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Replacing Range Rover Sill (s)


Orange
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It was time to do something about the lack of metal holding the sills of the car together!! I enlisted the help of my brother – Mark – who is a lot more experienced at this sort of thing than I am (read as he’s done it before!!) and the Doctors haven’t forbidden him from wielding a welding torch! I'm sure he won't mind me saying that the welding isn't pretty, but it's structural!! :ph34r:

We set aside 3 days to work on the car. 2 days to do the rear floor and 2 days to do this job. We started with the sills, but it turned into a 4 day job as there was more rust than originally thought – ain’t that just the story of Range Rovers!! :rolleyes:

This is not the definite way of replacing the sills, but it’s a good way to add a lot of strength where Land Rover decided they could skimp and it means I don't need to add separate rock sliders B)

Firstly, you’ll need to make sure you can tame a welder (person or machine) to do the sticking back together. There isn’t really a good way to do it without hot metal and there’s no point starting without knowing that you can get it back together!

Gather several angle grinders with a seletion of cutting, grinding and flap discs along with a couple of wire brushes. A couple of paint and rust removal attachments will also come in handy for getting through the seam/under seal - I used a whole one on one side, so two will probably see you right! Having several angle grinders will save you having to keep swapping between discs...

Off Side (drivers)

Park the car in a place that it isn’t going to need to be moved from – just in case – and begin to strip the plastic trim from the sill. To do this, you’ll need a narrow punch or a Phillips screwdriver to punch out the middle of the plastic rivets. As you can see, the only thing holding my trims on were the remnants of 6 months of trips to Slindon, Seven Sisters and Shorham Cement works:

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Next is to remove the door seals. Might as well take them off completely as they’ll only get in the way! Then pull back the carpet in the footwells. This is where the fun starts! Unless you are really lucky, you’ll probably find a sight like this:

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Years of damp carpet and soundproofing have resulted in a very rusty floor! Nice! All this needs cutting out and plating, otherwise you are likely to put your feet through the floor! We decided to do part of it and re-visit the whole footwell structure at another date very soon!

As the rust is pretty well advanced, and the best metal to weld to was under the seat support, we took the trim and seat out and released the support from the floor to enable a straight-forward patch to be welded in.

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Then the cutting really begins! Time to chop back to decent metal and have a bloomin good clean-up in order to make the welding easier.

In the process of poking and prodding to find good metal, we managed to release the A- and B-pillars from all of their support. Including the support that runs under the floor in the front footwell:

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At this point there is nothing supporting the weight of the door hanging off of the A-pillar. It’s probably a good idea to prop it up, but it’s a PITA trying to grind around a door that won’t move. It would have been a whole lot easier if the door were taken off and I’ll do that next time……..Ho-hum!

The next couple of pictures give you an idea of the amount we had to cut out:

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Once all of the nasty stuff is out, it’s time to assess the damage and make the new sill sections. We decided to use 100x60mm box section. Mark had used the same on his Disco, so knew what we needed to do…..however, when dealing with his, he split the box along it’s length (seam), clamped it together and re-welded it so that it was a taper fit into the existing section. This time, it wasn’t needed as there was so much material removed that there wasn’t a lot stopping us pressing the complete box section in.

As the base of the A-pillar was completely shot, we made the sills longer than necessary in order to be able to weld the new repair section in place and secure the outrigger to the sill. These pictures show the new sill jacked into place with it’s prettily angled end protruding from the a-pillar:

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No real reason to slope the end, other than for aesthetics. The ends were caped to stop mud getting in and rusting from the inside out. The whole section was sprayed with weldable primer (Halfords – not cheap) to offer a little protection from the crud.

The sill is tacked into place inside and out by the WB (welding biatch!!!):

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And fully welded on the outside:

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The floor patch tack welded into place:

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Then our attention was switched to the inside and fixing some strength back into the A-pillar with the addition of a couple of brackets on either side of the outrigger:

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At this stage, the proper fabrication started to happen. Until now it had been flat plates with a few bends, now though, the experience started to show…

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This section was cut and folded using a combination of angle grinder, guillotine, hammer and folder – much to my amazement – in not quite record time! I am very envious of those who can think freehand-3D if you know what I mean! It was all measured, but I'd end up bending it all the wrong way :rolleyes:

The next bit of fab was the replacement B-pillar which looked something like this:

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Everything was then given a quick spray of weldable primer to stop the flash rusting. Then the seat support was welded back on…

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Attention then turned to another minor repair to be done on the drivers side. This'll be familliar to most:

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Cut out the fluffy bits and a quick clean up:

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Make a patch and weld on – note the lack of seat belt mount as they aren’t going back in!! Rear seats are so last year!

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Near Side (Passenger)

It’s basically the same story for the sill, with a little less rust to cut out. The same size box section is used to replace the original sill, with the extension to beyond the A-pillar. This time we managed to release the spot welds for the B-pillar, but the A-post and side of the footwell were a completely different story Nowt wrong with the floor on this side, so we left it alone!.

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After a lot of cutting and thinking and phoning round to find repair sections, this was done:

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The side of the footwell was repaired first, then the bottom of the A-post, then it was all welded to the sill to firm it all up much the same as the other side. There was also a patch to weld on the inside of the a-pillar, too, but I didn’t get a piccie of that!

Following all this welding, there was a lot of grinding to do, not to mention wire brushing and painting. I decided that I wasn’t after pretty, so did enough to make it look better ad then painted it with red oxide primer, then a metallic silver top coat. It’ll do me!!

That’s it, really! 4 days worth of work that was supposed to be 2 on the sills and 2 on the rear floor…….

Let’s leave the rear floor for another day, eh??!!

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Good Write up Mr Orange...

Just a couple of things to add...

Firstly, the welding is not the prettiest, but it shold be fairly effective. It was all done using my 175A Butters Mig which I have been really pleased with, and performed faultlessly throughout. Of the 6 settings on my macine, I didn't go above 3, as this is all pretty thin material - the thickest being the 3mm wall of the box section. Used a fair amount of wire and about half a 'Y' sized bottle of gas over the course of 4 days... :o

As has been said, we were going for function over form, and I can vouch for how effective using box section is. :i-m_so_happy:

There were a lot of patches involved, and some of the pictures above show some slightly dubious patches around the footwells - we are planning to do some more remedial work in this are soonish! :o :o

As well as adding strength, we were also trying to reduce some of solihull's in built mud traps, hence bringing the box section right forward beyond the A-post. This also gave us something good to weld the bottom of the a-post to!

The floor patch in the drivers side was added and tacked in place before inserting the box, and has a return on one edge to mimic the rest of the floor that we had removed. It meant we could tie it into the box section a lot more effectively...

Unfortunately, along with the rear floor, we also need to add the rear body cross member, both footwells, and both inner wings to the list of areas that need some considerable attention.. :(

More updates at some point no doubt...

cheers

Mark

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I've already got one door that looks like yours, Bish!! A big sneaky tree stump in an overgrown bog took care of that!!

I would like to say that I did all the work myself, but Mark was the real worker here! I was there for moral support and making small rectangular patches that even a competent monkey could do!! My main job was the cleaning and prepping while Mark did the important stuff and then the cleaning and painting after the event. Still, If I wasn't there, it would have taken him 6 days.......at least that's what I'm telling myself!!

As Mark said, we have discovered more and more work that needs to be done and I'm sure I will pick a few more skills up on the way, but for now I can only do bits as and when Marks schedule allows!!

Still, at least we won't have to do the sills again!!

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We welded both the edges of the patch inside the car, and the edges of the hole to the patch inside the arch as well. IMHO this gives a stronger join, and seals the outer edge from the ingress of crud into the join. To be fair it's probably unnecessary...

Is there a good reason not to do this? It's how we did all the lap welds on the patches - the floor patch, the side of the footwell, etc..

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  • 6 months later...

Looks a superb job, well done. I did almost exactly the same job on mine last year.

I must add that it took me much longer than 4 days, nearer 4 months!

My only comment would be that I removed the ECU.

Being a retired electronic engineer I was worried about transient spikes from the welder getting into the ECU and twa!!ing, sorry upsetting it.

Also grinding dust can, and will, get everywhere so I taped up the ecu plug in a strong poly bag and did the same with the relays etc under the seat.

Electrics and iron filings don't mix. If they do the results can be quite spectacular.

Bob

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  • 6 months later...

Hi. You are the answer to a prayer. I have welded up cars before but nothing as major as yours. After a mishap with my H reg RR I bought an L reg. After some in depth look at the underneath I had almost written it off. That was until I saw what you had achieved.

Did you have much rot round the supports for the body shell with the rubber mounts? It looks difficult to repair on mine.

Was the box section you put in polished up or was it galvanised? It looks shiny.

Thanks again for this posting, I am not sure I would have tried fixing mine without seeing what can be done.

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Hi there Trapper...

Luckily the body supports were mainly intact along the sides - the problem was the metal that they were attached to!! The rear body mounts were completely shot, though. There is another post of mine in here about replacing the rear floor and crossmember.

To be honest, once you get into it, you'll find that you just make up pieces to fit where you need them and weld them on. I was lucky to have the help of Mark, who is a much more experienced fabricator than I am. I wouldn't have attempted it without someone who knew what they were doing as I can't weld and am quite novice at making stuff. My talent lies with the spanners (although some may doubt that, too!!!).

The box section was not polished, just quite fresh and we rubbed it down with a flap disc before coating it with weldable primer. The weldable primer was aded to try to stop the unaccessible bits rotting straight away. Probably not much help, but the thought was there...

Good luck with yours...

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  • 2 years later...

Hi Orange

Thank you for your most comprehensive detail and photos of your repair. Looks like a fantastic job.

My Disco has just reached this stage plus a load of rust in the front wheel arches but I regret I am not up to this sort of repair, anything mechanical but body work no way.

I had a quote of £1000 to sort it but as it is only worth £1500 the mechanic suggested I try to buy a later one with major mecnanical work necessay and swap bits over which I thought was a good idea.

The problem with that is finding that type of vehicle. I wonder if any one could point me in th right direction, I think a new good one is out of the question unless my numbers come up.

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lol Adrian i have to say your old range was propper rotten makes me realise how ott i was on my build sills were fine so i cut the out and boxed them , cross member was fine so i chopped it out and changed it and the same with inner wings and front end, so all in all its gotta last another 10 years unless i thwack it into a very large tree next year :)

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lol muppet

this is also why i cant figure out why no one wants tels body shell (its pretty solid all over

mines still a bob btw pickups suck lol (ive just got a floor to ceiling wall in the back now instead lol)

fancy going out in the dark and measuring your rear window for me so i dont put no bulkhead supports through the cut out , , pleeeeeeease :) lol

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  • 10 months later...

Very good write up :)

I am in the middle of doing mine at the mo

I have also used 100x60 box section

As with yours started with the boot floor (still to finish)

I removed doors and wings which was a bad move as im now repairing the front inner wings :rolleyes:

Ive been at it now for six weeks on my days off (2 days a week)

so hopefully be finished by the end of the year :hysterical:

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