Rusty Rocker Replacement - how to w/pics

Discussion in 'Gen 1 & 2 - Guides (For How-to guides, NOT how-to ' started by SHOBlu, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    Rusty rockers as we all know, is a problem that plagues our cars. It seems Ford was VERY sparing with any type of rust preventive coating and this has led to many a SHO meeting the crusher before its time. I've decided to document my replacement of the rocker skins on my 95 in hopes of getting a few more years out of her. So without further adieu..........

    THE CARNAGE!!
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    First I got some 20 gauge galvi bent up to a template I made on my miniature brake. A local sheetmetal fabricator bent up four 6' sections for me for $50.
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    Next was to remove all of the outer skin. I cut a straight line front to rear and removed ALL the rusty metal. A 60 grit flapper wheel on a 4.5" grinder removed the metal on the pinch seam and inner rocker support. I'll be rosette welding the new skin on, so a clean surface is imperative! Here you can see the straight cut and the new rocker mocked into place. I've tucked the new skin under the original sheetmetal.
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    The new skin is a bit long so I trimmed it back in the front. I'll be making a templates out of cardboard and fabbing caps that will box the ends of the rocker in. Also, I need to fabricate a new pinch seam for the very front where the fender bolts to the body underneath. Finally in this installment I've drilled all the holes in the pinch seam where I'll be rosette welding it to the body.
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    That's it until I can get back to it Saturday. The black flies and mosquitoes are too much to take in the late afternoon! Stay tuned!
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
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  2. warmonger

    warmonger SHO Member

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    subscribed!!! you should have a few more of those rockers run off and sell them...
     
  3. biker889

    biker889 SHO Member

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    Very Very nice work!!
     
  4. lowc

    lowc aka vapah lock

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    nice work cant wait for more pics
     
  5. HotRodKid

    HotRodKid mmmmm ... turbo

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    your snowmobile thinks its a pirate :)

    nice work so far
     
  6. sperold

    sperold Last to Know

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    Great solution to an old problem. Glad you took it on instead of signing the death warrant for the car.
     
  7. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    Here's some more progress I made Friday afternoon/evening. I got up underneath inside the rockers and removed all the loose, scaled paint and rust with a wire brush. Afterward I sprayed it all down with Permatex Rust Converter.
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    After everything dried and turned black, like it's supposed to, I sprayed it all up with this galvanized weld through primer. It's supposed to resist salt spray and will protect the metal where the e-coat is gone.
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    Sprayed up inside rocker.
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    Looking straight up inside...
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    Next was to fit the rockers and template the end caps. I tack welded the ends on then used 3M Brushable Seam Sealer to seal it all up.
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    Finally, the remainder of the original rocker skin will make for the upper attachment point for the new steel. I drilled the holes for the rosette welds and hopefully if the weather is good tomorrow (Tuesday), I'll be burning everything home. Stay tuned!
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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  8. Eric VerValin

    Eric VerValin PiMPSKiLLET

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    Nice man! Love to see someone tacklling this. I bought another car cause I didn't wanna. :)

    Nice drill too.... how are your batterys holding up? Mine are giving up the ghost but I've had em 4-5 years now.. :) Many many many miles on that set I got.
     
  9. shoon

    shoon cliTaurus

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    Mines gotten pretty bad, the plastic rocker covers are barely attached to anything now. I got a flat on my driverside rear tire, and upon pulling the wheel off I noticed the plastic end cap on the edge of the plastic rocker was barely attached.. so I plucked it off by hand along with a large chunk of crusty rocker panel.

    Once that was removed, it revealed a gaping hole, in which I found a 12" piece of rail sitting. The rail is supposed to help secure the plastic molding to the rocker.

    I'm to the point where I need to do this job soon, otherwise the plastic covers on my rockers are going to fly off one day. How critical are the rocker panels? I was also considering removing all the rusty metal, sealing it with rust paint, and then making a few brackets to secure the plastic molding.
     
  10. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    How critical are the rockers? Well....... their stressed members of the unit body and aid in the chassis' rigdity. The skin, which is the part I'm replacing, forms a monocoque structure over the inner rockers and keeps moisture and winter road brine outside instead of inside. So yea, their important.
    H Eric, my batteries are doing fine afaik. Then again, I'm only using the drills here in my home shop for my various hobbies. Lately though, I've been eyeing the Makita hammer drills with their lithium/ion batteries. Those are real nice! :dribble:
     
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  11. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    Today I got the rocker cover welded to the body and the first skim coat of filler applied. I'll feather it in with the existing body and should come out real nice.

    This just shows the filler all the way back to the wheel well.
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    More to come tomorrow evening. I'm hoping to have it all painted by then. Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  12. kevinspann

    kevinspann 87 Octane

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    Use seam sealer, not expanding foam.

    Looking good!
     
  13. warmonger

    warmonger SHO Member

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    great work!
     
  14. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    I've been thinking about what to use to seal up that end. Seam sealer won't take up the space up inside there. Expanding foam will hold water which i don't want. I could fiberglass it but that's a royal PITA! Plus, I don't like using fiberglass on cars........ it's for boats! Any other suggestions??
    Thanks for the replies and props guys!
     
  15. warmonger

    warmonger SHO Member

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    they make a expanding hardening foam. would serve two purposes. fill in your space and when it hardens it should increade the stiffness of the car too. i've seen it done on other forums
     
  16. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    Soooo....... paint didn't happen today. Instead, I decided to fabricate some new sheetmetal to close the front section off. This is in lieu of the messy, expanding foam idea I had. Since I was doing all this work, it just seemed like the right thing to do. Also, I welded a 12"x1.5"x.125" piece of steel in the front to form a new jacking point/pinch seam. It ties into the body, the pinch seam towards the rear, and the pinch seam where it turns to the inside of the wheel well. Its waaaaaay more stout than the way it came from the factory and will make jacking super easy!

    The following pics show the rocker boxed in, welded, and sealed. It came out very strong and should last another 15 years!
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    Tomorrow the seam sealer will be dry and I can finish blocking the filler. Then........ maybe paint. I also need to locate some custom aluminum side skirt retainers at Home Depot while I'm there in the morning (thanks for the tip SHORANGERBIRD!). Stay tuned! :wave:
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
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  17. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    Today I had the time to do some more work to the rocker. More filler was added to the low spots in the sheetmetal and I blocked it as best I could. Here are pics of where I got to. Enjoy!

    Primer'd.
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    Pics of the finished rocker.........Painted! WOOT! :woo-hoo:
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    It didnt come out perfect....... but a man running for his life wouldn't notice. Then again, its hidden under the side skirt. I did pick up the the side skirt retainers (aluminum carpet trim) and will be installing the skirts Tuesday afternoon.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  18. kevinspann

    kevinspann 87 Octane

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    Is there any way you can link me to what you used for the side skirt retainers?
     
  19. SHOBlu

    SHOBlu Habitual Offndr

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    Kevin, the retainers I'm using are simply aluminum carpet trim in 6' lengths. Here's a pic....

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    I got this tip from SHORANGERBIRD. The trim is aluminum and therefore won't rust. Just use aluminum rivets to fasten them to the rockers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
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  20. warmonger

    warmonger SHO Member

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    did you replace the fender too?
     

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