When it comes to mobility, the trouble really begins once you separate the body from the frame on a street rod project. Sure, you can manhandle the frame with relative ease, since two average-strength adults can usually lug the thing around, even if it's stripped to the bare essentials with no suspension or rolling stock. The frame is a robust component, too, but the body is a far different story. It's a clumsy, sometimes fragile piece-something you just can't easily jostle on a whim, or without considerable help.
And that's where the big question arises: How in the heck do you move the thing around your workshop or take it to the body shop without breaking it or risking personal injury? The answer is a body cart. There's more than one type of body cart out there; some are pretty slick and expensive (for example, a high-end wheeled rotisserie) while others are homebuilt and downright stingy (for example, the cart shown in the accompanying photos). Personally, I've done it both ways, but a homebrewed body cart like the one shown is definitely tough to beat from a pure dollars-and-cents perspective. Not only can you build it dirt-cheap (this one came in well less than $100), you can disassemble it and use the hardware for other projects once you're finished with it.
This is the completed cart-strong, light, and easy to maneuver. Best of all, it's dirt-che
Before going any further, let me explain something: I loathe anything to do with woodwork, since it's pretty much foreign to me if you can't bend it, heat it with a torch, weld it, grind on it, or turn a wrench on it. The truth is, I can't hammer a nail straight, so I assembled the cart in the photos with bolts and screws, and if you're like me (all thumbs when it comes to wood), then this project is for you.
First things first, a rudimentary sketch was created that would more or less act as a basic blueprint for the job (see illustration on page 139). That sketch is obviously no thing of beauty, but it works. Note, too, that I wanted a low cart so the entire body could be accessed, plus it would keep the center of gravity down low so the cart and body could easily be hoisted on a ramp truck or rollbed wrecker to get it to the body shop.
As a result, the overall height is 12 inches, plus the height of the caster wheels and caster mounting plates, for a total figure of 21 inches. From there, I made a want list (see "Lumberyard" sidebar above) and headed out the door; it was a simple matter of pointing my pickup truck toward my closest lumberyard, dragging out my credit card, and signing on the dotted line.
Once home, I unloaded the truckbed and dragged out a Skilsaw (I do have one of those, although it gets precious little use). Check out the following photos and captions to see the entire construction process from start to finish. (And, for your information [and much to my wife's amazement], no digits were lost or mangled along the way).
The following is a shopping list of materials I gathered up for the project. It's common stuff any lumberyard will have on hand.
|Quantity ||Description |
| 8 ||2x4s, 8ft lengths |
| 1 ||4x4, 10ft length |
| 24 ||3/8x6-inch carriage head bolts |
| 16 ||3/8x2-inch carriage head bolts |
| 40 ||3/8-inch nuts (coarse) |
| 40 ||3/8-inch flat washers |
| 16 ||3/8-inch lock washers |
| 4 ||6-inch caster wheels (all swivel) |
| 1 pack ||#8x2-inch deck screws |
I had a few extra 2x4 lengths hanging around from other projects, although I didn't need t
Mark the length of the longitudinal runners (it's easy to mark all of them at once), and c
The 4x4 posts are cut to length, but I should have asked the lumberyard to saw them to avo
I used an inexpensive drill guide for the holes in the longitudinal pieces, which more or
I only drilled one longitudinal runner with the drill guide, and that particular drilled 2
The 4x4 posts were similarly drilled and assembled to the inside of the 2x4s with carriage
I then bolted in the crossmembers using a crossbolt pattern (figuring if that worked on hi
I made these wooden plates from scrap lumber since I couldn't bolt the caster wheels direc
This is what the outside rails look like when they're done; you just have to make sure eve
Here's the body cart sans the rolling stock.
Select 3/8x2-inch carriage head bolts were installed on the backside, and then the plates
Caster wheels were bolted into place with lock washers and nuts, and I used swivel casters
Up front, two eyebolts were installed in the firewall, hooked to a pair of lightweight mot
The cart was rolled underneath the body and the body dropped over it, with two motorcycle