raising the body. It has been suggested that it should then be placed upon a frame with adjustable mounts so that it sits as close to its original position as is possible.
The problem is where to lift from? Lifting using the method used by a RR specialist involves scaffold pole through the windows but that puts all the strain on the roof which doesn't seem safe or even sensible. Jacking up the front equally and then sliding some steels between the chassis and the body seems possible. Doing the same at the back but again just enough to slide in the steel section.
I would be doing this with the engine and gearbox removed and once the body was clear of the body sufficiently I could roll the chassis out. The National Museum of Australia have done it and they appear to have used a gantry. I will try to watch the video again.

Sydsmith
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:15 pm
Location: Aberystwyth Wales

Re: Body Removal

Post by Sydsmith » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:45 pm

John.

Some years ago I tackled an Austin 18 York, it had a similar but smaller body than the DE36, but the principle is the same.

In my case I did take off the doors and everything else I could to cut down the lifted weight.

The body had rotten ash every where and where it was not rotten, it had wood worm, so the whole structure was in poor condition.

I was advised not to attempt to take off the body by so many, but I took advice from someone who had done it with a 1937 Bentley.

He helped me construct a very solid frame out of 3x2 timber screwed into shape and size then drilled and bolted together, with wedges driven gently in over the door frames, the whole structure was very firm and held the body square whilst it was lifted off.

I Built a frame out of 4x2 reclaimed timber as a gantry and lifted the body with jacks and ratchet straps round 4x2 timbers eased into place under the body front and back as you have suggested.

I slid the chassis out as soon as the body was high enough and it is surprising how high you need to go to get over the rear axle hump.

I dropped the body onto a flat bed trailer also slid under and packed the frame off the trailer to maintain the shape.

It stood out side under a tarp for 8 months whilst I did the chassis and engine and was then dropped back on in the same way in reverse.

The ash frame was rebuilt and the doors were repaired and fitted back on, with the exception of the adjustments needed due to the repairs, new ash frames and bottom 4 inches of steel replaced, they fitted almost exactly as they came off with good gaps all round.

I have done the same job body on with an other early car and it was no fun, cleaning up and refurbing the chassis body off was so much easier and the finished article was so much better than body on.

Good luck with the project. Syd

Sydsmith
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:15 pm
Location: Aberystwyth Wales

Re: Body Removal

Post by Sydsmith » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:25 am

On the assumption the job is on going, just wondered where you are with the body off work Roark? Did you lift it off or has it stayed in place?

Roark
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:52 am

Re: Body Removal

Post by Roark » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm

Syd, thank you for your continued interest. I have managed to remove all but two of the body to chassis bolts. I have used the trick of hammering a 9/16ths AF socket on to those heads that showed signs of rounding off with the correct 5/16th W socket and it worked. However, there are two left, one each side directly in front of the rear wheels.
These are difficult to reach with a hammer and a spanner began to slip. I have had a great deal of help from Mark Bearman in Australia who is rebuilding an All-weather and also Peter Grant who owns a running All-weather. Mark's solution is to heat the bolt heads to red hot, allow to cool and then use penetrating oil. If that doesn't work I will have to drill the heads across the shaft and hope to shear them, allowing the body to come off. Then I have to calculate the best lifting points. Apparently the two heavy duty aluminium castings on either side of the bulkhead are not suitable
However, on Tuesday, when I went to replace the badly perished oxygen-acetylene hoses with new the tails were too small and my local stockist did not have the larger ones in stock so the effort has been delayed until Friday.
Clearly, with the body in the air, I will be able to roll the chassis out of the way but how to support the body on the ground? Mark Bearman had made a body trolley on to which he laid his limousine body which enabled him to move it about.
I can fabricate a trolley quite easily but I will have to make arrangements for some adjustable mounts which can be raised slightly to suit the body. Something like the threaded part of a bottle jack.
It doesn't help that the bulkhead timber, which is plywood, has signs of woodworm attack and in places it has become to de-laminate and Mark has suggested that I replace that too. That, however, might be a step too far for me. I could wedge the laminates open and fill with wood glue and then try to clamp them. Removing the bulkhead end castings will be a problem as the large dome head screws will be difficult to undo.
What I don't want to happen is for me to do a great deal of work and not do something only to regret not having done whatever it was when the car is re-assembled. The ha'porth of tar comes to mind.
The axle for example. It's covered in a thin coating of oil, it leaves little drips of EP90 and obviously the pinion seal is leaking. What I need to find, once the axle is off the chassis, is someone who can strip it down, give me back the differential holder and axle casing for blast cleaning and powder coating and once done they can re-assemble the axle correctly. Then I will have to find out why the drums won't fit over the shoes even with the adjusters slackens right off.
The latest PC bill is £485 which came as a little of a shock but it needed to be done. Once I find someone to blast clean, galvanise and powder coat the chassis in satin black it will start to look nice. Doubtless there will be some who dislike the idea go galvanising the chassis but given its construction it will be very difficult to get the paint inside the chassis rails, particularly when it's almost a box section.
Mark has suggested that I remove the sump and check or even replace the crankshaft bearings to avoid a snapped crank in the future. In addition, changing the timing chain might be a good idea too.
The water pump needs to be stripped as rotating the pulley produces some noise that suggests a dodgy bearing. However, how to hold the pulley still while I undo the nut!

Sydsmith
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:15 pm
Location: Aberystwyth Wales

Re: Body Removal

Post by Sydsmith » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:53 pm

Hi John, so progress then but as always with these jobs it is the simple things that take the time, body bolts never come out 100% and the ones that stick are always in the worst places to get at, it's Murphys law. My solution with the York was as you have said heat, plus gas and a big hammer and chisel.

With regard to the trolley, I managed to buy very cheaply from a caravan scrapper an old touring caravan under carriage, and with a couple of sheets of shuttering ply I made a simple trailer which did the job, I fitted Mini wheels to it to lower it and used timber bulks to pad it out to support the body.

As I said in the last post I used hefty timber lengths cut fit the body and passed between the chassis and body. I lifted with ratchet straps on a timber gantry to lift it off. Ratchet up to the capacity of the ratchet then either take the weight off the ratchet by packing the body off the chassis or use a second strap to start lifting again, removing the first strap as the second takes the weight.

The York chassis was so solid that I took the view it had lasted 70 years the last 20 out in the open with grass growing round it and there was still paint on it. As I was personally unlikely to last 30 years, I opted to keep the chassis on its axles and wheels and clean the chassis up with wire brushes on a hefty electric drill, then two coats of Kurust two coats of lorry chassis primer and two coats of commercial vehicle chassis black, all brushed on. Finish was great and the paint still looks good after over 18 years. True getting into some places was very difficult and I did cheat, but those areas were fine even though I could not get all the surface rust off, but I sprayed the areas with Kurust and it all turned black.

I did rebuild and paint the steering and springing with the same paint system I rebuilt the engine and cleaned and painted the back axle.

I have a 15 Mulliner sports 1937 with woodworm and de-lamination in the bulkhead ply. Like you I was doubtful about the stripping down replacing it entails, so I made up a thin mix of resin and thinner and carefully painted it into the worm holes, then as you say dripped resin glue into the laminates and clamped them together, some sanding and a couple of coats of matt black and it looks fine, it is a bodge and I have only put off the work needed.

My regret with the York was that I did not rebuild the gearbox and back axle whilst it was all apart and would not make the same mistake if I had the same job again. They both dripped oil and the axle was noisy. They would have been so much easier to sort whilst the body was off.

Hope those stubborn bolts come out for you soon. Syd

Roark
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:52 am

Re: Body Removal

Post by Roark » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:37 am

Syd, thank you for your comments.
I decided that I would tackle the bulkhead ply after all. Heaven knows what's behind the aluminium sheeting. The big domed bolts that hold the castings to the bulkhead are 3/8" diameter and clearly BSF so unless I can find others that match but with a more modern thread I am stuck with them. I soaked the nylon nuts with Plusgas and started to undo them. I never understood the benefits of a domed, slotted fastener. Only the centre part has any depth. I found a piece of 25mm flat bar and using an angle grinder made one end into a sort of screwdriver blade and while it worked, up to a point, the metal isn't hard enough and when the nuts reached the part of the thread which has been exposed to the elements for 50 odd years they resisted my efforts, damaging my make shift "screwdriver". If they were available still one could drill off the heads, knock through the shaft and start again. I will ask my steel stockholder if they have some harder metal available. One of my problems is having to do all this single-handed.
Daimler seem to be a strange company or perhaps that's what was common practice at the time. They must have employed a workforce comprised of normal sized people but then a bunch of midgets with more joints in their skeletons than would be possible anatomically with a normal sized human. Being of normal stature I wonder why they didn't fasten things to the bulkhead with self tapping wood screws instead of using a machine screw with a square nut the other side. Clearly cross head screws were not available but it's amazing how resistant to my efforts a wood screw can be when it's gone through then metal sheet into a piece of wood.
The spare wheel carriers are bolted to the side of the chassis with 3/8" bolts and nylon nuts but heaven knows how they put a spanner on the heads inside the chassis rails or even how they put the bolts through the chassis from the inside.
I will venture out again later after I have made some collections of powder coated parts and welding torch tails.

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