Kenny Miller spared Wolves' blushes with a late strike as Rochdale's spirited FA Cup challenge was ended 3-1 at Molineux.
Wolves looked destined to be forced into a replay before Miller popped up with his sixth goal in the last five games just 11 minutes from time.
Sub Adam Proudlock then added a third in stoppage time as Wolves earned a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1998.
The defeat was rough on Rochdale, who had forced their way back into the game after falling behind in the 32nd minute to a strike from George Ndah.
Rochdale player-manager Paul Simpson then looked set to return to haunt his former club when his 52nd minute shot was deflected home by Gavin Melaugh.
Wolves were also frustrated by an inspired display from Rochdale's rookie goalkeeper Matthew Gilks before Miller finally ended his resistance.
Gilks saved the initial shot from Lee Naylor, but the rebound flew straight to Miller who fired home a low shot from 12 yards.
Proudlock then added a more realistic look to the scoreline in stoppage time with his first touch. Gilks could only palm away a shot from Colin Cameron and Proudlock turned home the loose ball.
Rochdale had almost gifted Wolves the lead in bizarre style after 16 minutes when a fierce backpass from Simon Grand caught out Gilks who was relieved to see his sliced clearance fly out for a corner.
Wolves exerted all the early pressure and finally made their pressure pay after 32 minutes. Ince took at a corner from Mark Kennedy only to miss the ball completely.
Fortunately for Wolves, Ndah proved to be more clinical as he drilled a low drive through the legs of Gilks from 12 yards.
Having made the decisive breakthrough, Wolves could then have put the game out of sight before half time only to be frustrated by Gilks.
He did well to hold on to a header from Paul Butler in the 44th minute before beating away an Ince shot in stoppage time.
Gilks continued to deny Wolves again after the break when he turned a 51st minute shot from Kennedy around the post.
The value of his heroics become fully apparent 60 seconds later when Wolves were stunned by Melaugh's equaliser.
The Aston Villa midfielder, on a three-month loan with the Spotland side, deflected Simpson's 25-yard drive past goalkeeper Matt Murray with the outside of his left boot.
His strike looked set to earn Rochdale a second crack at Wolves only for Miller to extinguish their FA Cup dreams.