Today we cap the giant hole we just made from cutting off the rocker panels and reinforce the rock sliders. Then we reattach the fenders using some race car parts.
We left off last time having started on the rock sliders. One tube is straight and the other has two 25 degree bends to connect them together. Today we will strengthen them up by adding some support between the two tubes. This can be done lots of ways, keep reading to see how I did it.
Finishing the Rock Slider Rails
I grabbed some random 1″ tubing from my pile and decided that would be the best and simplest to support between the two tubes. I could have used the same size but I wanted it to be a little smaller so it would blend in more (also I just thought it would look cool).
Below are the exact grinder flap disks I have been using for the last year or two. They are super versatile and have done well for me. I don’t even use normal grinding wheels anymore (unless I am working on something that is big and thick), even then I end up finishing them with a flap wheel. I like the flap wheels because they leave a nice surface that is ready to weld or paint.
After Part 1, we had cut a HUGE hole down each side of the truck. Now we get to do the hard work of patching them back up. I am not a pro at any of this, I just try stuff until it works. In this case I had pretty good luck making new rockers from a sheet of 14 gauge I had laying around already.
Here is a quick note about sheetmetal shears. They have a mechanism in them that applies mechanical leverage to cut thicker metals a little bit easier than tin snips which don’t have the extra leverage.
Also, they come in right, left, and straight. The reason for this is because they actually bend the metal a little as you cut because of the scissor action. Depending on the blade setup on the shears it is hard to turn certain ways, that is why they make left, right, and straight versions.
Quarter Turn Dzus Fasteners for attaching the front fender
For this project, I cut the sheetmetal up so high that I lost the bottom bolt hole to attach my fender. These fenders only have 5 bolts holding them on so I couldn’t just do without or it would be flapping in the wind. I went over and checked my inventory where I had a handfull of Dzus fasteners, also called quarter turn fasteners.
Quarter turn Dzus fasteners are used a lot in racing applications where the pit crew needs to remove panels quickly to work on a component or engine. To remove a panel, all you need is a flathead or even a coin. Some quarter turn fasteners even have a tab on them so you don’t need any tools at all.
You can buy them in 10 packs with all of the pieces you need to get started. I like the ones listed below that have the long tab so they can be cut to fit.
Tip: I use Lithium grease often for transferring marks between pieces that fit together or where multiple holes need to be marked for drilling. This is a great trick and can save you from having to do a lot of measuring.
I didn’t realize until I was writing this post, but they actually make a quarter turn fastener with a point for doing this exact thing. If I did this more often I would probably buy it.
Thanks for reading! I wanted to get into detail on the step by step on the quarter turn fasteners because they are super handy for making quick to remove panels that don’t require tools. I hope you get value from it.
Stay tuned for Part 3 when we will seal up the rockers and paint them then attach the rock sliders! There will also be lots of finished pictures and even some damage!?