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Tabco Rocker Panel replacement - Door gap?

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Hi everyone. I appreciate all the information from the members of this site. It's been invaluable since I decided to tackle this project. I have a 71. I've replaced the drivers side floor with one from MSA. The floors and lower inner rocker, outer rocker were toast. I initially cut out the bottom of the inner rocker which was beyond saving along with the outer rocker. After welding in the new floor on three sides along with a new MSA frame support rail, I went about the business of figuring out to best tackle the lower inner rocker to best support weld ing points for the exterior side of the floor pan as well as attachment of the new MSA rocker panel. I've attached a few pics but I will upload more later tonight when I get home. Basically I created a new lower third of the inner rocker and then welded it to the bottom of the remaining lower rocker as well as spot welded it to the vertical attachment lip of the new floor. It's not pretty and my welding sucks but it's solid. I've mocked up the new MSA rocker and re-attached the door and fender just to get an idea of how it looked. My confusion is around the MSA tabco rocker panel. I believe I have the panel placed as high as it is designed to go. Essentially it goes up as far as the top edge of the rocker will allow before interference at the front with the door post and it's basically flush with the bottom of seatbelt mounting plate in the rear. Seems all is good until I look at the gap between the bottom of the door and rocker which seems way too big. Again, sorry about these pics. I have more which will help better show the current mock up of the rocker panel. My questions are:

1. Do the tabco replacement panels need trimmed typically at the top edge for fitment? The top edge of mine is currently already higher than the top edge of the existing inner panel lip where the weatherstripping will go.

2. Can anyone tell me if my thought process is correct on the height of the new rocker panel? Should the top edge be flush with the seat belt mounting plate? That seems like the only point of reference I can use to describe the height.

3. What is "normal" gap size from bottom of door to rocker?

4. Am I overthinking this and maybe it's more a matter of making adjustments to the door hinges to help with the gap?

5. And yes,I've now seen the great inner rocker fabbing from disepyon. I wish I would have seen those beforehand. I may have done a full inner replacement vs my rudimentary approach to the bottom 1/3 of the panel.


I'm hoping to weld in the rocker this weekend but I'm reluctant to do it until I understand this a little better. All help is appreciated.



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I can answer your first question: Yes. They will definitely need trimming on top. Most tabco panels are like... 90% of the way there. The always require a bit of coercing and trimming. The rear lower quarter is the worst of them. My rockers were a good fit by comparison.


Unless the floor and inner rocker repairs you made warped something or you haven't set the rocker in the right spot, you shouldn't have too severe of a gap issue. Adjusting the door hinges and mounting will only give you so much adjustment to that before the door isn't aligned properly to shut like it should. 

Edited by Zetsaz
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Zetsaz, thanks for that direction. I thought that may be the case that I would need to trim the top but I was reluctant to jump in and start cutting into a new panel! Thanks for confirming this is what you had to do. What was your process? Did you trim the entire length of the top edge all at once or did you just trim back the areas under the door post and rear 1/4 to allow the whole panel to be moved upward as needed until the door gap was correct?  Thanks again for feedback.

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  • 2 years later...
5 hours ago, Jughead said:

Itball:  I'm curious to know how this issue resolved itself, as I currently have the exact same issue.  Did you fix the gap?  How'd you do it?


Thanks!  Jughead

That was 3 yrs ago and it looks like itball left after getting some advice.

As I said in your first thread, take the car off of the jacks, check the gap if it is any different, if it is very different you could  put the hydraulic jack under the floor pan right next to the rocker, put a 2-3 ft. 2x4" on the jack and pump it up slowly to see if that changes the gap. These cars can sag a bit when jacked up even with good rockers and floor pans.

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