There are a few other things that I needed to do before I could start work in earnest. First of these was to build a very low ramp that the car would sit on. The reason for this is that a 355 is very low, and the way you use the mid rise lift is you drive the car over it then swing out the arms under the jacking points. As a 355 has quite a low ride height, you can't drive over the lift unless you recess the lift into the floor. I did the opposite and built a ramp out of timber about 5 inches high that the car could simply be driven onto. This ramp would be for long term use - once the job is done the lift has to sit in the garage under the car.
I had one other reason for wanting to be able to lift the car up a few inches. The underside of a 355 has a whole bunch of panels bolted to it to give it a flat floor for aerodynamic purposes. With the car on a mid rise lift you can get to about 90% of the bolts but there's no way on earth you'd ever get the panels off the car as the lift itself is in the way. Normally you would put the car on axle stands and remove the panels, but I really really hate putting a car on axle stands when you have to do it one side at a time. It just feels all wrong. So the platform helped me get access to the underside with the car still on its wheels.
I built the platform in 10 pieces. This was done for two reasons;
- It gave me easy access to the underside
- The pieces were easy to move around and could be stacked when not in use
I didn't take photos of the construction process of these platforms, but this is how it is put together:
- 2 ramps to drive the car up, each about 1.5 feet long
- 4 pads for the wheels to sit on
- 4 mid sections that go between the wheels, each section is 1 metre long.
This enabled me to construct the whole ramp, drive the car up it, and then remove the four centre sections. In turn I could get access to the underside enough to be able to undo the fasteners for the floor panels, and I could easily access the lift arms to swing them out once everything was in the garage.
Here's the car sitting on the four pads, with the rest of the ramp removed. You can just see the access ramp ahead of the pad that the front wheel is on, and just inside the garage you can see a couple of the mid-sections standing on their side.
This was the first test inside the garage. Here you can see the full length of the platform with the centre sections in place. Now you can see why I couldn't use the two jack method as well !
This next image was taken a bit further into the process, but it shows the car on the lift at full height, with the dolly sitting on the ground beneath it and the low height platforms moved out of the way completely. As you can see there is absolutely loads of room to remove the engine.
And finally here's the undertrays that were removed. The large one is the front section, the smaller one is the middle section, and the two underneath it are the diffuser pieces that join the rear section to the bumper. The rear section itself is not shown in this image.