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  • #5022
    Marlon Lodge

    Hi guys
    I’d like your opinions on my idea for replacing the rotted front wheel arches on my 406 as well as the sills.
    I’m just embarking on the restauration of the car, which is pretty rough round the edges. The front wheel arch /underwing cubby compartment bases are too far gone to repair and I’ve managed to remove the complete structure on the nearside. It was quite easy as It is mainly connected by rivets with a seam of welding around the A post and also tack welded at the top. I recently took the whole structure to a local sheet metal fabricating company and they said if I could make a pattern they could fabricate it.
    While chatting they mentioned that they do fabrication work in aluminium and stainless, too, which got me thinking. What about making these in sturdy aluminium? At the back edge (A post side), which is currently welded, I could weld a flange on which to bond/rivet the aluminium. The rest can also be riveted as it was before. Bonding them would make the connection even stronger while insulating the alu and steel from each other.
    What do you think?
    I had the same idea with the sheet metal inner sills. (In my case what used to be inner sills but have now gradually submitted to the onslaught of the tin worm!!)
    These are basically hollow thin steel boxes with an aluminium cover, which dont seem to have any structural function. They’re just outward extentions of the floor, attached to the A post at the front and the wheel arch at the back as well as 3 spacers from the chassis under the door.
    I think these could be fabricated in aluminium and bonded and bolted in place.
    Thanks for any feedback.
    Marlon Lodge (New member)


    Firstly Welcome to BODA Marlon. The 406 is a wonderful car to own and restore.

    Being a V8 man I will leave other more knowledgeable members to respond to your post. If you do not find the answers you need here then please give John Lawley a call in our technical team.

    Kind regards



    Hi Marlon
    I think what you are suggesting for the under wing structures is a very good idea and will cut down on the worry of any future corrosion and maintenance in those area I could never understand why Bristol did not use aluminium in these area.
    Your idea for the sill or particularly the steel part of the structure I am not so sure about however, at the bottom of the A and B posts you will have an out rigger supporting the body the steel inner sill between these gives a degree not only of rigidity to the structure but also offers some element of side protection in the event of a crash, I suppose basically it all depends on how and where you bolt and bond the replacement aluminium sill to the structure, certainly I can see nothing wrong with the idea of bonding the outer aluminium sill in place or with your overall idea if it can achieve the equivalent strength in that area before things rusted away. It just occurred to me as well that the sills on the 50’s Armstrong Sapphire were if I remember correctly bolted into place.
    I did not see the episode but a friend of mine in Bristol so the CAR S.O.S team bond the outer sill panels in place on an AC Aceca they were restoring, suitably impressed with the idea he used the same technique when replacing the bottom face of one of the doors on his Austin Cambridge , having put a step in the edge of the panel to sit the repair piece against he used J B Weld to bond the repair section in place, he was very pleased with the results and it took a lot less time than welding the repair panel in place.
    We will probably use the bonding technique ourselves on a few minor panel repairs on my 401 around the outer lamps as it will be easier than welding new aluminium sections in, in this case to fix a reinforcing ring behind the edge of the opening for the lamp bowl so that this can be fixed in case properly and then get the shape back on the edge of the wing lamp mounting area with either an alloy based filler or this in conjunction with J B Weld or something similar
    If you do make a totally aluminium sill structure you might well find there is a market for a few sets with other owners undertaking the same task, even if not there are two less rust traps eradicated.

    Marlon Lodge

    Hi Stuart,
    Thanks for the welcoming words
    Hi Geoff
    Thanks for the words of support. I also have my qualms about an aluminium-only inner sill, although I doubt if the thin sheet metal box that I am removing would have provided much in the way of resistence in the event of a side hit. But you are right – safety is important. All the more reason to make sure it doesn’t rust out too quickly.
    Thinking out loud here: maybe a sturdier, reinforced steel core with a design which doesnt allow moisture to lay at the bottom.i.e leaving it open at the bottom – just covered by the ali outer sill. I’ll make some sketches. Stainless might be an option, too.
    Interesting what you say about bonding aluminium. I also think it kills 2 birds with one stone in our cars (problem of oxidisation where ali meets steel)
    By the way, I also have a 403 which needed a couple of panels replacing. To this end last year I bought a scrap 401 body with bootlid. I only need a couple of panel so if anyone is interested get in touch.
    Also, the brass badges on the 406 hub caps are missing — I know they are pretty rare, but if anyone has a spare one in good nick and could lend it to me, I’d see if I can get some remade.

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