Building a Jeep that’s not a Wrangler, XJ, or CJ can be an exercise in frustration. You know what you want, but sometimes unless you’re willing and able to cut, weld, and fabricate, you may not be able to get it. This can be especially true of rocker protection, which is almost always the first order of business for any of our vehicle builds. There’s no faster way to bugger up your rig’s body than hit a hardcore trail without rocker protection. Next thing you know you’ve got a best-case scenario of a couple minor dents or a worst-case scenario of collapsed lower sheetmetal that won’t allow you to open the doors.
We didn’t want our ’78 Cherokee Chief to suffer such a fate, but our fabrication time was limited as we scurried about prepping for what turned out to be a failed attempt to bring it to the 2012 Moab Easter Jeep Safari. Ultimately, other mechanical issues let us down and the Chief didn’t go to Moab, but not before we managed to secure some top-notch rocker protection.
In addition to manufacturing suspension, bumper, and armor parts for mainstream Jeeps like Wranglers, Scramblers, and CJs, Rocky Road Outfitters also covers a gamut of less-conventional enthusiast Jeeps, including the Jeep WK Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Commander, Patriot, and Compass. And that’s not even getting into the non-Jeep vehicles it covers. The company’s Rockrails are built from 0.188-wall receiver hitch stock with 3/16-inch mounting plates and heavy-wall runners. They’re designed to bolt on with only drilling required on some models and come powdercoated for all-weather protection. The Super-sliders are simply a Rockrail with an extra slider tube and bracing that further protects the rockers and helps keep trail obstacles away from the body.
Rocky Road offers its line of Rockrails and Super-sliders for ’84-’91 Wagoneers. Considering how little Jeep changed in the Wagoneer/Cherokee architecture, we think it’s close enough to a ’78 Cherokee Chief that we ordered up a set of Super-sliders for our FSJ. Since we were installing the sliders on a vehicle for which they weren’t designed, we ran into a couple of slight differences and had to drill one new bolt hole per side. Still, we gained a ton of protection with very minor installation hassles. The sliders fit the contours of the body and frame nicely, and Rocky Road guarantees them against bending forever.