Swapping frames in a '78-'88 g-body

Due to the odds of driving your car lotsa miles, stuff happens. Here's a shadetree guide on frame swapping. Do not use this as a complete reference, various models will have slight differences in manufacture, fasteners and other important details. Attempts at pursuing a lawsuit against the hosts, authors, technical advisors, or anyone involved will result in nothing more than your dissapearance off the face of this earth, so don't even try it.

200-4R addition
The patient is an '87 Aerocoupe, no t-tops, no prior cardiovascular problems.

200-4R addition
The surgeons confer before beginning.

The topic of swapping frames came up on the Monte List came up a few times in the summer '99 posts, so here's a shadetree guide on swapping a frame.

Remove 2 nuts behind the license plate pocket, 5 thread-all nuts on each side of the rear bumper cover, 3 or 4 nuts holding the bumper assy. to each bumper shock. While not absolutely necessary, removing taillights & quarter panel extensions will give you more access.

Remove front clip of car. Unhook ECM wiring at computer under dash. Pull harness through firewall, coil wiring harness on top of motor.

taking the front clip off


Removing lower bushing & bolts - 2 are behind rear wheels, 3 are on each side between the front & rear wheels, 1 at core support. Unhook park brake cable in center at connector, pull front half out through frame.

Above the rear axle, remove the thin metal exhaust shield ahead of the fuel tank & unhook the rubber fuel lines that goe from the tank to the body. Unbolt steering shaft at steering box. Unhook the brake lines at master cylinder

Unhook engine & light harnesses from underhood at firewall connection to fusebox. Coil engine half of harness on top of motor.

Unhook cruise harness at transducer. Disconnect throttle cable from carb. Unhook tach wiring at distrib, engine ground strap to firewall, unhook a/c harness at square plug on top of right hand valve cover.

Disconnect A/C lines at firewall.

Supporting the car at the rear (can be done with the welded lip of the body if careful), hoist body evenly front to rear (can be done with arm jack at rear, on the front it is possible to use an a frame (seen in pics) with a chain across the cowl (pad windshield at corners), and a come-a-long (cable hand operated winch)

roll frame out front of vehicle forwards.

it's out

business end

repeat process on donor vehicle. Check condition of body mounts, bolts, hardware, etc. Reverse above procedure to install.


Here is the good frame in the recipient vehicle. Labour to complete these steps shown above was well under 20 hours with 2 people.