Car Dolly Projectas published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XIV Issue 3, December 2006
by: Greg Myer
I recently built a car dolly so I could access my car's every part. The suspension can be removed and replaced. Welding can be done anywhere on the car without worry about hot slag hitting the tires or freshly painted cross member. I should have built one long ago.
If you weld and are contemplating restoring a car or truck it just may be the first step you should consider. The car is easily moved to any corner of the shop when on a dolly or even outside by one person. If your car's not going to be finished in a few weekends, quite often you'll need the space, however briefly, where your car is sitting. (Sort of a Murphy's Law kind of thing!)
I have seen many car dollies. No two seem to be the same. Some are quite small and mount via bolts to specific pickup points on the car it was built to hold. Others are large. Some are adjustable. The small ones in width and length that hold a car several feet off the floor look tippy to me. If you pushed your car over a misplaced wrench or a stone that had inadvertently been kicked into the shop they look like they could fall over. I've never seen it happen, I've never heard of it happening, but I made mine longer and wider anyway. In fact I made it large enough to handle whatever project I may tackle in the future. I have several more LBC's waiting patiently for their turn and I've been known to get involved with street rods and classic pickups from time to time. I could even put a full size pickup or van on it if needed.
I made it adjustable so I can use it for a wide variety of possibilities. I had some 4" angle iron out back left over from some project so I used that. I made the length 8 feet - that will pick up the rear and front frame rails on most anything I will be working on. At 4 feet wide it will be stable with a lot of weight or not.
I welded the end pieces on top of the side rails as I plan to put other pieces of angle iron inside and they need to be even for the jack stands. That's what I use. Brackets that bolt to a car could be fabricated also.
The spare rails slide up and back and with a piece of 2 x10 laid across them make a solid base for the jack stands. The stands can then be run up as high as needed or left low. If they are all the same and hit the frame, your car should be level. If that is important for what you are doing; measure from the floor just to be sure. If not, you can support the car on its differential or front crossmember, depending on what you're working on.
I purchased a set of Government surplus casters from eBay. The wheels and tires (solid rubber) are 8 inches in diameter. The mounting point at the dolly puts it 10" from the ground. Big casters! I chose them so I could get my large floor jack under the dolly. Sometimes that's needed to position the engine/transmission combo, or raise the front crossmember into place. The legs of my engine crane also clear easily. These casters were welded to the rails at the corners, but they could just as easily have been bolted. In fact, now that I think about it, the whole thing could be bolted together. Welding is easier than drilling all those holes, but build yours any way you like. These casters have Zerk fittings so the bearings can be greased. If I need more space in the shop I can store the dolly outside without worry.
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This is not a set of plans, but rather an idea to stimulate you to think about what you might need and have laying around that could be put to good use. If you are new to welding, it's a great beginner's project as the appearances of the welds are not important, as long as they hold. Have fun!
Disclaimer: This page was researched and written by Greg Myer. Views expressed are those of the author, and are provided without warrantee or guarantee. Apply at your own risk.
Photos by Greg Myer. All rights reserved.