Crunch! It’s the sound of rocks imprinting their shape on the rocker panels of your favorite 4x4. Heading into obstacle-strewn trails without protection could mean costly body damage, especially if it is on your daily driver that you intended to keep pristine. The answer: quality rocker protection.
Quality rock sliders are those that will carry the weight of the vehicle and take the brunt of contact with terra firma without deflecting and causing damage of their own. Of course, being able to withstand the abuse, also means that more advanced wheeling techniques, such as pivoting can now be applied to your line.
For Project 4Runner Back Country’s wheeling needs, we chose the Expedition Rails from EVO Manufacturing. These rails are built to the same specifications as EVO’s proven JK Rock Sliders, but mount at a shallower angle to allow for them to be used as steps, helpful for a rig that pulls double duty.
The Expedition Rails are made from 13⁄4-inch-diameter, 0.120-inch-wall DOM, with 3⁄16-inch plates that attach to the tubes. On the 4Runner, they mount in four locations along the frame with 1⁄4-inch plates. Because the 4Runner already has threaded holes in the frame, these sliders can easily be bolted on—or welded, for those who want the ultimate in strength.
While we were at it, we also installed a set of Off Road Only’s LiteSPOTs rock lights. These LED lights are encased in an epoxy puck with a magnet and come individually or in a complete chassis kit with six lights. The kit contains a harness, switch and terminals for outfitting one vehicle. Each LiteSPOT has three high-intensity LEDs and are submersible, impact- and corrosion-resistant. The LiteSPOTs measure 15⁄8 inch in diameter, are 1⁄2-inch thick, and draw just over 150 milliamps each. In addition to using them to lighten up the trail, they can also be used to illuminate pickup beds or other dark spaces on your vehicle.
This installation of the rock rails and lights was completed at Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California. Follow along to see how easily you could do it in your own driveway.