Fitting of sidescreens - September 2004

The first job after passing SVA was to fit the sidescreens.  These come in a kit of parts from Sylva, consisting of:

  • Fibreglass lower section

  • Perspex upper section

  • Hinges

  • 4 vinyl straps with fitted securing poppers

  • Nuts & bolts

When I bought this kit, the cost was 142.

The first stage was to fit one half of the hinges to the windscreen pillars.  I chose to fit them to the rear edge of the pillar, rather than the outside edge.  This means that with the sidescreens removed the hinge bracket is slightly more concealed.  When fitting the hinges it is important that the rotation axes lines up reasonably well with each other.  I stuck masking tape to the pillar, marked out the holes and drilled through.  The hinge plates were then bolted in place, with a nut on the inside of the pillar.

Sidescreen hinges attached to windscreen

Next job was to position the fibreglass lower section of the sidescreens, and mark out the hinge positions.  Masking tape was again used to protect the paintwork of the main tub.

The lower sections could then be hung in place.  I have chosen to use a rubber sealing strip around the lower edge of the sidescreen to give a neat fit to the main tub.  This required me to trim off the small return edge on the sidescreen to both allow the rubber trim to clip in place, and also to open up gap a between body and sidescreen for the rubber trim to fill.  A little extra fettling of the lower edge of the sidescreens was needed to get the fit spot on.

I wanted to finish the inside of the sidescreens with 'something', so that the exposed glass-fibres don't mangle my right arm (and the passengers left arm of course!).  I decided it was worth trying gluing some vinyl in place, although I wasn't sure how to finish the top edge neatly.  I cut out a rough pattern, with about an inch to spare all round, then glued in place using contact adhesive, and trimmed around the edges with a sharp stanley knife.  The top edge actually looks fine, I'll leave it as is for the time being.  

(Update: Well after a good few months on the road, the top edge of the vinyl refuses to stay 'stuck' when the weather turns warm, so I started looking out for a suitable piece of trim to neaten up this edge.  I found some 15mm x 2m L-section black plastic for 1.50 in B&Q that looked like it might do the trick.  I firstly trimmed back the profile so that one leg of the 'L' was only 5mm long, and then held the profile against the sidescreen.  I decided to try heating the plastic with a hairdryer to encourage it to bend in the hope that I wouldn't have to faff around making joints at the two corners, and this worked like a charm.)

Original with no trim to edge of vinyl

Original trimmed sidescreen

Updated arrangement with plastic trim along top edge

Updated sidescreen with additional trim along top edge

I then marked out and drilled the holes in the perspex  and fibreglass, taking care to even out the spacing as well as possible.  More nuts and bolts are used to join the two halves.

With these bolted together, the final job was to sort out the securing straps.  I decided to fit the securing poppers to the top edge of the interior trim panel rather than through the fibreglass tub- the straps were plenty long enough to reach this far.  The rivets I had used for most of the panelling had heads which were slightly too big to recess correctly into the popper, so a little light filing of the rivet head was needed.

The straps were then secured to the sidescreen using a button head bolt and large washers on both the inside and outside of the sidescreen to spread the load, taking care to fix at the right length to ensure good tension in the securing straps when clipped onto the poppers.

Sidescreens fitted

Driving with the sidescreens in place is a much more refined affair than without- you can hold a conversation with a passenger at 60mph, and with the heater on the lower half of the interior actually stays fairly warm during Autumn drives.  Admittedly the car looks better without the sidescreens, but they are so easy to remove for shows, and will make long journeys much more pleasant!