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about to finishing up my buy, flip, sell focus valve seat drop car. crawling around underneath, noticed some pretty bad rust rot on the left rocker panel just in front of the rear tire, (2001 been in new hampshire all its life) im looking for a cheap option that will look ok, and last a few years. if you have dealt with this before, i appreciate the input. btw i found this on rock auto http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=3486711&cc=1385546



 

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There are about five threads talking about this but I haven't seen anyone post any pictures of it fixed. This is probably because it requires welding.
 

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If you have any ability to weld, or know anyone who can, they have rocker panels on ebay for like 40 bucks per side. Im having the same problem on my zx3, and I will be getting the rocker panels off ebay in a month or two.
 

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A cheap option that will look OK would be to cut and grind away as much of the rust as possible and then use epoxy with fiberglass mat and transfer film. Then when it hardens pull away the transfer film and bondo it up, then sand to shape, and rattlecan paint it. Just about every Chilton's manual printed has a description of the process with pictures.

Of course, it isn't a permanent fix because the rust will keep going until the bondo falls out in a block, but if your goal is to flip the car then it likely will last long enough that the buyer won't notice. Besides, the car might get smashed up a month from now, never can tell.

I live in Oregon, both my Focuses have no rust at all on any body panels and they are 11 and 12 years old. I should post pictures for you all to drool over. :)
 

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Rocker Fix

A "true" fix is to cut it out, kill the rust, weld in a patch and paint it.

The 1/2 @ss fix:

Cut it out with grinder/cut off wheel/your teeth, whatever.

Spray rust killer (use your favorite brand) wherever you can reach.

Use metal epoxy to bond a new sheet metal piece to the older one. (Use a "backer" piece of metal behind the new piece and the stock one. Similar to fixing broken drywall.)

Get crazy with the Bondo. Sand it, prime it, paint it.


The "rednecks" around here "fix" their truck doors by cutting out the rusty area and using Diamond Plate steel or Aluminum to make patch panels. I did this on an old truck of mine. I made it look "purdy" by drilling holes 1" apart all along the outer edge of the Aluminum Diamond Plate and shooting Aluminum Pop Rivets into the holes. This secured it to the doors.

Polish the Diamond plate, painted the rivet heads black and clear coated it with some rattle cans. It looked pretty nice.
 

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mmm, diamond plate rocker panels on a focus... Sounds kinda ratrod style lol... Might actually look with my current beligner look lol...

Yeah, half assing it isn't the right way, but It can be just as good as doing it right if you take your time and just don't slop it together... Definitely spray some rust reformer in there... I like magnet and XO-rust... They come in a bucket and you'd have to use a spray can or brush, but it's nice. Also don't fool your self, whatever falls of when you knock on it, let it come off... No point in patching over it... It will take more time to patch up, but it wont start rusting through in a few months...
 

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Mine has gone over 2 years and hasn't rusted over. I've patched over rust muliple time with successful results. Yes, of course I would reccommend cutting off the old rocker and welding on new metal. But when I don't own a welder and I have successfully fixed rust in the past with practice. I'm going to continue to do it.
At least this time when I just bought a car to replace my focus. I got one that was rust free, so won't need to fight it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
took it to a local welder for an estimate ($400)[?|]
but!!! get this, i found a guy with a shop that will show me how to weld in a new rocker panel, i just need to bring in the supplies and pay the shop fee. ($67) and he'll show me his MIG welder. found a whole panel from andy's auto sport for around $35 + $35 for shipping. i think ill just paint both sides black in the end.
 

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The real "fix" would be for Ford to use galvanized steel for this area.

Let's see, plain painted steel 5 inches away from rocks flying at 60Mph kicked up from the road mixed with saltwater. Mmm real smart there!!!!
 

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Would the rockauto rocker panels be long enough to do entire rocker panels? i know the is a little section by the front wheel i assume is extra piece
 

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The real "fix" would be for Ford to use galvanized steel for this area.

Let's see, plain painted steel 5 inches away from rocks flying at 60Mph kicked up from the road mixed with saltwater. Mmm real smart there!!!!
It rusts from the inside. I recently painted my rocker panels. When I started wire-wheeling off the paint and stone guard, I discovered a spot where the stone guard and paint were still there, but there was no sheet metal behind it. I cut a piece of sheet metal, tacked it in place, and used fiber-reinforced bondo over the top.
 
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