Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/14/18 4:20 p.m.

Some people are lucky enough to live where the sun shines all the time. For the rest of us, we get to deal with rust every now and then. The trouble is, it’s getting harder and harder to find body shops that will fix rust anymore. Fortunately, if you’re the type that likes to do a little work yourself, some rust repair projects aren’t really that hard if tackled methodically. One of the most common places rust materializes on British and Italian sports cars is down in the rocker panels—also known as the sills. Low on the car and always in the elements, these sections of the body are quick to fill with dirt and moisture, a lethal combination for steel. Rusty sills are not only ugly, but since they’re often also structural problems, they can quickly lead to sagging doors and a flexing body. As bad as all this sounds, the repairs are pretty straightforward. With quality replacement parts available and the advent of lower welder prices, sill replacement can be a weekend job. We’ve made this repair hundreds of times and thought we’d show you how we do it. Follow along as we replace the right-side rocker panel on a 1978 MGB.

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tr8todd Dork
6/16/18 5:21 a.m.

Ah shucks, thats nuthin.  Most of the Bs here in the Northeast need inners, outers, middle truss section, castle rails, floor patch panels and lower fenders at a minimum.  Thats exactly what I did on my first big welding/body restoration.  Sounds difficult, but was actually pretty easy and very rewarding.  Except for the whole welding slag falling into your boot thing.  Love the article.  This is the kind of stuff I love about this place.

wspohn Dork
6/17/18 10:48 a.m.

Another reason I prefer the MGA - sure the outer rocker panels corrode, but they aren't structural and the frame is overbuilt and doesn't usually have rust issues anywhere near as bad as the MGBs.

Well, that and the fact that the MGAs look so much better than the MGBs..  devil

MustangSix Reader
6/21/18 8:16 a.m.

Great tutorial.  How long did the job take to complete?

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
6/25/18 7:01 a.m.

MustangSix, you can usually do sills in a day or certainly a weekend.

NOHOME UltimaDork
7/4/18 1:15 p.m.

A good tutorial from the master himself. I blame Carl for much of what I know about Brit tin-work.  A full on-replacement of the entire assembly would also be good for those faced with such a task.

There is another path that I follow when I can. I call it a "Rockerectomy" where rather than replace the entire outer sill, I slice and graft a new Herritage sill on to the upper part of the original sill.

Use a cut-off wheel to make a nice straight cut the full length of the sill. Note that this method wont work for all cases.

Chop the nice new expensive Herritage sill into two pieces

One mother of a long but-weld later

The reasons for doing it this way are a bit petty: I like cars that can pass as not welded on if I can pull it off. The fist place I look is the spot-welds on the top of the sill where the a-post attaches via a small tab to the sill. Being restricted to a rosette weld, this is a hard spot to make look factory. Same for the pinch weld in the door opening.  Also the area under the front fender where the kick-panel, inner and outer sill are all sandwiched together. A lot of sill repairs leave this area in a bit of a mess visually speaking.

I also prefer a dogleg cut that leaves as much of the door sill gap intact. A diagonal cut often will work leaving more of the original parting lines in place.

I would starve if I tried to make a living at this cause I am too slow...Realistically, I would budget a month of calendar time for the first time sill-job. Not that it cant be done in a week-end, but it is not a job you want to rush the first time.

I am paranoid about twisting a car. Sagging not so much so I also skip the bracing of the doors. I do this work with the car level and supported as if it were on the tires.  If the gaps are not right, I address that before I cut. The floor in my shop was poured flat just so I could do stuff like this. Shimming the axle stands will achieve the same purpose.




JAGwinn New Reader
7/4/18 8:38 p.m.

Very nicely done!

7/9/18 2:18 a.m.

Nice job

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