Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
3/6/13 12:08 p.m.
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While preparing for the new Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance, perhaps the ugliest rust we had to deal with was at the front of the rocker panels. Of course, with the fenders removed, what initially looked like a minor problem was even worse in reality.

Still, repair in this area is pretty straightforward. And fortunately, unlike most manufacturers, Mercedes uses some very thick metal in the rocker panels. This made repairing it even easier.

The hardest part of this job was to get the old seam sealer and undercoating off the inner rocker panels. Mercedes used some spray-on undercoating that we were able to later replicate with Wurth sprayable grey seam sealer. We used a wire brush wheel, eye protection and a dust mask before we ground the metal clean.

The front of the rocker panels on both sides was largely rusted out. Recreating this pieces needed was pretty simple. We drilled the old spot welds out, and carefully chiseled the old rocker panel pieces out. We then straightened these rotten pieces, and traced them onto new pieces of metal.

From there, we cut the new pieces out with tin snips, put the proper angles into them with a sheet metal brake, and test-fitted them. When we were happy with the way things fit, we faked spot-welding everything back to gether by fill-welding the original spot weld holes. This made the perfect repair. The bottom of that rocker and the top of both rockers needed some minor patching too, which we did in the same way.

The entire repair was painted inside and out with POR-15. We then brushed on seam sealer, and then spray seam sealer on everything to replicate the factory look. We are confident these repairs will look as good or better than when new, and last at least as long.

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