Rollover Jig, aka the Redneck Rotisserie

I needed easy access to the underside of my car and found a unexpected solution.

Rocking Chair

Think of this as a rocking chair. If you tilt far enough you'll end up on your back. It's only 90 degrees, but if a skinny chair can hold hold you, why can't a few pieces of construction lumber do the same for your car? A stripped-down 240z chassis weighs about 600 pounds, which means you're only supporting 300 pounds on each end.

Do you have a backyard deck? Peek underneath and you'll see it's made with the same kind of wood. It supports you and some buddies and a grill, so why not a car?

Redneck Rotisserie Redneck Rotisserie

The Redneck Rotisserie

I bought some Bad Dog frame rail reinforcements. They're great but need to be trimmed and tweaked for a good fit. I could have raised the car on jack stands and crawled underneath but it would've been a dirty and exhausting job. A body shop rotisserie is perfect but they're expensive for a one-time use like mine.

Then I found a rollover jig. Take a look at some YouTube videos here and here and here. At first glance the idea seemed a little crazy, but having built some sheds and decks the concept began to make sense. If others could do it, so could I.

I took some measurements and made a few drawings. The cost was about $80, which is amazingly affordable. A few friends and coworkers thought I was nuts but obviously they were wrong.

A couple of people have asked for a copy of my drawings but I can't risk the liability if someone used my design and it failed. However, I can show you how it was built and hopefully that will be enough to get you started.

Let me stress that building one of these can be dangerous. If something breaks you could be injured or killed, and your car will be badly damaged. If you're not confident in your fabrication skills, find someone to help build it or find a different way to support your car.

Click on the pics to see full-size versions.

Redneck Rotisserie

The jig is made from 2x6 lumber, plywood, some glue and a lot of lag bolts.

The rockers need to be extra heavy duty because when the car is tipped over they support the entire weight. I used three layers of half-inch plywood, partly to keep them the same thickness as the lumber (1-1/2"), but mostly for strength. I used an entire bottle of glue and a lot of screws to hold the layers tightly together. Let them dry overnight, then cut the curve with a sabre saw.

Redneck Rotisserie

With the car on jack stands, I "sandwiched" the front frame rails between two boards because they're the strongest part. Measure carefully for the tightest fit you can get side-to-side. Leave a slight gap between the upper and lower boards, then squeeze them tightly together for a strong grip. There are a couple of small holes beneath the radiator that you can use to stabilize it, but they're too small to use as a lifting point.

Redneck Rotisserie

For the rear, I used the bumper mount holes with the longest bolts I could find, with some scrap plywood as spacers to keep the board away from the body. You can use the bumper hangers, but mine were in a box somewhere.

Redneck Rotisserie

I attached the rockers to the wooden crosspieces and made sure they were located far enough outward that the body wouldn't touch the ground when it was tipped over.

Redneck Rotisserie

Next came the vertical pieces for the side, with crosspieces for extra strength. When you roll the car over, these boards support it so make them as strong as possible. I used a lot of lag bolts to hold it together. I added some 2x4s to tie the front and back rollers together. I tend to over-engineer but wood is cheap compared to repairing sheet metal.

Redneck Rotisserie

Last were a couple of small 2x6 pieces to hold the car up when I removed the jack stands. When you roll the car on its side, wrap a towel around the bottom of each piece because they stick out and you'll probably hit them with your head.

With my wife filming, a friend and I slowly, carefully, cautiously tilted the car over.

It's so sturdy that I could drag it around and hammer and kick to my heart's content without worrying it was going to collapse.

Redneck Rotisserie

I wanted easy access to the underside and here it is!

I decided to remove the differential and to my horror I discovered the mounting bolts were only finger tight, and one was broken off! If I hadn't built the jig I never would have known about the bolts until disaster struck.

Now I can finish welding the new floor, add the frame rail reinforcements and patch a bunch of holes.

240z Rollover Jig Joe M. in Austin, Texas liked my rig so much that he built one himself and did a great job.

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