Part 1 of many

The few posts I’ve shared have helped me to understand that blogging is a lot more difficult than it looks. Never before have I spent so much time thinking about passive VS active voice and transition words! I now understand how hard it is hard to compose succinct and readable posts. I’m blogging about this Nissan Figaro project via a number of posts to aid digestion and (hopefully) keep your attention.

Click here for background information on this project.

Cutting out the rust

We jacked Doug up, secured him safely on axle stands, removed the door, and started to investigate the two holes in the sill. Examination of the rot showed the extent of the damage was far more substantial than originally diagnosed.

 

The extent to which the rust had set in meant it was unfeasible to weld in repair sections. We switched from screwdrivers to angle grinder to remove all traces of the sill. This revealed that the inner box section (to which the sill attaches) had also rotted beyond reasonable repair.

Box section replacement

Only a few replacement panel options are available ‘off the shelf’ for Nissan Figaro’s and unfortunately box sections aren’t one of them. After some thinking and eBay browsing (often my source of inspiration), I settled on a replacement 3mm thick mild steel box section as a base for our repair work.

Preparation for the box section install involved the removal of all rust before treating surfaces with a weldable zinc primer (aids welding and prevents flash rusting). We cut the box section to length and removed small sections that fouled on the chassis.

 

Unfortunately this is where I started to become less photo trigger happy! Please use the contact form if you have any questions.

We used a quick lift jack to trial fit the box section until it sat flat against the chassis. Next we used a pillar drill to create a number of holes across the outside and inside of the box section. The outer surface had 22mm holes for MIG welder torch head access and the inner 10mm for welding to the chassis.

Once all preparation work was complete, it was time to complete the final dry run and start welding. With the car battery disconnected and the interior carpet stripped back, we completed three sets of welds:

  • Through the drilled holes
  • Along the underside of the box section
  • Across the front of the box section, securing it to the remains of the old section (good metal)

NOTE: Check your surroundings before welding. If near fuel lines etc, cover them with a fireproof blanket before welding. Always have a fire extinguisher to hand!

 

More on welding

I use an SIP Migmate 105DP and a combination of gas / gasless wire:

  • Gas wire: requires external gas supply (I use a CO2 / Argon mix) to act as flux. I used this with 0.8mm wire
  • Gasless wire: gas embedded in pockets inside the wire. I used this with 0.8mm wire

NOTE: when swapping between gas / no-gas wire, you need a MIG welder that allows you to swap the welding torch and earth clamp polarity.

This project reminded me just how difficult it is to weld upwards and outside in windy conditions. Wind blows away external gas and welding upwards results in puddles that do not take. All in all this leads to foul language!

My tip for welding upwards: Use gasless wire, higher MIG power setting, weld ~1.5″ and allow the metal to cool before proceeding.

The Great British weather

As mentioned in the about section, I’m not an automotive professional so I feel comfortable saying that the above took the best part of two months (weekends only). Severely inclement weather hindered progress and you should avoid welding in the rain as this can result in electric shocks.

 

COMING SOON:

Fitting the new sills!

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