At this time I can happily tell you that Doug the Nissan Figaro is back on the road! He initially failed an MOT due to a split steering rack gaiter but a week later got the green light. We even received great feedback from the MOT tester – “very good welding”.
All things considered, not a bad result for a couple of amateurs!
Replacement sills are available from eBay and a number of Figaro specialists. A full restoration requires 1.5 sills per vehicle side (three total).
The picture below shows one sill (it ends roughly in line with the rear of the door aperture). Look closely and you’ll see where we cut the right hand side to facilitate fitment to the aperture.
We chose to use the entire repair section and weld the upper sill across one of the folds in the door tread. This would put new steel on a solid base and the welds along a fold where we theorised they’d be relatively easy to hide. We took a different approach on the other side and a future post on finishing will go into why.
We performed the majority of the preparation with an angle grinder and air tool. This allowed two of us to work at the same time and consequently progress quicker. Attachments included grinding discs, wire brush cups and grinding stones.
Awkward / hard to reach areas were chemically stripped using POR-15 paint stripper. On the negative side, this stuff is extremely toxic and does (as I can attest to) burn skin. On the positive side, it takes very little time to eat through paint.
NOTE: Make sure you wear suitable eye, respiratory and skin protection!
Finally, we treated prepared surfaces with weldable zinc primer to prevent flash rusting.
Creating the rear sill section
We cut a smaller sill piece to achieve the desired length and debated how to finish the job in the rear arch. We’d already welded replacement sheet metal into the arch (not covered in this series of posts), thus making our job a little easier. We offered the piece up, tweaked (cut / panel beat / welded), refitted and repeated in order to achieve the desired result.
With preparation and sill modification complete, we moved onto the final steps; using a trolley jack to manoeuvre and secure the larger sill length before tacking it in place. I’m sure my bro will appreciate the picture of him tweaking (that’s what hammers are for right?) the front of the sill where it ends behind the wing.
Once the sill was tacked in place we moved onto the final welds. As discussed in my first post, welding upwards is particularly difficult. It takes time and practice so grab yourself some scrap metal and get your MIG configuration optimal before you attack the real work. We upped the power setting and increased wire speed before welding ~1.5″, letting the metal cool and repeating the process.
As shown above in the final picture, Doug’s passenger side was starting to look like a Figaro again!