Auto Events, Shop Projects,Car Builds, Product Reviews
The next major project I’m going to tackle is the replacement of the top and inner door sills on both sides of the car. The main concern is to retain the structural integrity and alignment of the door openings and keep them square. To do this I made a 2 x 4 I beam and using screw jacks was able to support both the “A” and “B” pillars. Then using some “J” hooks and nylon straps I tensioned support for the weight of the roof. I am not lifting the car with these straps, merely supporting weight, trying to eliminate shifting when I cut the sills. If you do not take this step, you will need extensive cross bracing across the door opening, and across the car from side to side to stabilize the structure. More often than not, 1″ square tubing is on hand for bracing. But, I had adequate material on hand and used it. So I tack welded a length of 1″ angle iron diagonally across the door opening. With these measures in place I cut away the upper and inner door sills.
Everything stayed in place. so onward with the repair.
Passenger (Inner & Upper) Door Sills
The first thing I did was cut away the rusted inner door sill. I then proceeded to fabricate an new “A” pillar support and weld in place. Then I cut out the top sill
I previously had new inner sill profiles fabricated at a local shop with a metal break long and heavy enough to handle the task.. The original inner sills were from 16 gauge steel, however I opted for 1/8″ material for the added strength and security. I took the new sill material and cut it to the required shape and size. The hole at the front bottom is for access to the bottom fender mounting bolt. This was cut using the plasma cutter , cleaned and sanded.
After cutting away all the old rusted material there was basically the tunnel and part of the mid-section on the driver’s side remaining. I decided to start with the rear as I want to keep the front open for the time being as this makes lining up the motor, trans., and drive shaft much easier as I will have access to the top of everything. So, I started at the drivers rear and worked from the tunnel out to the door opening. An extra brace was added and the front of the foot well and in the middle of the foot well.
Now for the passenger side rear , as you can see in the photo I first had to start by rebuilding the rear of the foot well, the curve and a portion of the tunnel. Then I moved on to the mid- section which require a fair amount of fabrication as there are multiple levels and angles.
I then followed the same process as on the drivers side and worked from the tunnel out to the door fabricating the pieces as I proceeded.
When I left off, in the spring, I had just finished replacing the rear quarter on both the pass. and drivers side. During the summer I fabricated new trunk support brackets and welded them in place.
Then, using heavy paper, I assembled a pattern for the floor, cut the pieces, and welded and installed the resulting pieces.
This is far from a technical job, but one that has to be done. With the welding on all these sections complete and ground smooth, I applied seam sealer to the top and underside of all welded seams. The top was easy but the underside was a bit of a pain as you can imagine.