Pulling a Frame Without a Lift


Resident Window Licker
Nothing terribly special here. But there wasn't a lot of info on the site, so I thought I would post a quick little how to. Special thanks to Charlie for providing the jist of it the procedure in this thread. The rest of it I gathered off other forums and YouTube.

One note. I did come across a few stern warnings not to use cinder blocks, including pictures of them failed under cars. Be careful if you use them. :dead:


Here is the car last night as I finished for the evening, ready to go in the morning. The larger yellow stands are under the frame rails, as I have spent the past couple of days pulling the engine and tranny (I'm in the early stages of a full PT build). The exhaust is still there because it's a mint 3" stainless ATR dual exhaust, and I am not cutting it to get it out. So it's coming out with the frame.


So the first real step in preparing to drop the frame is to support the body itself. I did this using two ~3.5' pieces of 4X4 to fit between the frame rails. I ran these width-wise across the floor pan. I supported these with the smaller red stands. So what you are basically seeing at this point is the red stands supporting the body and the yellow ones supporting the frame.

The 4X4's are closer together than I would have liked, but this is where the bottom was flattest and most level. I was also concerned about supporting the body across such a small area (only a little over 2 square feet:eek:), but a close inspection of the floor pan when done revealed no problems. And this is a more or less full weight body at the moment. Only the gas tank has been removed.


Now it's time to get down to business. The engine hoist is chained around the front cross member. Lift the frame slightly off the stands to allow you to remove the yellow stands from the frame rails. Then set it back down so that the front of the body is resting on the red stands and the front frame is supported by the hoist (center that chain around the cross member as best you can;)).


Now do the same at the rear. Lift the rear up slightly and pull out the yellow jacks supporting the frame. Slowly set the rear end back down onto the red stands. At this point the body is supported by the red stands only and the frame is supported by the hoist and floor jack only. This is what I affectionately refer to as the pucker point in the whole procedure.


Now, with the body supported, carefully alternate lowering the hoist and floor jack (or whatever you are using front and back) to lower the frame away from the body. It should drop easy to separate the two. If it's not, start looking for what you forgot to disconnect. For me it was the power steering lines. Be sure to keep checking for anything you forgot to undo as you go. You want to get it lowered enough to sneak 4X4's between the body and the frame. This picture looks like more than enough, but the frame was tipped to the driver's side slightly.



As soon as you have the frame dropped enough, slide an 8' 4X4 through and support it using the stands previously used for the frame. 8' may seem excessively wide, but DO NOT cut them shorter. You will see why shortly. Once both of these 4X4's are in place, you can lift them a little to allow you to pull the red stands out. The yellow stands and the two 8' 4X4's are now supporting the body. At this point, the body is supported and the frame is sitting on the ground, or, in my case, dollies.

You can leave the wheels and tires on if you lift the body higher to begin with. And you can roll the frame out front or back as well if the body is high enough. But then, in either of those scenarios, you have to have the body so high up that you likely either have a two post lift or you've maybe taken some excessive risk to lift it that high with floor/bottle/engine jacks.




So us mere mortals without two post lifts are going to cheat and pull the frame out the side to clear the rear arch. This is where the extra width of those 8' 4X4's comes in handy. By jacking up the 4X4's and temporarily moving the stands out of the way and/or to a different location along the 4X4, you can slowly wiggle the body out to the side as shown above. Take your time, and continue to check for anything you forgot to undo, although you should be in the clear at this point.



And here's the end result after less than an hour of work flying solo. Keep in mind I had the engine and transmission out, removed the gas tank, and did a few other odds and ends someone doing a full on restoration may not have done. I'm not sure this would be practical to do without taking the engine and tranny out, as again you would have to lift the body dangerously high IMO to clear the drivetrain.

So, all in all, it's a pretty straightforward procedure. If I can do it by myself, I'm pretty sure anyone else here can as well. Two sets of jack stands, three 8' 4X4's, and a couple of jacks are all you need. And the best part is no more wincing at the appearance of (almost) 30 year old cosmoline taking away from the appearance of the car.
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Active Member
Just pulled my frame pretty much like you, but with a scissor lift instead of a jack. But my garage isn't as nice. One other note. You can't do it with the transmission in the car. It interferes with front 4x4 crossing. I tried, was going to pull it after the frame was out.


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