Well, first of all, there was no blood (and limited mumbled cursing under my breath), so overall, this was a good installation for me. Total install time was about two hours, and that’s because it took an hour and a half to learn on the first side, then thirty minutes to complete the second side with newly acquired knowledge and experience.
I had always sort of viewed rock sliders as “Jewelry for Jeeps”, one of the many things we can buy for our babies, but not something really necessary. (I know, shows my lack of knowledge, but I figured if you were lifted and locked, you had plenty of clearance, what’s the big deal?) That was until I watched a fella on a relatively easy trail try an obstacle, get stuck, get pulled off the rock (boulder) by a fellow Jeeper, then nearly cry when he saw the massive damage getting drug off a rock did to the side of his Jeep. I decided to investigate further…
After reading up on other installations, I felt confident this was something I could do myself, with relatively little pain and suffering. After all, I’m just a weekend Jeeper with a limited budget, so it had to be easy and something I didn’t need a lot of specialized tools or welding skills! There were several styles, and prices, and “custom” rock sliders available on the internet, but I went with a pair from AJ’s Offroad Armor ( www.ajsoffroadarmor.com ).
There were plenty of pictures and information on his website, and I liked that (instead of angling up to contour the shape of the body) this pair was designed to go straight out from the body, giving an additional pivot point for my XJ when in a tight spot. Made from 2 x 2 square tubing, I got the strength I needed, without the additional weight of wider tubing.
The sliders come in two choices of thickness: 1/8” for daily drivers and 3/16” for something more study. Another thing that sold me on this particular set of rock sliders was the design itself. AJ’s Rock Sliders offer 11 mounting points per side and a really nifty rear frame-rail mount fastens to the rear spring hanger, adding a considerable amount of strength. They ran around $200, plus shipping via UPS. AJ was absolutely great to work with and responded via e-mail to all my questions as I had them.
Finally! The day arrived (you know, the day when your long awaited part for you Jeep arrives, THEN you tell your wife you ordered it and hope for the best…). Although I am exceptionally happy with the rails themselves, the packaging and shipping left a lot to be desired. Basically, the packaging consisted of Duct Tape and some yellow and black tape the UPS stuck on them saying they were heavy.
During transport, the sliders had obviously been dropped, and even though Duct Tape is a rock solid solution for almost everything in life… it offered very little protection during shipping. (I learned the joys of pounding on steel with a sledge hammer. A great release to a long day if you ever get the chance.)