I have a 99WJ with rusted out rocker panels. I need to cut them out and replace them with some 2x6 3/16" tube steel, braced to the unibody with some 2x2 pieces. I got a quote from a guy (not body shop business, welder/project guy working independently) to do the whole job, including materials, for $700. That seems steep to me and I am just leaning toward doing it myself. The problem is that it would be my first welding fabrication job and I am concerned about the welding of light body panels to thicker tube. For those with more fabrication experience, is this quote fair?
Thanks guys. Yes, the fair price is what I am willing to pay and what he is willing to accept. I had a budget of $500 and think that will be something I can get close to. I will do the job and make it happen if I have to, but really don't have the time, because I would be slow.
Did this on my XJ, and while it wasn't my first fabrication project it was the first welding two metals of very different thicknesses together which was bad enough along the top edge where I could maintain a decent position. The welds underneath are positively horrific looking (having smashed up rockers that I had to straighten out with a BFH before welding was even possible didn't help either)...
If you had other welding experience or have the time to practice quite a bit before actually welding on your vehicle, I'd say go for it. But if you don't have the time to get quite a bit of practice first, I'd pay to have someone else weld it up.
I also did this with 3"x6"x3/16". After chopping the old rocker out I took the pinch seam, cleaned it up and drilled rosette holes through it. I also used a 1"x6'x3/16" strip and welded that over the thin sheet metal on the top. I also thought it was important to tie into the frame, after plating it.
Thanks for the additional input. I am talking to some guys who are either welders, or have a bunch of welding/fab experience to do this for me. As much as I want to learn to weld better, and as much as I would appreciate the end product when finished, I don't have the time or energy to take this on, learn along the way, and fix all of my screw-ups. I will make sure I take pics before and after and share the results and details.
One thing you might consider is getting the materials, cutting out the old rockers and cutting the steel/welding the endcaps on yourself (thats a small welding task that you can do in good position and would give you some practice). Then the only thing left for the more experienced welder is actually welding the new rockers to the unibody. Less work for them, and you get to say you had a hand in the final result.