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Body Removal, Frame Painting, Re-assembly:

Lots of work!

It took me about 2 months of 16 hour days to completely tear down the frame, paint it and get it all back together. It is a lot of work!

Here is what I did....

Removing the body:
Basically you disconnect all the harnesses on the engine, pull out the main fuel tank, disconnect the fuel filler and vent lines from the rear tank. Take out the air filter assembly, disconnect the vacuum lines that go through the firewall next to the surge tank. Disconnect the fuel lines at the fuel filter, disconnect the front CTIS lines at the valve under the hood, disconnect the T fitting in the Left rear wheel well. Disconnect the E brake cables from the calipers, and the brackets that hold them to the rear cross members. Disconnect the all the HVAC lines. Disconnect the steering column from the steering gear. Disconnect all hoses on the Hydroboost. Disconnect the wires from the power distribution block. Take out the splash guard in the front left wheel well. Take out the surge tank. Remove the Hood, take out the 6 body mount bolts.

Next you have to figure out how to lift the body, my solution was to invite 20 of my buddies over for beer and burgers. It turns out it is cheaper to hire a crane! The only issue there is figuring out where to attach to the body. With a soft top it is easy, you just grab the roll bars with the top off.

If you don't have a crane, I would suggest taking the wheels off and setting the hubs on the ground on pieces of wood, it is much easier if the truck is closer to the ground. I found the body is VERY heavy and moving it is impossible, you basically can only go straight up with it(unless you get that crane!) So I suggest you start stocking up on old wheels and tires(it is better to have mounted tires in this case). Basically you lift it up and put a stack of tires under one corner, then go to the next, you keep going around in circles adding a tire on each revolution. Once you get 4 tires under each corner you can get two floor jacks and start maneuvering the frame out toward the front, only you cant pull it straight out because the stacks of tires are in the way. So you also need some Hi-Lift jacks because you are going to have to move the stacks of tires you used around because the frame gets really wide where the A arms are. You basically have to move one side, then the ot! her. It is hard to explain, check my pictures to get a better idea.

It is VERY important to note that the passenger side front body mount will hit the rocker panel protection when you try and lift the body straight up. You must remove the body mount from the frame before trying to take the body off! Either that or take the rocker panels off. But since you are going to do a color change you probably are going to want to take the rockers off any way, probably best to do that before you take the frame out from under it.

After you get the body off and out of the way it is very easy to lift the engine out.

For tearing down the Frame:
I suggest you get some big parts shelves and organize everything as you take it off. Organize the bolts by size, it doesn't really matter if the bolt goes back in the exact same hole. There are only really 3 types of bolts on the frame, those with 3/4" heads, and those with 1 & 1/8" heads, and the little self tapping ones that are 9/16". There are many different lengths, but if you have a service manual it is pretty easy to get it back together.

Squaring the frame:
Getting the damn thing square is a bitch, it took me 7 tries to get it within 1/4", measuring diagonally from the crossmember corner to crossmember corner. It is a very fluid system.

Getting the springs back in:
Putting the springs back in doesn't seem like a big deal to most of us, just put a floor jack under the A arm and compress until the shock bolt lines up right? Well if the body is off there is not enough weight to do that, you just lift the whole frame. You need to get a big ratchet strap and wrap it around the frame or hook to a the tie down brackets, use it to pull the lower A arm up and compress the spring, it takes some practice but by the 4th one you are a pro!

Replacing the body:
Putting the body back on is basically the reverse of taking it off, pretty easy, the only tip is you don't have to get it perfectly in place with a crane, if you go that route. It is pretty easy to move the body around with two floor jacks, one under each rocker.

Stripping the interior:
As far as stripping the interior, well its pretty simple, just start taking out screws, don't try and do the big back piece that goes around the rear window by yourself as you will break it.

There are pictures of this whole comedy of errors HERE

As far as tools go, I would highly recommend getting the 3/4" drive torque wrench from Harbor Freight, along with a good quality(read not from the Freight) 1/2" one that goes to 250lbs. All of the 1 & 1/8" frame bolts are 263 ft/lbs.

-Clark "only a few bolts left over" H.


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