Stripping Down To A Bare Chassis

This page takes the rolling chassis down to a bare chassis


Section A : Engine Removal
Section B : Fuel Tank & Pipes
Section C : Rear Suspension Arms
Section D : Driveshafts and Differential
Section E : Front Suspension  
Section F : Steering Rack and Engine Mounts  
Section G : Brake & Fuel pipes + Miscellaneous Parts  

A. - Engine Removal. 


These items are covered in this section : 


Cables and Wiring As with the removal of the body, in Part 1, these section will aim to remove all of major assemblies from the rolling chassis and keep them in one assembly as far as is practical.

Starting with the 'dangly' items left on the engine, remove the clutch cable by unhooking the end nipple from the actuating arm and then slide the threaded adjuster out from the bell housing lug.

Next take off the throttle cable, but this is more tricky than it sounds. Firstly you need to prise off the retaining clip that holds the end of the cable to the throttle arm, next the metal clip that secures the black plastic end body to the manifold bracket need to be carefully slide away from the body, do this with a medium sized screwdriver. When the clip is out you can then push all 4 of the plastic retaining arms in and the cable is free to come out. This last step is best achieved by pulling on the cable whilst you push in the lugs one by one.

The last cable to remove is the speedo cable, the is done by removing the internal circlip holding the cable into the gearbox and then releasing the two retaining clips holding the cable to the chassis.


Gearbox Plate To allow the engine to tip up as you lift it out later take off the large steel plate which lies underneath the gearbox. The plate is held in by about 8 setscrews.


Exhaust System With the body off access to the exhaust is straight forward. Start by removing the tail piece by unhooking the end rubber at the rear of of the chassis and releasing the centre clamp. Free up the split in the pipes with a large screwdriver and then wiggle the tail section free.

Next remove the centre section by unclamping it from the downpipe and releasing the support rubber near the rear driveshaft. When these are free, twist and pull the exhaust free from the car.

When the centre section is off you can remove the 3 15mm A/F nuts which hold the downpipe to the exhaust manifold. When they are off the downpipe will be able to drop out of the chassis in a downwards direction (with some turning and twisting).


Fuel Pipes Release the feed and return fuel pipes from around the carburettor area. Plug them with a suitable steel, plastic or wooden rod. Note the two different sizes of pipes.


Radiator To remove the radiator first drain off the coolant into a suitable container, do not dispose of the liquid yet you will need it to fill up the radiator and engine block for storage as it acts as a corrosion inhibitor (providing it was mixed correctly first). If you do dispose of it, do so in the correct manner - not just down the drain !

As the car is being stripped down for renovation the easiest way to remove the radiator is to remove the front armature assembly complete with the radiator still in place. This then allows the lower fixings to be removed and the radiator slide out of its resting place.

Note - To ease the removal of the radiator when the car is back in one piece I intend to modify the way the top locating pins work as it is these items that prevent the radiator from being removed easily. Please check out the reassembly sections when they are done.


Propshaft Removing the propshaft is fairly straight forward, jack up and support on axle stands the rear of the chassis. Next using a pin/centre punch mark the flange on the propshaft and the flange on the differential, this is to ensure they go back on in the same relative position.

Remove the four bolts holding the two flanges together, the best way to stop the propshaft from rotating as you 'break' the bolt loose is to use two spanners, allowing one to rest on the chassis.


Gearbox Mount Whilst under the car undoing the propshaft take the opportunity to release the two bolts holding the rear gearbox mount to the chassis plate, you made need a cranked ring spanner to help hold the nuts.


Front Crossmember Remove the two front shock absorbers, noting where the spacers where fitted at their inboard end.

Remove all 8 of the setscrews holding the front crossmember assembly into the chassis, any that spin will need to be ground or drilled off as you cannot get to the back of them.

Pull the crossmember from the chassis rails.


Removing the Engine The next big step !

Before removing the engine run through the following check list :

  • Have somewhere to store the engine ready
  • Have the correct lifting tackle
  • Check all the pipes/wires etc are disconnected
  • Have some plastic sheets/rags/newspaper ready
  • Be aware that oil will drain from the gearbox output shaft

Removing the engine and gearbox box assembly is relatively straight forward, firstly take off the nuts on the two engine mountings, the upper bolts are easier to get to and also the engine mounting brackets are slotted to enable the engine to be lifted straight up.

Place a large plastic bag with a rag in it over the end of the gearbox and secure with tie wraps or tape.

Secure a heavy duty rope or chain to the two lifting eyes on the engine's cylinder head. If they are not fitted please ensure that you do not lift the engine in an insecure manner, look at fitting the proper Ford lifting eyes first.

Using a suitable lifting crane/block and tackle start to ease the engine up vertically, you are aiming to lift the engine in a balanced way so if it tilts over when free from the mounts lower it back and reposition the ropes/chains.

When the engine has been lifted about 3/4" you should be able to slide it forward  OR move the chassis backwards.

The rest of the lift is a combination of a small vertical lift and then moving the engine and chassis away from each other.

When the sump is higher that the steering rack crossmember then the engine can be pulled straight out of the chassis, you will need to support the gearbox end at this point

Place the engine onto a trolley and using the water drained from the radiator fill up the pipes to protect the aluminium head and store way securely.

View of chassis minus engine

Now all that should remain on the chassis is the suspension, drivetrain, fuel tank and a few other odds and sods.



B. - Fuel Tank & Pipes.  


These items are covered in this section : 
Fuel Pipes

Before commencing work on the fuel tank ensure that your own and the safety of others is considered. Drain off as much fuel as possible into an approved container before starting work.

To remove the tank the first job is to take off the two pipes that connect to the fuel sender unit located at the back of the tank as shown below:

Fuel Pipe set up on Sender Unit

Use a pair of pliers to remove the clips, be careful when pulling the pipes off the sender unit.


Tank Straps Take out the 4 setscrews that hold the two tank straps in place, use a couple of extension bars to ease access to the front fasteners.


Removing Fuel Tank Lifting the tank out is straight forward. Stand "inside" the chassis and lift the tank off the chassis.

Drain any remaining fuel into a petrol container.

Store the tank safely where any fumes from the tank are not exposed to naked flames or sparks etc.

Fuel Tank out of car



C. - Rear Suspension Arms.  


These items are covered in this section : 
Note :
Although the main aim is keep the chassis "rolling" for as long as possible, the rear suspension arms are temporarily removed to take out the driveshafts and the differential and cradle.

Anti-Roll Bar Undo the lower link bolts and then the two mounting brackets that hold the ARB to the chassis. This will allow the bar to taken off.
Brake Lines To allow the trailing arms to be removed ,take off the two flexible brake hoses at the inner end of the rear swinging arms. To do this you will need a 13, 16 and 17mm flare nut spanners. Watch out for leaking brake fluid.

View of the inside of the Trailing arm (LH) showing the disconnected brake line

Handbrake Cable The handbrake cable needs to be released from the rear brake shoe. This is done by first removing the rear brake drums. Next, take off the spring and washer holding the rear shoe to the back plate. The shoe can then be pulled out of its lower locating grove and access to the handbrake cable gained. Taking the cable out of its slot can be a bit fiddly, if you pull the rear arm of the shoe forward and the shoe backwards, you can just turn the cable through 90 degrees and release it. The cable can then be withdrawn from the backing plate.

Rear brake assembly, arrow shows position of the handbrake cable (behind shoe)

Suspension Arm Bolts Release the two bolts holding the arm to the chassis and then pull/lever the arms from out of the brackets, let the arm swing on the shock absorber and take the weight. When ready undo and remove the shock absorber lower bolt and then pull the arm complete with the driveshaft away from the chassis and the spline will come out of the differential.

Rear Trailing Arm - Arrows show mounting bolts

Rear Arms removed from the car :

Front view of RH Trailing Arm

Rear view of RH Trailing Arm


Shock Absorbers To remove the shock absorbers simply undo the remaining upper bolts and they will come away.

Rear Spring and Damper Assemblies



D. - Driveshafts and Differential.  


These items are covered in this section :
Driveshafts The driveshafts need to be taken off from the rear trailing arm if it is to be used to keep the chassis "rolling" a bit longer. The 32mm A/F nuts on the ends of the driveshafts are likely to be very tight, these may need a trip to the local garage to be undone with an air impact wrench. When they have been taken off the driveshaft can be knocked out of the rear hubs using a soft faced mallet or a block of wood as not to damage the ends of the driveshafts.

Watch which side the driveshafts come from as they are different lengths!

The two driveshafts, the left one marked with cable ties

Differential and Cradle Assembly With all of the driveshafts and suspension out of the way the differential can be removed. This is best done by lowering it to the ground still in its cradle. Loosen the 3 main bolts in the mounting rubbers until they are almost free and then whilst you are standing over the differential holding the cradle, get an assistant undo the bolts the last bit. Lower the assembly to the floor. You could alternatively lower it on a jack, but be careful as it may fall off the jack !!

Differential assembly in its cradle

When the assembly is out of the chassis you can then remove the 3 mounting rubbers, watch for the location of any special packing washers, especially if the chassis has been stiffened in the area of the front mounting rubber.



E. - Front Suspension.  


These items are covered in this section :
Brake Lines

The aim here with the front suspension is to remove the whole of the assembly in one piece whilst work on the chassis commences.

Only a few connections/bolts need to be taken off to do this. Start with the four brake flexible pipes where they join the chassis rail. Using the correct size flare nut spanners remove the brake pipes and then the locking nuts from the end of the flexible pipes.

Using the flare spanner to release the brake pipes

Drain off any brake fluid that is left in the pipes into a suitable container.


Track Rod Ends The track rod ends will need to be removed by using a ball joint separator. Don't forget to release the nuts before attempting to pop the track rod end out.


Anti-roll Bar The anti-roll bar is simple, but time consuming to remove. The threads on the anti-roll bar link seem to go on forever. Note carefully the order in which the parts are assembled on the car. Release the two mounting brackets for the anti-roll bar and remove it from the chassis.


Suspension Assemblies Only three bolts each side now hold the front suspension assemblies onto the chassis. Carefully note the position of the spacers in the top wishbone arm, they do vary depending on the age of the car.

When removing the suspension arms be careful of the coil spring, even with no weight on the front end they are still under quite a bit of compression.

To remove the assemblies raise the front of the chassis up in the air and support securely. Next remove the nuts off all the bolts and using a soft metal or wooden drift knock the top wishbone bolt out of its location. Pull the upper wishbone arm away form the car and lower the whole of the suspension down, stand at the front of the car to do this because as you lower the  unit the coil spring will pop out of its mountings.

Front Coil Springs

When the spring has come out you can then remove the two lower wishbone bolts and take the assembly away from the chassis.

Front Suspension Assembly (LH)

Pull the rubber bump stop out of the tubes near where the top wishbone was.

Chassis with no front suspension arm, round tube is where the bump stop was fitted



F. - Steering Rack
 and Engine Mounts.  


These items are covered in this section :
Steering Rack Release the steering rack by removing the four bolts holding the rack to the lower chassis cross rail and store away.


Engine Mounts To remove the front engine mounting rubbers use a chain or strap wrench (as used for oil filters) to unscrew the rubbers from out of the chassis. Hold the rubbers at the closest point to the chassis to stop them twisting too much.

Removing the engine mounts



G. - Brake Pipes
Fuel Pipes + 
Miscellaneous Parts



These items are covered in this section :
Handbrake Cable To remove the handbrake cable (presuming you have already released the ends of the cables when taking out the rear suspension) first take undo the two clamps which hold the cable to the underside of the rear chassis legs.

Next under the centre tunnel remove the split pin that secures the pin in to the handbrake balancing wheel. Slide the pin out and store the pin, washer, wheel and adjustor.

The handbrake cable can then be removed through the slot it the bracket.
View looking up into centre tunnel showing Handbrake Cable mounting


Fuel Pipes Remove any remaining clips from the end of the pipes. 

Measure the length of pipe that protrudes at each end of the feed and return pipes.

Pull the engine end of the pipes through the chassis and remove the grommets. Next pull the pipes from the chassis clips, being very careful not to kink the hard plastic pipes if you are reusing them.

The pipes pass through the chassis near the front differential mounting point, here the pipes are more difficult to remove as you may have to cut off the rubber ends of the pipes to allow them to be pulled through the smaller grommets.

Note : The type of piping used for the fuel pipe was ok at the time the cars were built, but with extra joints in the pipes and the car being 15 years old I will be looking at the type of piping to replace the existing ones with.  - There's no point spending all this time and effort renovating the car to watch it go up in flames as Reliant are notorious for doing.


Brake Pipes Take photographs and sketches of all the brake pipes and their runs on the chassis. Label up the pipes with the same tie-wraps that are used for the electric cable.

Brake Pipes labelled up ready to remove

Try not to damage the pipes or bend them, you will need them to use as patterns when making new pipes up.

Using the correct size flare spanner remove all the brake lines from the chassis and then take off the 3 distribution blocks and store them all away.

You'll need to release the blocks for proper access to the flair nuts.


Miscellaneous Parts Whilst under the chassis take out the 4 setscrews that hold the gearbox mounting plate to the main backbone of the chassis. This will allow it to be cleaned up and also afford better access when cleaning the centre tunnel.

This concludes the work stripping the car down to the rolling chassis.

The next section deals with the stripping of the rolling chassis down to a bare chassis.