Putting the body back on the subframes…?

General Chat with an emphasis on BMC Minis & Other iconic cars of the 1960's. Includes information on MK1 Action days.
gs.davies
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by gs.davies »

mk1 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 9:30 am Speaking from my own experience. Putting the body back on to the assembled frames is not the way to go. It is MUCH easier if the frames are fitted with minimal parts on board. They are lighter & easier to manipulate.

I have tried to lower the body back onto a complete front subframe c/w engine ONCE. I would never attempt it again as long as I live.

That said, the more you do something the easier it gets & I know that some people do do it this way & I am sure that some of the tricks they suggest will be good ones.

However you do it.

Good luck.
What were the particular problems you encountered with lowering the body over the front subframe?

I'm tending to prefer this method, as I've already built it up and from experience in the past, I've never managed to get an engine into a car from the top without damaging something, and that was on later cars without the radiator shroud in place. Not to say I couldn't be persuaded otherwise of course.
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mk1
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by mk1 »

It is just 1000 times more ungainly. Getting the frame lined up in the engine bay always (in my experience) involves some ragging about, with an engine in and wheels on this is infinitely more difficult. The lining up of the tower bolts is almost impossible when you are having to try & manipulate the shell to do it.

The last time Rich & I put an engine in, not on one of our cars I might add. the shell had been welded together a little out of line & although we did manage to get it in if we had been trying to do the shell onto the body we would still be trying now.

As I said in my original post, I am sure that there are people who swear that shell onto frames is the way to go, it's just in my experience it is about 10 times more difficult & is absolutely guaranteed to cause more scratches, dings & heart ache than fitting the frame to the shell & lowering the engine in from the top. Each to their own, but I will certainly NEVER try it again.

I reckon that the last 6 engines I have fitted have been done on my own using a decent engine lift / hoist & one of these;
s-l1600.jpg
I have not scratched ANY paint at all & have fitted the engine c/w rad & with a cowl on the shell.

More on this subject here;

http://mk1-forum.net/viewtopic.php?t=28231
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gs.davies
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by gs.davies »

mk1 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:04 pm It is just 1000 times more ungainly. Getting the frame lined up in the engine bay always (in my experience) involves some ragging about, with an engine in and wheels on this is infinitely more difficult. The lining up of the tower bolts is almost impossible when you are having to try & manipulate the shell to do it.

The last time Rich & I put an engine in, not on one of our cars I might add. the shell had been welded together a little out of line & although we did manage to get it in if we had been trying to do the shell onto the body we would still be trying now.

As I said in my original post, I am sure that there are people who swear that shell onto frames is the way to go, it's just in my experience it is about 10 times more difficult & is absolutely guaranteed to cause more scratches, dings & heart ache than fitting the frame to the shell & lowering the engine in from the top. Each to their own, but I will certainly NEVER try it again.
Thanks Mark, that's useful advice. I'm starting to lean towards hiring in a crane and a lift table to get the frames on and the engine in from the top.

I may need the engine tilt bracket - anybody close to me in Essex have one they'd lend out?
rolesyboy
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by rolesyboy »

Hi Gary. I've got that type of engine lift that you can borrow. Just give me some notice for when you plan to do it.
Cheers. Mark
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gs.davies
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by gs.davies »

rolesyboy wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 1:20 pm Hi Gary. I've got that type of engine lift that you can borrow. Just give me some notice for when you plan to do it.
Cheers. Mark
Great, thanks Mark. Just waiting on prices from local hire shop on lift table and hoist. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks. Car is ready to receive frames now.
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by InnoCooperExport »

This thread is great and very timely as I have been breaking my head over how to do this very thing! If I had a 2 post lift at my workshop with the shell on it; it would be a piece of p***. However, much to my disappointment I don't. I have one available to me but getting the shell and frames over there is more faff than it's worth.

My current situation is that I have the shell on 4 axle stands each with big solid planks of wood between them spreading the weight of the shell over the sills. The rear subframe went it bare and was then built up in situ, because as Polarsilver mentioned it would be ungainly and heavy as sin to lift up and mount on your own fully built up. This leaves me with the engine on the front sub sitting in the engine bay on a dolly.

My original plan was to pickup the shell on a pallet with a small forklift belonging to the owner of the complex where I rent my workshop. Sadly it proved to be just over the max lifting limit for the forklift (perhaps pallet stacker is a more accurate term) which means the shell started to tip a bit when I attempted to lift it off the axle stands. So now I'm stuck... The shell is up at about knee height, maybe I with a mate I can put some jacks under the planks, support the shell on those and drop it down a few pegs on the axle stands, then when I get the studs on the subframe closer to the crossmember in the engine bay make sure they're lined up and lift up the engine to mount the sub, allowing wheels to be mounted and then the whole shebang dropping onto the wheels with jacks?
Of course I know what a dipstick is, you get called something often enough you look it up!
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by mk1 »

It is not too difficult for 2 people to lift a shell c/w built up rear subframe off a set of jacks. Did this about a month ago.
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by woodypup no 2 »

If you have a forklift, tele-handler or bigger crane and plenty of height, lifting the shell vertically and dropping over the built engine and front s / f is easy enough.

But if you are some how lifting the front of the shell and lowering over the engine - the rotation of the shell means that several parts ( eg radiator & shroud, steering rack & s frame ) interfere with each other making it awkward.

Dropping the engine into a rolling shell in so much easier except getting the inner drive couplings together which can be fiddly unless the front wheels are off the ground.
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Andrew1967
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by Andrew1967 »

Next time I have to refit an engine into a Mk1 or 2 , I'm definitely going to try it with the rad already fitted.
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Re: Putting the body back on the subframes…?

Post by mk1 »

Good call!

You will be AMAZED for easy it is. M
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