I put a lot of thought into whether I could achieve this job at home. The main objective was to be able to do it without any time pressures which meant that I needed to be able to do some work and then just walk away from it without having to tidy everything away, or have certain tasks completed by certain dates. My home isn't massive and I only have a single garage. Wanting to spend a long time doing this work there was no way I could just do it outside, so I needed to work out a way of being able to both keep the car in the garage and work on the restoration at the same time without having to work outside in the cold and dark. Autumn and Winter evenings or weekends were the only time I had available to do it.
Another consideration was that I live alone and would need to do all the work myself. Whilst I know they would have been happy to help I didn't want to have to call on neighbours or friends at random times to help with things and then find they weren't available; I wanted to be able to do the work as and when I had the time available.
Getting the engine out of the 355 can be done in a few ways;
- You can lift the car away from the engine keeping it level - this requires a 2 post lift of some sort; one that allows the suspension to hang free and doesn't put any weight on the wheels themselves (hence a 4 post lift is not really suitable although it can actually be done if you hang the end of the car off the lift).
- You lift the car up, hold it at a fixed height, and lower the engine away from it
- You can remove the rear bumper and lift the rear of the car up using a pair of high lift jacks until it's high enough to slide the engine out from the rear.
I couldn't use the two jack method because there is no room at the sides of the car in my single garage to get the jacks underneath. Even if I could get jacks in I would be struggling to lift both sides evenly by myself (possible, but probably takes a lot of messing around). Also, the car couldn't really be left in this position in the garage for several months; it would have to sit on axle stands. As a consequence, there would be no room left to work on the engine and suspension.
What I concluded was that I needed to buy a lift. And the lift needed to go high enough up that I could put the engine underneath the car to work on it. Having reached this conclusion, I then needed to decide which one to buy. There are three categories;
- 2 Post lifts - these use the jacking points or other similarly strong points to lift the car. You get full access to the underside.
- 4 Post lifts - these lift the car on its wheels. You get less access to the underside.
- Mid rise lifts - these lift the car using the jacking points, but some of them limit access to the underside
I don't have the headroom or width for a full size 2 post lift, so that was ruled out. I looked at getting a MaxJax low rise 2 post lift, but decided it was too expensive. 4 Poster was no good for reasons already stated and way too large as well, so that left the mid rise lift.
There are two basic designs of mid-rise lift:
- A design that has two separate but synchronised platforms, which are designed to lift the car on its sills.
- A design that has one large platform with 4 arms that swing out to pick up the jacking points.
Of these two, the second one is the cheapest, and there are many brands to choose from, all subtly different in some way but basically all manufactured in the far east.
I looked carefully at measurements and decided in the end that the mid-rise platform lift was the one to go for. It gave unfettered access to the rear of the car, went plenty high enough (its max height put the roof of the car about 8 inches from the ceiling), could lift 2.7 metric tons, and was moveable which meant delivery to my house would be easy and one man installation would be possible.
Here is the lift I bought, pictured here just after I'd finished the basic assembly. You have to mount the pump, fill it with fluid, and install the four arms onto the main body of the lift:
With this done, the next thing to do was to build the dolly for the engine. More on this in the next article.
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