One of the challenges for a hobbyist doing a vehicle restoration is finding inexpensive and space saving solutions to mimic professional level tools. For at least one situation, I have an alternative that is functional yet cheap enough you can recycle the material when done.
Professionals have the chassis rotisserie for turning a car on its side to access the floorpan for repair. The one pictured below is an example that Jegs sells fro about $1200 + $160 S&H. These tools are great, but they are expensive (for a one-time or few-time use) and take up a fair bit of room when not in use.
This is a set of levers outfitted with junk wheels so you can lever your car up on its side and have unimpaired access to the floorpan for everyone’s favorite restoration task, rust repair!
When I made mine, I used scrap wheels and metal I’d collected over the years, so it cost me $0.00 to fabricate (except for the welding gas and rod).
Materials and Assembly
The fabrication of this tool is extremely simple. The component bit are:
- Two (2) old steel wheels (that match the bolt pattern of the car under restoration)
- Two (2) more wheels, also steel, but of no particular bolt pattern
- Two (2) pieces of thickwall tubing, 2″ to 3″ dia, square or round, about 5 feet long
- Two (2) pieces of round thickwall tubing, 2″ to 3″ dia, about 1′ long each
All these pieces get welded together so that they resemble the tools in the pictures.
- Cut the centers out of the two “other” wheels. This will give you access to the lug bolts when installing the tool on the car.
- Put the SAAB wheel on the ground and the “other” wheel with the center cut out on top of the SAAB wheel. Weld them together. Good strong welds. Now you’ve got a double-wheel.
- Put the 5′ long tube on top of the double-wheel assembly and weld it on. Weld it well.
- Put the 1′ long round tube on the “bottom” end of the 5′ long tube, perpendicular to it, weld it. Do I need to tell you that nice strong welds are important? Good.
- Do it again to make the second one.
- Clean ’em and paint ’em up with some wild candystripe colors (for the heck of it). You are done!
One additional suggestion, if you have the material available, is to use tubing of a diameter large enough, for the pieces you weld to the wheels, that it can accept the insertion of various lengths of other tubes. This way, you can insert longer levers, remove them for storage, or connect the front and rear assemblies for additional stability (as I did and you can see in the pictures of the SAAB 900 SPG on its side).
To use the turnupus tool:
- Jack one side of the car up and bolt the tools to the hubs.
- Let the car down so it sits on the tool’s pivot tube. For grins, and if it is still hooked up, put the handbrake on.
- Go around to the other side of the car and jack it up a bit to give yourself a headstart.
- With strong and friendly help, lift from one side while pulling on the levers from the other.
- As it reaches the balance point, begin to transfer the strong friends to the topside so it can be lowered slowly and in a controlled manner.
For a chassis with no body, engine, or drivetrain, it generally goes pretty smoothly. If the engine and interior have not been removed, that car is still very heavy and you may need to get inventive in how you lift and lower. Be careful!
Basically, it is give the car a pusshus and turn it uppus but make sure to have help or the uppus might go woopsus. As a precaution, consider having some old dismounted tires placed strategically to cushion the descent should your musclemen’s grip slip.