Rocker panel repair with 2x6 steel tube - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 52 Old 05-04-2015, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
lemiller
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2001 WJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Naperville
Posts: 210
Rocker panel repair with 2x6 steel tube

Hey everyone,
Like most WJ guys that live in the Midwest I had to deal with my rocker panels and wheel arches rusting out over time. I needed to replace both my driver side and passenger side rocker panels and my passenger side rear wheel arch. In this thread I want to focus on the rocker panels, I will make another post for the wheel arch. I didn't take a ton of pictures and I don’t mean for this to be a full DIY write up but hopefully it will help someone along the way that needs to do this.

First off, I just want to say that I am by no means an expert welder or body man; in all honesty this is my first time attempting something like this. If anyone has advice on ways that would have worked better or different strategies to take please feel free to post it and help everyone out.

Items I used:
3in die grinder
4in angle grinder
various cut off wheels,flap wheels grinding discs etc.
blue painters tape
Eastwood Rust Inhibiting paint
East Wood Internal Frame coating
Hobart Handler 140 Welder w/gas


I started off by using blue painters tape to run a lie down the jeep at the desired cut height. Take your time with this and make it as straight as possible. The straighter it is now the less you need to touch up later


Using a 3in die grinder that I picked up from harbor freight (actually a pretty good tool for how inexpensive it is) I started cutting off the outer rocker. With the outer rocker off I could really see the extent of the rust.






When cutting the rocker panels off you need to be careful at the front and rear of the vehicle. There is factory installed foam, which I’m assuming is to cut down road noise that could possibly catch on fire. I just used a screw driver to scrape out as much as I could/needed.


With the outer rocker completely cut off you can start cutting the inner rocker. The rust on mine was pretty extensive so I took the method of just cutting all the rust off knowing I would have to go back and patch it later. To do this I used the 3in die grinder and the 4in angle grinder with cut off wheels. The only pics I got of this were after I painted the rocker black with rust-inhibiting paint from Eastwood. You will need to cut the 3 factor cross supports, this is the limiting factor of how far your 2x6 steel will stick out past the body.






A couple pictures of the new 2x6 rocker in place



After it was welded up I cut the "overhang" of the front down to give more room for my wheels.


Some pics of the "finished" product. I used some automotive seam sealer so seal the welds and any open areas. Then painted with a couple coats of the black rust inhibiting paint.





I still plan to clean it up a bit more, adding some tube to the outside for more protection and coating it with Monstaliner or similar. I would also like to figure out a way to bolt the front fender to it (maybe fab up some mounting tabs). Right now I have the fender welded to the rocker, so if for some reason I need to replace a fender I will have to cut the welds.

I'd also like to thank member derekmac, he posted up what he had done on his jeep a while back which really gave me the push to tackle the project.


Last edited by lemiller; 05-05-2015 at 12:20 PM. Reason: added additional pictures
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post #2 of 52 Old 05-06-2015, 02:09 PM
WJKid4O
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Somersworth
Posts: 140
What are you welding the 2x6 on to on the inside? This seems to be my only concern as of now. I have cut my rockers out and it doesn't look level or solid where the old inner rocker attached.
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post #3 of 52 Old 05-06-2015, 05:07 PM
JohnnyV
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Location: Jersey Shore
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Awesome! Keep the pics and info coming... I'm probably gonna be doing this in the summer.

2002 WJ Limited 4.7L - Inferno Red
1995 ZJ Laredo 4.0L
1989 XJ Laredo 4.0L - Sold
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post #4 of 52 Old 05-06-2015, 06:16 PM
derekmac
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Looks good! Definitly the best thing I had done to my rig!!

2005 TJ Rubicon
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post #5 of 52 Old 05-06-2015, 10:57 PM
DavisI
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I'm just here to see more pictures
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post #6 of 52 Old 05-07-2015, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
lemiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJKid4O View Post
What are you welding the 2x6 on to on the inside? This seems to be my only concern as of now. I have cut my rockers out and it doesn't look level or solid where the old inner rocker attached.
I welded the inside to the three factory cross supports (you can see them in a couple of the pictures i posted, 11th and 12th one). They are thicker gauge steel and actually when all said and done the rockers are pretty solid. I still plan on welding in additional cross supports that attach the rocker to the unibody.
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post #7 of 52 Old 05-07-2015, 07:53 AM
akinshake
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You had me at rusted rockers. I'm in.

99 4.0 Laredo Selectrac, 6.5" IRO long arms front and rear, 35" KM2, 17" Moab JK wheels,IRO transfer case skid, Clayton D44A truss, 4:56 gears and LSD axle swap.
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post #8 of 52 Old 05-07-2015, 09:15 AM
JohnnyV
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Lemiller,

I've only welded a little in my lifetime... what were your welding settings and wire that you used?

Thanks!

2002 WJ Limited 4.7L - Inferno Red
1995 ZJ Laredo 4.0L
1989 XJ Laredo 4.0L - Sold
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post #9 of 52 Old 05-08-2015, 09:27 AM
jimmay
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Lemiller,

Looks good! I wish I had cut my ends at an angle though. What are you planning on using for cross supports? Its good to see more WJs local to me.

2002 Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.7
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post #10 of 52 Old 05-09-2015, 02:16 PM
WJKid4O
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Ok thanks for the info. Will probably do the same thing for mine. Anything you feel you could have done better?
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post #11 of 52 Old 05-10-2015, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
lemiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyV View Post
Lemiller,

I've only welded a little in my lifetime... what were your welding settings and wire that you used?

Thanks!
JohnnyV,

I too am a beginner welder, I used a Hobart Handler 140 (great for around the house projects as it runs off 110V and can weld up to 1/4in with multiple passes). I used .030 solid wire as I was using welding gas and set the welder and a speed of 45 and power lever of 5. Now what that translates to other machines i do not know.

The settings were to make sure i got good penetration on the 3/16" thick steel I was using for the rockers. It Was tough to weld to the thin metal of the jeep, trick I found was to really focus the heat on the thick steel and just kind of "splash" the weld onto the thinner gauge material. I'm not sure if this is the correct method, maybe someone with more experience welding will chime in. hope this helps though.
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post #12 of 52 Old 05-10-2015, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
lemiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmay View Post
Lemiller,

Looks good! I wish I had cut my ends at an angle though. What are you planning on using for cross supports? Its good to see more WJs local to me.
Im not 100% sure what i will use for cross supports. Rigth now i am thinking I will weld on some thicker plate (maybe 1/8") to the uni-body rail and then maybe weld in 1" square stock for cross support.

I'm open to all ideas, so if anyone has tried something similar or has a good idea please let me know.

Oh and where about are you located? I live in Naperville.
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post #13 of 52 Old 05-10-2015, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
lemiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJKid4O View Post
Ok thanks for the info. Will probably do the same thing for mine. Anything you feel you could have done better?
There is always room for improvement With this project, fitment is everything, it took me forever to get everything to line up how I liked it and honestly it probably could have still been better, but I was running out of time. The biggest part of this job is just to make sure you have plenty of time to work on your jeep, there will always be snags along the way that you didn't expect.

When you start working on yours feel free to pm me with any questions. I will help in anyway I can.
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post #14 of 52 Old 05-11-2015, 03:04 PM
WJKid4O
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Ok thank you very much. Mine are almost all cut out. Just working on the ends. Then then fun part of leveling everything. And I'm on the time crunch too but am determined to take my time anyways. Driving around uninspected right now.
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post #15 of 52 Old 05-12-2015, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
lemiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJKid4O View Post
Ok thank you very much. Mine are almost all cut out. Just working on the ends. Then then fun part of leveling everything. And I'm on the time crunch too but am determined to take my time anyways. Driving around uninspected right now.
GREAT! Make sure to post pics when your done.
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