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Off Your Rocker Panels

Author: WhatWasIThinkin

Hi all! I just got done installing these this afternoon. Took a couple hours per corner. When I first got these, I got some tool dip spray and coated the back of the panels. The instructions say to do this but give no explanation for it. I found that it gives a better surface for scribing holes to be drilled and the drill shavings don't cling to it as bad as they do the powdercoat.

First I stripped the Flares, Lic. Plate, Tail light assembly, fuel neck trim, and wheel well plastic. Everything came off easily except the wheel well plastic, the plastic trim "darts" are a pain. I started with the drivers side first. I figured that it had more parts/screws to deal with so it should take more time.....that wasn't the case and I'll get to that later.


It was plenty dirty under all that stuff, so everything got cleaned, and the painted surfaces to be covered got cleaned with Preps All.

Prep All

BTW.....look who showed up to help.....Sponge Bob

Sponge Bob

I used spring clamps to mock up the panels. OYR only pre-drills 2 holes so you're on your own for the rest. When I was happy with the placement, I centerpunched the first 2 holes onto the body. I removed the panel and drilled the holes with a 1/4" drill bit. I then put the panel back on mounting with 2 of the included stainless steel screws and snugged them a bit. I also used the clamps to get it to lay flat and not move so that I could start drilling holes for the rest of the hardware. The panels fit awsome, but I would snug a screw in after drilling holes around the perimeter of the panel, so that it couldn't shift and create problems at final install.


Be careful where you drill would be very easy to drill into an area that you can't get to and put a nut on. After drilling all of the holes, wipe down all the shavings/chips off the panels and the body. Then I used a 1/2" drill and chamfered the panels to clean up the holes. I use "Liquid Electrical Tape" on the raw steel of the panels and on the holes I drilled in the body. This stuff sticks to anything and dries in just moments.


Notice holes drilled in body. Its hard to see, but there is a rag stuffed into the fuel filler neck to keep out the dirt and metal chips.


When I was happy with all the holes I drilled for mounting the panel, I rigged it back up with 6 screws and used a scribe to mark the holes for the Lic. plate frame, tail light and fuel filler neck. I drilled these holes 1/4" as well so the trim screws would clear. Again I cleaned off any metal chips and rigged it back up to the body to check again to make sure all the holes are drilled before final install. All this double/tripple checking took alot of time, but it was worth it. At this point remove the panel and use black silicone caulk and run a 1/8" bead around the perimeter of the panel. Go around each hole. Don't go nuts with the silicone, it will ooze out everywhere when you tighten the bolts. Carefully mount the panel and install the bolts with the exception of the ones that will also hold the flare on. Start with the corner bolts and work your way out towards the ends, just snug them for now. When you put the flares back on you will re-use some of the OEM screws and a couple of the supplied stainless screws to mount the flares to the new panels/body. Starting back at the corner bolts and working you way out, give the bolts a final tighten. Then put the light, Lic.plate bracket and fuel filler neck back on. The screws that hold the filler neck assembly are to short and barely catch with the thick panels installed, so you may want to remove one prior to install and find 4 longer ones. Put the wheel well plastic back in and your done....that side. BTW those plastic panel darts suck! I re-used the mangled ones but will look for new replacement at the parts store.

final install

They dont show up to well on the Shale Green.....but they're for more "go" than "show."

The passenger side is pretty much the same. I figured it would go well and alot quicker due to alot less holes to be drilled and belt with. So much for that thought. For the 03 models, DC started to put the EVAP can and some other assorted emmisions stuff in the right rear corner behind the wheel well. The bolts holding this stuff in have to be removed so that it can be slid forward for clearence. Its not to much of a pain, but I couldnt figure how to remove it compleately, so it limited the working space a bunch.

Everything went as expected, but the placement of perimeter bolts was a little trickier than the drivers side was. The section between the hinges CANNOT be accessed to put the nuts on. I contemplated just leaving it, but I'm way to anal to leave that loose, it would have driven me crazy. What I did was use 2 stainless sheetmetal screws to hold it tight.

passenger side

The other tricky thing with the passenger side was how to mark the 3 holes needed for the tail light . I couldnt scribe them from inside the wheel well like the drivers side....the emmisions stuff is in the way and theres no room to put your hand up there with the scribe. So I rigged the panel into place and pushed the tail light pigtail threw the hole and "guessed" where it should be and scribed it from inside the light assembly. I figured that the light gives enough coverage that I could start with 1/4" holes and work my way up to 1/2" if I didnt drill it in the correct position the first place. I got lucky and got it right the first time....WaHoo!

Just the the other side, clean off the shavings and apply silicone and install everything in reverse order from removal.......again!

It was an easy install. Just using some caution where to drill and watch for shavings. They go everywhere.

Tools needed

You get 30 each bolts, washers, and lock nuts with panels. The other stuff I got and used for install; 1 tube of black silicone caulk, 1 can of Liquid Tape, 1 rattle can of black tool handle spray, 6 #12 by 3/4" stainless sheetmetal screws(2 for passenger side panel, 4 for fuel fill neck).

I got the panels from Mesa 4X4. Delivered to my door for $198 and change....most places wanted $219 + Shipping. Great service. It only took a week and half to get them......they were in production when I ordered them and were shipped the day that they said they would.

Good luck with yours!

Hhhhhmmmmmm? Did I reconnect the tail light pigtails?
Time will tell!

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