The front frame cross member is a popular jack point but it is not without peril. This cross member area is hollow, so jacking here will compress the steel and in certain cases, tear through.
In the case of this particular car, the corner of the jack tore the sheet metal skin, which allowed moisture to get in and cause the frame member to begin to rust. So the moral of the story is to only jack up the front of your Bugeye from the frame rails and not from the center section. If this is confusing, follow the bumper mounts aft and jack the car anywhere along these very strong frame rails, just not between them.
The car shown is a total restoration project for TJ in Reno, Nevada. This is a one family car which we are now painting, and the underside is on the rotisserie so we can do it right. But before the final paint is applied, we are sealing and welding up the front cross member with new steel and also filling in the transmission tunnel where it was previously cut open.
The tunnel is another common challenge… people often cut open the underside of the tunnel to better access the drive shaft for easier installation and removal. We frown on this because the tunnel is the spine of the car, so the strength of the tunnel is best left in tact. Moreover, you can install the drive shaft into the transmission from the back of the tunnel anyway if you make a simple hook tool to hold the front u joint… it’s not necessary to cut the spine open. Thus you can see in the photos that we have welded this tunnel shut too, just like the original configuration.
Next, the underside and top side will be painted, and we will build-out this fully restored car.