Removing outer rockers - a guide

Discussion in 'Body Restoration' started by jamieg285, May 19, 2014.

  1. jamieg285

    jamieg285 Veteran Member

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    This article isn't intended as a How-To, but a 'How I Did It'. Either way, I hope that it will be useful for anyone that like I was, is doing this job for the first time. I am sure that there are other ways to do this job, but this is what I did along with ways I might do it differently next time (the other side of the car maybe...)

    My outer rocker was badly rusted at the rear, with little more than paint and the rocker trim holding it together. At the same time, I know that I will be replacing the inner rocker, and lower section of the rear quarter. Regardless of this, I removed the rocker in such a way as to do minimal and only necessary damage to the surrounding panels.

    To do this job, I used the following tools:

    Wire brush (to fit in drill)
    Spot weld cutter (reversible cutter and mandrel)
    Spot weld cutter ('flat' ended drill bit)
    Spot weld chisel
    Lump hammer
    Flat bladed screw driver
    Torch
    Gloves
    Angle grinder with cutting disc
    Drememl with cutting disc
    Center punch
    Dremel with 2mm drill bit


    First up is bracing the body. The rocker is a key structural piece and removing it without bracing *could* lead to panel movement that would make fitting of the new panel difficult. I personally welded a bar inside the door opening, and then a bar between this bar and the trans tunnel.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    From experience, I found this to be insufficient, the door jamb had a fair amount of flex once the rocker was out. Next time I would forget the middle bar and put two in, much nearer the front and rear, making more of a u-shape with the bracing.

    Note that this arrangement still allows the door to close (I needed this), but the door does need to be removed to complete the job. If you are able to, it is best to remove the door as it really improves overall access.

    The bulk of the job is locating and cutting out spot welds. These are generally about 8mm in diameter, and can be hidden by paint. The pictures below will show you where you are likely to find them. I used the screw driver and a small wire brush in a drill to scrape away seam sealer and paint from all of the edges and likely locations of spot welds. These areas are (listed in the order in which I would cut them out:

    Bottom edge of the rocker, underneath where the outer/inner rocker/floor panels are joined. These should be visible from the outside of the car. These extend along the whole length of the panel and are spaced roughly 4 inches apart.
    [​IMG]
    Note, that mid-way along the panel there are a couple of extras that do not follow the same regular spacing, these are where the floor brace joins on.


    Front end, underside. Looking directly up from the floor, there are 2 spot welds going upwards, joining to the bottom of the extension from the front kickpanel. There are then 2 more forward of that on the flap going onto the main panel. Finally there are 2-3 on the flap that is on the 45 degree part of the body above that.
    [​IMG]


    Back end, joint to outer wheel house. You may need to remove the wheel/rear end to get to these. There was too much damage on mine to be certain, but there was one spot weld at the top of the rocker panel to the wheel house (about 6 inches up from the bottom) and 4-6 along the outer edge. I've marked where I think they are here:
    [​IMG]

    There is also one inside the rear quarter, joining to the inner brace to the top of the rocker. I couldn't get a picture as mine was rotten.


    Back end, joint with door jamb panel. There are some on the horizontal and vertical faces of this panel. In the first picture you can see some already drilled and make out where the next one is.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Front end, joint to front kick panel. As with the rear of the door opening, there are some on the top side and some on the outer, vertical side. There are also some small ones on the inside, directly opposite these.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There is also a regular weld, where the inner/outer meet, in the same area as the ones in the picture above.
    [​IMG]


    Top edge of the rocker, where the inner/outer rocker joins. This is one side of the channel for the wires. Spots may be visible on either side of the panel, but can only be drilled from inside the car. These extend the full length of the panel from the front of the door, right back to the inner quarter.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I found that working from the outer ends and moving in worked best. Cut one spot weld out and then break it free with the chisel (some need more work than others). Prise the panel away slightly, which makes finding the next and/or hidden spot welds easier.

    I cut out the middle section of the rocker, from front to rear for a couple of reasons. 1. It separate top and bottom, allowing you to work on them individually. You could also cut vertically to split front and rear sections, 2. Access and visibility, it did help to find some of the spot welds, but also allowed me to get hands/tools in from the back side to get better access to some of them. If you do this, be careful of the sharp edges. Also, if you do any cutting near the front edge (10 inches or so from the front), be aware of the brace inside, I wasn't aware of it and nearly cut mine out.

    I do have some more pictures, but felt that the ones here are the most useful. If you want a different angle on anything, just ask and I will see if I can find it.

    Although daunting, this wasn't that difficult a job. Just take your time and go steady and it all comes out relatively easily. Re-assembly may be a different story, and I will post up my results when it's done.
     
  2. seventy7camaro

    seventy7camaro Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Tackling this myself in the near future. Keep updating with progress, hints, warnings and pictures.
     
  3. Shizzle

    Shizzle Veteran Member

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    I did this myself over the summer. Only braced I used was the inner 1/4 to the floor pan.
     
  4. earlysecond

    earlysecond Veteran Member

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    Jamie,
    Great job. Anytime anybody shares this type of stuff with pictures and detailed instructions, we all benefit!

    Thanks for your efforts!

    Brent
     
  5. seventy7camaro

    seventy7camaro Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Any more progress?
     
  6. jamieg285

    jamieg285 Veteran Member

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    Yes/no. I've got the new rocker held in place with some screws, but I'm missing some metal at the rear, which I want to replace before I weld the rocker in. I've got a full weekend at it from tomorrow, so hope to make some good progress on it then. Might be enough for another update.
     
  7. seventy7camaro

    seventy7camaro Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I need to do some grafting also as I found that the panels I have are too short too. I guess if you go into it expecting issues like this it doesn't bother you near as much as if you were expecting a perfect fit.
     

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