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Old 04-30-2007, 04:51 PM
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First Body and frame split. Thoughts on "least damage"

O.K. now that I've got your attention, here' the scoop. Since I had hoped to get really cracking on my '78 Monte this year, I'm figuring I better learn this stuff now, instead of later. Last year, I bought a parts donor car so I could use it's frame and rear quarter panel (mine was repaired--just not how I'd really like it). My car's frame was twisted and is possibly diamonded (??). Anway, I know I'll need to use the floor from the donor car for the left side floor pan in mine. I have pretty limited space, but am working on making more room. My garage is getting closer and closer to being finished, and by fall, I should be ready to really push on my car.

The questions I have right now that I'd like input on are:

*Can I "safely" remove the body from the donor car after I gut it's interior and remove the doors? I'm using my car's manual window parts in the place of the donor's power windows, but with the donor car's doors. Since I plan on using part of the floor section and most of the quarter panel, I'd like to be as "least likely" to damage that metal due to body flex as possibe.

*Can I separate my car's body from the bad frame (after I strip the car from windshield base forward), but leave the interior intact? My thought in doing it this way is for some space savings. Two bodies in one "bay" will be close for a while, but I really see no other way to do this while I prep the new frame (which will be worked on while sitting on the trailer--again for space savings, and also to keep the Mrs. and the neighbors happy).

*Should the floor and quarter panel replacement be done before the body is lifted off the old frame? Should I put the body on the "new" frame to do the work, and then remove it again later when I go to get it powder coated? Back to the issue of structural rigidity, and a bit of body re-alignment as well.

I think I can do this work, never tried it before, but I'm willing to learn if there's willing teachers out there. Just slow and steady progress. Now I get the feeling that some would recommend starting with a better car, but this one is mine, and there's zero chance of any other car taking it's place. I realize that I may find a ton of hidden damage, but damaged steel can be straightened, or reformed to be corrected again.

In a while, Chet.
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