Author Topic: Rocker Panels Rusting Out on 1999 XJ  (Read 137 times)

Offline Gaudks

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Rocker Panels Rusting Out on 1999 XJ
« on: July 06, 2021, 08:28:47 PM »
My son (currently in the Marines) has a 1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ and both rocker panels are rusting out.  Recommendations to address the issues as he’d like to keep it long term but the original quote I have is about $6000 to totally take care of it.  Recommendations on body shops which will replace the panels but still treat the underlying rust?  It’s only worth like $1000 - $2000 and putting that much into it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

It also allows rainwater to leak into the cabin near the front passenger side, thoughts on how to isolate where it’s coming in?

Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome.  The engine is strong, even if it runs a little hot.  :)

Offline unl1mtd

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Re: Rocker Panels Rusting Out on 1999 XJ
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2021, 09:33:04 PM »
Unfortunately dealing with rust is so labor intensive and I think a lot of shops don’t want the work as I’m sure it’s difficult to slap a guarantee on. What area of Nova are you in?

For the water leak, hopefully an XJ guy can pipe up. I know you can sprinkle baby powder on the floor boards to help figure out where it’s coming from. My guess would be something to do with a the fresh air intake in the cowl.


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Offline WNDR-XJ

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Re: Rocker Panels Rusting Out on 1999 XJ
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2021, 11:44:32 PM »
My son (currently in the Marines) has a 1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ and both rocker panels are rusting out.  Recommendations to address the issues as he’d like to keep it long term but the original quote I have is about $6000 to totally take care of it.  Recommendations on body shops which will replace the panels but still treat the underlying rust?  It’s only worth like $1000 - $2000 and putting that much into it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

It also allows rainwater to leak into the cabin near the front passenger side, thoughts on how to isolate where it’s coming in?

Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome.  The engine is strong, even if it runs a little hot.  :)
For the water leak there is a drain plug in the HVAC box that can get plugged up allowing condensation to overflow into the cab (if it happens while running AC). I'll see if I can grab a pic of it tomorrow.

Offline dzywicki

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Re: Rocker Panels Rusting Out on 1999 XJ
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2021, 11:04:05 PM »
If it's just rust through the outer rocker panel, it should be straightforward for a shop to replace.  There are a lot of videos on youtube showing what needs to be done.  There is one guy that uses rivets (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlF2hBD8O8M). If you see rust on the inside of the rockers (from underneath the car), then you may want to look for another XJ without the rust.

As for the leaking water, there are two primary culprits.  1. Fresh air intake (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zamHfYWijI). 2. The opening for the fan in the airbox.

I have a problem on my 98 with the #2.  The airbox inside the cabin has a foam gasket between the airbox and the engine compartment.  If I park it with the front end higher than the back, it will leak when it rains.  I tried sealing it and creating a cover to divert the water dripping down but I cannot get it stop leaking.  I just make sure I park it level or the front end lower than the backend.  To replace that foam gasket, you have to take the entire dash out to remove the heater box.

You can use a hose or a bucket of water to pour over the cowl area to isolate where water is getting in.  If it has been leaking, make sure you pull up the carpet to get everything dry.  The padding under the carpet will absorb all the water and will cause rusting on the floor pan.  In order to get it out, you'll need to remove the kick panel (there is a small nut inside the fuse panel).  Once you remove the kick panel, you can remove the trim along the door sill by removing a couple of phillips head screws.  Then you can pull the carpet up from the front and side.

You can also remove the seat if you want to check the entire passenger side floor pan.  If it has been leaking awhile, the water can make it into the back seat area.  The seat has two bolts in the front, then slide the seat forward and you'll see two bolts int he back.


Offline SD2001TJ

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Re: Rocker Panels Rusting Out on 1999 XJ
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2021, 04:58:26 PM »
Contact Dirt Nerdz in Sterling VA. They fixed my TJ that had a rotting frame for a very reasonable price.
2001 Jeep TJ - 4.0 - 3.5" Metalcloak Lift - Chromoly Front and Rear Axle shafts - 4.56 Gears - SYE - Adam's Driveshaft - 35x12.5x15 Dick Cepek's - Shittybilt Tire Carrier - Currie Steering - Safe T Caps front to Rear control Arms

Offline Runner

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Re: Rocker Panels Rusting Out on 1999 XJ
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2021, 09:38:38 AM »
Having worked on, and repaired, my fair share of rust, there's one universal truth I've learned. The damage is always worse than you think, and costs more to repair. Unless you have a sentimental attachment to this particular XJ, or money to burn, you're going to want to weigh the pros and cons heavily. Once you start putting significant amounts of cash into it, mechanical things will start to pop up and before you know it you'll be into it for close to $10K. You could do "cheap" fixes, but all this will do is mask the problem. This is a tough call for sure. Before making any decision, I'd get several estimates. With that baseline, you can use the information to help you determine the best course of action.
2004 LJ - Built to wheel, but hides in the garage :(

 

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