Have you ever thought that your door sill plates needed a change? Also if you ever have a need to replace a Side Skirt, either due to a repair or because maybe you are moving to the Aero skirts, this will effectively be part of that work as well.
I decided that I wanted to change from my standard S sill plates to the optional JCW sill plates. As of this writing (i.e. 3/24/2010) they are readily available from Morristown MINI and for a good price of ~$30 each, I think the retail is $45 each.
Also, make sure you get some spare clips, # 51711496621, they should be less than $1 each and each side takes four. I bought 8 and used 4 of them.
So, I wanted to go from this:
To the JCW sill plates with a little more color and pop. They are packaged individually and include some crummy instructions, a small bottle of solvent, a disposable glove, and a wipe for use with the solvent.
The basic steps are as follows.
1. Remove old sill
2. Clean and prep surface
3. Peel and stick new sill
It sounds so easy when simplified to 3 steps, but preparation and attention to detail are critical for this project to look good when complete.
Let's take a look at some of the tools that were helpful to me.
So, let's get started:
1. Remove the old Sills:
First, just pull up the door seal weather stripping at the bottom of the opening, it is not glued down or anything and just presses back into place when you are done. The original sill is a thin Aluminum strip maybe 0.5mm thick. The application of this sill is very forgiving as the sill is a hard material with a ~1mm thick double sided sticky foam adhesive pad. So, they are easy to install, but nearly impossible to remove without destroying them. Heat can’t hurt, but does not really help, just carefully peel up one end with a plastic scraper and slowly pull it up as you continue to separate the foam between the sill plate and the skirt with the scraper. My scraper of choice was that red plastic TV/electronics tuning tool you see in the pic.
When finally removed the original Aluminum sill will not be very pretty.
- <<Image were linked.. so now lost in the nether...>>
Also note the thickness of the foam application pad.
- <<Image were linked.. so now lost in the nether...>>
2. Clean and Prep Surface:
Since the solvent supplied was minimal, I just used GooGone and that worked very nicely. Drip it or squirt it on the sill area making sure not to get it everywhere else and let it sit for an hour, make sure it does not dry out while you are waiting for the solvent to do it's job. I used the small syringe in the pic above to precisely apply the GooGone. After it has had enough time to soften the remainder of the adhesive pad you can just pull it up like this.
If there are any spots still giving you trouble just apply more GooGone, and maybe use the plastic scraper. it is very important to ONLY use plastic, the surface of the skirt must be pristine as the new JCW sill plate is soft, delicate, and absolutely not forgiving as compared to the original. If there are any marks, nicks, or debris under the JCW sill plate it will show through and look crappy!
When you have it all clean it will look like this.
Given the delicate nature of the JCW sill plate you must not only make sure the skirt surface is perfectly smooth and clean, but you also must make sure the four plastic clips that hold the top of the skirt to the actual metal sill are perfectly flat and perfectly installed. Again this does not matter for the original S sill plate, but it is critical for any of the optional sill plates that are of the bubble/gel material with the thin adhesive, like the JCW sill. Anyway, a nice and tight clip looks like this:
So, the clip is tight and the skirt is tight against the sill. If you can push down on the skirt next to the clip and the clip effectively pops up, then you will have to replace that clip. Clips that look like this need to be replaced:
The trick to these clips is a simple 90 degree rotation for insertion and removal. Also note that any irregularities in the ABS plastic skirt itself under the clip must be remedied before the clip can sit flat, or rather flush with the sill plate adhesion surface. Note the high spots under the clip in the 2nd pic, then in the 3rd pic it is smoothed down and allows the clip to sit properly.
Failure to get those clips tight and flush will result in a very apparent bubble around the clip area after the sill plate is installed. When you install a new clip, tap it down flush the last little bit with a small tack hammer or even use a small drift or a socket extension, etc. Tap it lightly, you want it flush all the way across, if you go too far the center will be recessed and the ends/flanges of the clip will be curving up too high.
3. Peel and Stick new Sill:
Ok, vacuum off the top of the skirt, where the sill plate adheres, then also vacuum around the sill plate as it is affixed to the strip on the bottom of the packing box. Carefully peel the new sill plate off from the bottom of the box and inspect it for any particles that may have been sucked to the adhesive due to static electricity or whatever. Use some tweezers like shown in the pic at the top to carefully remove any debris. Any particles will show through and be visible from above, so make sure it is perfectly clean!
When done it will look something like this:
If you do inadvertently trap some debris under the sill plate the domed/gel ones like the JCW does not have a super strong adhesive, so they are forgiving in this respect. You can slowly and carefully pull it back up and remedy the issue with tweezers, etc. to remove that debris, and then you guide the sill plate back into position. Also note that this is like applying a thick vinyl decal so be careful not to trap air bubble as you are applying the sill plate.
This should take about an hour of actual work for each side, not including the hour wait to let the GooGone soften the adhesive.
Have Fun! And sorry about the not so great pics from my phone.