menu html5 by Css3Menu.com

January 2012

Replacing the side panels

If you have at the pictures showing the new engine in the car one thing is immeadiately obvious - there is a gaping hole where the exhaust used to emerge on the drivers side which is irrelevant now a Zetec is in there.

I had previously picked up a spare pair of panels from the pre-move sale as Tiger left Thorney Toll unfortunately they were yellow. So I got someone to spray them silver for me. I could have had them sprayed Burgandy but as the bodywork isn't exactly the same shade of gelcoat decided it would be better not to fork out for a full respray.

Fitting them was interesting. The car as you can tell from this site is now 11 years old, under the old panels the chassis wasn't exactly in prime condition - see the pictures.

So it was a case of stripping the front suspension off first, unfortunately one of the ball joints in the front suspension decided that spinning on the taper was a good idea. It took about an hour of struggling before I got the hacksaw off and then another couple of hours to extract the taper and associated locknut. The other side came off easily but I decided to change both top joints at the same time.

The next challenge was removing the side panels - I had been a bit enthusiastic with the rivet gun and there were rivets every two inches - finally I got the old rivets out and managed to remove the side panels. At this point I was looking at a rather rusty chassis with the powder coat flaking off in places. The chassis got rubbed down and then painted with hammerite. It doesn't really matter how neat the finish was as it was going to be covered by the new panels anyway.

Drilling the hole for the exhaust was quite nerve racking but I finally got a good shape hole and then the refitting could be begin. The refit was relatively easy, apart from the fact that unknown to me the panels were cut for a CatXL and the nick that allows them to bend round the chassis was in the wrong place. I still need to get some sill plates made up to cover this. The only other problem was the fold on the front panel was slightly deeper than my car required. I packed this with some foam padding to take up the gap rather than having it fill with mud/grease etc.

The work was made a lot longer by moving garages in the middle of the job - but that is a separate tale in itself.

Doesn't look to bad Needs some painte Or some new rails
Chassis with added rust Guess which one is the new panel New Panel in Place