Dismiss Notice



Register Today It's free! This box will disappear once registered!

Rocker Panel Replacement - No Welding, No Bondo

Discussion in 'Body Work & Detailing' started by BBQgreg, December 25, 2017.

  • Searches ExplorerForum.com
    1. BBQgreg

      BBQgreg New Member

      Joined:
      August 24, 2017
      Messages:
      6
      Likes Received:
      4
      Trophy Points:
      3
      City, State:
      Pittsburgh, PA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 Explorer XLT 4.0 K
      Like many people, I had to do this project in my driveway with some basic tools. I have about $300 in the whole project, not including the tools. I bought full panels at $125 each on amazon. I have another $50 in paint, primer, rustproofing, undercoating (all aerosol spray cans). You can use something like duplicolor to match your paint color, but I chose to use a 2K epoxy aero primer with black chassis paint. It actually looks pretty good with the black plastic trim and its hard as nails.

      Angle Grinder w/Cutting Wheel
      Cordless Drill w/Wire Brush Attachments
      Demo Bar, Chisel
      Clamps, Vice Grips
      Rivet Tool and Rivets
      Rust Encapsulater
      Rustproofing or Undercoating
      Wet/Dry Sandpaper and Scuff Pads
      Paint and Primer


      Before
      IMG_20170807_135630075_HDR.jpg

      After
      IMG_20170824_112626392_HDR.jpg

      Remove The Doors
      IMG_20170819_122608499.jpg

      Use cutting wheel to remove most of the panels. Wire brush all loose rust. Wash with degreaser, let dry, wipe down with prep all or paint prep degreaser. Note: I clamped the new panel in place and marked it so I didn't cut too much out.
      IMG_20170814_150522415_HDR.jpg

      I used a rubberized rust encapsulater from Eastwood on everything. I taped it off and sprayed right up to the marks I made. Be careful not to go too thick on the remaining out rocker. The new panel will go on top of this. You could use an encapsulater and then an undercoating, or POR15 or whatever you like. While I had everything apart, I also used rustproofing inside the doors, quarter panels, etc.
      IMG_20170816_164439713.jpg

      The panels came with an EDP coating which I left on, wet sanded, scuffed, 2 coats of epoxy primer, 2 coats of black satin chassis paint. The 2-part epoxy primer is a bit pricey at $15-$20 a can. I only needed 1 can. If you don't use an epoxy primer, you might need to use an etching primer on any bare metal (the panels usually have some scratches through the EDP). Just follow the directions for whatever system you choose.
      IMG_20170817_113145826.jpg

      Clamp panel in place and rivet under the weather stripping and plastic kick plates. I was able to rivet the underside to the existing inner rockers. If they're in bad shape, you could replace them or add a little sheet metal where needed.
      IMG_20170815_125504474_HDR.jpg

      That's it. Put everything back together and its finished. Oh, I was able to reuse the old weather strip on the rocker. I lined it up, marked the holes, and used some stainless screws to re-attach it.
      IMG_20170824_112653632_HDR.jpg


      I've found a lot of great information on this site, so I thought I'd share this project. Hope this helps somebody!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    2. Support EF

      Join the Elite Explorers for $20

      Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself, and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no ads, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.


      to hide adverts.
    3. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      51,532
      Likes Received:
      127
      Trophy Points:
      93
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
    4. BBQgreg

      BBQgreg New Member

      Joined:
      August 24, 2017
      Messages:
      6
      Likes Received:
      4
      Trophy Points:
      3
      City, State:
      Pittsburgh, PA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 Explorer XLT 4.0 K
      I'm not sure what gauge, but they look just as thick as the original panels. I used the OE style full panels meant to be welded in place. I basically just installed them like a slip on, only I wanted a more permanent fix that looks good too.
       
    5. vroomzoomboom

      vroomzoomboom Elite Canuck STOCK SUCKS! Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      January 22, 2007
      Messages:
      8,802
      Likes Received:
      242
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      selkirk, manitoba
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      98 supercharged 347 sport
      i will say you did a nice job fitting it, however did you say your just riveted it on? and the bare minim you should have used some type of bonding agent for the reason that the rockers are structural. if you ever have a side impact collision it would be the same as if you had left the rusted ones on, or worse
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    6. Spudhut

      Spudhut US Navy Submariner Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      August 14, 2017
      Messages:
      270
      Media:
      31
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      54
      Trophy Points:
      28
      Location:
      NW Arkansas
      City, State:
      Bentonville, AR
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1997 Explorer Sport - 4x4
      Callsign:
      KG5SPB
      The fitment looks great...but I have to agree with @vroomzoomboom . You should use some type of bonding agent to attach that panel. 3M makes a product called 'Panel Bond' which is used by many body shops these days. It comes in a dual tube that is applied using a 'click gun'. Its an epoxy that adheres like dirt on a white t-shirt!

      You will find that those screws will come loose or someone will step on that thing while trying to climb in, then 'bang bang' your rocker will end up on the ground.
       
    7. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      April 16, 2002
      Messages:
      9,198
      Likes Received:
      29
      Trophy Points:
      68
      City, State:
      Millersville , Maryland
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2000 Explorer Sport
      Actually panel bond is becoming a big no-no. Google "John Eagle Honda Fit" for details.

      Yeah, that rocker repair looks good but that is it. It is not structurally sound.
       
    8. vroomzoomboom

      vroomzoomboom Elite Canuck STOCK SUCKS! Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      January 22, 2007
      Messages:
      8,802
      Likes Received:
      242
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      selkirk, manitoba
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      98 supercharged 347 sport
      which is why i do them this way.

      26132918_10154983994357513_1740853884_o.jpg

      even though this picture shows it not fully welded, later is was. there was nothing left of the old one. took this to show the shop doing the safety on it so they knew it wasnt going to be piled full of bondo to hide everything. this is going to replace the truck my son has.
      for the record, i never was a fan of glueing panels on. even when they first started doing it and said it was ok.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. toypaseo

      toypaseo Flunked daycare Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      January 3, 2003
      Messages:
      6,363
      Media:
      16
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      144
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      outside shovelling snow
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      ................ 96 XLT ™
      Holy crap. That's crazy...
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      February 2, 2002
      Messages:
      6,157
      Media:
      3
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      190
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1998 Mountaineer AWD
      I see nothing wrong with panel bond, it surely has its valid uses.
       
    11. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      April 16, 2002
      Messages:
      9,198
      Likes Received:
      29
      Trophy Points:
      68
      City, State:
      Millersville , Maryland
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2000 Explorer Sport
      If it is not spelled out in an OE repair procedure you are opening yourself up to a liability.
      John Eagle Autobody LOST a 48 million dollar lawsuit because they believed panel bond had valid use on the roof of a Honda Fit.

      The collision repair industry is changing day by day. The John Eagle court case solidified the fact we can never go back to the way things were. When I say the way things were I mean just a year ago.
       
    12. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      February 2, 2002
      Messages:
      6,157
      Media:
      3
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      190
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1998 Mountaineer AWD
      Well, of course. I would never think you could glue the roof to a car. They absolutely SHOULD have lost that 48 million.

      There’s no reason it can’t be used to help secure non structural sheet metal in place. It’s never a replacement for properly welded in panels.
       
    13. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      April 16, 2002
      Messages:
      9,198
      Likes Received:
      29
      Trophy Points:
      68
      City, State:
      Millersville , Maryland
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2000 Explorer Sport
      But the fact that it was the roof was completely irrelevant. The repair was not performed to OE procedural specifications. That is where the liability falls.

      Now you used the word help. That makes a difference. If you are weld / bonding ( Spot Welding with adhesive ) that is another story. That said, nowadays if the OE procedure doesn't tell you to do it, you really shouldn't.
       
    14. BBQgreg

      BBQgreg New Member

      Joined:
      August 24, 2017
      Messages:
      6
      Likes Received:
      4
      Trophy Points:
      3
      City, State:
      Pittsburgh, PA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 Explorer XLT 4.0 K
      We need an annual state inspection here in Pennsylvania, so I contacted two local state inspection shops before I started this project. I didn’t think it would pass with the panels rusted through, and I was curious about the slip-ons, safety, etc. I also talked to two very reputable collision repair shops. I know the owners and some guys that work for them, blah, blah… you know.


      This is what I was told:

      Since this is an older body-on-frame design, the outer rockers do not provide structural crash support for the cabin. However, you might have some door alignment issues if you start cutting up the A, B, C pillars or get into the bottom of the door frame. They can be rusted through and still pass inspection as long as there are no holes that could allow exhaust gases into the passenger compartment. So, slip-ons are fine but you’re only covering up the problem which will eventually rust through to the cabin.


      I plan on keeping this vehicle, and I didn’t want to just cover up the problem. The inner rockers were in good shape so that was a plus. I left most of the original outer panel intact and riveted the new panel over top of it (every two inches). I used the original bolts where it attaches to the front fender. It might be stronger then it was from the factory. It’s pretty solid. I can stand on it and rock the truck back and forth. I don’t think they’ll be falling off, lol, and yes, it did pass inspection.


      The screws were used in place of the plastic clips to attach the rubber strip to the bottom of the rocker. This is not a door seal and it’s where the old ones started to rust, so I was hesitant about even putting them back on at all. They just seem to hold water and salt and slush. I was told I might get an air whistle so I put them back on.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    15. Spudhut

      Spudhut US Navy Submariner Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      August 14, 2017
      Messages:
      270
      Media:
      31
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      54
      Trophy Points:
      28
      Location:
      NW Arkansas
      City, State:
      Bentonville, AR
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1997 Explorer Sport - 4x4
      Callsign:
      KG5SPB
      Let me be clear, I don't promote the use of panel bond. I was only mentioning it as an additional adhesive which would be better than using just Tek screws to hold your panel on. I would never panel bond repairs on a car. I read the article @MONMIX posted and I agree, they should have welded it - Period, no question in that. That guy purposely used a method to capitalize on higher profits on the job at the owners safety expense. That is downright wrong.

      I have owned a Custom Hot Rod shop for 15 yrs and my methods always exceeded 'industry standards' of building...proper sheet metal butt welds, metal shaping, skim coats of filler, never 110v mig welding on suspension parts to ensure proper penetration....My own personal quality standards...they were always at a higher level to meet and exceed for my own family i passed on to my customers. I'll brag, I though my methods exceeded car manufactures way on how they slapped them together - believe me, I have seen some scary stuff done.

      ***I only suggested because it was a rocker panel, not a roof, or frame splice....

      Thanks for the info...in the end...to each is their own to what makes them comfortable for the task at hand...
       
    16. Mike65

      Mike65 Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      December 31, 2013
      Messages:
      1,873
      Media:
      4
      Likes Received:
      34
      Trophy Points:
      58
      Location:
      In my garage
      City, State:
      Toms River, NJ
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      00 Ranger 4x4, 99 Sport
      When I repaired the rotted out rocker panels on my wife's 99 Sport I cut out the bad metal & welded in the replacement rocker panel patches. Then I primed & painted them & re drilled the holes for the rocker trim.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
       
      • Like Like x 3
    17. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      April 16, 2002
      Messages:
      9,198
      Likes Received:
      29
      Trophy Points:
      68
      City, State:
      Millersville , Maryland
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2000 Explorer Sport

      Hahaha absolutely factual.
       
    18. BBQgreg

      BBQgreg New Member

      Joined:
      August 24, 2017
      Messages:
      6
      Likes Received:
      4
      Trophy Points:
      3
      City, State:
      Pittsburgh, PA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 Explorer XLT 4.0 K
      I'm obviously working on a 2003 here. But I was also told that some of the NEWER body-on-frame vehicles DO use the rockers as part of the structural integrity of the cabin... combined with crumple zones, side airbags, breakaway points, etc. So, just know what you're working on and when in doubt get some advice from a professional.
       
    19. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      April 16, 2002
      Messages:
      9,198
      Likes Received:
      29
      Trophy Points:
      68
      City, State:
      Millersville , Maryland
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2000 Explorer Sport
      Well, if you want to get absolutely technical is ALL counts. They don't crash test cars without headlights and grilles. It all counts towards energy management and the timing of airbag deployment.



      The authenticity of this video can be debated I will concede. That said, I see little reasoning to refute it. Considering the bag inflates and deflates in 1/100th of a second, and the rate in which your body is traveling towards the bag and the enormous amount of combined energy and inertia. I will take that video as at very minimum *mosty accurate* if not completely.

      Here is an interesting video that is related. A volkswagen was fitted with aftermarket parts ( parts not manufactured by Volkswagen ) and was submitted to an identical crash test of an identical car containing all Original Equipment.
      The results were pretty stunning to say the least.




      So to answer your question, it all matters with regards to safety and collision energy management. To one degree or another.
      If you are asking my professional opinion, the repair above is *less safe* than if the rockers had been welded.
      How much less, I don't know, I am not a structural engineer.
       
    20. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      February 2, 2002
      Messages:
      6,157
      Media:
      3
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      190
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1998 Mountaineer AWD
      I would venture to say it’s no less safe than having rotten rockers. I don’t see it as any different than being lifted/lowered, or having big heavy wheels.
       
    21. BBQgreg

      BBQgreg New Member

      Joined:
      August 24, 2017
      Messages:
      6
      Likes Received:
      4
      Trophy Points:
      3
      City, State:
      Pittsburgh, PA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 Explorer XLT 4.0 K
      I wasn't trying to get all technical. I was actually trying to agree with you and just pass on some info I got from my local collision repair shop about some of the newer body-on-frame designs. While this repair on this vehicle passes the state safety inspection, it might not be ok on a newer vehicle.

      One of the collision guys that looked at it said the same thing. He basically said since there is actually more sheet metal (adding a layer) than there was from the factory... one could argue that it's safer now than original... or less safe because the crash characteristics have changed... like adding running boards or rocker guards.


      I'm sure there are a lot of less safe repairs out on the road... people patching big holes in their unibody with bondo, aluminum tape, etc, etc...

      It passes inspection and I'm comfortable with it. If you're not, don't do it.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    22. mrnextel

      mrnextel Member

      Joined:
      September 5, 2007
      Messages:
      54
      Likes Received:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      6
      City, State:
      PITTSBURGH
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 XLT/NBX 4.6
      I'm kind of fortunate having access to a friend's body shop and some experience. Bonding adhesive would be great with a few spot welds. The body shop supply is awesome for advice on adhesives, there are ALOT of various formulas than any sane individual would ever dream, all the way up to structural bonding agents. Make sure there is good water drainage (drain slots at the pinch weld on these) as they often clog. I also recommend Eastwood internal frame coating, it's an awesome product, 1 can per rocker is my policy.

      PS: check your lower restraint bolts/studs for the second row seatbelts, if they are really rusty you may have a more serious safety issue. I do see these get into structural dogleg repairs. But a job done right is worth it, preserve these vehicles, you will NEVER see anything resembling them in build quality ever again.
       
    23. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      February 2, 2002
      Messages:
      6,157
      Media:
      3
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      190
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1998 Mountaineer AWD
      There are surely vehicles that match the build quality of a second gen Explorer.
       
    24. mrnextel

      mrnextel Member

      Joined:
      September 5, 2007
      Messages:
      54
      Likes Received:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      6
      City, State:
      PITTSBURGH
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 XLT/NBX 4.6
      Like what? Maybe a Toyota sequoia? Which is a dying breed.... As were really talking 3rd and 4th gen explorers.
       
    25. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      February 2, 2002
      Messages:
      6,157
      Media:
      3
      Albums:
      1
      Likes Received:
      190
      Trophy Points:
      83
      City, State:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1998 Mountaineer AWD
      I wouldn’t use the term build quality with anything that came equipped with the 4.0 SOHC.

      I’m sure the highlander, land cruiser, and Honda Pilot match the Explorer in build quality. I’m sure many older vehicles do as well.
       
    26. mrnextel

      mrnextel Member

      Joined:
      September 5, 2007
      Messages:
      54
      Likes Received:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      6
      City, State:
      PITTSBURGH
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      03 XLT/NBX 4.6
      That's why they built the 4.6. The
      Land cruiser is the only one that's close as it actually has a body on frame design. Even today's pickups are a joke. And GM lineup is a joke, hence my lemon law escalade with 14k miles.
       

    Share This Page







    We Support Our Troops!