MR2 MK2 sill repair - cheap panel!

  1. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    I learned the hard way the last time round...I find it easier to make any complex shapes before I do any cutting! Started with a 90 degree flange which will form the bottom of the new sill. I clamped the flange to the bottom of the sill using every clamp I had...I used the jack to make sure it was all pushed up against the sill on the car...it's hard to see in the picture but the original profile of the sill on the car drops away slightly as you get to the rear of the sill...on the drivers side this caused me problems as I made a sill using the part under the drivers door which is the same profile all the way along.
     
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  2. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Next I employed the custom "sill bending tool"...no comments about the crazy socks please.
     
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  3. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Quick check to make sure we are on our way...next I made the bend sharper just by hand...it isn't difficult to tweak the curve once the bend has been made
     
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  4. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Double check we have the right curve and mark up to trim...leaving a nice margin just in case
     
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  5. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    At last the fun bit...cut some peep holes to check how far the rust goes...the sill metal is fairly thick so not too bad condition but I've learned from the drivers side that you need to keep cutting until you've got to the bottom of the problem. You do need to be careful with the cutting disc...there is a reinforcement right behind the sill which you don't want to damage.
     
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  6. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    I could have stopped and done a smaller repair...sticking in the rust converter and hoping for the best. As I said before I'm looking to keep the car so want it all sorted and don't want to have to come back to this again. I can see it goes further along the sill so carry on cutting. It's amazing just what is hiding beneath a perfectly solid outer sill - I'm happy to be sorting it now before the car goes back on the road...leaving this I think will only get much worse resulting in a much bigger job...at the moment it looks like I'll get away with with just the outer sill and possibly a small repair on the inner arch and the support piece.
     
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  7. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Was a similar story on the drivers side. There seems to be a channel/reinforcement spot welded to the bottom of the sill. This is about 20 inches from the rear of the sill...you can feel the spot weld from the underneath on the outside. Based on the drivers side I cut up to this spot weld...sure enough this is where the problem ends...it looks like moisture gets trapped under the reinforcement and it rots out. I'm hoping I can save most of the inner arch but I might make up a template as it's a complex shape and I had lots of problems on the drivers side getting the shape right.
     
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  8. tommullin

    tommullin Member

    Hi Pigeon_Droppings.

    Is yours a T-Bar too then? mine has that same strengthening plate made out of rust. if you cut any more away, and you get any more photos of that plate then id be interested to see what im going to be up against on the passenger side of mine... the drivers side wasnt too bad so i stopped before i got to it.

    Your inner sill looks the same as mine did, i just cut the rot out and butted some steel in. at least that bit doesnt need to be pretty!

    Tom
     
  9. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Hi Tommullin...mine is a tin top with a sunroof. Maybe they built them all with the same sill reinforcement...not sure to be honest. I'll take some better pics when I get the rest of the sill off and the rust cleaned up...I think if you can you do want to cut upto where that spot weld is...working from the rear and cutting holes it was worse at the end by the rear wheel and where the spot weld was but seemed to be better in between so worth doing I think if you can.
     
  10. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Am finding it easier to do half an hour after work and then to leave it alone...today I carried on the cleanup of the inner sill. I was happy the metal polished up nicely but in the second picture you can see there is a corrosion hole which looks like the rust is coming through the back of the panel. I decided I might do a small patch repair...should add I've already cut off the corroded bottom from the reinforcement "box" ready to be patched....the top hole is where I got carried away with spot weld removal!
     
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  11. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    I decided to do some poking around at the other end of the sill to see if the corrosion was just localised...it wasn't! At this stage the lower flange is still double steel...in this area with the final sill over the top it's a triple layer flange...makes sense really as it's a jacking point. Peeling back the second flange I found it was full of rust...had to come off!
     
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  12. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    more cutting!
     
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  13. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Am happy with the end result...the crud is gone now. Yes there is quite a bit of reconstruction but I've found the hard way that this is much easier with all of the rusty stuff out of the way. My next job will be to tackle the end of the sill and the inner arch...before I cut anything off the end I will make up a couple of templates - when I did the drivers side I just hacked everything off...it was a real pain putting it all back together in the right place and correctly aligned...10mins on a couple of templates will save me hours I think!
     
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  14. <shudders> Ooh that looks all too familiar! Looks like you are on top of it though and nothing you can't handle judging by the bits you have done previously.

    I was finding it incredibly difficult to butt weld up to areas where I had ground a significant amount of rust off. Got annoyed with it in the end and decided to just chop the lot in favour of new metal. Kept getting weird little volcano welds where all the crap from the other side of the panel was causing weird fizzy expansion and leading to inclusions and cavities! Downside of this is that making new bits to stick on took me a very long time with my caveman fabricating skills!

    Good job. Keep up the good work! Never let a good car go to waste!
     
  15. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Totally agree...I learned that lesson the hard way. I thought the welder was playing up but doing some reading and thinking I came to the same conclusion...better get rid of the rusty stuff then you have a nice clean base to start rebuilding.
     
  16. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    OK - so not happy with the amount of destruction to date I carried on chopping. Cleaned everything up and stuck some kur rust everywhere. At the rear I decided to take out the lower part of the sill and the inner arch in one clean cut...it was well gone but I needed to keep it in one piece so I could make a new piece to go back in. Taking out the bottom of the inner arch also improves access so should allow me to do a better job of welding the rest of the reinforcement pieces back in. The inner part of the sill actually folds back onto the inside of the sill anyway so I've basically also removed the rusted flange which was spot welded inside the sill...in the arch there was a load oof seam sealer filling the gap...this is how it came out of the factory.
     
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  17. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Managed a little bit this afternoon. Got the first repair piece cut and welded in...I found it a bit difficult welding upside down but got there in the end. Had to be careful that the repair would clear the outer sill when it goes back on...would be a shame if it didn't. Am still a beginner at the welding so go easy...I think the cleanup really helped as there wasn't too much splatter...the plug welds definitely were better this time compared to the drivers side.
     
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  18. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    OK - before I get an ear full for grinding down the welds that won't be seen let me explain...the next repair will be to the "box" reinforcement in the sill...the original was spot welded to the under side of the panel I just welded in today so I figured getting the welds flat would be a good idea. I stuck on some etch primer on as not sure when I'll be next in the garage
     
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  19. just caught up with this p.d. like you i,am learning about fab & welding. are all your welds the stitch type & what welder are you using. top job by the way.
     
  20. Pigeon_Droppings Member

    Messages:
    123
    UK, London
    Hi Mate, I try to stitch weld where I can but it's difficult on the thin stuff. What I usually do is tack the repair...when the tacks are about 1.5 inches apart I have a go at doing some small runs...usually I end up with holes and have to resort to the "stop-start" technique. I think this is OK as you can do a good run with just a half second pause between welds. As long as it's a short pause you can maintain a weld pool...my approach is to watch for the colour change of the pool - it goes from bright red to a shade duller - at that point I hit it again. Also I find lots of back lighting really help to keep the weld on track...but I still drift off!. To the left of the first pic is where I started...had to tweak the settings as the weld was quite flat...to the right I managed some small stitches. The most important is good penetration...also I look for the colour band around the weld which is a good sign that the heat is going in. I always set up each weld on scrap first...so the weld above I had a lap weld on a piece of scrap first to get the settings right...same with the plug welds. I'm using a really small kemppi machine with a big bottle - I use a company I found online with no hire for the bottle...it was very expensive for the machine but I'm very happy with it as it allows me to just dial in the steel thickness - most importantly a good welder will let you get the hang of how things should sound and feel...I think once you have the feel you can weld with most machines I think as you'll know what needs adjusting...I used to have a migmate130 which I solde recently...I bought it 10 years ago and never managed to get it to work. The guy wanted to see it working...guess what...it worked spot on...it was me all along not knowing what I was doing. So barring any mechanical issues I think most machines should work..but the migmate was a faff to setup as the power settings are pre-fixed levels...I went for the kemppi as the power is continuously adjustable on a dial (via the thickness setting)...this then leaves the speed setting just for tweaking things. The other reason I went for the Kemppi was the weight...the machine is only around 12kg so can be packed away easily after use and doesn't take up a lot of space.
     
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