With the long winter nights well and truly upon us and with a bit of free time, I've decided to finally do a full thread on how I completed a rear full sill repair on my e34. I've had communication with various members looking for advice and I know there are a few forthcoming repair/restorations imminent. The purpose of this thread is to primarily help those about to go through such a task.
With even the last e34's now approaching 25yrs old the one issue that dominates longevity is unfortunately corrosion. Although superbly designed, the e34 does still have areas that are vulnerable to rust with the sills, especially the rear, high on the list of common areas. Bearing in mind that the e34 5 series was possibly the last BMW to be built to traditional methods, it's the sills that contribute to the core strength of the chassis.
I will say that although I can weld, I'm not a fully fledged 'body man' so to speak. My method of repair may be considered long winded, but it did ensure all traces of corrosion were eradicated.
Here's a shot of the car just prior to the repair commencing.
Not bad looking you might think....
So here goes...
During the annual MOT the previous year the tester had remarked 'I'll give it to you this time, but next year, no chance!' in regards to the rear sills. So early in the summer I began to assemble what I thought I would require to complete the job, namely a pair of klokkerholm repair sills and some mild sheet steel. By mid summer I started on the car, naively estimating completion within 6-8wks......
As can be seen, the corrosion is obviously well established. Time to start cutting....
The first of well over a hundred spot welds to be drilled out.
The real truth......
In the words of my friend on here Geoff (dongiov) when he had a similar experience...Ewww
I knew it had rust, but at this level? To cut a long story short I spent the next few weeks attempting to make up a few repair sections but imo I failed. Towards the autumn I parked the car and began to ponder what to do with it. I realised early on that the klokkerholm sill panels whilst excellent in quality were not going to be suitable to complete the repair. Also it was clear the inner sills were rotten as well as the floor pan adjacent to the rear seat heel board. Great.
Not only that! After a thorough inspection of the complete car, i finally realised that all four corners had serious corrosion at and around the jacking points, the wing bottoms had also rotted out, as well as a few areas needing attention.
Devastated was an understatement.
I parked the car up and abandoned it.....
Not a great deal happened during the year. With a major house project and a child off to uni, it didn't leave much time or money for messing about with old BMW's, 2016 was in effect a wash out. It was the closest I came to giving up and scrapping it. But after 14yrs ownership I just couldn't quite bring myself to do that.
The real work would began 2017.
I don't particularly like the cold so from early November to late Feb it's rare to find me doing my own stuff unless strictly necessary. Although I have a double garage with ample hard standing at home, I wasn't in a position to do the work there. My place of employment was used instead but that meant the car had to be parked outside everytime I worked on it mostly during the evenings. Taking it in and out each time was a royal pita though. Would have been completed much faster otherwise.
All comments are welcome. Look out for the next instalment in this mission soon.