We wanted to add rocker protection to our regular cab Tacoma so we wouldn’t break any body panels, but we didn’t want to break the bank either. Fortunately Relentless Off-Road Fabrication had what we needed with the Do It Yourself (DIY) rock sliders. Relentless offers rocker protection for nearly every Toyota 4x4, with options such as kick-outs, dimple-died filler plates, and powdercoating. Typically the sliders are finish welded and can be shipped all over the country, but we sourced the DIY sliders to save some cash. We already needed to break out the Miller welder to install them, so why not weld them up ourselves?
The Relentless Off-Road Fabrication sliders are constructed of 2x0.120-wall box tubing and fitted with a 1.75x0.120-wall DOM outer rub rail. The main rails were cut and tacked together with the outer tubes bent and fitted. Since we were already dusting off our Millermatic 190 to install them, it was no big deal to weld the sliders together.
Our Millermatic 190 has an autoset feature that makes it nearly foolproof to lay down strong, aesthetically pleasing beads. All you have to do is set the wire diameter and material thickness and the Millermatic 190 does the rest. If you prefer to set the voltage and wire speed manually, you still have that option.
Rock sliders are the most important piece of armor you can add to your rig. That is particularly true for mini-trucks, which are often found on the same trails as Jeeps but have longer wheelbases, which translates to more space between the tires for a rock to smash sheetmetal.
We wanted to position the sliders as high as possible to maximize ground clearance while still allowing space for the doors to open. We cut and folded the pinch seam on the cab to tuck the sliders up.
We used jackstands to hold the sliders in place and checked clearances before putting the Miller welder back in use. In addition to protecting the truck from impact, the Relentless rock sliders make an excellent place to jack the truck in the air to change a tire or aid in extraction.
Relentless includes 3/16-inch-thick frame plates that serve two functions to ensure a strong, reliable installation. They spread the load out across a larger cross-section of the frame while also increasing the weld area on the frame. We tacked the plates on the frame and then mocked up the slider position before final welding.
Even though we are still running factory bumpers, we appreciate the security that the Relentless rock sliders offer to the sides of our Tacoma. They have a clean understated design that matches our bare-bones truck and did not break the bank, particularly when you compare the cost to what a body shop would quote to fix a smashed rocker panel.