Passenger side rocker replacement

This post is the second part in my mini-series of restoring my old xj cherokee. If your interested, check out my attempt at saving the rusty roof.

Like most xjs out there, especially those in the rustier parts of the US, the rocker panels needed some love. I never really captured a good before shot of the rust on the passenger side rocker. It was roughly 9” in length and about 3” wide. I finally decided it was time to fix it when I managed to puncture a hole in it using my key. (You can even see the hole in the picture if you look close).

Knowing that the visible rust was likely only the tip of the iceberg I chopped out a moderate sized hole in the rocker using a 4” cutting wheel on the grinder.

The inside rocker was in much better shape than I was expecting. I had even purchased a set of replacement panels for the inner ones thinking I’d need them, hopefully I can sell them via Craigslist.

After an adventure of using the sand blaster with black beauty the inner rocker was looking good as new.

I didn’t want to have to worry about the inside rusting out again so before welding the patch on I covered everything in a nice coat of POR15. If you do use POR15, be sure to wear gloves as I can assure you at three weeks later you’ll still have black spots on your hands.

A day later to ensure the POR15 was nice and dry it was finally time to start welding the patch on.

I’m still quite the novice when it comes to welding so the results aren’t exactly perfect.

While the welds aren’t the prettiest, they penetrated the body very nicely and the rocker feels solid as ever. Using a 2” pneumatic grinder I worked down all of the messy beads to clean(ish) edges.

Once the welds were grinded down all the seams were hit with seam sealer. I didn’t take a picture of this step since it was nothing spectacular. Then to give everything some texture, and hide any imperfections I sprayed the rocker with “Stone Guard” paint.

It’s not showroom perfect, but hey for an 18 year old jeep it’s perfectly acceptable. I need to order some new scuff guards for the rockers since the screws holding mine in were rusted out and I ended up ripping the plastic guards out. In about a week I’ll be tackling the other side.

My name's Eddie Abbondanzio, and this is my blog. I mostly write about game dev / web dev, but I'll throw in the occasional car post.