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Has anyone been behind the rocker panels?

Prolificant

Member
Mar 18, 2020
29
40
Washington
So my wife decided to move my car yesterday and hit something in the garage. There is a nice smashed in portion on the passenger side rocker panel. I would hope to go the PDR route but the two places I have asked so far have said they don’t think they can get behind it.

My understanding is that there is a plastic part under it that can be taken off. Has anyone done so or know if doing so would allow for access to inside for PDR?

I am hoping I can put the car on a lift and remove the cover if possible to allow for PDR instead of having paintwork done.

8CE00744-4E10-4835-B67A-5AD47B8A9BB2.jpeg
 

Prolificant

Member
Mar 18, 2020
29
40
Washington
So I found a picture that showed what was under the plastic trim elsewhere:

BE88CE76-91A0-4005-9EE8-8659C03CB977.jpeg


it looks like removing the plastic won’t help any as there is no opening except tiny slots for the clips.

I have messaged two semi local PDR places and they both said there is no access. One said go to a body shop and the other said he could get it 90% via the “glue method”

I am really afraid of going to a body shop as I’m a bit OCD and I know paint match will not be perfect.

I’m wondering if I were to remove the panel and drill a half inch hole below the damaged area if that would be sufficient for them to gain access. The. I could touch up the hole and put the cover back on. Does anyone know if there are components here or if it’s empty?
 
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Dolemite

is my name
Sep 19, 2019
1,372
1,738
Seattle, WA
I’ve had mine off and even had one of the metal clips get lost in there and spent 30 mins fishing it out. I can’t remember what the hell is in there but I vaguely remember it wasn’t as simple as being completely hollow.

Just take the damn thing off and look yourself. It takes like 10 minutes. Be careful with the metal clips that go into those long slots otherwise you’ll be spending a lot of time fishing them out through the fender holes. If you take the front and/or rear wheel liners off there are sizeable holes in there that are covered by these big rubber caps. I just can’t remember what it’s like in there.
 

electrongeek

Metrology Fanboy
Nov 1, 2019
69
75
Maine
I managed to crush my rocker panel after turning too quickly out of a parking space and hitting the curb. At the Tesla certified body shop, in Malden, MA, I found out that this section is a one piece structural unit that requires extensive disassembly of that side of the vehicle and windshield (!) to replace. The total bill, which of course I farmed out to insurance, was $16,000, about $1,100 in parts, the rest in labor for disassembly, repair, paint, and reassembly. Perhaps people will develop less invasive repair methods for this section, because it is needed!
 

Stanwood Steve

2018 Performance Model 3
Mar 30, 2019
144
196
Stanwood, WA
I had some damage to the passenger side rocker panel on my car after hitting some debris on the freeway that I couldn't avoid (it was moving), and I got two bids. One from a Tesla approved body shop wanted over $13k for the repair, and the Tesla body shop, who wanted just over $2,200. I went with the Tesla body shop. The wait for parts was about two weeks. Honestly, I can't even tell the work was ever done. It was perfect and the paint match was amazing - I couldn't tell it was ever done. The estimate included a new rear wheel which had a very minor scrape on the edge of the rim, but Tesla said that if any metal is missing, they replace the wheel ($715 for the 20"). I asked for the damaged wheel upon completion of the job, and they said sure. I touched it up with a couple drops of touchup paint and now I have a spare wheel if ever needed.
 
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AxlxA

Member
Jun 23, 2020
531
505
Bay Area
So my wife decided to move my car yesterday and hit something in the garage. There is a nice smashed in portion on the passenger side rocker panel. I would hope to go the PDR route but the two places I have asked so far have said they don’t think they can get behind it.

My understanding is that there is a plastic part under it that can be taken off. Has anyone done so or know if doing so would allow for access to inside for PDR?

I am hoping I can put the car on a lift and remove the cover if possible to allow for PDR instead of having paintwork done.

View attachment 606229

https://unpluggedperformance.com/wp...odel-S-Side-Skirt-Set-Installation-Manual.pdf

I was googling for pics of how to remove. UPP did a PDF on how to install their sideskirts so I imagine the first half of the instruction pertains to you. Their pics aren't that great though.

Oh *sugar* I'm sorry this is a model S....

Looking deeper at the car, i dont think there's a way.
 
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KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,964
3,657
Maine
I hit a granite curb, late Summer. Stupid curb juts up, just as your rear wheel falls into a drain, so that the granite hits your rocker. Further complicating things is, that as you round the corner, the parking spot is inset, so, you don't realize that you're pulling closer to the curb since you can't see that corner.

Here's the granite curb with drain:
IMG_8362.jpeg


Here's the damage to my rocker, at the body shop. I already hung the salmon-colored hockey pucks. Rather than hope the shop is careful lifting the Tesla, I just hang the hard-to-miss pucks. That way I don't have to worry about the techs and their experience with Teslas:
IMG_8844.jpeg


And, after I got it back, I waited 4 weeks to re-apply the PPF to the rocker:
IMG_8875.jpeg


$1300 billed to insurance, not counting rental car for 4 days, $500 was labor to fix the dent, aluminum, they heat it and massage it; $500 for painting, and $300 for materials. I did the PPF myself, later. They were going to do it, but I wanted to wait to let the paint dry completely. They said they could do it by removing the plastic rocker on the bottom, and that there was enough space to heat and massage the dent out.
 
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Reactions: jjrandorin
Thanks for the information and pictures!

I have to say I have heard some insane numbers for this sort of repair which made me a bit worried, so I feel a bit better should I go the body shop route.

Still tempted to try the glue PDR method out of pocket instead of a claim. Anyone had that done before?
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,964
3,657
Maine
i just realized that the bottom rockerpanel is connected to the main body panel on the rear. Oo
Given that damage is not uncommon that seems like a really strange design choice.
Yeah, I noticed that when I first did my PPF on the rockers. They sell a single piece that covers the rear quarter panel all the way down to the rockers. It's crazy if you have significant rocker damage, requiring replacement because it means the rear quarter panel is replaced. Nuts. I was thinking that was what happened to @electrongeek that required $16k to fix.
 

AmokTime

Member
Nov 27, 2019
263
266
Philly metro
I was told by my body shop that the rocker panel is aluminum. I hit some debris in the road from a storm and had to have the rear passenger door and rocker panel repaired. Since Ford uses aluminum panels on some of their cars now, many body shops have aluminum guys on staff, so it was easy to fix with no replacement. They did break the tabs on a tail light reflector and had to wait for parts for that. The entire job was $2200, and the damage was much worse than the OP’s photo. They can hammer it out and you’ll never be able to tell the difference. My debris was large cobble stones - 10 or 15 pound rock blocks, maybe 8”x5”x4”.
 

M109Rider

Active Member
Apr 8, 2018
1,662
2,026
Kitchener, Ontario
I was told by my body shop that the rocker panel is aluminum. I hit some debris in the road from a storm and had to have the rear passenger door and rocker panel repaired. Since Ford uses aluminum panels on some of their cars now, many body shops have aluminum guys on staff, so it was easy to fix with no replacement. They did break the tabs on a tail light reflector and had to wait for parts for that. The entire job was $2200, and the damage was much worse than the OP’s photo. They can hammer it out and you’ll never be able to tell the difference. My debris was large cobble stones - 10 or 15 pound rock blocks, maybe 8”x5”x4”.

Re: Aluminum, vs Steel.
I haven’t run a magnet over the rocker panel lately, but I know the main reason Tesla issued mud flaps to northern owners, was to prevent rock chips creating rust.
I’m pretty sure the rocker panels on model 3’s have been steel. Not sure about model Y’s, or newer model 3’s.
 

M109Rider

Active Member
Apr 8, 2018
1,662
2,026
Kitchener, Ontario
The flaps were to keep sand from roads from eroding the paint during the winter.
Yes, and once the paint is off, you have rust. :)

I just did the magnet test - the rear quarter panel and rocker panel (a single, continuous piece) pulled - not strongly enough for the magnet to hold itself on, but enough to feel the pull, so there’s steel there. The door panel has no steel.

The magnet sticks quite strongly to the rear quarter panel, but much more weakly to the rocker.

The rocker panel, has a thick layer of rock guard on it, so it will pull less. It’s steel though.
 

boiler81

Member
Feb 22, 2016
781
733
Manson, WA
One from a Tesla approved body shop wanted over $13k for the repair, and the Tesla body shop, who wanted just over $2,200. I went with the Tesla body shop.

So, I got two Tesla Certified Body Shops in the Seattle area to estimate repainting my "keyed" rear door and onto the rear fender. The one in Redmond quoted $2200, and the one in downtown Seattle quoted $4800. Where is the Tesla Body Shop?
 

Stanwood Steve

2018 Performance Model 3
Mar 30, 2019
144
196
Stanwood, WA
So, I got two Tesla Certified Body Shops in the Seattle area to estimate repainting my "keyed" rear door and onto the rear fender. The one in Redmond quoted $2200, and the one in downtown Seattle quoted $4800. Where is the Tesla Body Shop?
The Tesla Body Shop in in Bellevue in the vicinity of the Tesla Service Center (not right next to it - it's about a mile away). I dealt with a guy named Doug Dubois (425-577-3063). The address of the body shop was 1762 133rd Place NE, Bellevue, 98005. I don't know if that is still the location of the shop or not - it had a "temporary" feel to me, but they said they were going to be adding a paint shop to the location which led me to believe they were there to stay.
 

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