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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This summer I tore into my 2005 Jaguar X-Type Estate sills for a repair that I hoped would be relatively simple and painless...

I've owned the car for a little less than a year and with the MOT around the corner and some previous patches on the rear outer panels looking like they might be hiding something worse than surface rust I certainly didn't look forward to what I might find. It's no surprise to anyone in this forum that Jaguar's from the early 2000's like to rust in the sill areas, most notably X-Types and S-Types mainly down to poor drainage and lack of cavity protection from the factory. My estate is no exception and although being a south of England car with low millage (~68k) I found that behind the plastic sill covers there was indeed a repair needing done. I started with repairing the drivers side as it looked like the side that seems to have suffered worse and am currently upon writing this well underway on the passenger side in order to get it through it's MOT.

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At first look it would be tempting to just give it a wire wheel and throw some underseal on it but some very apparent deformation in the rear jacking area suggesting internal weakening and the age old statement that rust starts from the inside meant that I was going to have to cut it open and see how bad things were. Needless to say I hoped for something a little cleaner given the age and where it's been driven but unfortunately the years haven't treated it well. The horrors that lie ahead I'm sure have sent many owners calling the local scrap yard but I was determined to give this car some extra life given it's lower millage and overall good mechanical condition not to mention I was in too deep by this point anyway, mentally and financially.

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The amount of rust that I had to cut out left very little in the way of references so some measurements of important dimensions and plenty of photos aid greatly as well as keeping the offcuts for future referencing during fabrication.

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The vertical inner sill panel was almost totally rotten at its lower edge from I imagine water pooling inside the structure so I cut it up to clean metal along the entire sill and kept some of better examples as patterns to fabricate my repair to. The horizontal floor to sill section was also cut back to about 10mm from the interior structure to remove all metal with visible pitting after attacking it with the wire wheel. After all this I have to admit that standing back and seeing a area very lacking in metal did make me feel nervous and that perhaps I should have just slapped that underseal on..... needless to say though I'm glad I never did as I'm now left with a much more structurally sound car.

Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After lots of wire wheeling and treatment of any remaining surface rust using Bilt Hamber Deox Gel fresh metal was ready to weld in starting with the front of the sill and working backwards double checking measurements and the fitment of the outer panel. On the topic of the outer panel I opted for some aftermarket full length panels made by KLOKKERHOLM.

Now I'm by no means an expert welder but I can shoot hot metal using the MIG and the finished panel is strong enough to shake the car when you push and pull on it. So far it's all been butt welded to avoid additional locations for moisture to build up between panels with one or two plug welds in the locations where the panels were originally spot welded at the factory. In honestly the hardest part is fabricating the panels to look as close to original as possible, not totally necessary but I'll admit I'm a bit anal in that regard which is what really takes the time but I think the bends and angles helps give the otherwise flat sheet extra strength.

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The piece above is an offcut to show the profile that I've used for the floorplan to sill section made from 1.5mm mild steel.

I then cut the drains after mocking up the outer panel and marking all the points where they should be so that when it's all done they all line up nicely.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The next section to repair was the inner sill that proved to be quite tricky to fabricate at it had a large radius bend at the top that I mainly managed to recreate by hammering over a length of appropriate diameter bar. I stitch welded this section along the top which some may disapprove off but it's relatively thin at 0.9mm. The lower face was plug welded to the previously finished floor to sill section every inch or so and then ground down flush as the outer panel is also welded at this pinch at the end.

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Once I finished welding in the inner sill I ground back all the plug welds flush and gave the welds a good clean with the wire wheel attachment on the grinder which knocks off a lot of the splatter. The paint I'm using is Bilt Hamber Electrox and where I am plug welding I use Etch Weld.

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The next part was the section I dreaded doing, the rear jacking point. This part of the sill was hit the hardest by rust and meant that I didn't have as much to base the fabrication from as I did the rest of the sill. The first part to recreate was the reinforcement plate that can be seen hanging in the picture below. I did cut this section off, remake it and weld it in but in my haste forgot to take a picture before I continued on but I promise it is fresh metal. At the front and rear the sill tapers together so I had to make alterations to the panels I made in order for them to fit.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This just leaves welding back in the outer reinforcement section that I removed as parts were heavily pitted and I also needed it cut out so that I had access to the rust in deeper to reach areas. I blasted all the sections I removed and repaired any heavy pitting on the bench before welding them back in. Welding them back into position was slightly trickier as they had to be angled correctly so that when the outer panel was fitted it would neatly but up against it allowing them to be plug welded together so I did plenty of test fits before fully seam welding the sections into place.

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I also went back over the drain points and modified them buy cutting a recess out of the inner sill to aid water in escaping and hopefully avoid the original problem from recurring.

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With all the internal work now done and painted it just leaves the outer panel to be welded on and the final coating of underseal and cavity wax to be done at the end.

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
With plenty of measuring and trial fits done during the rebuilding the outer panel went on smoothly and caused no hassle in getting a good fitment. The top length was fully stitch welded while the lower was plug welded at the pinch every inch or so. Vice grips are very much your friend when plug welding to ensure the panels are tightly fitted to give an incredibly strong weld.

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A few hours of grinding back welds and a coat or two of zinc primer later...

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I opted to use RivNuts for the front wing attachment in place of the original welded nut and spire nut on the front fixing as I prefer them for simplicity and replaceability in the future.

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I then went over it all in seam sealer where needed and sprayed the underneath in underseal leaving the outer face in bare primer as I may come back to this area and top coat it body colour in the near future. Of course a very liberal coating of cavity wax (Dinitrol ML) was injected inside all the structure to give the sill many years of corrosion free life ahead of it.

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And with that the car is back on four wheels and finished, after doing the other side too of course...

Apologies to those that have already seen all this in my ownership thread but I wanted to post this as it's own thread so that it doesn't get lost and hopefully will help more people in the future to show that even sills as rotten as mine were repairable with the time and tools necessary, also @jamie_duff asked me too ;)

I've uploaded the extensive amount of photos that I took in full resolution to Imgur if anyone wishes to see more for reference.
 

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Hey Martin, no apologies needed, great post and a good idea to post it separately too.

@Ian D possibly consider making it a sticky in the X type sticky thread? I'm sure this could definitely help others with the same train of thought who are thinking of having a go

Jim
 

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That's a cracking job, and certainly useful for when I wheel mine into the garage after my MX-5 is finished - unless you feel you'd take this on again since I will need a car for towing the sailing dinghy I'm getting close to finishing :D . Thanks for doing this thread though - it's useful for people to see what's really involved in this and that the rust always goes further than what you can see when the MOT tester first pokes a hole in the bottom of the sill!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Hey Martin, no apologies needed, great post and a good idea to post it separately too.

@Ian D possibly consider making it a sticky in the X type sticky thread? I'm sure this could definitely help others with the same train of thought who are thinking of having a go

Jim
Thanks Jim, and thanks also for all the support you gave during the repair, it's often tough to keep motivation the longer the weeks go by.

I'm not sure which I'm most impressed with:

a) your fabrication and welding skills, or
b) your photography and detailed activity explanations

You should get a job with Haynes !!
Thanks Eddy, I'm fortunate in having access to plenty of sheet metal tools (folder, guillotine, fly press...) at work which makes life significantly easier and gives a much finished product that I'll always be thankful for as I've also worked without. I'll be sure to send them my CV when the time arrives ;)

That's a cracking job, and certainly useful for when I wheel mine into the garage after my MX-5 is finished - unless you feel you'd take this on again since I will need a car for towing the sailing dinghy I'm getting close to finishing :D . Thanks for doing this thread though - it's useful for people to see what's really involved in this and that the rust always goes further than what you can see when the MOT tester first pokes a hole in the bottom of the sill!
Thanks Jamie, hope it helps for your own. Not sure I'll have the motivation to do another :LOL: but if you're needing any help with dimensions or patterns feel free to let me know I'll be happy to help. Next up for me is my own MX-5 which can be seen in some of the pictures patiently waiting for sills and arches.

What a fantastic job.
Thanks George, as it often is with cars of this age it's finish one job and onto the next :)
 

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Great work, pics and explanation! As my welding neatness skills are nowadays akin to a pigeon with a violent projectile stomach disorder I left my sill repair to my local indie: they did a great job at reasonable price and invited me along to view each stage.

My hat is off to you Sir. 👍
 

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Thanks Jim, and thanks also for all the support you gave during the repair, it's often tough to keep motivation the longer the weeks go by.
Nice to see someone with a combination of knowledge, experience, gumption and determination to get these things done.

Kudos where kudos is due

Jim
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great work, pics and explanation! As my welding neatness skills are nowadays akin to a pigeon with a violent projectile stomach disorder I left my sill repair to my local indie: they did a great job at reasonable price and invited me along to view each stage.

My hat is off to you Sir. 👍
Many thanks John. The previous machine I had I couldn't weld to save my life with but now with the R-Tech and a couple of years more experience I like to think I do a decent job for an amateur. It's great that they invited you along to view each stage, shows that they aren't afraid to show their workmanship where others would slap a heavy coat of underseal on at the end leaving it all to the imagination.

Nice to see someone with a combination of knowledge, experience, gumption and determination to get these things done.

Kudos where kudos is due

Jim
Thanks Jim, I've learnt that if you're going to do a job it pays to do it right the first time. As my MOT guy said to me a few days back regarding the passenger side - sure you could plate it but every year you'll be chasing it doing the same. After taking my time and doing this repair properly I've got confidence in it outlasting my ownership however long that might be and that the side structure is as rigid as it should.
 
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great stuff Martin Sills are a horrible job to do. You will enjoy the Car even more in the knowledge the job has been done well and kept the Car on the Road as that would have been a hefty bill from a Garage.
 

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Just shows what shere dedication and determination can do.
Well done you must be very proud!
 
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