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Saturday, November 24, 2012

I found Hoffa...and now with rock rails on both sides

Ever wondered whats in the rocker panels?
Please don't judge me for chopping on a decent jeep body.  This is the better of the two sides and it had a bit of rust in it. The other side
is way more trashed than this.

There's Jimmy!

All of the dirt came through what was supposed to be drains.
There are a couple inboard drains near the supports, and two large holes
with plugs- one up front on the bottom (missing) and one on the
end near the rear tire.

In order to keep the body lines the same I left 2" of rocker  Under
the door you can see the tail light wiring loom.

Heres the initial cut to the rockers.  You can see the rocker supports hanging down.  There's 25" under the rockers now.
The new rocker guards will bolt to the body and supports.  For reference the aluminum platform is 20" tall.

The curvy cut was so it matched the jeep tj fender
flares.  The original fender turn light will be removed
and flushed with the body.

Heres the flares in place

Jeeps 1973 marker lights with two tabs removed from the rubber housing
fit the 2005 tj light housing perfectly.
I ended up cutting all of the original rocker panels under the doors all the way through to the inner
piece.  I had heard that when these were cut off and left without support, the door will either
a: not open after wheeling, or b: not be able to close again. 

The rusted piece is the inside of the original rocker panel. It comes
down about 2" from the floorboards.  The new rock rails have a piece of angle
iron that I drilled and welded nuts on the inside so it would be a bolt on piece.

With the exception of the door cut out and the endcaps, here it is in situ.  The upper plate
is 1/4", the tubing is 3/16".  If this thing dents, there's bigger things to worry about than a rock.

The places with the arrows are 4" bolts. These 4 bolts go through voids. On the drivers side the
brake wires run through here.  
What to do on a 75* day in December

Since I had an inkling (an idea) of what to do, this side only took a couple hours
instead of a couple days.

I cut at the bend on the outside with a cutting wheel, and a sawzall took care of the rest.  Again- the amount of dirt trapped in here is why
these things rust out so easily.

Here is the angle iron bolted onto the inside of the rocker panel (the top of the pic is the door, the tiny little piece above
the rust is the door pocket.  The passenger side was in great condition because it wasn't used as much.
.. the inside piece had several places where the metal was double layered and thats where the bolts went through.

I had match drilled the angle and this outer plate with the others to keep them symmetrical.
I used the body seam next to the front clamp vs. the front bolt hole as a positioning mark.

drivers side "done" with door opening cut out
And voila- the finished product.  The "white caulk" is 3m #8500 seam sealer.
This stuff is supposed to remain rubbery "forever".  And it better for $27 a tube.
I've seen it as low as $17 online + shipping.  Paint is low gloss duplicolor
ceramic engine enamel.

just to keep the rear looking as good as the rest of it, I made some rear armor
- its not as thick as the rest, but strong enough to use a jack under.
it has 2 large bolts through the middle, and a hidden bolt through the ends
of each side.

Here you can see the part near the tire- it has a washer welded to it
that the fender flare rivets to.
The rivets are the new fangled plastic type and are supposed to hold 50 lbs each.

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