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Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Cherokee & Comanche Forums > XJ Cherokee Technical Forum > Rocker Panel replacement

The Original 3/8" Ruffstuff Diff Cover!3" BDS Suspension Lift Kit - Jeep JK 07-11Introducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed Line

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Unread 08-28-2015, 03:35 PM   #1
Fixins13
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston, MA
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Rocker Panel replacement

Disclosure: I am not a mechanic. I cannot weld. I am not a body man. I do not have a ton a high quality tools. I have no attachment to the company whose products I am mentioning here. I paid $800 for this Jeep. I'm not off-roading it. I use it to commute.

I have a typical New England rusty-rocker 2000 Cherokee Sport. I have no idea why but an inspection tech was recently nice enough to pass the Jeep despite the fact that the rockers were mostly missing.




I ordered what are essentially rocker covers from autorust.com You might know them from doing frame sections for CJ/YJ/TJ. I saw a youtube video of them demoing these rocker covers but they don't have a part number on their website. So I called them and ordered a set for $249 plus $22 shipping from RI to MA.

They say you don't have to cut out the rusty bits of your old rockers but I did and I covered the bare metal in Rust Reformer spray paint.






I cut out a lot of crappy rust and a lot of dirt and powdered rocker panel fell out onto the driveway.



I used some ratcheting bar clamps and the terrible stock bottle jack perched on a piece of firewood to lift and clamp the panel in place.





You then have to drive in a bunch of self tapping screws. I used a little 18v impact gun I recently bought.



Then you have to attach the panel to the new backer. This is done with about 20 1/4" nuts and bolts. The directions don't mention incorporating the existing pinch-weld into a sandwich of new and old metal but I did. The problem with doing that is the bolts they provide are just a tiny bit too short. So I went to Home Depot and got 20 @ 1" X 1/4" bolts for a couple bucks. Then I drilled through the existing pinch-weld (everywhere it still was there) and bolted everything together.




I didn't take a picture of this but then I used the jack to move the entire new piece up as close to the floor as possible and then I shot more self-tappers through the panel into the floor. A couple places I think I hit either some rusty metal or maybe the screw went in badly. I took a couple of the leftover screws and shot them up anyplace it seemed like it couple use some more support.




That's really it. Both sides took about 4 hours including 1 trip to Harbor Freight for the clamps and 1 trip to Home Depot for the bolts.




I'll post some pics when I paint them. I'm going to do the bottom of the doors and the new panels in spray-on bedliner. Any questions, lemme know.

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Unread 08-28-2015, 03:57 PM   #2
bluejunior
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Slather those joints in seam sealer to keep junk from getting trapped in there. But otherwise...looks great!!! I feel like you just helped out a lot of us non-welder types.
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Unread 08-28-2015, 03:58 PM   #3
RedJeepster1
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Glad you posted this. You were pretty thorough. This is something I have been putting off doing for quite a while now. Mine aren't quite that bad yet.
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Unread 08-28-2015, 05:02 PM   #4
bobthecatkiller
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Good write up for those who don't wish to weld. Personally its not something I'd do as I can weld, but still that's better then 90% of the rocker repairs I see around here. Usually they consist of spray foam and undercoating.

One thing, did you use self tappers up into the floor? The floors not that thick, hopefully they are small enough not to poke through the carpet.
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Unread 08-29-2015, 01:35 PM   #5
FairlanePhil
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I did the same except my rockers were $25 a side

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o02_s00
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Unread 08-29-2015, 05:53 PM   #6
Fixins13
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I looked at the $25 panels before I did this but I didn't have anything left to attach them to under the Jeep. Especially on the driver's side where the entire rocker was totally rotten and/or missing except for a little bit behind the front wheel. If I wanted to just have decorative rocker panels, sure I could have had them just hanging out in space but I wanted them to actually be attached to the underside of the Jeep. If you got yourself fixed up for $50 bucks, more power to you but I was not so fortunate.
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Unread 08-30-2015, 01:20 PM   #7
ECL
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Neat solution. For some, that $250 could be the difference between passing inspection or junking the Jeep.
Ditto on these seam sealer. Alternately, you could take them back off (the beauty of screws), put down a bead of caulk and reinstall. I think a butyl rubber caulk or even some duct seal would work well.
Did you paint the inside of them before installing? Did you clean up and paint the existing rusty metal to stabilize from rusting further? Probably overkill since the repair might already outlive the Jeep! Just curious...
FYI - Amazon says the $25 versions are now out of stock. Too good a deal?
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Unread 08-30-2015, 06:11 PM   #8
Fixins13
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The new rockers are galvanized so theoretically I don't need to paint the inside of them. Seam sealer is a good idea. I will do that for sure. Yes, I cut off as much of the obviously rusted metal as I could see and then sprayed down the raw metal with Rust Reformer spray paint. Will that do anything? I dunno. Maybe, maybe not. I'm burying the crime under as many coats of spray-on bedliner as I have the time and patience to do. The bottom couple inches of the doors are also getting a little funky so I'll grind off as much of the rust as possible and then spray 'em. I had a YJ a long time ago that had bedliner floors and they held up wonderfully. Every so often a little section the size of a quarter would flake off and I'd clean the metal with sandpaper and acetone and reapply the spray paint. Worked swell.
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Unread 08-30-2015, 07:47 PM   #9
bluejunior
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixins13 View Post
The new rockers are galvanized so theoretically I don't need to paint the inside of them. Seam sealer is a good idea. I will do that for sure. Yes, I cut off as much of the obviously rusted metal as I could see and then sprayed down the raw metal with Rust Reformer spray paint. Will that do anything? I dunno. Maybe, maybe not. I'm burying the crime under as many coats of spray-on bedliner as I have the time and patience to do. The bottom couple inches of the doors are also getting a little funky so I'll grind off as much of the rust as possible and then spray 'em. I had a YJ a long time ago that had bedliner floors and they held up wonderfully. Every so often a little section the size of a quarter would flake off and I'd clean the metal with sandpaper and acetone and reapply the spray paint. Worked swell.
Get off as much rust as possible, then if there's some left treat it with naval jelly or another tannic acid based converter before painting over with primer with really good adhesion. I've found it hard to beat rustoelum self-etching or rustoleum rusty metal primers while sticking to rattle cans.
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Unread 08-31-2015, 07:33 AM   #10
FairlanePhil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixins13 View Post
I looked at the $25 panels before I did this but I didn't have anything left to attach them to under the Jeep. Especially on the driver's side where the entire rocker was totally rotten and/or missing except for a little bit behind the front wheel. If I wanted to just have decorative rocker panels, sure I could have had them just hanging out in space but I wanted them to actually be attached to the underside of the Jeep. If you got yourself fixed up for $50 bucks, more power to you but I was not so fortunate.

Yours look better anyway. The rockers taper at about the midpoint of the front door edge and the $25 panels are just folded on a brake. I had to bash the bottom pinchweld tab some and I cut off a lot of material that was right above where you riveted to make them fit "properly". I used that material to rebuild the rocker areas you were missing.
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