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  #1  
Old 06-09-2013, 02:44 PM
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W114 rocker panel repair

I'd noticed a few small bubbles in the paint on the lower rocker panel while I was doing an earlier repair on my (wife's) coupe. Never being smart enough to leave well enough alone I went poking about with a pick and discovered the dreaded rust.

Upon further investigation I found evidence of some slap-dash previous body repair. Not surprising on a 40+ year old car but aggravating just the same. Stripped the paint from the lower rocker and this is what I found.

#1 front section

W114 rocker panel repair-1.jpg

#2 middle

W114 rocker panel repair-2.jpg

#3 rear

W114 rocker panel repair-3.jpg

Aaaarrrggghhhh!

Well, nothing for it but repair. A little history on this car. It sat for a couple of years as a shell with no interior. I got it as a package deal, the wife loved the color, it has a sun roof and her '69 W114 was on its last legs. Engine, transmission, interior got transferred and she was happy.

In the previous body repair they must not have had the access or knowledge to replace the trim retainers so they used silicone to secure the lower trim strips. It obviously worked because I've had the car for 5 years and they never fell off. Of course the hidden danger waited a few years to arise.

Notice how the rot coincides with the line of trim holes and where the silicone was in contact along the trim strip? Silicone becomes acidic as it cures. This etches the metal and opens it up for rust. Now, not only was the metal compromised but the silicone trapped between the trim and the metal became a "dam" which caused moisture to accumulate. Every time it rained or the car was washed the water collected into the space between the plastic strip and the actual chrome trim. DON'T USE SILICONE as an adhesive on sheet steel! I shudder every time I read about someone using it. This IS what happens!

Okay, okay, enough with the sermon. On with the show. I had to decide what to do. I could replace the entire rocker panel with a new/used section but that comes with its own problems. To remove the entire rocker the car should be supported in a jig because the rocker is a structural component in the W114. The body WILL sag when you remove the rocker. I could fab one up but then the car would be immobile sitting in my work shop. You know that 20 seconds after I cut the rocker out a situation would arise which would require the access to my work shop. Murphy's Law is a constant in my world.

So I'm left with two options. I could cut the bad stuff out, use fiberglass with mesh or replace with 18 gauge cold rolled sheet metal.

Because I wasn't sure of how much of the original metal was compromised I decided to cut the bad sections out and replace with sheet. This seemed to be the best option because it allowed me to do the repairs in stages and yet I could move the car if required.

#4 The first section cut out. You can see the metal is mostly sound and if they hadn't used the silicone this would have never happened.

W114 rocker panel repair-4.jpg

#5 Fitting the first panel. Thanks to "Stretch" for the tip of using magnets to get the panels aligned.

W114 rocker panel repair-5.jpg

You can see the body filler they used to the right of the fitted panel. Sigh, something else to fix.
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Last edited by Mike D; 06-15-2013 at 03:42 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2013, 03:27 PM
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Next phase

First piece replaced, tacked and ground.

W114 rocker panel repair-6.jpg

Center bits removed. You can see the integrity of the metal is still good.

W114 rocker panel repair-7.jpg

The rest of the panels replaced. Note the quality of the welds have deteriorated. 105F and my muscles beginning to spasm from laying down, welding over my head, etc. Ah well, it's the metal workers mantra, "What the welder giveth, the grinder taketh away". It's the 12 Commandment I believe. On a side note, it's amazing the sound a bit of weld spark makes when it lands inside your ear hole and sputters out due to the amount of sweat accumulated in there. Just glad to be sweating in THIS incident!

W114 rocker panel repair-10.jpg

First grind. Had to go back and spot up quite a bit after this one.

W114 rocker panel repair-11.jpg

First sand. Not as good as I'd hoped but better than I expected.

W114 rocker panel repair-12.jpg

That is the fender mounting access hole in the front part of the picture. It is covered by the trim.

Next step is to make up a jig to drill the trim holes. Guess I could just use silicone as an adhesive instead. Gotta make up a gauge to get the original shape back using a bit of filler. That'll be for NEXT weekend though. I've had enough fun for this week and it'll probably be three days before I can lift my arms over my head again.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:15 PM
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Day #3. Didn't get a day #4 because of the temperature. At 105F you can't mix body filler fast enough! As I was mixing, it was curing. No time to apply it. Gave it up as a bad job around 1:00PM. Got back on it at 6:00AM (probably much to my neighbors' displeasure ) when the temperature had cooled.

Spent an hour trying to locate my contour gauge. It's one of those things you use once in a blue moon but nothing else fits the bill.

#1. Getting the curve. I actually did better forming the pieces than I thought as will be shown.

W114 rocker panel repair-11.jpg

#2. Used an old spreader for the gauge. You can see the curve. Would have been nice if the rocker panels were flat but nooooo! You need the notch as a guide for the rear part of the panel where the coupe model has drains..

W114 rocker panel repair-12.jpg

#3. Getting the jig set up was a pain in the butt (literally because I was sitting on concrete trying to get all the measurements!). The holes for the retainers are 9MM which equates closest to 11/32" When will the U.S. get around to getting their measuring scheme simplified? 9MM is roughly .354, which is closest to 11/32". Hurt my brain though tracking everything down. For whatever reason there are twice as many holes in the original panel as there are in the trim. Beats me. I double checked with the '74 and it's the same. Perhaps both cars have had their trim replaced and the new trim only uses half. I only drilled the required amount. Got me a yardstick from Ace Hardware which conveniently had metric measurements. The holes are 170MM center to center. That's 6 and 11/16's + a smidgen. Using the metric stick made it so much more simple. I used the only two remaining holes on the panel for alignment. I drilled the holes on the drill press. Only two holes were full size.The rest were 3/16" so I could use my panel clips.

W114 rocker panel repair-13.jpg


#4. The jig. I probably should have reversed pictures 3 and 4 but you get the idea.

W114 rocker panel repair-14.jpg

#5. First fill and sand. Not too shabby considering the conditions. Although I wasn't too pleased with my welding previously I did surprise myself considering I free handed the curve using an old king pin and an expansion joint in the concrete. They say even a blind pig finds an acorn occasionally!

W114 rocker panel repair-15.jpg

I got it primed and first sanded but I'll wait until I have 5 pictures to post them. Going to cover it all with "Rock Guard" paint and then probably an Anthracite Gray because the wife wants the car "two-toned".
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2013, 03:23 AM
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Mike I can't believe my radar failed me and I missed the first time you posted this - you would have thought that being online for 24 hours a day is enough not to miss anything wouldn't you?

Great job it looks really good in the photos - how does it stand up to the rubbing along with your hand test? Can you feel any longer wave length undulations?

Are you planning to squirt some dinitrol in the cavity when you are done? (If so I guess you know to wait until the paint has cured before you do that!)

I am amazed at the damage caused by silly-cone - I had no idea it was that bad.
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1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior



Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2013, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
Great job it looks really good in the photos - how does it stand up to the rubbing along with your hand test? Can you feel any longer wave length undulations?

Are you planning to squirt some dinitrol in the cavity when you are done? (If so I guess you know to wait until the paint has cured before you do that!)

I am amazed at the damage caused by silly-cone - I had no idea it was that bad.
Hah! This is a 40 year old car, we're talking about an area which has been hit by rocks the size of bowling balls and the guy wants to know if I can feel any "wave undulations"? It's very hard to tell. At the moment I think my arms are numb from the elbows down due to all the vibrations from sanding. I'm sure there is a bit of inconsistency in the finish which wouldn't be had I replaced the entire panel but it is the lower rocker we are talking about here. Structural integrity was my main concern. Once I cover it with the rock guard (it's a spray on textured product much like the original PVC undercoating) I think you'll be hard pressed to locate the repair.

In fact I dare you to come over to my place (I'd suggest you schedule it for the winter time due to your inexperience with what we refer to as being a "tad warmish" in the summer), lie down and let me drive the car by you at speed to see if you can detect the "undulations" Heck, I'll even buy the beer.

I haven't decided which product I'll be using for the interior rust proofing. I primed and painted the patch panels and inside of the frame rails but I'm sure the welding and grinding took a big bite out of the coating. I did cut an opening in the top of the rail to install a floor "courtesy" light so I still have access (I'll post that procedure after I'm done with the painting pictures). I'm guessing "dinitrol" is much like "Waxyoil"? It will be a non-hardening agent in any case. I've experienced what happens when you clog the built in drains on these W114's.

Silicone is a fine product when it is used as designed. It is NOT designed for sheet steel and it definitely is NOT designed as an exterior adhesive.
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2013, 01:50 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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Here's a link for Dinitrol

DINOL - Kleben - Schützen - Dichten: Corrosion Protection

I once saw it described as the next best thing to leaving the car in the middle of the Sahara.

It is good stuff but like you say it does need to be applied with care - blocking drains is just stooooopid.

If I ever get to the USA I'll most certainly drop you a line (and give you plenty of time to leave town!).
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior



Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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