If you’re redoing your car’s body and or paint, and decide that the old rocker panels won’t work or just want new ones, it’s easy to replace them. This to me is one of those, “wonder what I’m getting myself into this time”, projects. I purchased new ones with the mounting brackets included.
To remove the old panels, start from fender wells and unbolt the end plates. Dirt and road grime will be the hardest part of this. Then from the underside of the panel, with a screw driver, gently pry out the bottom of the panel from the 5 riveted mounts. Be careful if you’re going to reuse it after you paint. If just removing them before any body or paint work, and getting rid of it, have at it.
These are the tools and parts I used for installing the new panel. The drill will be needed to drill out the old mount rivets if they haven’t been already and new holes in any newly installed sheet metal.
New front fender installed, that will first need to be aligned, and then drilled
The test mounting and holes that need drilling should be done before any painting is done.
After all the body sheet metal is aligned, check for their final positions. Otherwise the mounts will shift out of alignment just a little. But if you’re just replacing the old ones, be careful of rust you might find hidden behind the panels. These panels are traps for all types of leaves, pine needles, etc that can and will cause rusted out sheet metal. Otherwise you can rivet the new mounts right into the old holes.
The riveting part is straight forward and just make sure you use the right size nipple in your rivet gun.
For the final mounting of the rocker panel, I put the bolted end plates in the panel and then bolted them loosely to the body. Once finger tight against the riveted mounts, I started pushing the panel onto the other 5 mounts. A rubber mallet might be used or just your hand and pressure against the panel. Don’t beat on them, as they are soft aluminum and will bend or dent. Check you panel location at both ends to make sure it’s centered where you want it. Tap with the rubber mallet to align if necessary. Finish by tightening both end plates. Not too much because they are just soft metal.
In some cases you may have to loosen the front fender to get access to the mount studs. If so re-tighten it also now.