It seems that a fad started about 5 years ago where auto restorers would say they used a Rotisserie to complete the project. Since most people have never used one we thought we should take a look at how they are best used and if your project can benefit from using one.
So, what is a rotisserie?
A rotisserie is a body lift unit that bolts onto your front and rear bumper mount points or frame points to allow you to rotate the body 360 degrees along its long access. Doing this will allow you to get to parts of the vehicle that are often difficult to work on.
To use a rotisserie because of weight you need to remove the drive train and you should remove all other parts of the vehicle that add weight and will get in the way. Basically the only time you use one is when you totally strip the car down to its shell after removing every bolt on part including the gas tank, suspension, interior and glass.
If you do not plan to go this far with your project then there is no reason for you to use a rotisserie.
Another common mistake is thinking that a rotisserie can be used for frame work. Although you can repair sections of the frame, floor and other parts while it is on the rotisserie you do not want to remove large sections of the body or frame. If you were to remove the roof or a quarter pannel you would endup with a sag in the body not noticeable until you placed the car back on the ground.
If the frame is very badly rusted or if you were to cut out a torque box or frame rail you would probably end up with catastrophic results requiring major frame work. All of your major frame work should be done on the ground on a frame jig with proper support. This includes replacing floors.
So why would you even want to use one of these devices if the body has to be in good condition or repairs have to be made before you lift it?
Well in many cases the frame will survive a lift and roll if you provide proper support at the door openings and make any major repairs or add temporary patches first. When you place the body on a rotisserie you can then perform work like media blasting and repair small patches that are difficult to get to on jack stands.
Your welds will look better because you have better access and you can take more care working when you aren’t dodging molten mig welder shrapnel.
Painting for show or professional restoration is another reason. If you are able to get to the underside of the vehicle after it has been media blasted then you will be able to hit all the hard to paint surfaces. You could probably perform this work on jack stands or on a lift but being able to rotate the vehicle 180 degrees can make the work go faster and end up with better results.
So do you need to have a rotisserie for most projects? Probably not and unless you are stripping the car down to nothing you won’t be able to use one anyway.
A better investment for most home car restoration projects is a set of 12 ton or better heavy duty truck jack stands that can get you a few feet off the ground and will provide extra stability at those heights. However if you are working on a truck or SUC you really need a lift to be safe.
The YouRepair Store sells Rotisseries, Jack stands, Home Lift Units, Welders and Frame Repair Tools. Basically everything you need for your next project.