rusty rockers | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

rusty rockers


Well-Known Member
January 25, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
Toledo, Ohio
Year, Model & Trim Level
The ex i just bought is in rough shape. :( unfortunately there is rust on every panel wether a little or a lot. the fenders are starting to go but those can be replaced. the back hatch has a spot but that also can be replaced. the quarter panels in front of the rear tires are gone but they make replacement weld in panels for that. Also, which i have never seen, above the gas filler cap is starting to bubble out and rust. i figure this can be patched. The worst part is the rockers or what is left anyway. I know they make replacement panels but they are rusted up to the door sills, there is not much to weld patches to! I was wondering what others have done. i thought about just cutting the rest of them off and builind rock sliders in their place. ant ideas? thanks-tom

As you suggested I would just cut out the cancer and weld in some sliders if this is a trail rig. If you are daily driving or want to fix it, I'd just use it for parts and buy another with a solid body.

My '91 was rusted out at least as bad as you describe, when I bought it a year and half ago.

Most of the body shops in this area would not work on rust or had stupid ideas of what they should charge ($9,000 - 11,000) to repair the rust and repaint. I found a couple of good ole boys that operated a body shop that regularly dealt with rust.
1. where possible they replaced the panels (new fender panels and rear hatch from another explorer)
2. all visible rust cut away.
3. areas around rust ground down to bare metal.
4. more rust cut away.
5. rust converter applied.
6. NEW sheet metal for rocker panels formed and welded to the ex.
7. they used replacement dog legs, but the rocker panels were new metal.
8. then primed and painted as normal.

For a vehicle that is not intended as a trail rig, this approach worked well. My ex looks like new and my cost to buy and repair a rusted-out but mechanically OK vehicle was much lower than other options.

If your rockers are as rusted out as you describe, then you need to cut everything rusted away. Then consider rebuild the rocker panels as I did or go to rock sliders as whitetrash96 said.