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FIVE-OH

The e34 rear sill thread

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So. Into the final furlong ..

 

With the front end sill repairs done it was time to go back to the rear sills to complete.

 

The inner sill join...

 

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Which was tidied up and sealed.

 

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A couple of days later, it was time to fit the outer panel. This was the area I most feared for getting it wrong since any major mistake would be visible.. 

 

After trimming off the excess, the outer panel was placed into position and marked..

 

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Then clamped firmly into position...

 

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...and then cut through both panels on the overlap with a 1mm cutting disc to leave this.. pretty much the ideal gap for welding.

 

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With the general dimensions in place, the panel was taken back off the car and marked for drilling. I tried and tried to get hold of a spot welder to give that professional look. But unfortunately it was not to be.

 

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Moving back to the car, the inner sill area was cleaned off and tidied. All excess weld and other detritus was removed. 

 

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BH S80 liberally applied....

 

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Outer sill drilled for plug welds and zinc primed.....  I've said it before but the OEM BMW sill panel really is a quality item.

 

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After allowing the zinc coat to dry the panel was tacked into position 

 

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....and the door briefly refitted to check alignment and gaps..

 

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....and welded. Very slow and patient to avoid distortion.

 

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And the money shot.... all welds were cleaned off, again slowly.  You can still distort with too much heat during the cleaning off process. However, the key difference here is the location of the lifting pad. Structural rigidity now completely restored.

 

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A view along the sill. I was happy with the outcome.

 

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All completed on this side. Just a skim of filler and paint required to finish the task.

 

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Next visit will land us back to where we started, the o/s rear corner, which was as usual turned out much more involved in the end

 

More soon.

 

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Well done! That is starting to look like a very rewarding job after the horror pictures.

 

I've taken my side skirts off and while I was initially thinking it was all looking pretty good, alas I've since bought a welder LOL. Your pictures will be a big help in understanding the inside structure, so I for one am very grateful for the time you've taken to detail the process. I'd be interested to know more about the protection products you've used. I'm a complete beginner to all of this.

 

I look forward to more instalments, especially around the drain hoses. I found this thread on a German site where they have extended the rear hoses down and out the bottom of the sills. I use Chrome and right-click then "translate to English" Not perfect but the pictures help.

 

Keliuss

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@Keliuss

 

Thanks for your interest. 

 

One of my primary objectives was to document the process so that others may benefit. It is my view that your typical Northern European e34 with moderate mileage will more than likely be harbouring some corrosion so it's an issue that will become more prevalent as time passes by. 

 

I will do a full rundown of all products that I used throughout the job. Most of it is easily available and not too dear to purchase either. 

 

As previously promised, I will give my thoughts and views on the pros & cons on the roof drain situation. I did very similar to what was shown in your link by extending the drain tubes, though I wasn't convinced to have the exit outside of the body panel. 

 

 

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I'm fairly confident that mine is not as bad as yours, but obviously, until you start hacking you never really know! But I certainly appreciate the efforts you've gone to to show how deep into the shell you can go and build back properly.

 

Mine is a touring, so the sunroof rear drains exit into the hatch recess, but I was pretty dumbfounded when I discovered how the fronts drain, talk about stupid! Other cars exit them into the arch behind the liner, or into the door gap, the scuttle area, all these seem like a way better plan that into the frickin sills!

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Into the home straight ....

 

With the N/s completed I moved onto the O/s..

 

Just prior to this point, I had done more digging and was not at all happy with the area directly under the B post, where the hidden section of rear sill is located. It transpired that most of that area was also corroded. More cutting was required....

 

The o/s Turned out to be much more complex to deal with.

 

The complete area was again cleaned off and tidied. The small area of rust was ground back treated and primed.

 

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Again, the outer panel was placed over the edge of the old and marked and cut. Then it was drilled and prepared for fitting 

 

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Final prep, clean off and sealed with more S50...

 

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...and clamped and tacked into position.....

 

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....though I did make a mistake by not allowing enough expansion gap at the rear outer arch. It did catch me out later on..

 

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Fully welded into place...

 

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Structural strength restored enough to be supported by the lifting arm..

 

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Closing off rear wheel arch.

 

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And completed....almost

 

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Now all that was left.....

 

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The required area was cut from the redundant klokkerholm panel...

 

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And welded.

 

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Another minor overlook here. My horizontal cut was far too close to the lower swage line. 5-10 mm lower would have been much better and easier to deal with. I had to be very careful to avoid more issues during the cleaning off process.

 

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And fully completed and primed.

 

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And done...

 

So, the major work was completed. Stand by, still a bit more to come folks..

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So, a small update...

 

With the structural welding repairs done, there were a few things to do to complete the job.

 

Firstly, I decided to refit the onboard 'wind up jack' brackets to the repaired area of the front sills. The klokkerholm panels do not have these attached, but the rear OEM BMW sills do have them. It's debatable whether they're really required or not but to keep appearances I went for it.

 

After a clean up they were refitted and plug welded on.....

 

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I immediately decided to apply the rubberised external coating......

 

Firstly to the dummy floor area and the rear of the inner wheel arch...

 

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And the full sill after a final tidy.....

 

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Here's a close up of the finish, pretty close to OEM. The level of finish is determined by the air pressure and how close the application gun is held to the surface.

 

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I also gave both of the lower wing repairs a thorough coating internally.

 

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And finally the area directly behind the lower wing. 

 

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The final task was to inject cavity wax protection into all repaired areas. Copious amounts of dinitrol ML was used. More on this next time.

 

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Cavity waxing really should be undertaken at the end of any resto after paint.

 

Next time we'll get back to the subject of drainage and a few other things that may be of interest.

 

 

 

 

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Excellent work. Are you in the trade at all, or just very capable anyway!

 

I can produce a reasonable well from my inverter mig, and even did a oxy-acetylene course back at highschool. I have done work moving the engine mounts in the kitcar, making brackets for things, repaires to the narrowboat etc, but I am not sure I would take on significant bodywork repairs. Qudos where it is due.

 

Daniel

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I'd like to add my comments to this thread, and probably relevant to the 540i thread that's also running. I've owned 4 E34 Tourings over the years, a 525iX and 3 525i Manuals. The current one was bought primarily as a dog transporter, and as a Rally Service Barge/Towcar to relieve my 335d Touring. Some of the Service Areas/Recces we get to are down unmade tracks, and not conducive to 19" Alloys..The latest one has just had repairs to the Sills to resurrect it. Jacking points had been repaired prior to my ownership (had it since October 2015), and what set all this off was a tiny hole in the n/s wheelarch. The car has the plastic sideskirts, which hide a multitude of sins, and does not have a sunroof. So, off with the sideskirt on the passenger side to reveal this

 

 

 

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So at this point I had to make a decision as to whether to attempt a repair or scrap the car. Looking around at what was available to buy, prices of E34 Tourings have increased considerably, plus I could be buying a whole new world of pain. Given that you can still buy Sills from Eurocarparts @ c.£50 each and I know a brilliant Fabricator/Welder, I decided to repair it. Incidentally, Euros had 3 n/s and 5 o/s Sills left in stock - 884110091 is the n/s, 884110101 is the o/s.

Edited by Sten
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Then on to the front, the rot had crept around the A pillar and to get at it to repair we sliced the bottom of the wing off - thinking here was it could be welded neatly back on and wouldn't be visible anyway once the sideskirt was re-fitted. Note the proxinity of the wiring loom and the carpet, just what you need when you're welding.

IMG-20200724-WA0004.jpg

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And considering the state of the other three corners, the o/s rear was actually fine - cut a piece out to have a good look with the Endoscope and welded back in

IMG-20200805-WA0001.jpg

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Has a rattle can of Calypso Red made up at my local paint shop and painted the repairs, then carefully measured the sills to drill the fixing holes for the sideskirt clips.

IMG-20200805-WA0002.jpg

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To summarise, and to make sure you know what you're taking on if you go down this road, total time to repair both sills from start to finish was 39 hours. I wouldn't have attempted this myself, I don't have a ramp at home amd my welding/fabrication skills are nowhere near good enough. The sills will still rot even without the sunroof drain tubes in the mix. My next job is to empty a tin or two of Dynax S50 into the sill structures and hopefully never have to go in there again. All credit to FIVE-OH for his efforts,I know how much is involved.

Edited by Sten
Spelling!

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1 hour ago, Sten said:

To summarise, and to make sure you know what you're taking on if you go down this road, total time to repair both sills from start to finish was 39 hours. I wouldn't have attempted this myself, I don't have a ramp at home amd my welding/fabrication skills are nowhere near good enough. The sills will still rot even without the sunroof drain tubes in the mix. 

Excellent report.

 

Like you, while I have the welding kit and quite like using it, without a ramp/lift you could double the time spent, which is then a lot of time to find.

 

So your talking was £2000-3000 depending on region and hourly rate £50-75/hour I guess. A said, sort of on a par with the value of the car. Ouch!

 

 

 

Daniel

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Thanks to all for the kind words in regards to this thread. It's much appreciated.

 

Yes, I am 'in the trade' but not in the retail sector. More fleet based.

 

The time taken to complete the necessary repairs was high. As mentioned by sten, you've got to know what your getting involved with. If you got a full time job, plus family commitments then it can be challenging. You also need a fair amount of room around the car and if you don't have access to a lift it will be that much more difficult overall.  If your paying for a restoration similar to what I have achieved, then prepare to open your wallet.....wide. However, if it's something rare or sought after it may be less of a financial penalty, but I doubt it would add significant value to those examples.

 

@Sten  you stated that your car had previously been repaired. Did you find evidence that this was actually the case? Nice save btw.

 

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@FIVE-OH I thought I'd replied to you, obviously didn't submit properly. Jacking points had just been wleded over and there was a patch inside the rear wheelarch.

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Great to catch up with this car again, I have enjoyed reading your progress and look forward to seeing it finished. It looks like a very nice job indeed.

 

All the best,

Tom

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