I've been working on a rocker panel replacement for the last 6 weeks (I work slow) and finally made enough progress to show. Here's why I'm doing this project in the first place:
I used to have bolt-on sliders but did not like the loss of clearance so I got rid of them and rode this season without sliders knowing that I was eventually going to cut the rockers out.
First stage of the project was to build the new rails. I used 4"x4"x3/16" square section for the main structure and 1-1/2" x 0.120 wall tubing for the steps. The overall length is 72". These monsters weighed in at about 57 lbs each.
Fitting the end caps:
Fitting the steps:
The second stage of the project was cutting off the old rockers. The design calls for tieing directly into the pillars so I carefully cut out the old material which revealed solid structure for the a-b pillars but nothing much for the c-pillar.
Here's the b-pillar structure:
And here's the a-pillar structure. There was quite a bit of rust on the passengers side (shown). Not so bad on the drivers side. The sliders will also tie into that channel running under the floorboards to the frame:
The third stage of the project was making some mounting brackets. Here I used 4" wide by 1/8" thick sheet welded into an "angle iron". These brackets are welded to the pillars and the unibody structure as shown in the photos below. Lots of care was taken when fitting these brackets so that the sliders would line up perfectly. This was a real PITA but well worth the effort. The photos also show how I peeled back the remaining rocker panel metal for access. In the end I will fold this metal back into place and stitch-weld it directly to the slider rails.
Photo showing how the a-pillar bracket was attached. You can also see the other two brackets toward the rear:
Photo showing how the b-pillar bracket was attached. I used a similar bracket for the c-pillar area but since there was no pillar structure back there I could only weld onto what remained of the old rockers (i.e. similar to the vertical welds show here):
With the brackets fitted it was then a simple matter to hoist the rails into place and burn them on. The following photos show how the rails were attached to the top edge of the brackets. The same was done on the bottom edge of the brackets:
And this is where I stand today:
The remaining work includes folding the sheet metal down and stitch-welding it to the rails then some prep/seam sealer before coating the whole thing with Herculiner.
These things are incredibly strong. I can lift the whole side of the vehicle off the ground with a high-lift and there is zero deflection.