Recently I was discussing the evils of rust with another Oppo, when it occurred to me that I had an ultra-rare afternoon where I didn’t have anything I needed to do, and I didn’t have to pick up my daughters from daycare. I decided it was time to get an estimate to fix the rusty rocker panel on the driver’s side of my truck.

I had gone to four different shops last year when I was deciding if I could afford to save my beloved Roadmaster (I dearly miss that car!). I decided to go to the one that said, “Don’t sink another dollar into this car. Sell it tomorrow, while it’s still solid.” When a shop recommends I not give them money, I feel like that’s an honest shop.

I was fully prepared to pay upwards of a grand to fix that cancer, but secretly hopeful it could be done for less. Boy was I in for a shock.

Apparently the proper way to fix this, is to cut the entire side of the cab structure off at the the body crease above the “chrome” trim. My eyes got wide as the very nice man described everything that would have to be done. He guesstimated as we talked at the truck it would be about a $3,400 job, and then offered to do a formal written estimate if I wanted.


I took him up on the formal estimate, as I just wanted to see how the numbers added up. The number ended up being not as bad as his guesstimate, but still WAY into ain’tgonnahappenland at $3,240.75. Even that came with a couple caveats. The first was, “If we can get the part.” GMT-800 cab sides are no longer being produced, so they’d have to find one sitting in a warehouse somewhere. The second, and even scarier caveat was, “if we don’t find any other bad stuff when we cut into it, but with rust we almost always find other bad stuff.”

The guy was impressed with how well I took the news. I told him, “I’m shocked that it takes that much work to fix this problem, but when you’re describing what it would take to fix it properly, it makes sense that it would cost this much.” I guess your average rust repair estimate seeker doesn’t see things like I do, but as a guy who makes things I know cutting the entire lower side of the cab off and replacing would be a freaking ton of work.


I floated the idea of just cutting the rocker itself out and welding in a new piece. His concern was a weld joint that long holding up over time, which is a valid concern. Frankly a welded seam like that probably isn’t any safer, or maybe is less safe, for my kids than a factory piece with some rust on it.

I’m thinking of grinding the worst of the rust out, POR-15ing the rest, and painting the rockers with bed-liner paint. I need at least three more years out of this truck. I’ve got to pay off my wife’s CX-5 before I can even consider a payment on a replacement truck. I’d prefer to get another 5 or 6 years out of this truck so I can save up a nice big down payment. Well, I’d prefer to keep the truck even longer than that, but if the rust monster starts perforating structural bits, I’m not hauling my family around in it.


Any thoughts Oppo?