How do I remove the body from my 1977 C3 Corvette? I have all bolts removed but cannot get the body to move.

Answer: With all the bolts removed from the body mount to frame positions (8 total for 68-82 Corvettes), as well as the steering column, shift cables, battery cables, fuel lines and ground straps disconnected, the body should be ready for removal. Often times the deterioration of metal shims and aluminum or rubber bushings (depending on year, 68-72 aluminum & 73-82 rubber) cause the body to seem “stuck” when trying to remove it from the frame. First, make sure the lifting process does not

1963-1982 Body Lift Kit
1963-1982 Body Lift Kit

damage your Corvette’s body. We suggest using a lifting system such as our Corvette body lift kit (ZM-293). This system lifts the body from a single point and hooks onto the rocker channels pulling straight up from a solid point that will not cause any damage to your Corvette’s fiberglass panels (for body lift kit installation instructions click here). Even with a body lifting system, your Corvette’s body may still be “stuck” to the frame due to years of compression and corrosion. Next, as you apply pressure with the body lift system, gently pry with a large pry bar between the cushions and frame mount to break loose these connections. Make sure that when you remove the body you take notice of the various shims used at each mounting point. This will aid your reinstallation of the body, creating a fit just as the factory created when your Corvette body was originally installed.

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30 thoughts on “How do you remove the body from a 1977 Corvette?

  1. Congratulations on owning your first Corvette!
    Although most people lifting the body will be having the car repainted later, we do have many customers that need to lift a painted body like yours.
    It can be done, but additional care must be taken to insure that you do not scratch or damage your Corvette’s paint job. Use the recommended Corvette body lift kit listed above and be sure to put plenty of towels, pads, or anything else soft and thick between the straps and your Corvette’s body.
    A floor engine hoist will not work as the body MUST be lifted straight up. You will need a tall ceiling in your garage, usually at least 12 feet high as the body will need to be lifted a minimum of 3 feet from where it rests on the frame. This is a very dangerous procedure no matter where it is performed. Proceed with caution and make absolutely sure that whatever you are lifting with can handle the load.
    The body will weigh about 800 pounds or so, depending on how much of the interior is still in the car.

  2. I got my first Corvette and it has a great paint job. After working on it I found that it needs some frame off work. Can I remove the body without damaging the Paint? How much does the body weigh? I have a good engine hoist will it do or what do you suggest to do this at home?

  3. I am having trouble removing the body from my 1969 stingray. I was just wondering if you can tell me where all 8 of the body mounting bolts are? I believe I have them all off but not sure. I have the two in front of the firewall, the two behind the firewall, the two at the back of the wheel wells, and I think the other two are the ones that bolt to the bumper from the very back corner of the Corvette’s body. What am I missing if any and where are they?

  4. Kevin,
    There are two in front of the back wheels. If you look in the wheel well there is plate with 4 screws in it. Remove the plate and there is a bolt on each side. You will also need to remove all the bumpers, the steering column, master cylinder and you would be better off stripping most of the parts from the front end so that when you lift the body it does not buckle the front end.

  5. I just bought my first Corvette. It had been setting up for quite some time and after getting it painted I found that the T-Tops leak. I replaced the weatherstrip and now one of the tops does not fit right. When it is pushed in to place and locked it bowes up in the middle. The Corvette was wrecked but this is the only indacation that something is wrong. I moved the adjustments all the way out. It seems that the back adjustment needs to be taken out and the hole sloted more to the outside. Is there another way to fix this?

  6. Harley,
    Not really, you need to make sure that all of the mounting points are loose and not just that back one. If all are loose and you cannot get it to fit, you need to measure both sides and make sure they match.

  7. I am changing frames on my 1969 Corvette Coupe. How do I determine the amount of body to frame mounting shims to use?

  8. Gary,
    Once your Corvette’s frame is level with the gound, you level the Corvette’s body to the ground with the shims. There is no specific amount of shims that is correct, use as many as it takes to level the body.

  9. Can anyone please guide me through the easiest way to remove and replace the body bushings on a 1977 C3 Corvette? Thanks for any help.

  10. John,
    There is not an “easy” way. You have to lift your Corvette’s body in order to do this, although it is not as bad as you might be thinking, it does require a good amount of work. You need to start be disconnecting all of your ground straps, remove your master cylinder lines or you can just unbolt your master cylinder. The transmission lines and hoses will have to be disconnected from the radiator and the front frame horns will have to be unbolted from the frame. Once you have done this unbolt the body and slowly start lifting. You will quickly see if anything has been forgotten. You do not have to lift the body up much to remove and replace the body bushings, just enough to get the old bushings out.

  11. The bolts that are in the wheel well are the hardest to remove. Is there a special tool to help in this removal? The Corvette is a 1974 and it has been sitting in a warehouse for 12 years. The brake and fuel lines are not acceptable and are going to be replaced. The mounts are all being fabricated out of stainless steel. Add to many other problems what is the best adhesive to put the front end back on with. Thanks for your time and any great ideas.

  12. I am stripping a 1977 Corvette down for painting. Doors, hood, glass, bumpers, and interior have been pulled. Is there a way to add chrome bumpers (like a 1972) to a 1977 body? I do not like the urethane bumper systems. Thanks M.A.M in Augusta GA.

  13. Mahi,
    You would have to do a massive amount of fiberglass work in order to install chrome bumpers on a 1977 Corvette. You may even have to replace the entire front and rear end to accomodate the chrome bumpers.

  14. We just purchased a working 1977 Corvette, which has a T-top and a key lock (system?) on the front drivers side wheel panel. From the pictures I’m looking at, is this an early 77? I know the StingRay was stopped in 76 and I’ve seen them with the key lock but never on the 77′s. How do I determine which T-top replacement weatherstripping we need? Is there a way to get the lock system to work?

  15. Can anyone tell me where the turn signal flasher is located on a 1978 Corvette? Also, what do you think the problem is when the headlights go off when the high beams are actuated? Thanks for your help.

  16. The flasher is located at the fuse box. It is a round canister that is plugged into the fuse box. The reason the headlights go off is because the high beam switch is bad.

  17. Tracy,
    You would have an early 1977 Corvette which means you would need to buy the 1969-1977E Corvette Weatherstrip. The alarm system is pretty simple in design and it uses switches on the hood and doors to sound a horn in the back of the Corvette. Try turning the switch and see if it works, turn it on and off a couple times in case the contacts are dirty. If this does not fix it then you are going to have to try the old fashion way by tracing the system out for faults.

  18. I want to remove my 1959 body for the same reason. How do you diconnect the body from the frame and can it be lifted as one part?

  19. Tom:
    You have to remove all the body mount bolts, the brake master cylinder, radiator and hoses, steering column and anything that is attached to the body from the frame of the car or engine. Like the throttle linkage and transmission linkage. Then, the entire body will lift off.

  20. I own a 77 L48 (my first build as well) and I am near completion, I just have to tackle the Achilles heel issue. I already have the 23″ frame rail sections and crossmember. My engine has been upgraded and will be upgraded further, with a cap of 400 bhp expected. Are there any additional parts of the frame that I can strengthen, while still letting the body fit on?

    I was recently given a tour of your Mechanicsville location, and you guys run a great service.

  21. Rui:
    Thanks for the kind words. We love it when customers stop buy for a tour of our headquarters!
    My first question is why are you installing at 23” section of frame rail? Was this a way to try and reinforce a frame or to fix a rust issue? The frame itself does not need any reinforcing, they are very strong. If there is a rust issue, then it has to be taken care of, and the entire frame needs to be looked at. If there is scaling rust on the frame, it would be more beneficial to replace the entire frame with a new one or a nice used one. Hope this helps.

  22. Hey everyone, I am new to the blog world.I am in the process of purchasing my 1st vette. My dream car since I was a teen. The owner is allowing me to pay out the cost monthly, not many people will do that. It will be mine in 3 more months. He has already started the restoration process, and has some new parts. i plan to replace the wiring harness as my 1st step. I plan to remove the body which will make things easier to work on. The eng. is not org. My soon to be Vette is a 1977 L82 w/a sm blk 400 and a turbo 350 tranny both which have been rebuilt. I can hardly wait to get the car to my house so I can start working on it. I worked for Chevrolet for a number of years, and worked on a number of Corvettes, now I finally get to own my own. I will be asking a lot of questions especially for body work.

  23. I have a 77 Corvette and am wanting to put the body on a C5 chasis, is that possible, will it fit? I’ve seen it done on an early 60s body with fender flares to accommodate the C5 wheels.

  24. Raul:
    I doubt it…..but anything could be possible. It would be cheaper to buy a street rod frame using a C5 driveline made to bolt to a C3 body. Best of luck to you!

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