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Key information on why our rocker panels rot out

Venture 1997-2005
This minivan from Chevy offers a sporty look as well as all of the modern additons of the minivan market.
Platform: U-Body

Key information on why our rocker panels rot out

Old March 8th, 2012, 6:28 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Default 2002 venture rust bucket

My daughter just bought one thinking it looked ok. One of her 7 year old sons closed the sliding door a little hard (because the electric closer isn't working) and the bondo patch fell off. I looked under the vehicle to find both rocker panels to be completely rotted from wheel to wheel. It was a private sale so there is no chance of her getting her money back. It looks like I have a lot of work to do to get this thing to pass inspection. I can also smell anti-freeze coming from the engine but don't see where it may be leaking.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 7:28 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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The anti freeze smell could be coming from anything from a porous coolant bottle to engine hose, to a leaking head gasket. If the coolant is down, and there is grey oily coolant in the reservoir, it is most likely a intake gasket, Do a close inspection, there is lots of information about intake gasket, head gasket, replacement procedures on the net... as far as the rockers go (as in my previous post,) get some aftermarket ones from your local jobber, pop rivet them on, trem clad, and they will most likely outlast the van.....
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Old September 1st, 2018, 11:06 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2018
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Default Rocker maintenance

Originally Posted by nhautotech View Post
I strongly believe the problem with the rear lower rocker panels rotting through has nothing to do with maintenance or drainage or paint chipping what so ever. I've found evidence on one vehicle of a defect in the way the body's are seamed together that causes dirt,salt,water to actually fill up the area inside the rockers where cleaning is impossible without cutting through the metal.

Not all vans have this deffect as mine doesn't. If yours isn't soft in this area it probably doesn't have it either. check the under side of the rocker just under the rear edge of the side doors. Theres a seam there running up and down and where that seam meets the pinch plate which is the crimped body seam running the length of the rocker is where it gets soft first. If it's soft I'll tell you where to look for the defect.
If your vehicle does not have access holes in the rocker panels you can buy rubber plugs for them. First drill the correct size holes, spray a lubricant inside and then insert the plugs. Once a month during the winter is best.
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