A labour of love

Outer sill fitting

As promised, the next job to tackle was getting the new outer sill panel fitted to the driver’s side of the car. Technically this is not the hardest panel to weld in, from an accessibility/complexity perspective at least, but it’s definitely one that’s worth spending a good amount of time on to make sure the fit is perfect. I know from experience from last time I did this job, if this panel goes on the slightest bit wonky you will struggle to get the door to fit correctly, as well as the front and rear wings. The panel I removed was most definitely wonky, so even though it was still structurally sound, it had to come off and be replaced properly this time.

Here I have the new sill panel clamped in place, and I’ve also put the new rear wing into position to check the fit with both the sill and the wheel arch. I went through this process probably at least 10 times, filing and grinding various flanges between attempts to try to get the fit as perfect as possible. I also put the door and front wing into position for a final check before I committed to any welding.

Very important not to forget the tricky little sill end closing panel. I had just tacked it onto the centre sill section at this point to hold it in place, will weld it up properly once the outer panel is in place.

Once I was completely happy with the fit, it was time to finally weld the sill in place. I put seam welds into both ends to ensure as much strength as possible, these obviously won’t be visible once the wings are in place. I plug welded the top and bottom edges and ground everything back flat to get things as tidy as possible – not quite as clean as the original spot welds, but I’m happy with the finish.

With the main sill panel in place I made up some repair patches for the bottom of the A-post that I had previously cut out when removing the old sill, and things were starting to look a little more finished.

As usual I gave everything a light coating of zinc primer for now just to keep it protected whilst I continue with other repairs. Very happy with the progress this week, there is still a very long way to go before this bodyshell is done, but I feel like I’m getting somewhere!

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