How to Remove a Rocker Panelby Thomas West
Rocker panels are formed sheet-steel members of a car vehicle body. They are located at the door sill and spot-welded to the floor pan and door jambs. Because the underside of the rocker panel is exposed to the elements, water, mud and road salt often collect inside the panel’s structure, causing it to corrode and rust through.
Open the door above the rocker panel you will be removing. Remove the door sill trim plate by turning out the attaching screw with a Philips screwdriver in a counterclockwise direction. Set the trim plate and screws aside.
Locate the spot welds that hold the rocker panel in place along the seam of the panel. If necessary to reveal the welds, use an electric drill with a wire wheel attachment to clean rust and debris from the seam. Also check underneath the panel for spot welds.
Attach a spot weld drill bit to an electric drill and drill out the spot welds. Drill through the top layer of metal directly over the spot weld until the weld pops. Do not continue drilling through the metal underneath the rocker panel.
Continue drilling through all spot welds to release the rocker panel. Remove the panel from the vehicle by grasping it with both hands and pulling it away from the vehicle.
Use a grinding wheel attached to a grinder to remove any stubborn spot welds. Grind only on the spot weld and avoid going through the second layer metal underneath the panel.
- Spot weld drill bits are available at body and paint supply stores.
- A spot weld, as opposed to seam welding, is a small circular weld that creates an indentation in the metal.
- Use heavy gloves when working around rusted sheet metal because it can have sharp edges.
Items you will need
- Philips screwdriver
- Electric drill
- Wire wheel drill attachment
- Spot weld drill bit
- Grinder with grinding wheel attachment
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