Body Off Restoration of 1964 Corvette Coupe – Part 2

With all of the preliminaries out of the way, it was time to lift the body off of the frame.  At our HOA meeting, I mentioned to my neighbor across the street that we were going to remove the body on Saturday, 6/30/12 beginning around 8AM.  He asked if we needed help and thought his teenage son would also like to see this process.  My car buddy neighbor had signed on as well as my son and one of his colleagues, Nick,  from work.   Nick has a mechanical engineering degree and is a fabricator for Toyota Racing Development (TRD) where he and my son work.  As he is a master welder and has volunteered to help with the repairs on the frame, his assistance was much appreciated.  When my neighbor’s son arrived, I handed Jonathan the still camera and he took the many fine photos.  I also set up a video camera on a tripod.



I had been soaking the mounts for four days but I could tell  some of them were going to be difficult.  The heads on both bolts of the mounts just behind the seats were very rusty.  Predictably, they both broke off.




The bolts for the two mounts at the radiator support as well as the mounts near the firewall came out relatively easy.  The rear most mounts located in the very rearmost corners of the interior were OK on the passenger side but very rusty on the driver’s side.  Another broken bolt here.




The last two mounts are located behind access panels in each of the rear wheel wells ahead of the rear tire.  The right bolts lo0ked like it had been installed yesterday but the head on the left bolt was so far gone that we could not do anything with it.  However, the rust in this area was severe enough that the bolt pulled right on through.






As the rusty area of the frame was also on the left side, a pattern was developing.  The culprit appears to be the power vent to draw out interior air on 1964 and 1965 models only.  The idea here was to have a fan located in the left rear side of the rear storage area that would draw air from inside the car and exit it at the exterior vents on the side of the car just behind the doors.  According to a drawing I found in Noland Adams’s book, there was ductwork  from the fan to the exterior vent with a drain tube to drain away water that opened up into the wheelwell.  Evidently that drain plugged up long ago and the water ran to the rear and made the fan very rusty as well as eventually finding its way to the body mount and frame directly below the exterior vents.  This caused damage to the frame as well as the birdcage that we will have to repair.  This may be a reason this system was only offered for two years.



Now that we had all of the body mounts removed, it was time to position the lift arms to pick up the body.   To make sure the body stayed on the lift, we ran a strap through the body and ratcheted it down to the arms on the lift.



Now we were ready to raise the body.  We had someone at each corner and someone watching the engine bay to make sure nothing hung up on the motor.  Once we had the body lifted about a foot, we could see that the lower part of the rear fender was not going to clear the rear body mounts.  We had placed the car on dollies so we could move the frame both forward and rearword as well as side to side.  To make clearance for the rear mounts, we rolled the chassis forward maybe 6″.  This was enough to clear the mounts and also added additional clearance at the firewall.



Initially we raised the body a little bit at a time to check for anything hanging up.  Once we had it up about two feet, it was clear sailing and soon the chassis was sitting on the floor with the body above.  By now it was 10:00AM.





After congratulating ourselves and checking out both the body and the chassis, we rolled the chassis outside onto the grassy area alongside my garage where I used the pressure washer to get rid of the major grime.  My lot is sloped so it took four of us to push it back up the hill and back into the garage.  During this process, I managed to sprain my ankle by doing something stupid.



Once inside, my son Matt, his friend Nick and I removed the engine and tranny.  Nick had to leave.  My son and I then proceeded to dismantle the rest of the chassis.  Actually, Matt did most of the work as my ankle became progressively worse and I was no more than a gimp by about two o’clock.  First we removed the rear end, then the rear suspension followed by the front suspension and the gas tank.



Removing the front springs presented a problem as our spring compressor was too big to fit inside the springs.  After thinking aobut how we were going to remove the springs. Matt told me I better fire up the computer and Google our problem.  The second item on the results page found an article where the guy suggested using a long threaded rod with a steel plate on the bottom and strong washers on the top.  Simply stick the threaded rod through the spring and out the shock mount hole on top, put the plate on the bottom with a nut to hold it and install a nut on top.  Loosen everything and the back of the nut and, voila, the spring was free.  I happened to have a 3/4″ threaded rod from a previous project and we found a very strong piece of steel in my junk steel collection.  It even had a hole in it that worked.



By 5 o’clock we had everything off the frame.  The following Monday, my buddy Reese and I loaded the frame on his trailer and took it to the sandblasters.  The idea here was to have the frame sandblasted and then bring it back to the garage so we could do the repairs.  After the repairs are completed, the frame will go back to the sandblasters for powdercoating.




Here is a link to the video:


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