The Jeep Cherokee Rocker Panel is like the Achilles heel of your vehicle. Why? Because they have a position beneath your doors, making them heavily exposed to damage and corrosion.
Once the rockers begin to be associated with rust, there’s no stopping the damage; the panels need changing. However, replacing the panels is not an easy job. But with the proper replacement rocker panel, the correct tools, and the right guide, you can do it.
This will not only increase the lifespan of your favorite vehicle but at the same time, keep it on (and off) the road for a long time.
Can you Replace the Rocker Panel on a Jeep Cherokee?
Yes, you can replace the rocker panel. These rockers act as a shield for the sills and rails of your Jeep. Once they begin to be corroded, your skills have to go through gravel, intensive off-road driving, or the worst case of rusting themselves.
If you want to tackle all of the 3 issues, replacing rockers is a much wiser solution than fixing the rusty sills.
So you can and you should replace the rocker panel when it is time. If you follow the guide on how to replace rocker panels present below without any need for welding, you can make your Jeep last way longer and drive it both on and off the roads for many years.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace Rocker Panels?
If you want the rocker panel to be professionally replaced from the body repair shop, then you may have to pay anywhere between $1,000 to $4,000 or more depending on your location.
This covers the additional work that is required for neat installations and truck door removal if needed.
How Do You Install the Rocker Panel on a Jeep Cherokee?
For the installation purpose, you will be using Slip-On Rocker Panels. Why? Because these are the best solution if your car has rusted rockers without any other damage/disfiguration.
You can replace them without welding because these will naturally fit above the rest of your present rocker. Also, since you can easily secure them using panel glue/rivets, etc. fasteners, these slip-on replacements reduce the need for cutting work beforehand and take much less time throughout the process.
Slip-on replacement rocker panel types need similar tools to weld-in rocker replacement. Those include wire brush, electric drill, angle grinder, hammer/pry bar, fasteners/glue, anti-rust agents.
How to Replace Slip-On Rocker Panels
When you hear slip-on, you may think that all you need to do is slide the new panels above your old rusty or damaged ones. But that is not the case. You have to get rid of the rusty parts and only after that, you can attach the new panels into the old one’s position.
At the end of the day, mounting your panel is pretty simple if you have fasteners or adhesives instead of going another different route and welding them. Here’s how you do it.
How to Mount Slip-On Rocker Panels
If you want to take the route of the slip-on replacement for your Jeep Cherokee, you can be assured that you are going to give your jeep a new life by following the steps below.
Detach Old Metal
First, take an angle grinder. Use it to cut the rusty metal from your old rocker panels. The usage of five blades will allow you to do this easily. If you see that both the rocker panel and your truck are bowing out, you will need to cut off a larger section of the panel to fit the replacement into the new position.
But also remember to leave enough of the panel metal to affix the new panel. So, don’t cut any more than one half of the seam and you will have sufficient room for the new panel to fit into the natural bow present on the side of the Jeep.
Using a hammer or a pry bar if you need it, you can get rid of the rusty metal present under the doorways. If there is any remaining rust, it may cause the rust to build up again on the new panel after you’re done with the job.
After you have removed the rust thoroughly, you can color the grinder by using 50-grit discs. While you are at it, try to change the position of your new rocker panels to ensure that they are going to fit well.
Also, keep an eye out that there are no bent edges or old burrs on the section that may prevent the new rocker panel from sitting on the remains.
Use a Rust Inhibitor
Now that you are done with sanding and have a clean edge, you will need to use a rust inhibitor. In place of this, you can also use anti-rust paint to cover and stop the bare metal from corroding any further in the future.
Your Jeep would do even better if you coat the back side of your new panel by using the same rust inhibitor.
If you want to use rivets, you need to mark out holes that are evenly spaced out 2 inches from each other. However, it may differ based on the intricacy and size of the rocker panel.
Now, make sure that the rivets are present an inch away from the place where you will lay the weld bead in order to mount the new slip-on panel if you want to weld this slip-on panel.
Start by boring 1/8-inch holes on the markings that you made using a drill. But before you start drilling, make sure that the rocker is exactly in place. Using clamps in this step can help you or you can let someone else hold it for you.
Next, you will need to smooth out the spurs on the back of the panel and also the edge of the vehicle by using a flat disc that you will mount to the grinder. It is going to stop any bulging out of the metal along the hole edges. And then, you will apply an engraving primer on the bare areas of the panel.
Mount Rocker Panel
Lastly, use the fasteners/rivets to mount the slip-on pane. Start at the center and then gradually move towards the edges you just smoothed.
To keep the new panel from awkwardly switching its position, you can do every third or fourth hole and stuff them as you go in between.
How Long Does it Take to Replace Rocker Panels on a Jeep Cherokee?
You will need 8 hours for each side of both the inner and outer rocker in order to complete the replacement. However, depending on your proficiency in alignment, this may vary.
Your Jeep Cherokee rocker panel will be an excellent shield for your sills and frame rails. So once they are corroded, you will need to replace the rockers.
If you follow the steps above with the necessary investments and utilize high-quality tools, the repair will be completed perfectly, without any welding and as a result, you can make your Jeep last longer with the highest performance expectations from it!