I failed the Massachusetts Safety Inspection because the inspector didn't like the fact that he could stick his hand through what used to be my rocker panel, and feel my carpet. I came back an hour later with duct tape over both sides, spray painted to match the car, and he told me to try again. With only 4 days before I went back to college, and out of the state, I needed to do something quick. Here's the quick (<2 Hours) repair that passed me.
Keep in mind, if I had more time and it was warmer than 30 degrees outside, I would have done this a lot differently. This is simply a quick fix that resulted in the inspector stating that he was impressed with the repair.
NOTE: THIS IS A NON-STRUCTURAL REPAIR
Drill Bits to match the diameter of rivets being used.
3-5/8 In. x 10 Ft. Steel Track 25 Gauge Equivalent
- Purchased at Home Depot
I started off with this:
1.) First, bend one of the two vertical sides to about 45 degrees, and leave the other alone.
Also, bend it "hot dog style" along the middle, just enough so that the two narrow flat parts are once again parallel. It will make it much easier putting it on.
2.) Next, give it some paint. It was only 30 outside when I did this, and I started late at night, so mine got a single coat of primer on the inside, and nothing on the out. If you have some time, and it's warm enough, paint it up nicely to prevent rust with a good primer, several coats of an enamel spray paint, and finally a clear protective enamel coating. You might wait to put the clear coat on the outside until you have mounted it, so you can coat the rivets too.
3.) Cut the 10 foot piece into two 5 foot pieces, using the snips. Walk them out to the jeep, place them over the rocker panels, mark off how much more you need to cut, and then snip it off. Mine ended up being about 56" on each side, one a bit longer than the other. Still not sure why that is.
4.) Using the hole punch, punch some holes the size of your rivets into the top, as shown.
5.) Open your doors, and place over your old rocker panel. It should fit snug against what is left. Take your drill, and drill through a hole you punched, and rivet it in place. Do this in a number of locations so it is secure.
6.) Now that it is mounted from the top, drill from the bottom, trying to find solid metal. If yours is as bad as mine was, you will have a number of holes that lead to nothing. Drill and rivet wherever you can to get it to securely stay.
7.) Do this to the other side.
If you didn't bend the metal quite enough, you may have a hard time getting the new panel close enough to the car to drill and rivet easier. I didn't bend it at all with the first side, and resorted to using two floor jacks to press the metal to the car.
8.) Use a mallet to bang any stubborn metal at the front or back into place, file down any sharp edges, put another coat of paint on to cover your rivets, especially if you used steel rivets, put a clear coat on.
It isn't perfect, but certainly gets the job done.