Last Fall I decided it was time to replace the rocker panels on my truck - 2001 Silverado 1500 Z71. Due to the extreme saltiness of MI roads, losing parts off your car to rust is a norm. I figured I would post something new and different for those auto junkies out there. For the record, I am not an auto mechanic or body technician. Just handy with a tool and mechanically inclined. Also, this is a quick patch job to bide myself over until I buy a new truck. Can’t bare to part with her yet.
Started analyzing the sides, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Lots of pitting in the metal as well as shit just missing in general. I knew I would need to cut most of it out. So, I bought myself a nice Dremel and some bits and went to work.
After cutting out most of the rusted areas, I treated the exposed metal and remaining rust with POR-15. Most reviews and forums online point to this stuff, and I’ve got to say it held up well through the last winter. A little bit of prep work to the metal, a few coats and you’re all set. Unfortunately due to the messiness, I failed to get pics of that part. Wasn’t all that exciting anyway.
I ended up purchasing myself some new fender flares to covers the major damage to the wheel wells on the bed.
I found a local guy that formed sheet metal out of his garage. I gave him a few dimensions and he supplied me with awesome molds that worked perfectly. Normally, each side runs about $100. I was able to get both sides plus ample extra for various patching for about $75. Using some heavy duty rivets and some self-tapping screws, I attached the metal as best as I could. Sanded down and ready for “painting”.
After a lot of pondering what I wanted to do, I decided the best course of action would be to paint the sides. Instead I decided to get some bed liner and try my luck with that. Turned out a lot better than I anticipated. I used Herculiner as it was pretty cheap and had decent reviews. My buddy told me to remove the silver/green accent panels, but I thought they gave the body some contrast even if it is minute.
Add in the new(ish) Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac and some flare (plasti-dipped grill, mirrors, bumpers, and rims), and she’s back to her old self. She held up wonderfully through the winter. I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did working on it. A great sense of accomplishment after I was done.