So, I’ve been planning this project for a while…Got the Beast (81 Wagoneer with a 360 and a 4 inch lift kit) in March. Rusted out rockers panels (no surprise there!) Got a great deal on it though. Rust underneath, but my shop looked it over and said the frame is ok, it is just surface rust. It does need a new gas tank skid plate, but that is in the future. My shop gave me a quote for the rust…I know they do excellent work but I’m only going to have them do the stuff I could never undertake, like getting the AC working again. There is a guy in the AMC club here that had AMC NOS rockers, but he wanted more than I was willing to pay for them. I am sure they were cherry parts, but here’s the thing…I’ll never see a dime back from this vehicle. I just can't see spending way too much on repairs.
As for the frame rust, and the rocker panels…Recently I found the Eastwood catalog…been looking at their rust encapsulater, etc etc. Looks like great products, and I was getting ready to take the plunge…was going to get the frame paint they have, and the rust encapsulater. Then, I was going to spray on truck bed liner on the bottom foot or so of the doors and on the whole underneath. Was going to paint the exhaust with their special exhaust paint too. That was the plan.
The I discovered JC Whitney and Carparts.com. THEY have purpose built rocker panels for $25 bucks each. Plus the shipping because they were a little heavy…it was about $80 bucks for both sides. And, they don’t require you to take the old rockers off, you just slap these suckers on overtop. They get “welded, riveted, or screwed on”. I found at Home Depot and Loews they have rust converter too, it isn’t “official automotive rust conversion spray”, it is from LockTite and it is $2 bucks less per can. And, they have the rubber coating in a spray can too…it is not “official truck bedliner” but it is exactly what I need. And, I got self tapping metal-to-metal screws. This is perfect, because I cleaned out the garage and the basement of all the unopened leftover home improvement stuff we never used after our big remodel and took it back to Lowe’s and Home Depot and got store credit, which I used to pick up the above items. So instead of paying Eastwood a couple C-notes, I got all this “not automotive Eastwood, but still ok in my book” spray stuff.
Then I went to Pep Boys and found some frame and rollbar paint. I splurged on a couple cans, although I could probably have just used the rubberized stuff. Pep Boys also had some high temp exhaust paint, so I got a can of that for the exhaust pipe/muffler. It was a bit less than Eastwood, and I didn’t have to wait for shipping.
The projectt will take two or three days. I have some “Honeydo” list to take care of tomorrow AM but in the afternoon, I’m going to spray rust killer and then bolt the rocker panel on the right side. That way if I mess it up, hopefully I’ll learn and not repeat the mistake when I do the left side, since that is the side I’ll be walking up to when I get in the Jeep to drive it. The second time I work on it I’ll be working the driver’s side rocker panel. The third time, I’ll spray the underside with the rust killer and then spray on the rubberized stuff, also the bottom part of the doors and the rocker panels. The final time, I’ll paint the exhaust with the special paint and paint the frame with the special frame paint.
That’s my project and the plan to carry it out. I am not restoring it. I am having a great time working on it, but it ain’t no restoration. Put it this way…the theme for the Beast for all cosmetics is “used or cheapest possible”, and get it better than it currently is. Mechanicals? I’ll have my shop do them. They do awesome work and will make sure that everything is done right. But for the stuff I can muddle through, well, where’s that rattlecan? I know I set it down here somewhere…
I’ll come back and report as I work through it, and will also try to post pictures. Wish me luck!