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View Poll Results: Have you had any cracking or breakage issues with your rocker panels?
Yes 144 44.58%
No 179 55.42%
Voters: 323. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-01-2010, 11:50 AM
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Dodge Challenger Rocker Panel Problems

Over the last few months, I have read many complaints about cracked rocker panels on the Dodge Challenger product line. For those who are unaware of where these problems occur. The rocker panel is the long piece of plastic below the drivers and passengers side door that extends from the front to rear wheel wells.



Although I do not drive the car on a regular basis, I have not been immune to these problems. My 2009 Dodge Challenger RT has been in for repair twice. I have heard many members offer ideas as to why these rockers are cracking. Some of these ideas include hard driving, hoisting, hitting curbs, lowering springs, and cold weather. While these may be factors, they are not true in every case.

I have seen 2009 and 2020 cars on dealerships lot that have cracked and broken rockers and the cars have never moved since delivery. My first repaired rocker crack this weekend and I had only driven the car once for less that 150 kilometers. The consensus of the dealerships body shop manager and dealership owner is, put more on under warranty and see what happens. Novel idea, but what happens once the warranty will no longer cover it. They both agreed that the engineers need to redesign and retool this part.

I feel that the engineers need to consider this issue. While it will never be a safety recall, it should be a rapid response or a voluntary recall. This issue needs to be addressed soon, before the warranty expires. If you have cracked rockers get them replaced as soon as possible. Start creating a paper trail to show that this issue is apparent. It will only help you in the future if Dodge does not come up with a fix before your warranty expires. If your rockers have not cracked, make sure you have your concerns issued formally so that Dodge knows it is an issue. Again this will only help you in the future.

I have included that contact information for Canada and the United States. Both require your last 8 digits and letters from your VIN. They will assign you a file number that is for your specific complaint.

Canada Complaint Line: 1(800) 465-2001
United States Complaint Line: 1(800)992-1997

Please post here if you have had this problem on your Dodge Challenger. Please include year, model, Province or State and reference complaint number. I will be writing a letter to the engineers at Dodge, in a few months, including all the concerns of those this problem is effecting. I do not want anyone to post their name or VIN number, confidentiality reasons. The reference complaint number would be enough to identify you to Dodge once the letter is issued.

Something like this would be great!

2009 Dodge Challenger RT
Alberta, Canada.
Reference Complaint Number 19355346

This thread is a serious look at the problem. Thank you for your time!
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Last edited by Blackout; 03-03-2010 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:12 PM
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I haven't had any yet. But MY suspicions are that water gets behind the plactic trim and freezes. Water expands and cracks them. I had noticed this concern has dropped off to almost nothing over the summer. Now with freezing temps and precipitation it is back. Maybe instead of plastic they need to make it from a more pliable vinyl material.
These aren't pick ups with frames so it is unlikley body twist. Hoisting problems, maybe. Anyone have an old one to see if there is a "water pocket" behind the trim for water to collect and freeze?
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:15 PM
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I havent noticed any problems yet with my car, but I have it garaged, and dont drive it when its wet out. But I am not 100% sure I am good, with the splash guards, I cant see the front corner of my rocker panel fully. Hopefully that isnt hiding any issues.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by STONEWHITE R/T View Post
I haven't had any yet. But MY suspicions are that water gets behind the plactic trim and freezes. Water expands and cracks them. I had noticed this concern has dropped off to almost nothing over the summer. Now with freezing temps and precipitation it is back. Maybe instead of plastic they need to make it from a more pliable vinyl material.
These aren't pick ups with frames so it is unlikley body twist. Hoisting problems, maybe. Anyone have an old one to see if there is a "water pocket" behind the trim for water to collect and freeze?
Definitely not the case as I do not drive my car in the rain and I have not washed it much this winter. When not in use, it sits in my cozy garage.

My theory is body flex. Ie driving up a slight incline from a flat surface causes some flex within the body. The panels get rigid when cold and is not enough room for some flex and crack. But even that theory may not be correct as I believe some people have had theirs garaged all winter. Of course they may have not noticed the cracks as I did not on mine until close inspection.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:32 PM
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I added a poll to this thread to get an idea of how many have had this happen!
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:38 PM
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I too have a sharp incline to enter my driveway. I don't have it. These are unibody cars. There is some flex but.... I don't think it is that much to break these panels like this. Mine is garaged in rain and cold also. But you all did have some very cold in Dallas a few weeks ago. Maybe they are too long or too short. Or they are torqued down too tight. It is a big problem and Chrysler does need to address this no matter what the cause is.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by STONEWHITE R/T View Post
I too have a sharp incline to enter my driveway. I don't have it. These are unibody cars. There is some flex but.... I don't think it is that much to break these panels like this. Mine is garaged in rain and cold also. But you all did have some very cold in Dallas a few weeks ago. Maybe they are too long or too short. Or they are torqued down too tight. It is a big problem and Chrysler does need to address this no matter what the cause is.
I had the first set fixed at the end of January 2010, at the time the car had not been driven since November 2009. After it was fixed, I parked the car again. We had nice weather yesterday, so I took the Challenger out far a drive. Less than 60 miles and the rockers are cracked again. What I think is happening is that the plastic that they are made from shrinks in the cold. The steel on the car does not. The panels are very tight on the car and go not have any give. As a result the weakest link is the plastic and it cracks. Flex in the car, hoisting, snow or water may be the final factor causing the problem.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:57 PM
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Mine haven't yet, but the car only has 200 miles on it and has been tucked away in the garage for the last two months. But you can rest assured that I am keeping a watchful eye on them.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:02 PM
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With the assistance of the dealership, we are going to work on a solution to the problem. The body shop at the dealership are going to order a new set along with a set of mud guards. We will get a set off of one of the cars on the lot that have good rear corners.

We are going to cut the front end of the rocker panel off, with the belief that this will relieve the pressure off the rear end of the rocker panel. Once the mud guards are on, the cut end will be covered.

They agreed to give it a try, but I have it in writing that if I am not happy with the fix that they will replace the rocker panels under warranty.

This is not a solution for everyone, but for those who have mud guards on it should.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:04 PM
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Mine have not cracked yet I have 720 miles Garaged in Georgia only drive on sunny weekend days.
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