Things are changing, folks. The stigma of four-doors/more doors/your mom’s car being uncool is fading fast. America has now lived for over 20 years with four-door cars being the norm in life. Still doubt it? Think about how many two-door models are available from manufacturers today, then compare that to the number of four-doors. Startling huh? Add to that we’ve got two generations of people who’ve pretty much known nothing but four-doors, it’s easy to see why the acceptance of four-door classic cars is growning.
From 1955 to 1957, Chevrolet produced 1,864,459 four-door sedans. With that many made, and a considerable amount still around, it’s no surprise Real Deal Steel has been tooling up and coming out with a new array of four-door-specific parts to meet demand as more of these are being built in various styles.
We found a ’55 210 four-door in need of body surgery, so we picked up a pair of Real Deal’s new four-door rockers, and went to work seeing how good they were. And we’ll go ahead and tell you, the fit and finish was as good as the rest of Real Deal’s Tri-Five body parts. And with the fender mount and center post reinforcement brace already installed, there was no need for a bunch of extra measuring or fabrication. It was just as easy as installing a new rocker on a two-door.
Check out the photos and see for yourself.
1. The rockers on this 210 were in terrible shape. A back alley repair was done at some point where newspaper and body filler were slathered into the rocker. Ugly, and the half-arsed repair was starting to give way as the rest of the rocker disintegrated.
2. The salvation is this new, complete four-door outer rocker from Real Deal Steel (PN 554DLHR for the driver side, 554DRHR for the passenger side). No need for modifying or adapting a universal part anymore; four-door owners now have exact repair parts.
3. Two great things about the Real Deal outer rockers: They come with the center post reinforcement brace already installed, as well as the front fender bracket, eliminating the need for time consuming measurements for correct placement.
4. The first step was removing the doors. We drilled guide holes in the hinges to make reinstalling them easier, and so they’d keep their original alignment.
5. Next up, we removed what was left of the old rocker, along with lots of newspaper and filler.
6. If your rockers are more intact than ours, handy tools to have for splitting the factory seam are Eastwood’s seam splitter (PN 21918) and skip-proof spot-weld cutter kit, (PN 11283).
7. While the focus of this story is on the outer rocker replacement, we also took the time to replace the inner rockers, which had virtually rotted away. Real Deal has these too, PN 567LIR for the driver side and 567RIR for the passenger side. No matter what model Tri-Five you have, they all use the same inner rocker part numbers. We gave ours a good coating with Eastwood’s weld through, zinc-rich galvanizing compound, PN 13242Z in aerosol can form.
8. Once the inner rocker was aligned in place, we fired up the trusty MIG welder and tacked it in.
9. With the inner secure, we clamped the new outer rocker in place. The fit was superb, and we just had to do a little adjusting to get it into place. And since it already has the lower fender mount in place, it made our lives that much easier.
10. The center post fits over the outer rocker as such. Once the rocker was in place inside the channel of the center post and forward pillar, we clamped it down tightly and tack welded it in place.
11. Before tacking the center post in place, we measured the rear door opening, then the width of the rear door, and compared those measurements to the passenger side of the car that we hadn’t touched yet. This gave us the exact location of where the post should be on the new rocker. If the post is too far forward or rearward, neither of the doors will close.
12. Once we had the center post set, we welded it in place.
13. Because of the tight confines of where we were welding on this one, and the thickness of the metal, we punched holes in the various mating surfaces to weld everything together, along with welding on the seams.
14. Then we moved to the back side of the post and welded that securely to the new rocker.
15. And here it is, installed and ready for the doors to be reinstalled. Now our sedan’s floor structure is back up to full strength, and we won’t have to worry about the floor falling out. We can now also replace and repair our floor braces where needed.
16. One last thing we did is hit all of our welded areas with a spray of Eastwood’s Rust Encapsulator to make sure none of our fresh welds will rust.