Restoring rocker panels on the XJS

So you have an XJS with some surface rust on the underside of the rocker panels where it is painted black and because you just ate a bowl of spinach and did some pushups and ran around the block a couple of times, you return home and look at that area and ask yourself, can I do this myself? Well, the answer is yes you can.  The area where the jack points are may create a question in your mind of what could be going on in the inside of the panel. I would not concern myself with this as if it was really bad on the inside, it would rot away from the inner panel so you can feel confident that once you resolve this as instructed, you should not see any more of this for a very long time and what you cannot see under the bracket with the nipple on it is where most likely salt sat and began to eat away at the underside which is why most rust gets so bad and holes rusted through.

This is normally caused in this area from scratching on the undercoating from jacking the car up and perhaps missing the jack point being that stub forward and aft. Therefore, you can never know what is going on there. However, what you can see when cleaned off will go deeper because that is what rust does once it gets to the unprotected metal and some of that you will not be able to get to but I can give you a solution that we used and most shops do. Not knowing what tools, you have I will guess that you have a drill as this is the least costly prep tool you can buy if you need to.

Then you will need a wire wheel with a stem on it to fit in the drill head. And because this is a vulnerable area to a return of this problem you need to arrest this now with a rust and corrosion inhibitor. I would suggest you go to an auto body supply and ask for it in an aerosol can so you do not have to buy any other tools for its application. Also, ask them for a can of undercoating spray. You must also get some good rubber gloves. Lowes has the orange chemical type in the paint section, you need at least 2-inch wide blue painters tape and while you are there get the largest as can of acetone and some white towels if you do not have some white tee shirts on their way out and a pack of tack pads also near the acetone. A good mask and eye protection.

Do not play around with this you are dealing with rusty metal flying particles, dust, and fumes from some of the most toxic auto body products. Find the oldest person living near you and ask for some newspapers. Depending on where you plan to do this in your garage or outdoors I suggest you get a large cardboard box to open for you to lay on as it will keep you from looking like you were in a dog fight and its good for sliding. You may have a crawler, but I am suggesting things that you can get reasonable and the box you can get for free from a furniture store or seller of large items. Also if you have a large floor fan I suggest you always keep it behind you at all times as to blow all dust and fumes away from you and if indoors be sure to have the garage door fully open.

You need to now take the tape and place onto all your painted surface above the rocker panel which is the fenders, doors, and the section behind the door. Keep half of the tape off the body as this is where you will place the newspaper then tape over it and the newspaper should be as high as to where the contour of the door changes halfway up. This needs to be done on both sides of the car up to where Now you are ready and the most you should have spent is $60 to $100. After putting on your protective gear and fan going, use the drill with the wire brush and clean all rust spots and any spots where the undercoating is open exposing the metal on the underside from one end of the rocker panel to the other.

This is basically from behind the front wheel to the rear. You do not want to see any more rust but bare metal when done, first wipe clean with a dry rag then with the acetone until your white towel shows no soil and then use the tack cloth which is sticky so you only want to wipe gently as to not leave any on the metal. This is only to wipe off any lint. Then spray on the rust and corrosion inhibitor holding the can about 10 inches from the surface let dry as per instructions and you may have to apply two coats.

Do not call an airplane that drops water on forest fires to drench this area thinking more is better and looking for the easy way out and saying to yourself now that should do it! Take your time and keep your hand with the paint can moving from side to side avoiding stopping the movement which will cause a pile-up of paint and cause running. And wait to tell the bartender to make it a double as there will be time for this when done. Work first drink later. Now back at the ranch. When dry then you want to spray the undercoating on and this for sure you want to spray on two coats again following drying time instructions on the can. Now you can take final photos before and after removing the tape and newspaper and then have some drinks and call the same newspaper that you got from the neighbor and ask them to send a crew over to cover your accomplishment. Go to the town government to apply for a permit to close off the street for the unavailing of your accomplishment.

Have the dry cleaner freshen up that Harris Tweed blazer and buy a pipe even if you do not smoke. It is just the look we are trying to get here. Have Steven Spielberg create a photo presentation for the event. Now as the crowd is in awe you stand in front of all the cameras grabbing your lapels with the biggest smile you can afford to pay for. And then your spouse or partner has a treat for you when everyone leaves. I am talking about the kind of treat that can lead to buying an XL SUV, to visiting a realtor in search of a larger house with many more rooms and all because you followed my advice. Well, I am here and now giving full disclosure that I take the fifth and will not be responsible for any results that follow the success of the rust repair. Therefore, when you are looking for an uncle to leave all those kids with while you get away for a much-needed break, I will be deep-sea fishing on another planet because you may choose never to come back to collect those little ones. A wipe of the forehead before I rest my case.

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