After failing the MOT at Christmas and being warned that I would end up driving like Fred Flintstone it was time to try and get the sill repaired. I visited several people; some were too busy some were too disinterested but eventually I got a chap called Den who runs VW Beet’per Repairs Ltd just round the corner from where I work on the St Ives Industrial Estate (Cambs). He obviously knows his way around air cooled VW’s but seemed keen enough to help me out. Only problem is I had to wait nearly five months before I got to the top of his queue. Den had the car for over three weeks in the end and I finally got her back all finished, tested and ready to tax on the 1st of June.
1) The strip down
Den pulled out most of the interior of the Capri before starting. And what a mess it was. Water has been getting in through the offside screen rubber for years and years and slowly rotting all the seams of the sills from the outside in. There was a big hole in the floor right next to the accelerator peddle. There was a continuous hole running most of the length of the offside sill and the drivers seat mounting points had cracked through metal fatigue. It was all a bit depressing. On removing the outer sill itself it was clear that over the years various bits of wire mesh, crazy goam, filler, sealant etc had been used to botch up the holes and disguise the damage. The inner sill was particularly rotten and around the seat belt mount was almost non-existent. But we were not deterred…
2) The Welding
Den has ground out all the rot and slowly but surely patched it all up with new metal. I think his welding is extremely neat and he is certainly in no hurry to do a rush job. I think he quite enjoyed working on a ‘different’ car. New plates were welded over the four seat mount points. The drain hoses (from the sun roof) have been lengthened and pulled into place so they drain onto the tarmac and not into the new sill (I think they shrink over time).
3) The Rebuild
With all the welding on the floor pan finished so that there was a new inner sill back to full strength again, Den started the process of attaching the new sill. The sills were bought by me off E-bay for a whopping £20.00 each. They are full sills and not the skins. With plenty of fettling and adjustment complete the sills were welded into place and then the external seams were ground back and finished off to give a slight groove just how they left the factory. Den has pumped a load of waxoyl into the sill cavity using some access holes he left till the end at the top. Finally the lower section of the car has been sprayed in a thick black underseal. We agreed to leave it at that as I’ve booked him to do a bit more work on her later in September this year.
Den arranged for an MOT which she passed with flying colours (emissions were helped along a bit) and I’ve now taxed her for six months. Great to be back on the road again after such a long wait.
It cost me £800.00 for all the work which is a lot of money but as you can see from the photos Den has done a very thorough and professional job!