Building a rotisserie/rollover jig - photo heavy

Discussion in 'Tools' started by mm289, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. As per my intro I am just starting a ground up restoration on a late Bay camper and although I have a ramp in the workshop I find these really cumbersome for resto’s – we also need it accessible for run of the mill work. Thought i would record what we went for and how it was assembled in case anyone walks this road again ;)

    So I decided to invest in a rotisserie/rollover jig. There are a couple of options, a rollover jig lets you roll the van on its side so you can work underneath, a full rotisserie lets you spin the van on its axis. A rotisserie takes less space so that was the way I wanted to go.

    There are a number of ways of doing this with plans available from various internet sources as well as a number of suppliers. At the mega expensive end you can spend circa £1000 for rollers or hydraulic rotisseries at places like CJ Autos or there are a number of places that do simple A frames with mounting brackets for different vehicles.

    Rather than muck about building one from plans I decided to purchase a simple A frame rotisserie, but in kit form to save money, and assemble it myself. I ended up buying this one as despite the rubbish website :eek: it seemed to have decent reviews on e-bay etc. Basic kit is £240 including sub frame/mount specific to a late bay.
    Collected from the supplier in Herts to save on delivery and this is what you get:

    Basically a load of 50mm x 25mm x 2.5mm section cut into a range of lengths with a collection of nuts and bolts etc.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Instructions are basic drawings, no process flow although it is all pretty logical. This is an example of one of the pages, not photo’d them all as wouldn’t be fair to copy the guy’s plans :)

    I started by laying out all the parts in their relevant positions to make sure they were all there. Couple of parts I have questions on so will have to contact the seller but basically all there.
    Started by assembling the two A frames. These have 4 legs that you weld 50mm pre-drilled lugs onto, the A frame uprights bolt onto these lugs. You also have to cut a “v” in the top of the uprights and weld on a section of tube which will hold the brass bushes and pivot bolt.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Once this is all together you can fit the spreader bars and it looks something like this:

    The pivot bolt on each A frame bolts onto a separate frame that the manufacturer calls a swivel frame, the vehicle specific sub frame then bolts to this.
    The front swivel frame is basically a cross bar with two drop bars hanging from it. The drop bars are pre-drilled so the sub frame can be mounted at different heights to help get the right centre of gravity/balance point for the vehicle.
    This can be seen in the top of the following picture. (the bar is straight, something weird going on with the camera there ::))
    albums/k599/mm289/Bay%20Watch/P1010659-1.jpg" />

    The front sub-frame has legs that fit inside the chassis rails and pick up on existing mountings. I haven’t fitted these to the van yet so haven’t done final assembly until I can see how good a fit they are. They look like this:

    The assembled sub-frame will look like this:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The sub frame mounts to the swivel/A frame via a couple of lugs. These allow the sub-frame to swivel and drop which apparently makes fitment easier – we will see later :thinking:. The lugs/fixing looks like this:

    The rear swivel frame is basically identical just with a wider cross bar. The rear sub frame fits onto the swivel frame in the same way and mounts to the van where the engine mounting/carrier fits. This piece isn’t predrilled on mine so I will look at this when it is in situ.

    This is what the assembled rear A frame looks like:

    And this is the rear and front A frames together.

    So, all assembled now apart from an extra brace for the rear sub-frame that should go onto the gearbox mounts. 1 piece of this seems to be missing so need to check if it is necessary or not.
    Opinion so far is that the kit is pretty comprehensive. Instructions could be better if you were inexperienced at fabrication but then in that case you would probably buy the pre-assembled version!

    Really you are paying for someone having worked out the design, balance points, mounting points etc. and going to the hassle of cutting all the box section to size. For the price it feels like pretty good value really given the amount of steel involved.

    The real test will be when we try to assemble it to the van and see how well it works. Need to get the engine/transmission and suspension assemblies out first so will update when this is done.

    Hope this is of interest.

  2. Hi, I've just built the exact same thing for my crossover bus, drawings not the best, I also had a few bits of metal missing, must say it works pretty well, I removed engine, gearbox and fuel tank and it turned lovely. There is a bit of side to side play, but it feels safe.
  3. Interesting, hoping to get the engine/tranny and maybe beam of this weekend then can fit up the rotisserie.

    The main bit I am missing is the plate that goes on the end of the gearbox stabiliser, mentioned in the instructions but no pics and no plate!

    He did give me 2 short bits of box and said I would need them for a bay, but again not mentioned in the instructions and I am buggered if I can see where they go :)

  4. If you pm me your email I will send you a picture of it fitted
  5. PM sent :)

    Checked with the builder and I am missing the gearbox mounting plate which he is sending me.

    How did yours fit into the rear engine carrier? Do you remove the rubber mount and use the bolt that secures this to secure to the lateral frame on the rotisserie?


  6. MM thanks for posting this, I am thinking about getting one of these so this has been a useful thread, very keen to see it being used, but does sound good enough for the cash.
  7. The big test will be when I put the weight on it.

    As you saw from my other thread I have got the front beam off so can now mount the front carrier. Rear carrier is already mounted just need to drop the trailing arms then we are good to go.

    I will post some updates on here to show how it goes when loaded.

    Thanks for the K+ Peebee

  8. hi i have the same jig part built. can anyone send me pics of it fitted and where its mounted? thanks russ
  9. I thought this was a food thread... ;D
  10. Ages and ages since I have last worked on Rusty, but finally got the rest of the jig mountings done for the sake of completeness and Russ, here are some pics.(and no food in sight!!)

    The rear bracket mounts to the engine cross member frame mounts. The 25mm box section is too narrow for this mounting so the supplier gives you a couple of offcuts which you drill and then sandwich in with the rear bracket. Once done you can bolt through the original frame mount holes. Note it does compress the frame a bit so you might need to make up a spacer if it looks like it is bending it too much. ???

    Here it is in situ.....

    There is also a brace that goes from the top of the rotisserie bracket to the upper gearbox mount where it bolts to the body at the front of the engine bay.....

    I am not convinced by the strength of this as the area it mounts onto isn't that strong - its designed for vertical loads (hanging a gearbox) whereas this brace seems to put horizontal loads. I faffed about with this mounting for quite a while trying to get it a bit more robust. ::)

    At the front the bracket mounts to the front chassis legs using the locating holes that the steering box mounts to on a r/h or l/h drive vehicle. (which makes it sound simpler than it is!!)

    First off, remove the steering box and all the gubbins underneath - that should keep you going for a week or two! :mad: You will then see 4 holes in the chassis leg, 3 of which are used by the steering box and re-used by the rotisseries bracket. This side is pretty straight forward to fit and looks like this....

    On the other side there are only holes in one side of the chassis leg - where a steering box hasn't been fitted it seems they only drilled/stamped out one side of the leg. I didn't fancy just bolting to one side of the leg and getting a nut in and done up would be a nightmare anyway, so i drilled through the other side of the leg as well. Unfortunately I couldn't get access for the drill on one of the holes due to the metal heater duct/intake under the floor.

    Having drilled holes I then fitted up the rotisserie bracket and used 2 long bolts and one short bolt to secure the bracket.

    This is how a fitted leg looks

    and this is the assembled front bracket...

    In common with many manufacturers, it seems VW use spacers within the chassis leg when fitting a steering box to stop the leg deforming when the securing bolts are done up

    These do not exist on the non-steering box leg so I would be carefull not to go crazy on tightening your bolts on that side, and use large load spreading washers to stop the bolt/nut from deforming the chassis leg. (I wonder if people realise this when they are doing LHD steering conversion to RHD - over time the steering box will tear away from the chassis leg if not!)

    So that's the brackets done, just got to drop the rear suspension and then we are good to go - mount it up and see if it collapses! :eek:


  11. OK, finally got the rear suspension stripped out and everything ready to mount.

    Jacked up the rear and then positioned the drop bracket on to the A frame pivot shaft. Gently lowered it down with some hesitation to see if it would take the weight..... :-

    Bonus, it all held together, no welds cracked or anything :)

    Same for the front, jacked up and slid onto A frame pivot. Remember to fit the locating plate first - I left it loose till I got the frame set up then puddle welded to the drop frame and welded the locating slot for the bolt to the A frame.

    And then it looked like this:

    Couple of shots of the front and rear moutings to show how they hook up...
    The frame isn't quite as bent as it looks in this photo, although this is the max lateral strain position on the arms!

    Couple of things worth noting.....

    The cross bars that hold the A frame legs in place are pre-drilled. Mine weren't pre-drilled very accurately :mad: so check them before you mount everything as you will need to line up at least 2 holes to secure the cross bar properly.

    I had the rear A frame set with the cross bars 1 hole in from maximum spread that would allow two bolts. I had the rear drop frame on its lowest setting. I set the front up the same and the bottom of the wheel arch catches when you roll the shell. I moved it up two slots on the drop frame and it just clears. I would probably recommend raising the whole A frames by shortening the cross bar 1 more bolt hole.

    There is a significant weight imbalance if you have taken the sliding door off. Be careful if you spin the shell with the drivers side towards the floor as the excess weight will mean it "falls over" pretty quickly.

    I have left the pop top in which is pretty heavy. Again be carefull if you do this as once it gets over the balance point it wants to get the roof to the floor pretty quickly! :eek:

    Allegedly you can adjust the pivot point with the drop frame to find the "perfect balance".TBH it is such a pain raising on jacks and adjusting the frames that I have just left it where it works at the mo - might play with this again later - or then again :thinking:

    The pivot locking plate/bolt arrangement isn't great especially as the locating holes in the plate are much bigger than the bolt size, which leaves a fair bit of play. I used axle stands at first as I gradually spun the shell until I was comfortable everything could take the strain/weight.

    Having said all the above - I wouldn't be without it. It makes the job of doing the underneath/side/sills etc soooooo much easier that it is worth the hassle of setting up and the £240~ for the kit. Now its time to get on with the resto :)


  12. I have one of these but bought it welded together rather then in kit form. I too was missing various bits and the bloke was a bit arsey about it.

    Once fitted it's a great bit of kit and I managed to get it balanced to the point where I could flip it over left and right with very little effort. I didn't trust the locking system (might be ok for a beetle but not for a camper!) so I used axle stands under the rain gutters. As the van is 'balanced' there isn't actually very must 'weight' on the gutters but it makes it much more solid when working on it.

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