Toyota Tech: Rockslider Roundup
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By: Joe Micciche. updated April, 2004.

Below you'll find a number of different rockslider options for Toyota 4WD's: from vendor-provided bolt-on options to completely custom fabricated sliders. There is no best or right way to build and mount sliders, rather the point of this is to show you both common and innovative designs as you think through how to do your own. If you have a unique design not covered here, email Joe Micciche to find out how to be included. Enjoy!

Harry Wagner's Front Range Off Road Sliders (added 3/31/04).

Front Range Off Road's Sliderz are made from 2x2 box tubing with .188 wall thickness. They feature three mounting legs that weld to the frame as well as 1x1 angle iron that sits directly below the pinch weld on the cab. The purpose of this angle iron is to distribute the load across a wide area when an impact is encountered that is severe enough to flex the main bar of the slider. I added 3 inch square inch thick mounting plates to provide more surface area and strengthen the mounting. These plates also aided in the mounting. They were first welded to the Sliderz and then used to clamp the rock rails to the frame so that they could be welded.

Harry Wagner: Front Range Off Rock Rock Sliderz.

For more information on Harry Wagner's sliders, please see the full review.

Jeff Bathke's All-Pro sliders, first welded, later bolted brackets around the frame (added 12/12/03)

My All-Pro sliders are 2" x .120" wall tube. Their standard 60" length is a tad short for 3rd gen 4Runners. When I first mounted them, I kept it simple by welding the slider legs to 1/8" plates, each about 4" x 6" rectangles. I didn't use any gussets. Two years later while on the Rubicon, I cracked the bottom welds of the plates away from the frame and, bent the 1/8" plates. To remount them, it was a very tedious process to carefully cut and grind the original plates/welds off the frame. I was surprised to see the massive amount of rust in layers that flaked off the back side of the 1/8" plate sandwiched between it and the frame. Moisture had gotten in through a few stock holes in the frame.

I next chose a much stronger, yet removable, mounting method utilizing brackets in a U shape around the frame. These are bolted in place with several 1/2" grade 8 bolts horizonally through the frame. I cut the bracket pieces from a couple feet of 6" x 6" square tube with 1/4" wall. One weld seam is at the bottom centerline of each frame rail. I learned my lesson and used gussets on the legs this time. The back side of the frame brackets had to avoid frame crossmembers. For the bracket that's adjacent to the gas tank, I couldn't fit a bolt there, so I built the U bracket to slide up around the frame so impact forces can still leverage off the frame rail. Also I have one 3/8" self-tapping screw through the outside frame wall for the purpose of helping to support the weight of the sliders there so it doesn't rattle.

Jeff Bathke's modified bolt on All-Pro Sliders

For more information on Jeff Bathke's sliders, Click Here

Scott Yoder's Slee Offroad Sliders (added 12/22/02).

These sliders were custom built by Christo Slee at Slee Off-Road. They were designed to be extremely strong and built to take any punishment you may encounter on the trail. The tube rail consists of a 2"x3" (3/16" wall) rectangular tube with a 1.5" round tube welded to the main slider. They are welded to the frame at 3 points on each side. Each weld point is attached via triangular plates that are welded to the side and bottom of the frame rail and gusseted on the top. They are removable due to the square tube being sleeved and bolted. They also have a "set screw" on the top to make sure they don't vibrate or rattle. This square tubing will be "U" shaped with the opening at the bottom on future production sets. They are extremely rigid and don't flex enough to need to use the body\pinch weld for additional support.

Scott Yoder: Custom weld- and bolt-on sliders from Slee Ofrroad (photos courtesy of Scott Yoder).

For more information on Scott's Slee sliders, please visit Slee Offroad.

Mark Griese's Tacoma Sliders: custom weld-on.

When it came time to add rocksliders to my Tacoma, I wanted a mix of square and round tubes. The 84" main bar and four support runners are made from 2" square x 3/16" wall tubing. The end caps on the main bar were ground flush to make the tubing appear to be a solid bar. The outer bar is 1.5" Schedule 80 black pipe. Bends were made with an inexpensive bottle jack type of bender from Harbor Freight Tools. The outer bar angles up from horizontal approximately 20 degrees. Mounting plates are 1/4" thick and large enough to spread the load across the frame. The diamond shape was suggested by the welder. He believes the diagonal weld leaves the frame stronger than an up and down weld. Before welding to the truck, the bottom of the pinch weld was evened out (and re-painted) to provide a level surface for slider contact when flexing.

Mark Griese: Custom weld-on sliders on a Tacoma (photos courtesy of Mark Griese).

For more information on Mark's custom sliders, please email Mark at

Steve Schafer's 4Runner Sliders: Maniac Metal Works / Kong's 4x4.

These rock sliders are designed and built specifically for each Toyota 4X4 model directly off the target vehicle itself. You are assured a set of rock sliders that are a perfect fit for your specific vehicle. They are built from 2" thick wall tube and include a secondary higher bar to give additional protection higher up than the standard slider. These sliders come powder coated semi-gloss black with 3.5" x 4.5" plates already mounted on the legs and can be either bolted on to the truck with self tapping bolts or welded directly to the frame of the vehicle.

Steve Schaefer: Maniac Metal Works / Kong's 4x4 sliders (photos courtesy of Steve Schaefer).

For more information on MMW / Kong's sliders, please contact MMW / Kong's at Kong'

Advanced Offroad Research (A.O.R.): custom weld-on.

A.O.R.'s Nerf Bars are designed to provide maximum underbody clearance and maximum protection at the same time. A.O.R. Nerf Bars' main rails are made from 1 5/8"-diameter, 1/8"-wall steel. The webbing (braces) between the main rails is 1"-diameter, 1/8"-wall steel. Frame-mount plates are -inch steel and weld to the frame in four places. The loop bar angles upward to enhance clearance and offer good side protection, too. All A.O.R. Nerf Bars are made application-specific to fit the frame exactly. The 1/4-" plate-steel mounts shown are ready to be welded onto the frame and are diamond-shaped to provide the strongest weld without weakening the frame.

Advanced Offroad Research (A.O.R.): A.O.R. Custom lengths per vehicle, weld-on (photos courtesy of Ed Fortson).

For more information on A.O.R.'s custom rocksliders, please visit A.O.R.'s web site.

All Pro Offroad: custom weld-on.

All Pro's rock guards are made from heavy duty 2" x .120" wall tubing for the rocker panel protector and 1 3-4" x .120" for the outer tube. The outer tube angles up to provide more ground clearance and more door protection. Designed specifically to the contours of various Toyota 4WD's, these bars are trail tested and proven to maximize clearance and prevent body damage to the rocker panels and the fender area forward of the rear tire. The rear of the nerf bar extends out to provide extra body protection where it's needed most. They also make a great lifting point: a Hi-Lift jack can be used anywhere along the bars to lift one or both wheels. Rock Guards weigh 60 lbs per set (60" length) and include weld on gussets for extra strength.

All Pro Offroad: All Pro provides standard and custom lengths and configurations, all ready to weld on (photos courtesy of Chris Geiger).

For more information on All Pro's custom rocksliders, please visit All Pro's web site.

Dan Eddleman's All Pro bars, mounted with a frame cradle on a 4Runner.

Dan Eddleman: All Pro sliders customized with a frame cradle mounting system.

This mounting approach incorporates a frame cradle design to mount the rock sliders and distribute the load over a larger area of the frame. No frame welding or additional holes in frame required since the cradle shape grips around the frame and uses existing frame through holes, and they tie into the rear suspension link mounting point to offer protection to that vulnerable area. To achieve the proper fit, this design must be "tacked" together using the vehicle and frame as the construction fixture or "jig". Needless to say, on vehicle welding requires care and skill (and a disconnected vehicle battery) to avoid damage and risk of fire. You must use clearance shims when tacking together the "C" shape portion of the cradle because relatively little heat is being applied to the overall assembly. However, when the assembly is pulled off the vehicle and full heat is applied during the complete weld up, the steel tends to shrink down the clearances you originally had while tacking it together. To compensate for this, I laid 1/16" thick strips of metal on top of the frame to raise the upper piece of angle iron slightly off the frame before clamping and tacking together the pieces that make up the "C" section. Some of this clearance will also be used by the POR-15 coating which is extremely hard and it won't simply scrape off as you try to reinstall the bars. Forget this little detail and your new bars will not go back on the vehicle! My frame cradle/rock slider solution can be installed or removed in about two hours if necessary for vehicle repairs.

For more information on Dan's custom sliders, please see Dan Eddleman's web site.

4Crawler Offroad: custom bolt-on.

There are a number of key features in this rock slider design. First, they are designed to be bolted to the frame using self-tapping bolts. By mounting to the outside face of the frame, the mounts can be placed where they work the best for supporting the bars. Using self-tapping bolts into just one side of the frame provides adequate support without compromising the frame itself and can be done using only basic hand tools and a drill. The bolts allow the frame to flex normally. Additionally, bolted-on bars can be easily removed for painting and also allow for up to a 1" body lift without modification and up to a 3" body lift with minor re-work. Secondly, the inner tube of the bars serves an important function as well. The bars are designed to have a bit of flex to them. Under load, the bars will bend upward, until the inner tube makes contact along the full length of the lower body-floor pinch weld. By spreading the vehicle weight over the length of the bar, the load is transferred to one of the strongest parts of the body. Under no-load, there is a 1/4" gap between the body and the bar to eliminate contact which can cause noise, especially when the body flexes on the body mount bushings.

4Crawler Offroad: Custom lengths per vehicle, bolt-on (courtesy of Roger Brown).

For more information on 4Crawler's custom Rocksliderz, please visit 4Crawler's web site.

Jay Kopycinski's custom weld-on sliders for a Mini.

Jay Kopycinski: Custom-made bars, welded to frame of Mini

These well-worn nerf bars on this Xtra Cab are constructed of 2" x .180" wall square tubing and are attached to the frame rails in three places. Each square tube "leg" was welded to a piece of 1/4" plate approximately 4" square. The plate was then welded to the frame rail. Welds were run each up each side and across the bottom of each plate to secure the bars to the frame.

For more information on Jay's custom sliders, please visit Jay Kopycisnki's web site.

Steve Uchimura's custom sliders, bolted around the frame of a 4Runner.

My goals were to create sliders that would support the weight of the truck, be useful as steps, and not need the frame to be welded on, drilled through, or require a body lift. After doing some calculations, I found that to support 4000 lbs. I would need to use 2x2x3/16" tubing for the support arms and the main bar. Keep in mind that 4000 lbs. is an extreme situation and I don't expect the sliders to see this kind of force unless from impacts. After much discussion, I decided on a clamp-on design modeled after Brandon Miller's mounts. The clamps took the most time to make because I wanted tight tolerances around the frame. The front mounts were the most difficult because the frame angles in toward the center, and grows in height. Clearance between the top of the clamps and the body was really tight, I had to shorten the bolts to clear the body. I went with 2x1x3/16 tubing for the secondary tubes to reduce weight and increase ground clearance. 2 3/8" bolts were used at each clamp, except for the clamp near the gas tank where there wasn't enough room for 2 bolts. I found it necessary to allow at least inch between the sliders and the body's pinch weld because the sliders will deflect. The clamps are made of inch steel plates 3 inches wide, cut and welded into a "C" to fit the frame closely.

Steve Uchimura: Custom-made bars, bolted around frame of a 4Runner.

For more information on Steve's custom sliders, please email Steve Uchimura.

Joe Micciche's custom sliders, bolted through frame of a Mini.

These bars are custom-made of 2" x 2" 3/16" wall square tube. Each bar has three mounting legs made of the same square tube, and each leg has a 3/16" plate at the end. Rather than weld-on, the mounting plates were used as templates to drill 4 holes through the frame at each mount. These holes were then sleeved with 3/8" ID tube, welded in place then ground flush with the frame surfaces and the mounts secured to the frame with 3/8" bolts. The truck has a 2" body lift so the bars are a straight shot out, with only light hammering of the body seam for clearance.

Joe Micciche: Custom-made bars, bolted to frame of Mini

For more information on Joe's custom sliders, please email Joe Micciche.

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