My Beetle Restoration

Separating the Body from the Chassis

by on Jan.05, 2011, under Disassembly

I attempted to lift the body at various points to make sure that all of the bolts were completely detached and discovered that two bolts on the driver side were still grasping well enough to keep the body from separating at those points. One was the rear most 14mm bolt going through the floor pan into the heater channel. I drilled out the center of the head until it fell off. The other bolt was the one 17mm bolt at the very front that goes through the frame head into the heater channel that I couldn’t remove earlier. I thought that this area was rusted enough that it would just pull through when the body was lifted, but I was wrong. I used a floor jack to lift up the body a little and create a gap so that I could get a hacksaw blade in between the heater channel and the floor pan. I cut the bolt and was then able lift the body on all sides.


Finally, I’m ready to lift the body onto the supports I built. After much thought, I decided to lift the rear end first. I partially threaded in the two front body bolts that attach it to the front axle. This not only keeps the body from sliding forward when being lifted, but acts as a pivot point as well.


I laid the rear support on its side with the top beam up against the rear tires and the legs facing toward the front of the car. I then used a small portion of a wood frame to jack up the back end. This raised it up around 8”, but was not high enough to get the top beam over the transmission and onto the wheel. I lifted the support as high as it would go and held it in place with bungee cords. I added a couple of blocks to my jack and lifted up the frame again. This lifted it up high enough to set the top beam on the top of the tires. I lowered the jack and let the body rest on the top beam. I then grabbed the rear apron, lifted the body up, and had my wife and son stand the support upright. I then set the body down on the support.

After removing the two front body bolts and setting the front support on its side against the front wheels, I lifted the body by the front apron and had my wife and son stand the support upright. I now have the body on the supports where it will live for quite some time. Now the body work begins!



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