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Old 07-31-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
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Default Project "Rocker Repair" is under way.

Finally decided to pull the trigger on the rocker panel replacement. I just couldn't bear to look at the holes any more.
As much as I wanted to simply patch them over, and not have to see them anymore, I also want to fix them right since the truck is in otherwise excellent shape.

SO........on to part 1.

A little backround first. On a scale of 1-10
My body repair ability.....3 (we shall see)
Body repair knowledge....3 (reading all I can find now)
Welding ability....7 (arc) Mig...2
Patience.....9+
Mechanical ability......8+

Picked up 2 rocker panels locally. Total $288
90 amp Flux wire welder. $99
Electric body saw. $20
Misc supplies.$30

Didn't get any paint or Bondo yet. First things first.

Here's the new panels.
Click the image to open in full size.

Started by removing the running boards. The bolts were rusted up pretty good. I ate alot of rust and dirt. Goggles sure would have been nice.
Impact guns sure are a lifesaver. Only had one bolt that gave me any trouble, luckily it finally gave up and came out.
Click the image to open in full size.

I like it better without the boards, my wife say they must go back on, she's too short. I may think of a reason that they can't possibly go back on.

Anyhow. With the boards off I could finally get a clear look at just how bad the cancer was.
Front door.
Click the image to open in full size.

Rear Door.
Click the image to open in full size.

The driver's side looks basically the same.

Time to start cutting. A little exploratory surgery with the body saw to see just what's going on.
Got my fingers crossed.
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Old 07-31-2010, 09:18 PM   #2
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Ok, on to the cutting to find out what is good and what's garbage. Fearing the worst, I was actually pleasantly suprised at what I found.

I wanted to find where the good metal started, so I cut from the rust hole up.
Click the image to open in full size.

Actually found good steel sooner than I thought.
Once I hit solid metal, I turned to open up a hole.
Click the image to open in full size.

Now I could see how bad it was inside. Not too bad at all. I was expecting to see a total rusted mess.
Click the image to open in full size.

Here';s the back door. As big as the hole underneath is, I hit solid steel pretty quick.
Click the image to open in full size.

Inside the rear rocker. Looks pretty good also.
Click the image to open in full size.

So with that being done, and rain and darkness approaching, I called it a night.
Went to the garage to practice some welding on some old sheetmetal. Found that I may have to practice a lot more before I cut the panels completely out. May also need to switch to a thinner wire for the welder. It came with .030.
Any advice?????

My next step is to start drilling out the bottom spot welds, and figure out where I and going to cut the upper side of the rocker.
Do them at the upper spot welds at the doors? Less welding..
Or slice them the full length where I have good metal? More welding...

May not be any updates till next week. As I stated, I need to improve my welding first. I was having a hard time doing even a small spot weld without blowing holes in the metal.

Any advice, tips, or criticism will be greatly appreciated.

Ps....I looked into gluing them in,and it was just too much money for a one time use. It would have cost about as much as buying a cheap welder did.

Wish me luck.
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Old 07-31-2010, 09:47 PM   #3
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when you r welding on thin metal, dont try to weld a continuous bead because it will be too hot in one place and will burn through. also overheating the sheet metal can cause it to warp which is also not good. just space out small spot welds til it looks like a continuous weld then grind off the excess.
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Old 07-31-2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cory-burt View Post
when you r welding on thin metal, dont try to weld a continuous bead because it will be too hot in one place and will burn through. also overheating the sheet metal can cause it to warp which is also not good. just space out small spot welds til it looks like a continuous weld then grind off the excess.
I'm also going for some Lincoln wire tomorrow. I hear the wire that comes with that welder is complete garbage. I'll see if that improves anything, or else I'm not going to cut anything till it improves.

I can handle sitting there for hours spotwelding the whole thing if I have to.

BTW... I forgot. How do I remove my doors. The problem is the wires. Can I unplug them on the door side, or the cab side????
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:00 PM   #5
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Well. Finished up the rocker on the passenger side (the hard part) on Sunday. Went well for the most part. Didn't do any bondo and repainting to make it look all purdy. Just sprayed them with 3M undercoating and will leave it at that untill I have more time.
I still need to spray the insides with something. Maybe pump some paint in there until it drips out the seams.

Here was the worst part. Drilling out the spot welds. Must be a million of them. A quick swipe with a grinder helped me locate them. A 3/8 drill bit with the point ground down to very little taper worked well.

Click the image to open in full size.

After getting the bottom welds drilled out and popped loose, it was time to remove the doors. Not knowing any better, I gutted them out to unplug everything.
This picture came in handy when I put them back together.

Click the image to open in full size.

With the doors off, I could now start on the upper spot welds. They were alot easier to find and drill. Still hard work though.
Once they were drilled out, and somw cutting with the saw, it was time to get alot on the garbage out of the way and see what I have.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here's what I cut off.

Click the image to open in full size.

Now it was just a matter of putting the new panel in place, doing the final trimming on the old and new panels, drilling out holes for welds on the new panels, and they were ready to install.
After alot of grinding, wire wheeling, sanding and painting of the inner rocker, I was ready to weld.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:18 PM   #6
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The welding went pretty easy. Found out I needed higher heat, and more wire speed to get a nice filled in spot weld that held strong.
The quality wire instead of the wire that came with the unit also seemed to work better.

I overlapped the new rocker at the seams because my butt welding wasn't nowhere near good enough to end up with anything close to being a nice job.
My main concern is a strong panel, and being hidden behind the doors helps alot.
I may go back and do some body work at a later time.

So here's the completed rocker paned, ground down and painted with undercoating. I think not too bad for a complete rookie with limited tools, on the road in front of the house.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Only one more side to go if the weather holds out this weekend. That side took about 10 hours (including union breaks). Should be able to shave a few hours off next time.

Then I just need to pump them full of paint.
Hard dirty work, but at least I know they will last as long as the rest of the truck will. Hopefully.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:14 PM   #7
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Yours werent even that bad, mine are like completly gone and my dads are roughly the same as yours were. Where did you find the rockers for only 288, cuse lmc has they for 199 a peice
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:20 PM   #8
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Got them locally near Pittsburgh at Parker Metal Products. http://www.pmpautoparts.net/
$135 each for the SuperCrew. They don't have them listed on their website though.

Also found them here at Erie Trading Post.
http://www.fixmyrust.com/
Cheaper, but would have to pay shipping.

I wanted to do mine before they made a complete mess of everything.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:32 PM   #9
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Awesome job for a rookie!!
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:09 PM   #10
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yeah that looks really good. I would never attempt that. the 01 screw i just bought had all the doors repaired already, rockers are solid, some surface rust is startin on my bottom, but other than that it's solid
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:09 PM
 
 
 
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