View Full Version : TR6 TR6 - Replacing rocker panels

09-27-2004, 03:03 PM
Well, it's now time to think about replacing the rockers. They're rusted through good and in need of fixing. Anybody have any suggestions on how I should go about doing this? I think I'll be taking it to a shop to fix it, but should I tell them to do it in any correct order? They fixed my frame well and said it shouldn't be a problem. Also, should I prep it before I take it in? Any help/suggestions would be appreciated. I'm sure a bunch of you have done this!

09-27-2004, 05:51 PM
From my experiences with a chewed up GT6+ the only thing I can see is to make sure the frame is evenly suported and they try the doors as they go to see how the gaps are shaking out - When I did mine I reinforced the inner sill plates with sheetmetal before welding in the new outer rocker panels - I really didn't see much to it -
My Sprite was a different story because for all intents and purposes it has no fram so you have to be careful of the unibody sagging when you cut the old sills out.

I'm sure one of the TR6 gurus have gone down the road on this one and will give you more accurate info directly.

Good Luck

Bob M.

09-29-2004, 12:06 PM
Anyone else have advice?

09-29-2004, 12:17 PM
Mike, are you just doing the outer rocker or do you have the end seals and inner rocker. This is not a big job and if you had your guys fixing the frame, they should be fine with this as long as they don't do alot of damage getting the fenders out of the way. New end seals make the job look complete. Wayne

09-29-2004, 12:26 PM
Thanks, Wayne. That makes me feel a lot better. I was going to do both inner and outer with the caps. What do they have to do with the fenders? I don't know much about welding, so I guess I didn't even think they came into play. I thought it was really just the floorboards and frame.

09-29-2004, 12:52 PM
Mike, a full rocker goes from the rear wheel well opening on the front wheel to the front wheel well opening on the rear and that's where the caps are and the bottom of the fenders bold into the outer rocker, unless you cut the seam in the front and back of the doorwell and only do a partcial you will have to get the fenders out of the way. Good body men take this all in stride, not simple at all but worth the effort. Wayne

09-30-2004, 11:50 AM
Mike, IMHO it's not a job for the uninitiated. All those integral body parts must be carefully cut out and all the parts cleaned thoroughly. Then everything must be measured and fitted very carefully. The entire body of a Spit or GT6 is integral, they all flex together as the car moves. That's why we can't weld things over other parts or weld patches on and expect the car to perform normally.

The inner and outer sills will probably need replacing, including the sill strengtheners and end caps. Your cross members may survive if they're not too rusty. Again, all of this stuff must fit together perfectly when re-installed.

Check out this diagram in order to get a good idea of how this all fits together. There's another on on the Rimmer Bros. site and other sites as well:


I'm not trying to discourage you, but all of this is why is costs thousands to have a pro do the work. It ain't easy!

Webb Sledge
09-30-2004, 10:49 PM
I'm not trying to discourage you, but all of this is why it costs thousands to have a pro do the work. It ain't easy!

[/ QUOTE ]

Mark knows what he's talking about! Not that I'm a pro, but this is another thing I've done (with help from Joe, of course) on a TR6 at the shop. Because if I did it myself I'd be the first to tell you the car would come out all lop-sided. But Believe me, this is not something you want to do yourself, unless you are quite good with a cutting torch and a MIG, and have lots of friends to help you. Redoing rockers is without a doubt the hardest and most challanging part of restoring a car.

One tip though if you do decide to do it yourself: Once you've got the doors off, weld an X brace with square steel tubing (about 1" will do) across each door, and then put another piece of steel longitudinally across the cockpit of the car, on top of each steel brace and then weld that in. It supports the car quite well and keeps it from sagging. Though we didn't do this particular 6 this way, Joe said he likes to turn the body of the car over (like a turtle shell) and cut them out that way, simply because it's easier than reaching into the car to do it. Once they are cut out, all the excess, jagged metal has to be removed, and this can't be done with a cutting wheel. Each spot weld has to be flexed back and forth with vice grips until it breaks free. The rockers and floor pans were spot welded in, so you'll have to drill about 100 spot welds out with a bit, without messing up the existing edge that stays there. THIS IS HARD AND TIME CONSUMING. If you drilled them all dead center the first time, this isn't to hard, but it is hard to drill them all dead center. Once that's out, the pans and rockers have the have all the flanges sanded down to metal and small holes punched so they can be welded back in. Once that's accomplished, they can be fitted in and held in with lots of vice grips, so they can be adjusted. Then the doors are put back on to check the alignment: you want all the gaps the same distance. THIS IS ALSO HARD. If the body of your car is warped or twisted even a minute amount (which isn't to uncommon), you'll have one **** of a time getting it right. The pans and rockers are then welded in, and then all of the little weld spots have to be dressed out: ground down and polished off.

Like Mark said, I'm not trying to discourage you if you really want to do it, but there is a lot of work involved, as you can see. I just don't want to see you start on it and A) Mess it up like I would or B) give up.

Webb Sledge
09-30-2004, 10:50 PM
double post

09-30-2004, 11:06 PM
Before doing anything, measure, measure, and measure again.
Measure the door gaps, the door openings at the top and bottom, diagonally from the front of one door to the rear of the other, for both sides, etc. You need these references to make sure everything is going together correctly when you do the sills.
The cross bracing is an absolute must, to keep things from shifting when you start removing structural sheet metal. Weld in as many braces as you think are necessary.
You don't have to "bridge weld" them, just a couple of good heavy tacks will do it. Easy to remove and clean up after the work is completed.
I would do a horizontal bar at the top and near the bottom of each door opening, with a diagonal connecting them, and an X brace transversely between the upper horizontals.
Do all of the bracing with the car on its wheels, as jacking can tweak things out of line.
It ain't rocket science, but it does take careful thought and proper planning.
By the way, I have done several using this technique, with no problems whatsoever.

10-01-2004, 12:41 AM
Consider me the luckiest guy in the world for replacing rockers. I had the car on level jack stands(of course). I cut the old ones out with the exception of the 1 inch of welded section right under the door. I took the new ones and MIG'd it into the leftover piece and bottom(serious grinding took place there). Start to finish was about 2 hours each side. Solid and certainly nicer looking than the rusted chunks it replaced.
No body flex or anything took place since the rocker really doesn't do much(IMHO).
...Now, when I welded the 35 feet of 3/16 x 2 inch plate to most of the frame, let's talk about frame twist and leveling...
Hate to minimize the effort but it didn't seem that big to me. I guess I haven't measured the frame at all the points id'd in the owners manual so it could be tweaked. If the V8 won't twist it, then nothing will (baring a 1 ton Chevy).

Good luck on your restoration efforts!


10-01-2004, 12:51 AM
For a frame "on" repair x bracing is not critical, only if the tub if off should this be come necessary. You must of course remove both front and rear wings to do this properly. In addition pay close attention to the inner sills, they support the cowl assembly and must be solid for the rocker to attach to.....
The door must fit the finished appature "as new" or things are not right, and good wing alignment will not be possible.
The end plates are called cookie cutters, get new ones and make a good job of rust proofing all before re-assembly.
If you have the job done make sure its some one you can trust to do it the justice it deserves!!!!
MD(mad dog)

10-01-2004, 09:39 AM
Thanks everyone. That really helps me. I now can pass this along to my welder who is going to do this for me. I just hope he won't think it's an insult to hear these comments, but you guys know what you're doing. Thanks again.