Rocker panels seem to be made of some special rock-attracting supermagnets. We are not sure why 4x4 manufacturers use this material in making rocker panels, but we know how to counter it: with a Chuck Norrisesque defense, or as they are more commonly called, rock sliders.
Rock sliders come in all shapes and sizes. Some attach to the body, others to the frame. We’ve seen them tied into a rollcage with integrated sidesteps, others are rolled and clearance for, quite simply, added rock clearance. The goal is to keep rocks and other trail obstacles from gouging, banging, denting, and destroying your rocker panels and slowing your progress.
We called up the guru of Toyota rockcrawling, Marlin Czajkowski, and his team of topnotch ’Yoto outfitters at Marlin Crawler and ordered up a set of the company’s new and improved rock sliders for our ’03 4Runner. These 68-inch rails required cutting and welding and painting, but they had our Runner boulder-ready in a long afternoon.