How to Replace Rocker Panels on a Classic Mustang

How to Replace Rocker Panels on a Classic Mustang

Last Updated February 23, 2024 | Bill Tumas

Replacing rocker panels on a classic Mustang can enhance the look of your car while protecting it from rust and debris. Depending on the styling, they can also add a more aggressive and sporty appearance to the vehicle.

In this how-to guide, we'll walk you through how to replace rocker panels on your classic Ford Mustang. We'll also cover the tools and materials you'll need and some tips to make the install process as smooth as possible.

How to Replace Rocker Panels on a Classic Mustang

For this install, we went with these OE-style Mustang rocker panel replacements. Your rocker panels might be different from the ones we chose, but the installation should be similar for all classic Mustangs.

Check out these other Mustang rocker panel options to find the right ones for your body style and build.

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Parts and Tools Needed:

  • Tape Measure
  • Marker
  • Drill
  • ⅛" Drill Bit
  • ¼" Drill Bit
  • Rivet Gun
  • ¼" Ratchet
  • 9 mm Deep Socket
  • Safety Glasses

Step 1: Remove Rocker Panel Molding

Use your hands to pull on the rocker panel from the top down. You may need a plastic pry bar to remove it, but just your hands should do the trick.

Mechanic removing the rocker panel molding from a classic Mustang

Step 2: Remove Original Clips

Drill out the rivets holding the plastic clips in place. There are six clips in total

Mechanic removing the rocker panel clips from a classic Mustang

Pro Tip: Once the panel and clips are removed, it's a good idea to clean the body of your Mustang to remove residue that may have built up under the panel.

Step 3: Line Up Rivet Holes

The rivet holes from your original rocker panels will most likely be pre-drilled and in the correct location. However, if any part of your Mustang's side molding has been replaced, you may need to drill new holes.

The top hole needs to be ⅞ of an inch from the top of the rocker. You can measure the distance to the bottom hole by lining up the original clip with the top hole.

Once the clips are lined up properly with the panel, make sure they're in line with the other clips as well, then drill the holes.

Mechanic lining up rocker panel rivet holes on a classic Mustang

Step 4: Attach New Clips

Use a rivet gun to insert the rivets provided with your rocker through the new clips and into the pre-drilled holes. Repeat this process for all clips.

Mechanic attaching new rocker panel clips on a classic Mustang

Step 5: Drill Stud Hole

To attach the new rocker panel, there's a stud that will need to go through the side molding.

Line up the panel with the clips and drill a hole for the stud where it lines up with the corresponding hole on the panel. Insert the stud and place a nut on the other side.

Mechanic drilling rocker panel stud holes on a classic Mustang

Step 6: Install New Rocker Panel

To install the panel, start by attaching the bottom clips. Because of the length, it's probably a good idea to get someone to help line it up.

Next, slide the rocker panel into position, attaching it to the top clips.

Mechanic installing new rocker panels on a classic Mustang

Congratulations, you're all done!

Restore Your Classic Mustang's Body

Now that you've replaced the rocker panels, you're one step closer to restoring your classic Mustang to its former glory. We have the parts you need to take your Mustang restoration project to the next level. Check out our classic parts page to start your Mustang restoration journey today.

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.