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Jeep Wrangler JK Rock Sliders That Keep You Moving

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on January 3, 2017
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Photographers: Verne Simons

Part of the adventure in owning a Wrangler is heading off the path most travelled, sometimes way, way off. As the Jeep gets built and driver confidence increases, the trails seem to get more difficult. Funny how that works! Pretty soon you find yourself driving down a boulder-strewn route wishing you had more protection than the stock pinch-weld-mounted rock rails will ever give.

In fact, after a couple of hard landings straight down on the Mopar rock rails right at the front cab mount, we managed to bend the rock rails and tweak the front fender of our JK. Looking for a solution for more strength, but also something that would straighten out our slightly bowed sheetmetal without a visit to the body shop, we found just the armor we needed.

Enter the EVO Manufacturing Pro Series JKU Boatside Bombers, complete JK side protection that will keep the gnarliest rocks off your sheetmetal and your JK sliding along. The Boatsides, as the name implies, taper to the ground at an angle, allowing the Jeep to easily slide off, rather than getting hung up on nature’s own Jeep stoppers.

EVO Manufacturing Pro Series JKU Boatside Bombers are available in either a powdercoated or raw finish and consist of one upper and lower portion per side.

Made in the USA from 3/16-inch laser-cut steel and powdercoated for protection (or raw steel, if you prefer), the Boatsides consist of an upper plate that is bolted to the body with Nutserts, and a lower plate that bolts to the top plate and the body mounts. The lower plate incorporates seven internal gussets and two outer gussets, producing a very tough and rigid slider. Another benefit is that a section of the Boatsides slider protrudes slightly from the body, not only keeping rocks off but also acting as a de facto step to make it easier to get in the Jeep. The sliders are designed to retain high clearance at the rocker, and all of the hardware is stainless steel.

With the sliders ordered, we headed to Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, to get our Boatsides installed. In less than two hours, we were back on the road and headed to Moab to tackle our favorite trails with reckless abandoned, well at least where our rockers were concerned.

What makes the Boatside sliders so beefy are the seven internal gussets and two outer gussets.
Our first step in the installation was to remove the old Mopar rock rails. They are a great choice for all-around wheeling but aren’t quite tough enough for those who are serious about rockcrawling.
With the old rock rails out of the way, we loosened the bolts on the three (per side) body mounts between the axles.
In order to protect the Jeep’s paint while hanging the upper portion of the Boatside, blue masking tape was applied to the body.
Next, and this is where a second set of hands becomes useful, we precisely positioned the upper plate and marked the first hole for drilling. Remember to measure twice and mark once, there is no going back if you position the plate incorrectly.
Tip: Begin drilling the holes in the body with the hole closest to the center of the panel. This allowed us to get the panel lined up with the bodylines more easily by pivoting off the center bolt.
Once the first two holes were drilled and the Nutserts installed, we hand-tightened the stainless steel hardware to hold the upper plate in place.
We then used a punch to mark the location of the remaining holes to drill.
With the top panel out of the way and the tape removed, the rest of the holes were drilled out and the remaining Nutserts were installed.
The top panel was then repositioned and secured with the supplied stainless bolts.
After positioning the panel, we installed the speed nuts along the top panel’s tabs.
Next, the rocker panel was lifted into place and aligned with the tabs, allowing us to put the bolts into place and tighten by hand.
The Boatsides interface with the body mounts by simply sliding between the frame and the body mount.
Here you can see the finished product, with all the parts positioned and tightened. These sliders offer a serious level of protection, but are a great low-profile option for those who want to keep their JKs on the unassuming side.


Off Road Evolution
Fullerton, CA 92833
EVO Manufacturing

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