Long time no update - typical, hey? I've not been entirely idle lately...
Having spent so much effort welding in lumps of new metal this summer, I'm loath to let it oxidise as rapidly as the last sill work did. First on the list of things to do is to stop the leaks, as nothing kills a car faster that water sitting in the box sections. Waterproof this car is not.
I decided to start from the top down, repairing the gutters first. I knew that there was rot on the driver's side as I'd covered it with a hasty skim of P40 a couple of years previously, and I knew that there was a thick layer of seam sealer along the length of the gutter, but I didn't know what was under it.
Time to break out the knotwheel of death and truth on the angry grinder:
However, most of the roof edge is fine:
As is most of the gutter:
The difficult bit here was deciding how to tackle the repair. In the end, I realised that removing the last few inches of gutter channel would allow access to rusty metal behind it. Here I'd just started the welding by filling up a few pinholes: not ideal, but far qucker than replacing large sections of C-pillar. The large one at the bottom left had been there a while - it was full of the filler that the FPO has covered most of the car with:
Knock the top off the welds with a grinding disc:
The scale of the problem:
Close-up showing the layers of metal. With the roof skin, inner strengthener, gutter channel and C-pillar all in this small area you can start to see why the Imp is so heavy for it's size (it's a full 100kg heavier than a Mini despite the light engine), rot-prone, and hard to repair:
Gutter channel had some rotten bits at the trailing edge:
After an 'invisible' patch to the bottom of the channel, and a replacement of the rear upright:
From the outside. I think my patch fabrication, welding, and grinding are improving somewhat:
Gutter channel welded back in - tacked to the stregthening rail at the back, and seam welded where I cut through the gutter rail:
Close-up of re-joined section:
Very nearly invisible:
Make up a plate - not quite flat, and with a right-angle return at the bottom to replicate the original roof edge - let in below the level of the surrounding metal*, seam weld all round, plug weld to gutter channel, grind welds flush with surrounding metal:
*patch was a bit wobbly and not the best fit, so this left room for a thin skim of filler. Add some seam sealer along the roof/gutter join, and the gutter/c-pillar join, splash some paint about, and end up with this:
In all, I'm quite happy with that.
The gutter on the othe side looks fine at the back, but there's a small patch that needs attention above the door, and there's a bubble beginning on the pillar by the screen seal. Current plan of attack is to buy a new screen seal, pull the screen out, repair the LHS gutter and any holes in the screen aperture, and refit the best screen I have with the new seal and some non-setting sealant.
Other leaks to address: -The rear windows need new rubbers, but at £75/pr they'll last a little longer - they're not a major leak point anyway, being quite sheltered by the gutters etc.
-Windscreen wiper spindles. Should just be a case of removing the nut and fitting new seals, but the nuts are, inevitably, siezed solid. Current thinking is to grab a pair of new wheelboxes, nuts, seals etc., a new drive rack, and replace the lot. Which means taking the dash out - so it'd be silly not to give the heater and wiring a once-over while that's out. I'll probably do an electric washer conversion at the same time.
-The rear hatch glass-to-frame seal leaks, which has rusted the frame quite badly. I have a good frame at home, so will pull the glass out and bond it back in to prevent the same occuring again. Needs new frame-to-body seals too.
-Wheelarches. LHF specifically. This is the worst arch on the car, and it allows water into the A-pillar, which then finds it's way into the footwell. I might attack it with the knotwheel and build it up out of filler and sealant until I can replace it properly.
After that it's a case of filling the cavities with lots of wax - although that's best done in warm conditions.
At which point I might start being able to think about untold luxuries such as sound deadening, carpet, and door cards!
Feeling generally upbeat about this at the moment. There's still plenty to do, but it's mostly stuff that I reckon I can manage in the odd weekend here or there - so I can keep the car on the road, which saves on storage costs and boosts mojo too. Softly softly catchee monkey.