Fitting Nova GTE/GSi Side Skirts
DISCLAIMER: The information in these documents are a collection from experience (friends or myself), magazine articles, mailing lists and Internet web sites etc. So don't take these as 100% correct gospel, hence I don't take any responsibility for any of these guides.
     Difficulty Rating: 3/5 - Takes time to line it all up.
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Created: 14 Jan 2001
Revision 1

Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.


..and after.
...and after.

This is a step-by-step guide on fitting Nova GTE or GSi side skirts (both are identical) onto a 3-door Nova. Any model can have these fitted, with a bit of time and patience. The side skirts come in four pieces, two rear quarters and two side skirts. The skirts snap onto white clips which are positioned on the sill of the car. These are in turn attached by posts which are pop rivets. There are two posts per white clip. These were only fitted to GTE or GSi Nova's as standard, hence they already have the posts in place in the sill. So for other models, these posts will have to be put into place, before the side skirts can go on.

These side skirts in the guide were fitted onto a Nova GTE, but as the car had new panels and rear arches put on before the respray, some of these posts were removed. So new posts had to be put back in place, but using self tapers instead, which are a good alternative. Lining up where the posts should go is the difficult bit. As there is very little room for error as the posts only snap onto the side skirt in particular places. They can not slide to one side. The easiest method was to paint the back of the white clips, then press the side skirt onto the car. That way, you knew where the white clips are to be.

Some drilling is required to screw in the self tapers. Any fresh cuts must be painted with rust stopper. This prevents the metal oxidising and rust from appearing too soon. The sills are very vulnerable to the elements of the weather, so they can rust very easily if not protected.

Click for bigger view Electric drill Drill bits Self taping screws
Rust stopper Ruler/Pencil Wet 'n' dry
White Sprit Plastic primmer Colour spray paint
Plastic rivets Centre punch Hammer
GTE/GSi side skirts White clips Sticky pad strips
Pencil Push button. Screwdriver

Nova GTE/GSi side skirts (pair) £65
  • Side skirts come in four pieces, the GM part number is 90316897, 90316898, 90316899 and 90316900. The original items from the dealer should come with fitting instructions.
  • GM part number for rivet bolts 90196277.
  • GM part number for Plastic Push Buttons, 90173432.
  • GM part number for White Clip stone guards, 90196277.
  • If in doubt, just ask the parts department of what items you need, they (should) be able to figure it out via their database.
Rivet bolts (28 off) 12p ea
Push buttons (12 off) 10p ea
White Clip stone guards (16 off) 12p ea
Self tapping screw(s) A/R
Rust stopper (bottle) £3+

General Notes:

Just before you start, make sure you note the following:

  • Second hand side skirts may not be in the best condition. In this guide, it shows you how to respray them. Use the colour of your choice (i.e. colour code them).
  • When spraying plastic, use plastic primer paint. This bonds onto the surface better. When preparing the surface, you need to 'key' it. Use 200 grit paper to roughen the surface. Then spray thin layers of primer on. On each spray, allow to dry and lightly rub down with 400 grit (but don't take the primmer off). Once enough layers are on (about 5 will do), spray the final coat. Do about 5 light coats. With each application, rub down with 600 grit. Again don't go through the paint. Use water to make the task easier with the paper (NOTE on paper grades: 100 = rough, 1000 = smooth).
  • When finding the correct locations for the white clips to be put into place, any wet paint or ink can be used. Just make sure it can be easily removed and doesn't mark the paint work. Tip-Ex was used in this example, as it can easily be wiped off (with White Sprit).
  • The original side skirts used metal turrets which were pop rivets. Small self tapers are a good alternative. Screw these in, but slightly proud so that the white clips can slide on and snap into position.
  • When marking out the hole positions, use a centre punch and a hammer to make an small impression in the sill. This makes it easier for the drill bit to stay in the correct position. Otherwise it can drift off when drilling, which can mark the paintwork.
  • Small plastic push buttons are used underneath the seal (not shown in the guide), these secure the side skirts on better. These are not essential but ideal to stop them flapping up from the bottom. But small button shaped rivets are required, it is not know if all Nova's have these in place as standard.
  • The bottom of the door should 'just' clear the side skirt when opened.
  • When ever a fresh cut or drilled hole is made, it should be painted with 'rust stopper' to stop it oxidising and hence inhibits rusting.

OK, got all the above? Then follow the steps below (remember to click on the pics for a bigger view):

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
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Rub down the plastic with 200 grit, moving onto 400 grit to get it smooth. Use water to make the process easier. With the plastic keyed, clean with white sprit. Allow to dry. Spray light coats of plastic primer. Rub with 400 grit in-between each spray when dry. With a good coat of plastic primer, spray on the final colour. Again use light coats. Finally rub it down with 600 grit to get it smooth and some shine.

Step 4 Step 5 Step 6
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Each white clip is held on with two posts/screws. The spacing between each is 3cm. Use a 2.5mm dia drill bit for drill holes. Use either pop rivets or small self tapping screws for the posts. Tricky bit, mark along the sill where clips are to be. Put the clips on the back of the side skirt. Put Tip-Ex on the back of the clips and press the side skirt onto the sill. An impression is left behind. The impression shows the general location of each white clip. With the spacing figured out, proceed to drill the holes and attach the white clips into place. Wipe away the dry Tip-Ex. Don't fit the side skirt yet.

Step 7 Step 8 Step 9
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The rear quarter skirt has to be fitted first. The white clip is in place, put sticky tape strips along the plastic block on the back. Firmly snap the rear quarter skirt into place. With the rear quarter in place, snap the side skirt on. This is when you'll see if the posts are in the correct position. Use the small push button caps underneath. Two plastic pop rivets need to be snapped into place. However, you may need to drill the holes in the rear arch lip and then paint rust stopper on the fresh cut. Repeat for other side.

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