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How to Lift the Body Off of a Car

by Russell Wood

There are lots of reasons why someone would want to lift a body of a vehicle off of a frame, and most of them have to do with restoration. Older cars and trucks are separated from the frame to do rust repair, paint and detail the body, and fix problems. It takes some work, and it's not exactly light work, but it can be done with the help of a few friends and a little elbow grease.

Lifting the body off of a frame

The first thing you need to do is set up the vehicle in a place where you have enough room to lift the body off of the frame and put the frame somewhere until it is needed. You'll need lots of space on every side as well.

Start by removing the front sheetmetal from the vehicle. Unbolt the fenders, hood, core support and trunk, then place them in a safe spot.

Disconnect the steering column from the gear box and set aside.

Remove everything from the interior of the vehicle that you can: seats, headliner, carpet. Leaving them will make the car more difficult to lift off of the frame.

Disconnect any engine wiring that goes between the body and the engine. Set on top of the engine or inside of the cab, whichever is more convenient.

If possible, remove the doors from the vehicle. Once again, this is about weight reduction. If you're not concerned with the weight of the vehicle being lifted into the air, then disregard this step.

Go around the vehicle one last time and make sure that nothing is connected between the body and the frame. No wiring, brake lines or other things that could possibly get in the way.

Unbolt the chassis from the frame using a 3/8 ratchet and sockets.

Using a block of wood between the jack and the body, jack up the vehicle just a few inches off of the top of the frame, one side at a time. When one side is lifted, lower it onto jack stands, then go to the other side. At this point, double check that there are no wires or other things hanging up the body from the frame. If there are, disconnect them.

Continue to lift the body into the air until there is enough clearance to slide the steel tubing between the cab and the frame. Jack the body up and place the steel between the cab and the jack stands. At this point, move the jack stands out to the outside of the steel, that way you can roll the frame out from under the vehicle.

Once the vehicle is high enough in the air, push the frame out from under the body. It should roll just fine without any major hangups. Now the body is free to be worked on from all sides.

Items you will need

About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.

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