2003 Sport sills

  1. My model of MX-5 is: __2003 1.8 Sport
  2. I’m based near: __Skipton
  3. I’m looking for technical help or recommendations on: __sill repairs

Hi…last summer I had a go at repairing the sills on my 1997 Eunos. My cutting, welding, filling and painting efforts gave a reasonably pleasing result.
The car went through its next MOT without any advisories.
Last weekend I bought a 2003 1.8 Sport on which the sills are starting to go.
In that this Sport is very low mileage and two owners I’d prefer to get the sills repaired professionally.
To this end I asked Deepcar Autobodies if they’d give me a ball park estimate. They said, understandably, that they’d prefer to see the car before estimating, but I nonetheless asked them for a rough figure based on photographs.
Incidentally the rear arches are in very good condition.
They have said they’d expect the repairs to be around £1800 + VAT.
May I ask what the general reaction might be to this figure.

First off, that company you mention I remember do excellent work, in Sheffield are they?

They’ve certainly seem top end on price but I’m no expert with pricing of such work. In my opinion they expect the worse and priced accordingly, it seems the rot has gone further down the sill on one side, past the seam under the door. Also not knowing what it’s like behind and underneath until opened up.
Just my opinion.


I have been going to a lot of body shops recently and this kind of work in London and surrounding areas I would expect between £250 and £400 per side so £500/800 total depending on the garage in question.

The most expensive quote I got was £1000 and my sills had rotted.

MickAP above seems to speak sense, these places don’t want to under estimate work and then have to tell you “oh we found some more rot it’s an extra £500” so they seem to give a worst case scenario price. You are best off driving and speaking to these people, let them get under the car with a torch and then they can give you a better idea.

I was quoted recently £400 for MK3 arch repair via email, me sending pics etc but when I went down to the shop it’s just a stone chip, not worth doing, wipe down and protect, so these things are very much varied but that also means different shops will have different approaches.

Yes, Deepcar Autobodies are near Sheffield and have an excellent reputation.
When it was in its heyday I used to spend an inordinate amount of time on the Nutz forum, where “Painter Dave” of Deepcar was spoken very well of.
I was expecting to pay ~£400 per side, so £2160 total came as a bit of a surprise.
In that I intend keeping the car ‘forever’ I need to decide whether spending twice as much as anticipated would be worthwhile.
Mind you, at seventy three years old ‘forever’ might not be that long! In which case my children would perhaps appreciate the best repairs possible.

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I do remember you from the other side :smile: and painter Dave. Not heard/seen much spoken about him and wondered if he was still doing his stuff, gladly yes is the answer.:+1:

I’d hope for the best but prepare for worse, insofar I’d not be surprised when the sills are opened up the rot has actually travelled further, and that may well include the arches, yet to erupt. It’s a very complex looking “internal affair”…and full of bad condensation traps of unprotected mild steel…bar the grey primer.
That’s how my 2002 Crystal Blue kicked off.

I appreciate that point.
But based on my experience of repairing the sills on my Mk1, which were in much worse condition than the Sport, I’d expect the inner sills to perhaps be retrievable.
As remarked, the arches are very good and I (naively?) hope that drenching them in two grades of Dinitrol from the boot and B pillar might keep them that way.

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Best of British then.
Let us know how it went!
I just did not get to mine in time.

I’ll update as things (hopefully) progress.

If they are factoring in the arches as well (might as well as you will be doing them eventually) the quote is spot on.

When I had my 1996 Mk1 welded, the arch and sill on the drivers side had completely gone. The passenger side has a sill repair 5 years before, but the arch looked fine. But I told the garage to do both sills and arches. When they opened up the passenger side, the inner arch actually needed a lot of repair.

Taking the car for (Painter) Dave to look at next week, so we’ll see what transpires.

My sill repairs were expensive. They were part of a whole load of work, but I know the sills weren’t cheap to do.

They won’t really know until they start cutting into the car. If a repairer quotes £500, cuts the sill away, and then it transpires you need more doing, what are you going to do?

I’d do the obvious……agree the amount of work needed with the repairer and a price for it.

That’s probably a good approach.

Cutting the sills open, assessing the work necessary and agreeing a price for that work would be fair for all concerned.

The absolute cost is irrelevant: getting value for money isn’t.

Have you had a close look at the chassis at the front?

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My thoughts exactly, on a 2.5 sport the front chassis starts before the sills.

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I’m unsure that’s true.
My son and I had a 2002 Sport for track use (which eventually became an Exocet) and the sills rusted through seriously whilst the front chassis rails were still serviceable.
The newly acquired Sport will be going on my scissor lift this week for a thorough underbody inspection. I’ll be undertaking any necessary remedial work myself. We’ve got spare subframes, sets of wishbones and coilovers should they be needed.
Because the car has only 22000 miles and appears to be in really good condition it’s the sills which I’d prefer to be professionally repaired for appearance’s sake


Pleased to report that the sills have been done by Paint Wizard Automotive Ltd, who are associated with and adjacent to A K Automotive Ltd.
Excellent work, leaving an OEM appearance.
And reasonably priced at £400 per side.

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@Grandad, can you PM me the full details for Paint Wizard Automotive Ltd and I will get them added to the MX-5 Welders Map :slight_smile: