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Old 02-03-2005, 06:09 PM
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rocker chopping and welding

Any one have any advise on welding rocker panels? I'm wanting to chop and weld in some sheet metal for more ground clearance. I'm thinking of using oxy-acetylene hammer welding. How do you hammer weld corner joints? Not sure how I'll be able to use a dolly on such a long piece of sheet metal though? I might just do it in 1-1.5' sections and use a long handle spoon dolly.

BTW, this isn't exactly a hot rod, but a Toyota Land Cruiser. I found this site via google. After searching, you guys know your stuff when it comes to body work. I'd appreciate any info you guys can provide.

Anyone know of any forums that are geared specifically towards body work?

Pics of my rockers:







Here's a pic of what I want to do:



This guy used a MIG welder and lap joints. He said it worked ok except when it came to grinding. He would sometimes grind through the weld.

Some after pics of the above chopping:




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Old 02-03-2005, 09:23 PM
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First I would like to say, I can't understand how that few inches will be of much good. But I am not from your four wheel drive world so don't try to explain.

Forget the "Hammer welding". If I wanted to do that, I would remove the inner and outer rockers and MIG weld in a piece of 1x3 1/8" wall rectangular tubing.

All done.
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MARTINSR
First I would like to say, I can't understand how that few inches will be of much good. But I am not from your four wheel drive world so don't try to explain.

Forget the "Hammer welding". If I wanted to do that, I would remove the inner and outer rockers and MIG weld in a piece of 1x3 1/8" wall rectangular tubing.

All done.
I thought about that to.

The main reason for doing this is to give more clearance for nerf bars/rock sliders. I want to isolate the slider/rectangular tubing from the body.
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Old 02-07-2005, 12:38 PM
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Can someone please as least point me to another forum?
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Old 02-07-2005, 08:01 PM
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I would think a forum on four wheel drive rock climbing type of enthusiasts would be the one. But most of those guys aren't going to have the no how in body fabrication. I don't know what to tell you.

What is wrong with the tubing idea? If you made a new "rocker" out of sheet metal and covered this tube it would look nice. This is totally FABRICATOIN, pretty hard to discribe on something I have never done. If I had that truck in my stall at work, I would just do it. But without seeing it, as it is being done, not much can be said.
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Old 02-08-2005, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MARTINSR
I would think a forum on four wheel drive rock climbing type of enthusiasts would be the one. But most of those guys aren't going to have the no how in body fabrication. I don't know what to tell you.

What is wrong with the tubing idea? If you made a new "rocker" out of sheet metal and covered this tube it would look nice. This is totally FABRICATOIN, pretty hard to discribe on something I have never done. If I had that truck in my stall at work, I would just do it. But without seeing it, as it is being done, not much can be said.
The reason I don't want to do the tubing idea is that I want install rock sliders. If I don't chop the rocker, I'll have to run a tube that will hang lower than the rocker. Causing me to loose more ground clearance. I also want to run supports from the sliders to the frame. Their are times when the whole weight of the vehicle will be on the slider. If I just weld it a rectangular tube to the rocker, I'm not confident that it will hold. I could always run supports to the frame too, but I'm worried about a solid connection from the body to the frame. I would need to use some kind of bushing. Plus I like the idea of them being easy to remove to paint or replace when (not if) they get thrashed.

Check out these picks of what people use currently for rock sliders:







I haven't done any sheet metal welding. All my welding consists of material that is 1/8" or thicker. Never done any thin gauge stuff. From what I've read, MIG welding isn't ideal because the filler metal tends to be harder than the base medal. That's why I'm asking for help.

Clear as mud?

Last edited by Overlord3001; 02-08-2005 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 02-08-2005, 07:54 AM
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Well, those photos and your explanation cleared up one thing, sliders. Now I understand what you are doing. Yep, you are in a different world, I have never built a car that you would use to "slide" on rocks! Heck, on cars I have usually done this type of fabrication on you have to "walk" the car over speed bumps so the painted or chrome undercarrage doesn't get scratched.
Sounds like a lot of fun though, maybe someday I can give that a try.


Ok, this rectangular tube along the bottom would do exactly what you are after. You wouldn't let it get hit of course, the "sliders" would do that job. Maybe I would have to draw you up something to make my point. This tubing would be laid on it's side and welded up into where the bottom of the rocker was like in the following photo.



After you have removed the bottom of the rocker like in this photo you will have taken off about four inches of metal that was hanging off the bottom of what you see in the photo. Sooooo, at the point of this photo, four inches or so of ground clearance have been gained. If you were to weld this 1x3 (or 1x4) tube up against the bottom of what you see in this photo (with it laying on it's side), you will still have three inches more ground clearance than the stock rockers. NOW, you built your round tubing "sliders" using two inch or so diameter 1/4" wall tubing so they are almost touching that 1x3 tube and you STILL have a little MORE ground clearance (less than an inch more) than it did stock.

This sounds like a way to get it done very nicely.

As far as the MIG welding, who ever told you that is WAY off. There are some circumstances where the MIG would not be used because of the reasons you covered. But honestly, I am miles from a metallurgy expert so I can't even give you an example.

On these frame and body pieces we are talking about, MIG is THE way to weld them.

I know I am not welding on some rock climbing monster like you are, but yesterday I removed the rocker on a 2003 Infiniti QX4 (Nissan Pathfinder) and today I will weld in the new one with the MIG and a STRSW (Squeeze Type Resistance Spot Welder) just as every auto repair manual and every auto body repair organization like ICAR or ASE will tell you to do.

The QX4 wasn't rock climbing, he hit an old leaf spring that was bouncing around on the freeway.

Last edited by MARTINSR; 02-08-2005 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 02-08-2005, 07:14 PM
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After reading all of the posts and looking at the pictures, I really don't see any problem with what Martin is suggesting. It is actually probably better for the vehicle than the original idea, as it will give it more strength. Rocker panels are not only for appearance, they are there to support the body and help prevent twisting. By squaring the rocker, it will weaken it. By using a thicker material in a square tubing shape, you should gain atleast some of the strength back.

It would be a real shame to go thru all of that work, go out rock climbing, and then not be able to open the door because the body is twisted.
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:42 PM
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I'll proabably do what Martin suggested.

Do you guys think it would be strong enough if I welded the 1x3 or 1x4 tubing so the bottom of the tube is flush with the bottom of the cut rocker? In other words, I would be gaining about 4" before the sliders go on.

Here's a pic of what I'm talking about (sorry for the crappy paint drawing ):

ed
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Old 02-08-2005, 10:25 PM
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I am not sure I can tell you that. Not seeing the rocker first hand that you are working with. The white truck in the photo I used in my last post, is that the same kind of truck? It is a 90ish Toyota Land Cruiser right?

That white truck looks like the rocker was cut off in such a way that you could put the tube all the way up flush with the UNDERSIDE of the top of the rocker. If the truck in your first photos is the truck you are planing on doing, it may not be that easy. However, it sure looks like the same style truck other than the rocker. It may be just the way the rocker was cut off in the photo I used, if that is the case, you can cut it off exactly the same.

Run the tube right up against the underside of the top like I said. You can weld beads along the sides on the inside and outside. PLUS you can "plug" weld thru holes at the top where ever the tube touches the sheet metal of the rocker top that remains.

You may be moving the tube in by doing this, but it would all work out well I would think.

If you post some pictures, GOOD, well lit photos of the underside of the rocker, and the ends of the rocker I may be able to see enough to give you a better idea of how to pull it off.

With a better idea I can draw something up as well. If I know exactly what kind of car it is I can check one out here in town as well.
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Old 02-09-2005, 12:15 AM
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I'll post some pics in a few days.

My Cruiser is an '87. I'm not sure what year the Cruiser is with the chopped rockers. The FJ60 (my model) Land Cruiser were available from '80-'87. Then FJ62 were available from '88-'89. Both the 60 and 62 have the exact same body. The 62 has some minor differences with the lights and a few other luxery stuff.

BTW, thanks for you help so fare.
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Old 02-11-2005, 04:30 PM
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Here's a pic of the backside of the rocker towards the front of the rig:

Thanks to ImageShack for Free Image Hosting

backside of rocker towards the rear:



underside of rocker:



rear end of rocker:



I could take the tire off for a better angle if need be.

Front end of rocker:



Again, I can take the tire off for a better angle if you want.




Let me know if these pics help or if you want me to take some more.

Thanks again for you help.
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:37 PM
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overlord, is there anything in any rules about the sliders being actually structural? i'm just thinking that if you're worried about the slider being able to take the load of the vehicle, then what is the difference if you're using the stock rocker now? i guess my point is that if the rocker doesn't need to be attached to the frame or anything then by cutting off the bottom of the rocker and putting in a 1" x 3" tube and welding it where the rocker used to be, then this will be stronger than what was there.

so to simplify a long-winded, hard-to-read post, i think i would just cut off the rocker and leave the door sill with an inch or so hanging and then weld on a flat rectangular tube, and then close it up on the ends of the rocker IMO.

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Old 02-11-2005, 06:06 PM
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Overlord, Johnny just said what I have been saying, just quick and dirty (thanks Johnny).

On the mount in the second photo "backside of rocker towards the rear:" just cut off the bottom even with the tube and box it in.

It would be pretty hard to give a detailed step by step on this, basically just cut away everything "hanging" and replace it with the tube.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:07 PM
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Try this

I do alot of 4X4 fab work here along with my street rod stuff. For this type of question check Pirate4X4.com. Since I baby my classic 4X4's I tend to hang out here. Goodluck!
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