Installing Bestop’s HighRock Slider Step Kit and Lockbox on a Jeep Rubicon

Sep. 10, 2010 By Jim Brightly
Bestop’s HighRock Slider Step is in its up or traveling position, which allows it to slide over boulders and other trail obstacles. The rocker panel shield will actually support the weight of the Jeep without damaging the Jeep’s body.

Bestop’s inventive and intelligent engineers have done it again, and after seeing what they’ve come up with this time you’re going to want to add a little more weight and a lot more convenience to your Jeep Wrangler. We installed the lockbox and HighRock Slider Steps on a JK Unlimited, but Bestop offers a two-door Slider Step kit as well (lockbox fits both models). Author’s note: The Bestop Slider Step is available for all model Wranglers—1976 to 2011.

Manufactured from high-tensile steel, the lockbox’s lock mechanism is protected by its front plate, making it almost impossible to break into.

Since Jeeps can be used as topless convertibles, small-item security can be a problem—depending on where you’re forced to park—so I decided I could use a hidden lockbox to supplement the security of the Jeep’s glovebox.

Excuse the debris on the floorboards, but this is a three-year-old working Jeep that is my daily driver. The lockbox is carpeted with outdoor carpeting to eliminate rattling from its contents while on the trail.

The lockbox is probably the easiest thing I’ve ever added to a Jeep—any Jeep! The two front mounting bolts on the driver’s seat are removed, the lockbox is slid in under the seat, and the bolts are tightened. That’s it, folks! Easy, peasey, and in about 10 minutes you have a secure location for your wallet, registration, etc., while the Jeep is lidless and you’re off surfing, fishing, hunting, or just visiting.

Bolted into place and locked up tight, the lockbox’s flat-black, powder-coated paint blends right into the Jeep’s black carpet.

I found that I was forced to use a 1/2-inch drive ratchet to remove the bolts, as they are quite long and the factory used a lot of force during their installation. I had to “break” them loose before removing them, and their length was the reason it took about 10 minutes to remove and then reinstall them.

I know many of us have locking gloveboxes, but the lockbox can easily go unnoticed by a light-fingered, grab-and-run thief; whereas, the glovebox could be the easy victim of a quick screwdriver. The lockbox’s high-tensile steel construction makes it almost impossible to break into without a thief drawing unwanted attention.

JKs are factory equipped with a small but tough slider that protects the Jeep’s rocker panel. However, it doesn’t give passengers any support while entering or exiting the JK.

Bestop’s HighRock Slider Steps are fairly easy to install, they just take a little longer than we initially thought it would take. Bestop’s installation instructions indicated one hour would do it; however, we found it took two of us about six hours to install them. That said, the first side took about 4-1/2 hours while the second side took only a bit more than an hour, which is probably about what it will take you and a friend. And you’ll need a friend, because these Slider Steps are heavy! You’ll need two people to control their weight during the install. But considering that conceivably one of them could be called upon to support the weight of your Jeep while sliding over a boulder, they need to be heavy to do their job.

Strong bungee cords provide the support that hold the Slider Steps up in their traveling position.

As always, make sure all the components are in the boxes when they arrive. You don’t want to be missing some little item and have your Jeep off the streets while you wait for it. And make sure you have all the tools needed for the installation before you start. As you can see in the photos, we used a transmission jack to support the Slider Step while we installed it. If you don’t have one, you might want to consider renting one to ease the installation.

For more information or to purchase these kits, visit or 4-Wheel Drive Hardware (

There are slots cut in the Slider Steps (where the bungee cord is coming out) that match with the welded-in slider plates that serve to locate the steps while they are being deployed or held in the traveling position. The slider plates also anchor the bungee cord.

Be very careful when assembling the Slider Step to the rocker panel protector, if the bungee cord should slip and retract into the step, you’ll have to use heavy twine or a light rope to “fish” it through as demonstrated here by club member Gordy Both. Gordy volunteered to help me install the Slider Steps at Precision Automotive in Kingman, AZ.

This two-piece plastic cap slips into the ends of the Slider Step to hold the HighRock Slider Step in alignment with the slider plates.

An anti-crush sleeve is used in the step caps to keep them in place.

A long bolt and nylock nut secure the step caps. If the nut becomes loose or if a component fails (broken bungee or cap, etc.), it will be necessary to remove the entire Slider Step assembly to repair.

The four rubber steps on an Unlimited’s Slider Steps are easily identified as being from Bestop.

Although the instructions indicate that no drilling is necessary on the JK models (CJ models require drilling), Gordy was forced to enlarge a few factory holes in the factory’s pinch weld seam (and drill a few additional holes).

Clip nuts are used on all the pinch weld seam holes to avoid having to fight to hold the nuts while tightening the mounting bolts.

Due to the accumulated stress to the body during three-and-half years of daily driving and off-roading on trails all over the Western states, some “persuasion” was needed on some of the clip nuts.

Also due to all the accumulated stress, we found the Bestop-provided mounting bolts (on the left with Loctite already applied from the factory) to be slightly too short for comfort. We purchased replacement bolts that were about ¼-inch longer.

Bestop only called for one horizontal mounting bolt (two shown here) and one vertical mounting bolt into the OEM clip nut (not shown), but we felt more comfortable adding another bolt to each of the three mounting brackets along each side of the Jeep.

Using a transmission floor jack greatly eased lifting the Slider Step assembly into place. If you don’t own one, I strongly suggest you rent one for this install.

As you can see, each of the three mounting brackets is attached to the rocker panel protector with two Allen screws. If you forget to lift the Slider Step, its bungee cord will slide it back into its traveling position after a few bumps. Looks great and really eases the chore of getting in or out of a lifted Jeep

For more information or to purchase these kits, visit or 4-Wheel Drive Hardware ( Newsletter
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