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Heavy-Duty Rocker Panels

Posted in How To on May 1, 2001
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Photographers: John Cappa
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The previous owner of this CJ-7 had opted for the rust-colored diamond-plate corners. They worked and the rust and rustic appearance didn’t bother us too much. But Avalanche Engineering’s Crusher Corners are thicker, void of the diamond plate, and extend all the way to the door opening. Under the old panels was hiding body filler, rust, and botched metal repairs. The previous owner of this CJ-7 had opted for the rust-colored diamond-plate corners. They worked and the rust and rustic appearance didn’t bother us too much. But Avalanche Engineering’s Crusher Corners are thicker, void of the diamond plate, and extend all the way to the door opening. Under the old panels was hiding body filler, rust, and botched metal repairs.
The Crusher Corners extend all the way to the door openings. They also extend to the bottom of the body tub so you can reinstall your fender flare if you choose. The cut-out section fits perfectly around Avalanche Engineering rocker guards, but leaves a gap around these guards from Sun Performance. The Crusher Corners extend all the way to the door openings. They also extend to the bottom of the body tub so you can reinstall your fender flare if you choose. The cut-out section fits perfectly around Avalanche Engineering rocker guards, but leaves a gap around these guards from Sun Performance.
Free your Jeep of its fender flares, taillights, side-marker lights, gas-filler trim piece, and old Jeep corners if it had them. Free your Jeep of its fender flares, taillights, side-marker lights, gas-filler trim piece, and old Jeep corners if it had them.
In theory, you’ll never see the factory metal again. Sand off surface rust and apply rust converter to any serious rust. Paint the backside of the Crusher Corners before putting them in place. In theory, you’ll never see the factory metal again. Sand off surface rust and apply rust converter to any serious rust. Paint the backside of the Crusher Corners before putting them in place.
The biggest challenge in installing the corners is that 3/16-inch steel is heavy. We creatively used a tie-down strap to suspend the corner from the garage rafter and then used C-clamps to hold the piece in place. Use the wheel opening as your primary guide for placement, but compare fitment at the doorjamb, the rear, and along the top of the body tub. The biggest challenge in installing the corners is that 3/16-inch steel is heavy. We creatively used a tie-down strap to suspend the corner from the garage rafter and then used C-clamps to hold the piece in place. Use the wheel opening as your primary guide for placement, but compare fitment at the doorjamb, the rear, and along the top of the body tub.
Once you’re happy with the positioning (and don’t go nuts—they won’t fit perfectly because your Jeep is old and you’ve ’wheeled it), clamp it tightly in place and drill holes through your tub to match the holes in the corner. We then removed the corner and ran a bead of silicone around the outside to hopefully seal out moisture. Once you’re happy with the positioning (and don’t go nuts—they won’t fit perfectly because your Jeep is old and you’ve ’wheeled it), clamp it tightly in place and drill holes through your tub to match the holes in the corner. We then removed the corner and ran a bead of silicone around the outside to hopefully seal out moisture.
Paint the panel to match your Jeep, or any color. Install the taillights and you’re pretty much done. We opted to skip the fender flares. On the Crusher Corners for CJs, you will have to convert your round gas-filler trim to the later rectangular piece. Costs were $350 for the pair of corners and $90 for the pair of recessed LED taillights. Paint the panel to match your Jeep, or any color. Install the taillights and you’re pretty much done. We opted to skip the fender flares. On the Crusher Corners for CJs, you will have to convert your round gas-filler trim to the later rectangular piece. Costs were $350 for the pair of corners and $90 for the pair of recessed LED taillights.

What’s the first body panel you’re going to smack on your Jeep? Right, the rocker panels. But after that, it’s your rear corners you’ll be knocking lights off of and smashing like you can’t believe. Want to avoid that and keep your soft top or hardtop fitting right? Then read on about a set of Jeep corners that will save your bacon better than the cheesy chrome versions you’re considering.

You may be surprised to find out that heavy-duty corners can be an inexpensive alternative to body repair and paint. The CJ-7 we used for this article had considerable body filler, surface rust, and welded crack repairs in the sheetmetal which would have cost well over $600 to repair, not including paint. At $350 per pair, Crusher Corners from Avalanche Engineering are more expensive than other corners. However, what you get from Avalanche are 3/16-inch-thick, precision-bent and -cut, high-pressure steel corners which cover and protect your rear from the tailgate seams all the way to the door openings.

The most popular Crusher Corners cover all the factory sheetmetal and accept stock fender flares. Competition Cut Crusher Corners are available for CJ-5s, CJ-7s, and YJs. The competition versions are cut out significantly for increased wheelbase or excessive tire clearance. An additional cost you will have to plan on is upgrading to flush-mount taillights for all but YJs and TJs—admit it, you’ve been wanting do to this anyway.

Avalanche has your corners if you own a:
’76-’86 CJ-7
’76-’83 CJ-5
’81-’86 Scrambler
’86-’96 YJ
’97-current TJ

Sources

Avalanche Engineering
Bayfield, CO 81122
970-759-2595
http://www.avalancheengineering.com

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