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Rocker Panel Replacement - No Welding, No Bondo

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

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^
  1. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    You just need to get serious about finding a good donor truck, and crank up the sawzall.

    I like adhesives for bonding two surfaces together, but as the OP did, there needs to be stronger connections like welding, or screws where it's not truly structural.

    I overlapped and welded the floor area, but the rockers and pillars have multiple layers, and had to be butted together, welded along the seam.

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  3. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    @CDW6212R I just read through this entire thread, old as it is, and feel compelled to add 2 cents. Regarding sheet metal rocker panels, no matter whether they are strengthened by rills, bends, creases, or other gussets, I see little occupant safety effect due to side impact collision, IF there is a stout frame backing up the body sheet metal. Litigation notwithstanding.

    When I was a teen, my Dad driving our 2 month old '59 Ford Sedan four-door, we took a driver's side impact while standing still by a '58 Chevy full-size which had been speeding, left 90 feet of skid marks before impact, which threw our car sideways at least 25 feet. Guessing now, impact velocity ~35-40 mph. My Dad, holding onto the wheel, had the inner part of his door wind up just short of crushing his left had. My Mother bounced around the rear seat, had the imprint of the window crank roller on her lower back. I was in the front passenger seat, grasped the inner door handle, as we saw it coming 3-4 seconds before impact, my Dad yelling, "He's gonna hit us"! BOOM!

    Wrap-around perimeter frame, the hit was dead center, the doors center pillar caved in at least a foot, over the frame, the front-seat was stout enough (bench seat) to drive the passenger side pillar out about 4 inches. North Riverside Auto Body, suburb of Chicago, repaired that car such that the doors closed BETTER than new! Could absolutely no way tell it had been so damaged. The frame was not bent. They jacked the bent upper body structure back into position, repaired the crease in the roof panel. The left side rocker panel had become basically a part of the frame, it did nothing to protect us. Repair cost was $2,200. I swore I'd never get into doing collision repair! imp
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  4. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    Good story, and I'm glad it had a relatively happy ending. Cars don't protect us the way we imagine, if possible make things better, always.

    BTW, what happened with the countless Chevy trucks with the gas tank along the side, outside of the frame rails? Did they ever recall any of those, and what year models were those? That wasn't a smart design decision.
     
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  5. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    @CDW6212R
    A great variety of makes and models of vehicles had their fuel tanks in "vulnerable" locations. Really bad, IMO, were the pickups with the damned fuel located right behind the seat. '65 Mustang had the fill tube centered above the rear bumper; the medallion was the gas cap. Rear end collision hit the tank's appurtenances first, but fortunately they did not place the fill tube's entry location down near the bottom of the tank.

    It took the Pinto to catch the brunt of rear collision gasoline fires, which cost Ford plenty! To allow easy filling, unlike early Jeeps, which guaranteed gas puked all over the place, Ford attached the fill tube to the bottom of the Pinto fuel tank: filled nice, quick, easy. Collision sheared off the fill tube, ALL the fuel poured out everywhere, fire all but guaranteed.

    Concensus held that location of the tank was at fault, which was used as a liability issue successfully in the courts, when in fact, most small cars had the tank in the same damned place: no one looked at the tank design, nor cared. imp
     
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  6. RhinoQuartz

    RhinoQuartz Elite Explorer

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    Love reading your stories imp, thanks for sharing! Especially for a wee shit such as myself, really makes me appreciate how far auto design and tech has come along.
     
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  7. MONMIX

    MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Do did you weld the inners?

    If so how?
     
  8. MONMIX

    MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    What if the impact is above the frame?


    Are you implying that cars from the 50's and 60's are safer than todays modern cars?
     
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  9. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    The "A" pillars I cut both sides of each and had good overlap to weld about double the perimeter of what butt welding would have done. The rockers matched well cut at the same place. So that is welded completely on the outside, but the one short inner seam is not welded. I wouldn't have settled for that if there wasn't a full frame. It's my work truck and was never meant to be resold.

    Look at the rockers below, of my 99 Limited. There is a thickness of two layers of sheet metal, and the inner layer is away from the outer layer, in one short line/plane. That is the one line I could not weld, though of you were after perfection, you could cut open the backside to get at the inner seam, but I didn't think that was worth the effort.
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    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  10. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    @MONMIX
    No. Hell, no! It just happened that the only side-impact I ever had the opportunity to be involved in as a passenger was the one I described. Today's vehicles are imo far safer. Unfortunately, more folks today seem to take advantage of that fact by driving more like maniacs! imp
     
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  11. MONMIX

    MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Which is good for me. ;)
     
  12. RickOTR

    RickOTR Active Member

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    [​IMG][/IMG] [​IMG][/IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG][/IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    This is the damage to the left drivers side rocker panels. What do you guys think.
     
  13. Mbrooks420

    Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer EF Vendor

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    Skin it and forget it.

    Or.

    Get intimate with a cutoff wheel and some welding.

    Depends on the rest of the body and how long you plan to keep it.
     






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