PROJECT 442: Frame Restoration
Here's a shot of the front sheet metal removed and the engine pulled. Even with
checking and rechecking that all wiring connectors and cables were
disconnected and moved, I still managed to hang the trans on the shifter cable
while pulling the motor assembly. Broke the cable. There's a $60 mistake.
Except for that it was a breeze. No broken bolts during disassembly, no cursing
or screaming, and best of all...no bleeding. That's usually how I know the job is
done (bloody knuckle or finger).
With all the body bolts removed I began to slowly lift the body up and away
from the frame. I did this by using 8x8 wood blocks held by jack stands under
the floor pan and a floor jack. I would raise the body up one jack stand click at
a time moving from front to back. When I had enough clearance I jacked the
passenger side up from the middle of the car until the two jack stands on that
side were no longer under weight. I moved the two stands and slid the frame
rail on that side to the center of the body (the frame is on home made casters).
I repeated the procedure on the other side and pulled the frame completely out.
I did this alone to demonstrate it could be done. USE HELP, it's worth the pizza
and drinks for peace of mind. Extra hands make light work.
Here is the frame out in the driveway. All the suspension pieces, fuel and brake
lines were removed until only the bare frame was left. Sand blasting took
forever. If you look in the second picture you'll see me using a small portable
blaster. Even with a ton of sand I had to keep stopping to refill the stupid thing.
I'm glad to say "I did it myself", but it's worth farming it out if you can. If not,
use a better blaster. The one I had was the wrong size tool to handle this size
That's better! All clean and nothing but bare metal. If it looks funny it's because
the frame is flipped upside down. This will be the side that's visible when your
looking underneath (and I will show everybody willing to lay on the ground and
see), so this is the side I will do first to make sure it looks pretty. I'm using an
epoxy paint called "Chassis Saver" from Magnet Paints. It's a high build coating
in gloss black. Once on and cured you would need a hammer and chisel to get
it off. Good stuff!
Now we're getting somewhere! The "Chassis Saver" went on fairly easy. You
just brush it on with a paint brush and it levels out with no brush marks.
Beautiful! Be careful around threaded holes. If this stuff gets in the threads you
will need to chase it with a tap to clean it out. No joke, this stuff dries to a rock
hard finish. After the Chassis Saver was on I painted it with Eastwood's Extreme
Chassis Black "Satin" paint. Why?? I like the look of the stock flat black for the
frame. Magnet Paints now has a flat black as well as gloss if you like the same
All done and ready to go back under the body. I think it looks much better in
satin black. I even put the stainless brake lines on along with the new Inline Tube
proportioning valve. It is designed to let you run rear disc brakes with your
original master cylinder and it carries a part number of PR-101.
RUST, The "R" Word, Car Cancer or whatever you call it, is going to be a part of
your project in some way. On a G-Body this will show up in the bottom of the
doors, the quarters, and the rear frame rails and/or the body sheet metal. Mine is
in the rear sheet metal above the frame rails where the body bolts go. The driver
side rear came out OK, but the one in front of that (just behind the rear wheel
well) just spun and had to be cut off. The same bolt on the passenger side also
spun when I tried to take the bolt out and left a gaping rust hole (first picture).
The one behind it (the far rear body bolt) just spun and I had to cut the bolt head
off that one too.
I found a guy that makes replacement sheet metal and frame rails for G-Body's.
His name is Conrad Lozier. I bought all 4 rear replacement sheet metal pieces.
The rear drivers side is not rusted out, but I will probably replace them all. The
price was excellent, he was easy to work with, and the shipping was fast. Look
on the internet long enough and you can find anything.
Parts for the Frame: $ 480.00
PROJECT 442: Pulling the Frame