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OTS (Roadster) Body Removal

OTS (Roadster) Body Removal

I have my xk-140's OTS (roadster) body ready to lift off the chassis: I would appreciate info about the best way to do this without buckling it. Is there a sub frame available in Southern California to allow the body to be taken to the dip and stripper and otherwise safely handled while it is off the chassis? - Dokk Jones

I have heard of people attaching an additional beam across the door area on both sides with some success. I broke the welds and lifted mine off in two pieces since I had to replace the sills. I lifted the front at the front cross bar, the bonnet hinges, and the windshield side post mounts. The back was lifted using the top mount points and accessable rear body mount points. These are what I remember, anyway. Be very careful of dipping as there are several small panels and rivits that will disappear when the body is dipped. Remember to remove the body tag! I dipped half of my car and softstripped the other half. I ended up doing a lot of seam disassembly on the dipped section as the preservative was washed out of the seams and they started rusting again. Softstripping did not get every piece of rust as softstripping only removes what is seen and gotten to by the operator. A lot of work had to be done on that part of the car also. - Cleo Bay, XK120 OTS, XK140 OTS

Hi Dokk, yes there certainly is. The body will bend badly if unsupported and you will lose your door gap measurement completely. So use three or four struts of angle iron bolted to any concenient holes on the dashboard and then onto any similar holes at the luggage compartment or rear floor area. You will need to weld suitable fixings at each end of the struts for bolting. With this in place the body will flex but it will not bend in the most critical place. When I did my 140 DHC I then got 6 neighbours to help me lift it off the chassis onto some loose brick stands. I then spent a few weekends making a steel subframe between the body and the garage floor which bolted onto ALL the body mounting points. Then away with the bricks and ther it was - the body on a home made stand ready for the paint shop to lift and move around as they wished. They could also paint underneath the body without any difficutly. All very simple and easy but of course it all takes time - but then most jobs that you do properly on an XK take time. Best of luck. - Peter Fielding - South Africa.

Hi Dokk, I used the same "framing" approach as Peter Fielding has outlined above when I removed the body from my 140 OTS prior to the body restoration being commenced by the shop. My experience involved a complete body restoration that included among other things, rust removal from the fenders and replacing the door shut face assemblies and inner sills, common on XK OTS restorations. The owner of the restoration shop was insistent that we take "drops" from the body before it was removed from the frame as a reference for accurate re-assembly and alignment of the restored body on the frame as he was confident that the body had never been off the frame since new. "Drops" are simply reference points developed by using a plumb-bob at a number of key points about the body and frame of the car. An assumption is that the frame is "straight" of course. These reference points must be taken when the frame is level in 2 axes and dimensions from the floor should also be considered for each reference point. It's a moot point as to whether or not this is all really neccessary but the restoration guy was adamant that he wanted those reference points since this restoration was taking place alongside other work in the shop at the time and he wanted to be absolutely sure of the original dimensions if a long period of time passed between dismantling and re-assembly. Fair enough I thought, I'm paying a for his experience and I'm not going to argue with him about his approach since he was guaranteeing his work. One of the critical points at which your OTS body restoration can go badly wrong if you're not careful is when you actually separate the front fenders from the body, there are a number of leaded areas which are "faired" over the myriad of spot-welds that join the fenders to the dash top assembly and at the area at the bottom where L.H and R.H fender assembliesare joined,there's no handy modern bolt-on stuff here, the front end assembly of your car is just that, one large, composite assembly. If your OTS is like the many before that have required extensive rust repair, you will probably have some serious "tin worm" down in the lower sections of the complex assembly refered to simply as the "Dash Assembly, Complete" in the XK 140 parts book. XK Unlimited's catalogue has the same print. If your doing a bang-up restoration on a rusty car, you're going to spend a lot of time and money down here if you're not repairing it yourself. You should also note that the XK front fender is a composite panel produced by spot-welding together a number of different pieces then leading over the welds, fairing" of the panel should be checked before you take the "drops", espescially in the lower area just ahead of the forward edge of the wheel opening. In a "perfect world" you would have an assembly jig to reassemble the components so Peter's "support frame" is the way to go. In the same "perfect world", the information and reference points developed from the drops should be marked on the floor where the original measurements are taken and the body/frame reassembly be undertaken at the same precise position as the disassembly. I used heavy kraft "roll wrap" scrounged from the local newspaper printing plant to record these references on for convenience as I could roll them up and store them. These elaborate preliminaries showed up an interesting fault, although the car showed no signs of ever having been hit anywhere on the front end (panel-beating, filling etc), the "nearside" headlight pod was spot-welded onto it's fender so that it was slightly mis-aligned relative to the "offside" pod which appeared to be correct, later examination showed that the L.H. pod was in fact in it's original, mis-aligned position from new on the fender assembly - definitely a "Friday" car ("Restored back to the original?" I'm asked, "No thanks!" I reply). Unfortunately, if you're chasing serious rust in your car, you'll have to think about getting the sidelight and headlight pods off the fenders to get at the corrosion you're probably going to find under the pods, more lead and spot-welds to deal with. A couple of other points to look out for, note the position of the body/frame shims and felts (a subject dealt with at length on this list earlier this year) plus the door hinge shims and if you're re-wiring under the dash, take pictures before cutting anything away. Sam Bell kindly posted some excellent pics of the XK 140 under-dash wiring harness routing earlier this year on the XK-Lovers web-site. - Good luck, regards, John Morgan

Re cleaning up the body: I had bead blasting done (plastic medium) with success. Not hard enough to warp the panels, including the aluminium, and also (so they say) not hard enough to harden the metal (and make it more difficult to work with). There often seem to be problems with dipping (the rivets mentioned, being one) and it seems hard to know who to trust. - Regards, John Elmgreen

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