Smittybilt Rock Sliders Install on Jeep JK Unlimited Rubicon

We test and install Smittybilt's new Rock Sliders

May. 25, 2010 By Pete Bach
The new Smittybilt rock sliders look great and are functional.

Our new Jeep JK Unlimited Rubicon build is under way, and what better place to start than beefing it up with some body armor. Rock Sliders should be one of the first modifications that anyone makes when building a Jeep, especially on the extra-long four-door Unlimited.  With the success we had with the XRC Rock Sliders on our original JK build, we turned to Smittybilt again for a set of their super-stout, rocker panel protection. This time, Smittybilt had a new offering for us and they did not disappoint. Their new Rock Sliders are just what we wanted for our new Jeep. Super strong, well-thought-out and lines that hug the JK styling. 

Mounting the sliders is very simple.

We were not surprised to see another addition to the Jeep JK parts list from Smittybilt while in Moab for Easter Jeep Safari, but we were surprised to see another rock slider.  These new sliders are much different than the XRC units that we used on our previous JK Project. The main rock protection area of the slider is very similar to the factory Jeep Rubicon rock rails. Its mounting tabs are also the same as the Jeep units and installs in the exact same way, but with all-new, heavy-duty hardware.

The sliders fit well against the curved JK body.

No drilling or modifications to the Jeep is required and it took us a mere 45 minutes to install. Rather than plastic end caps, Smittybilt chose to weld these bars shut on the 3/16th plate steel for a cleaner and more structurally sound product. The sliders have a slight bend in them that forms well against the JK's curved body and look and fit as good, if not better, than the factory components. 

The slider tube will fend off rocks well.

The stock Rubicon rock rails work well and Smittybilt realized this ... so they took the simple design one step further. A 1.75" tube is welded to the main slider bar for the ultimate in side protection. What we like about the tubes are that they stick out far enough to fend off rocks and are not angled. This is important, as we've seen other rock sliders that are mounted at an angle actually bend up and inward into the body causing damage. This will not happen with the new Smittybilt sliders.

The tube supports double as steps.

Adding a tube to rock sliders is a must in our opinion, however, the tubing will only crumple without the aid of some type of supports if hit hard enough. Smittybilt makes use of two dimple die supports, per side, that also double as entry steps. We're not sure how effective these plates are as a step; however, they look to be up to the task of adding a lot of strength to the over rider tube. We put our trusty Hi-Lift jack under the slider and jacked the jeep up on two wheels. The sliders didn't move and provided plenty of strength for this operation.

Smittybilt uses its two-stage, matte-black powder coating to cover the sliders in a hard shell that will take a lot of abuse. While being very durable, this flat, textured coating also doubles as a great primer, so we took advantage of this and painted the sliders Dark Knight Gray to match with our dark-blue Jeep paint. While our new JK was out of town getting some other modifications done, we couldn't help but quickly mounting them to our old Project for some testing and photos. 

As always, we are very impressed with Smittybilt's line of XRC products for Jeeps.  They are well-thought-out, are able to take serious punishment and look fantastic on a Jeep JK. 

400 W. Artesia Blvd.
Compton, CA 90220
Toll Free: 888-717-5797
Phone: 310-762-9944
Fax: 310-762-2297 Newsletter
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