Goodmark Chevelle Project Car - Part 3

Comin' Apart

Jason Walker Jun 26, 2002 0 Comment(s)

With new body panels in place, it's time to disassemble the rest of the car

At the end of last month's coverage of the Goodmark Chevelle, we told you the next segment would cover body mods (shaved door handles, nosed and decked, etc.). After careful consideration, however, the decision was made to leave the body entirely stock. Why go through all the work of replacing 80 percent of the body's sheetmetal, only to weld-up or cover-up some of the originality that was so painstakingly manufactured into it?

To make a long story short, this segment will cover the body and frame separation, as well as the disassembly of the suspension and removal of the engine, transmission, and rearend. We will get back to the bodywork next time, since there is still some dirty work to tend to. Dirty might be an understatement, but going this far in a restoration is undeniably worth the dirt and rust that will collect on the walls of our lungs.

First off, when the body comes off the chassis, where do you put it? The best possible answer to that is to bolt it to a rotisserie so that any angle or panel can be "worked over" by spinning the entire body into virtually any position. Being skilled in metal work, the guys at Metal Finish USA were able to build their own body rotisserie just for this project--something that should be left to the professionals, for sure. With that out of the way, for now, it was time to tear down the chassis and suspension parts. Once done, you are left with parts everywhere and the burning question, "Will I remember where everything went when it comes time to put it all back together?" Sure you will, just keep following along, and we'll get you through it.

Once the body of our Goodmark Chevelle was separated from its chassis, it became quite evident that the factory assemblers had it pretty easy. With the body sitting on the chassis it's 10 times as hard to get to and work on just about anything under the car. This is a point in the restoration process where skilled labor, not good parts, make the difference between short cuts and the "right way." Craig and his son have been putting in some long hours and will continue to do so, making sure everything is done just right.

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With all the wiring, the hoses, the body bolts, and the steering column removed, the body was lifted via a car lift just high enough for the chassis to be rolled out from underneath the body.

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After the chassis was rolled away, the guys at Metal Finish USA were able to test out their in-house-built body rotisserie. Building a body rotisserie might seem simple enough, but a skilled welder and a tight plan will be necessary to make one safe.

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As you can see, the body rotisserie works perfect. If you are planning a "body off" restoration, do yourself a favor and spend the money on a rotisserie like this one. The ability to work on certain areas of the car that normally would require your laying on your back or standing on a make-shift scaffold will be worth any amount of money spent on an adjustable body stand.

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For now we will let the body rest on its temporary stand and move onto the chassis disassembly. There are a number of ways to start, but for this project the exhaust was first on the list. During the disassembly process, the acetylene torch was used quite frequently for cutting and putting heat to those pesky, rusted-tight nuts and bolts.

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It's also a good time to remove the driveshaft. If you have not drained all the transmission fluid out yet, place a bucket or oil pan under the tailshaft of the transmission before removing the driveshaft completely. On to the suspension...

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Unlike the front of the exhaust, the back simply needed to be unbolted. It's easy to see how nice a car lift can be for this type of work.

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While the chassis was high on the lift, it was a good time to loosen the engine and transmission mount bolts. You don't want to remove the bolts completely; it's just a lot easier to reach them in this position.

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A Pickle-Fork and small sledge hammer made short work of the ball joint separation. It's important to not take the ball joint nut completely off at this point. There is some serious pressure pushing down on that lower control arm, so the ball joint nut and shock are what is going to keep the coil spring from violently flying out of its pocket.

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With the coil and shock carefully removed, the lower ball joint nut removed the spindle and brakes for further disassembly.

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The rest of the suspension was simply unbolted to remove.

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With the engine and transmission safely removed, the light at the end of the tunnel was becoming brighter by the second. If you don't have a tailshaft plug available, supporting the back of the trans will keep the remainder of trans fluid, if any, from draining onto the floor.

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Did we say, simply unbolted? This is why an acetylene torch is so important for this type of work. Any time you have a rusted-tight nut and bolt, a little heat in the right places will take all the muscle out of the work and save your nerves for more important problems.

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Before removing the rearend, make sure to free the emergency brake cables and brake lines from the chassis.

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It won't get much easier to pull a motor than if you remove everything around it first.

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On to the rear end, which was the last part of the chassis disassembly. The coil springs were held in place with a bolt that was easily accessed after the body was removed.

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Removing the rear trailing arms took a few hands and a good impact wrench. Don't forget to support the rear end with a jack before removing anything.

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What a mess! It's a beautiful sight though, everything ready to be sandblasted and powdercoated.

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