Tear Down Bench or Table Recommendation

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Feb 12, 2009
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I have some upcoming maintenance/modification/upgrades slated for my 40 and I am trying to get ahead of it by having a proper surface to work on. I have seen the very generic transmission tear down tables online, but for what they cost I would rather spend more and get something that is robust or take the time to design my own. While I appreciate Land Cruisers not leaking nearly as badly as other vehicles certain jobs are known to be a mess and I would like a table that could help capture that as much as possible. Ideally size and strength wise it would hold an axle.

Suggestions on tables or features I should be looking at?
 
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Make or buy a nice work bench with a steel top. You can weld on angle gutters or a lip around the edge if you feel the need to catch that much oil.

It has to be long enough for your axle and wide enough to have work space in front of the axle. Room for sub assemblies or parts is very nice. It's nice to have space for a large vise. I've built axles, transmissions and differentials on mine. I have a jig to hold the diffs in my vise. I put the axles on small jack stands and ratchet strap them down to the table. Big enough for what you're working on AND your parts and tools is key.

I worked at a Caterpillar dealership and basic steel tables were what we used. They had a bottom shelf that was great for our boxes of parts. Stout and easy to clean.

Components were pressure washed and drained before putting them on the bench. Rags or absorbent pads for drips.
 
Joined
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Make or buy a nice work bench with a steel top. You can weld on angle gutters or a lip around the edge if you feel the need to catch that much oil.

It has to be long enough for your axle and wide enough to have work space in front of the axle. Room for sub assemblies or parts is very nice. It's nice to have space for a large vise. I've built axles, transmissions and differentials on mine. I have a jig to hold the diffs in my vise. I put the axles on small jack stands and ratchet strap them down to the table. Big enough for what you're working on AND your parts and tools is key.

I worked at a Caterpillar dealership and basic steel tables were what we used. They had a bottom shelf that was great for our boxes of parts. Stout and easy to clean.

Components were pressure washed and drained before putting them on the bench. Rags or absorbent pads for drips.
Great point on part staging and having everything you need at the bench. I think your point abut clean and drained parts going on the bench is interesting and not how I thought about it. Getting that done ahead of time helps with a lot of it.

Funny you mention Cat dealerships. I ended up watching this last night and it was pretty cool to see. They had an area where the floor was grated and oil and coolant drained right through to where it was later captured which I thought was pretty cool.

 

PIP

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I teardown dirty parts- Transmissions, axles, engines in a metal catch pan on the ground. Then I clean the parts or pay to have them cleaned. Only clean parts go on the bench.

My catch pan is 30" x 48" and has been in use for 20 years. It's made of 12 gauge steel with 3" sides. Still looks pretty good and stores against the wall when I'm not using it.

I built a bench like what your describing long ago. I didn't like it because it was always gross.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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That video sure brought back memories. Post up whatever you decide to buy or build.
For sure.
I teardown dirty parts- Transmissions, axles, engines in a metal catch pan on the ground. Then I clean the parts or pay to have them cleaned. Only clean parts go on the bench.

My catch pan is 30" x 48" and has been in use for 20 years. It's made of 12 gauge steel with 3" sides. Still looks pretty good and stores against the wall when I'm not using it.

I built a bench like what your describing long ago. I didn't like it because it was always gross.
Are you having a machine shop hot tank the parts or something else?

Does your catch pan have a drain in it or are you just careful to pour out liquids? Or are you using a standard drip oil change pan?
 

PIP

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Are you having a machine shop hot tank the parts or something else?

Does your catch pan have a drain in it or are you just careful to pour out liquids? Or are you using a standard drip oil change pan?

When I did that kind of work for a living I owned a big heated wash cabinet. Now I take my grimy parts to a local engine rebuilder. A small load costs me $20. A large load, like an entire engine torn down, costs me $40. I did keep my wire baskets so the shop doesn't have to mess with my parts much and cuts me a break.

The pan I use is something formed and welded from 12 gauge steel. It's light enough to pick up, but pretty stout. When I'm done tearing something down like a transmission, I pour the oils off into a waste oil tank. Then I lean it against the wall tipped so that one corner is draining it into a catch pan. After a couple days most of the oil is gone. About once a year I scrape out the gunk with a putty knife.

I know the idea of a teardown bench is that it's a convenient height, but the thing is, tearing down just about anything doesn't take very long. Maybe 1/2 hour for a tranny, probably an hour and half for an engine.

Putting stuff together takes way longer. That's the stuff you want to do on a nice clean bench or a nice engine stand.

One other thing to mention- The teardown bench I built was 3/8" steel top with a lip welded around the edge made from 1/4" x 3/4" flatbar and one end had a drain made from 1.5" angle set at a 45 and I welded a fitting in it so it would drain into a bucket below. The lip around the edge was kind of a love/hate deal because lots of times when you're assembling transmissions you have to lock the shafts and torque a big mainshaft nut. To do this you clamp the case to your table. That edge always got in the way of that, but it did keep some stuff from falling off the table. Now the drain was a real PITA when you dropped a ball and had to dive into the gunk bucket to find it. That's why I like the teardown pan because any little thing is in there somewhere. 3" tall sides are perfect for catching most things that aren't spring loaded.
 

MrMikeyG

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This is likely not heavy duty enough, but I've looked at the smaller version in the store, and these seem decent.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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When I did that kind of work for a living I owned a big heated wash cabinet. Now I take my grimy parts to a local engine rebuilder. A small load costs me $20. A large load, like an entire engine torn down, costs me $40. I did keep my wire baskets so the shop doesn't have to mess with my parts much and cuts me a break.

The pan I use is something formed and welded from 12 gauge steel. It's light enough to pick up, but pretty stout. When I'm done tearing something down like a transmission, I pour the oils off into a waste oil tank. Then I lean it against the wall tipped so that one corner is draining it into a catch pan. After a couple days most of the oil is gone. About once a year I scrape out the gunk with a putty knife.

I know the idea of a teardown bench is that it's a convenient height, but the thing is, tearing down just about anything doesn't take very long. Maybe 1/2 hour for a tranny, probably an hour and half for an engine.

Putting stuff together takes way longer. That's the stuff you want to do on a nice clean bench or a nice engine stand.

One other thing to mention- The teardown bench I built was 3/8" steel top with a lip welded around the edge made from 1/4" x 3/4" flatbar and one end had a drain made from 1.5" angle set at a 45 and I welded a fitting in it so it would drain into a bucket below. The lip around the edge was kind of a love/hate deal because lots of times when you're assembling transmissions you have to lock the shafts and torque a big mainshaft nut. To do this you clamp the case to your table. That edge always got in the way of that, but it did keep some stuff from falling off the table. Now the drain was a real PITA when you dropped a ball and had to dive into the gunk bucket to find it. That's why I like the teardown pan because any little thing is in there somewhere. 3" tall sides are perfect for catching most things that aren't spring loaded.
This is the type of user experience I was looking for. The point of separating cleaning and rebuilding is rolling around in my head plenty and I am now working out how I want to complete those 2 activities. Thank you for all the information and insight.

This is likely not heavy duty enough, but I've looked at the smaller version in the store, and these seem decent.
I do love me adjustable height surfaces. A feature I could see adding in depending on the path I take.
 

ceylonfj40nut

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We use an old butchers meat slops table. It’s on wheels, has 4” walls on the sides. Sloped to one side. Drains to a 5gallon bucket below. Helps with teardown and keeps everything else clean.

7DD75303-EF7B-42F9-B35C-177B9FF15F62.jpeg
 

MrMikeyG

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@ceylonfj40nut that's pretty cool. One could add almost any supplemental surface into that tray for added protection of ease of cleanup too. I've been eyeballing the rubber gym tiles and the like just for some semi-disposable padding, but that crap off gasses worse than the chemicals we use to clean parts.
 
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How about this Blitz built tray
It isn't large enough to hold an axle, but it'll contain just about anything else:

1654726638170.png


It's aluminum, so if you're using highly alkaline cleaners (like Purple Degreaser or similar), you have to clean it before the lye eats into it, but otherwise, it works well and it'll catch about a pint of whatever you drip on it. You can get galvanized steel versions, but they're twice the price.

My wife bought this years ago to put under the Christmas tree. She is not going to be happy when she sees what I've done with it.

It's on my bench now, and when I need my bench and not a drip pan, it goes behind it leaning on the wall. I have to get another one before year's end...
 
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I used one of those mainly under my engine stands. It's galvanized steel though. Good idea to use on the work bench as well.
 
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How about this Blitz built tray
It isn't large enough to hold an axle, but it'll contain just about anything else:

View attachment 3028851

It's aluminum, so if you're using highly alkaline cleaners (like Purple Degreaser or similar), you have to clean it before the lye eats into it, but otherwise, it works well and it'll catch about a pint of whatever you drip on it. You can get galvanized steel versions, but they're twice the price.

My wife bought this years ago to put under the Christmas tree. She is not going to be happy when she sees what I've done with it.

It's on my bench now, and when I need my bench and not a drip pan, it goes behind it leaning on the wall. I have to get another one before year's end...

That looks useful for an 80-series knuckle service...

Thanks for the link.
 
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Oddly enough, I'm using it for my head service...and block/axle/suspension cleaning, etc., which resulted from the shower of ATF from the PS ssytem, which I rehabbed "while I was in there".
 
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