Whilst Series Land Rovers are famous for their non-rusting bodywork, there are some key areas that are made from steel and these areas rust. One such problem area is the door frames. All original doors in all models of Series Land Rover are made from steel. The only main difference is that some Land Rover Series IIA models and all Series III models were afforded some protection to the frame by having door trim fitted as standard. However, this often serves to simply hide the rusting process from the owner and can allow it to progress to a state which becomes structurally critical to the functioning of the door .
Catching the rust early and treating it with a commercial rust inhibitor, followed by a coat of protective paint is all that should be required. Just periodic follow-up checks over the years is all that is needed.
Often however the rain gets in unnoticed and a repair becomes necessary. Fortunately, lengths of door frame are available to cut to size and weld in where needed. This homepage deals in detail with the rear door of a 109in Land Rover Series IIA, but the principal is the same for all doors and models.
Preparation of the door involves removing it from the vehicle and taking off any trim there may be. It is often easier, simply to remove the hinge pins to get the door off, rather than mess with the settings of the hinges themselves.
The door should be layed on a surface that protects the door skin from scratches. The door skin is carefully turned back along the edge where the replacement is to be made - in this case, the whole of the bottom edge. The rusted section is then cut out with an angle grinder, ensuring that clean straight edges are left to weld onto. Photo shows the bottom rail cut out.
The door skin is aluminium alloy and does not rust. However, where it has been in contact with the steel door frame there can be electrolytic corrosion whenever the two dissimilar metals are directly in contact in the presence of water. This is one reason why the back of the frame insert should be painted prior to welding it into position. The inside of the door skin should be similarly painted for the benefit of yourself and/or the next owner. Just don't paint edges that are to be welded.
Now it's time to do some accurate measuring and cut the frame insert to the required length. Double check that you have good contact between all edges that are to be welded together. Clamps are not shown here but they were used to hold the insert in postion whilst marking where to cut. It's important that the door is not twisted whilst measuring and subsequently welding the insert. This is easily done, especially if bulky Land Rover Series II/IIA hinges are left on the door and supporting its weight.
Once the new frame rail has been welded in, the door skin can be re-folded over frame and rust protective paint applied. If the skin was carefully bent back initially and gently squeezed into place finally, then you may get away with not having to paint the outer door skin.
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