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DIY rock sliders (Dropkick Slyders clone)

Bofa-Deez

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
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500
Location
Deauville, LA
This thread is to document my one off clone of the discontinued bolt on Dropkick Slyders.

Total build budget: $0

So I bought my 05 Rubicon several months ago to use as a daily driver/commuter along with my Goldwing and thanks to this forum, I have gone through the suspension and soundsystem. After the diy custom touch screen radio mount (documented here) I was completely happy with my TJ, except for one thing. The PO had installed these hideous nerf bars that were structurally useless and worthless as steps (I almost busted my ass several times when it was wet.)

IMG_20190812_103004.jpg


Me: "Man, some low profile sliders with an integrated step would look slick."

Wife: "Unless you can get them for free, forget about it. You have already spent enough money on that THING."

Maybe it's just my competitive nature, or my love for design and fabrication, but I took this as a challenge. So here goes my $0 rock slider build.

First off the criteria. Most important, as mentioned above, no budget whatsoever. I live in South Louisiana, so not much rock crawling here, but I wanted it to at least be semi functional leaving my options open, but most importantly, I wanted a low profile that worked along with the stock Rubicon rocker guards. After some image searches I saw the bolt on discontinued Dropkick Slyders and liked the looks. These are the best pictures I found online and designed mine like this but to weld onto the frame instead of bolting
Screenshot_20190814-190257~2.png
Screenshot_20190814-190313~2.png


Off to my scrap pile to see what I had on hand. I found two 10' joints of 2x2 steel tubing and some 1/8" plate left over from a reverse flow BBQ pit trailer I built a couple of years ago and started designing based on the pictures posted above.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
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Deauville, LA
I don't have a huge selection of metal working tools, but I do have a welder, a compound mitre saw with a metal cutting blade (for which it really wasn't designed,) a couple of 4" grinders and a harbor freight portable band saw. I pulled some frame measurements and cut a template then cut some tubing for the frame mounts
IMG_20190814_182048.jpg
IMG_20190814_170922.jpg


I cut the tubing with a 22* miter for a 45* jog upward to make them as tight to the body as possible. Also, they will weld to the frame as close to the body mounts as possible so as not to introduce any additional hang up points under the body while off-road.

Then I turned my attention to the main runners of the sliders. Looking back at the picture, I noticed that they take a jog outwards toward the rear, which makes them pretty good at being a makeshift step on their own. I grabbed the bandsaw and cut a small piece of 1x1 aluminum tubing to use as a spacer to determine the approximate angle I needed here. Then I cut the middle piece of the runner with a 5* angle on each side.

IMG_20190814_182923.jpg


At this angle, a miter joint really isn't needed so the other two pieces that but up to it were square cut for simplicity. Then I confirmed the fit of the pieces and confirmed the 1" kick out that I was shooting for.
IMG_20190814_184934.jpg


Now comes the welding... Oh the humanity!
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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So I planned on Tig welding everything because it's simple and clean with welds that look really good, especially with thin metal fabrication. I found my argon bottle to be near empty, so the only option was stick welding, which I have to admit I haven't done in years, but refilling the argon bottle was 20 bucks and that's out of my budget for this build, so here I am, blowing holes in the parts that weld to the frame.
IMG_20190816_121332.jpg


Needless to say, at this point I was somewhat concerned with making welds to the frame of the jeep, but with some arc time, my welds got better, but I wasn't ready for bragging yet

IMG_20190816_142453.jpg


After the frame stand-offs and the main runners bar were welded, I test fit the pieces to make sure my maths were correct. Luckily, my math is way better than my welding and I tacked the standoffs to position on the frame and then fit the main runners bar. Once I was happy with the fit I tacked the runner to the frame stand-offs and removed the unit as one piece and welded it up.
IMG_20190816_112832.jpg


After it was welded, some grinding and wire wheeling to remove rust, then one final test fit before paint to make sure there wasn't any welding distortion.

IMG_20190816_155629.jpg


IMG_20190816_155621.jpg
 

06lj

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I have a pair of Dropkick slyders in my garage that I had on a previous TJ. They were great which is why I held on to them. Let me know if you if you need any pictures or measurements.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Messages
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Deauville, LA
I have a pair of Dropkick slyders in my garage that I had on a previous TJ. They were great which is why I held on to them. Let me know if you if you need any pictures or measurements.

Looking at photos, the main rail looks like 2x3 tubing, is that correct? I had 2x2 on hand, so I went with it.

Also, out of curiosity, could you post a picture of the bolt on attachments?
 

Chris

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Nicely done so far. I always liked the look of the Dropkick Sliders.

Thanks for taking the time to document this (y)
 

Hog

Know it all...according to wife
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Impressive!!.. u making enough for all of us😉
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Impressive!!.. u making enough for all of us😉

I wish! It's always been my dream to have a small fabrication operation that caters to customers that want custom made metal and wood fabrication. I have built bbq pits, trailers, boats, and most of the furniture in my house. It's mainly because I like designing and building, but also because I'm a cheap bastard. I'm pretty savy at repurposing parts to minimize cost of my builds. Those ugly ass nerf bars I removed from the jeeps will become exhaust stacks on my next BBQ pit build. The 2x2 tubing I got from bartering. A dude dropped off a load and wanted a trailer built. Charged a reasonable labor price and asked to keep the rest of the steel. 😁
 

Hog

Know it all...according to wife
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
1,756
Location
N. GA
I wish! It's always been my dream to have a small fabrication operation that caters to customers that want custom made metal and wood fabrication. I have built bbq pits, trailers, boats, and most of the furniture in my house. It's mainly because I like designing and building, but also because I'm a cheap bastard. I'm pretty savy at repurposing parts to minimize cost of my builds. Those ugly ass nerf bars I removed from the jeeps will become exhaust stacks on my next BBQ pit build. The 2x2 tubing I got from bartering. A dude dropped off a load and wanted a trailer built. Charged a reasonable labor price and asked to keep the rest of the steel. 😁
Dang you and I must have been cut from same cloth!.. im a cheap bastard also;)...I just build a 250 smoker last year and am planning on making a 300 gal in near future!.. keep the wrenches turning👍🏻
 
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06lj

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Got em primed this afternoon. Tomorrow, I should get them top coated and decide whether to weld them in or make clamps to bolt them on.
View attachment 110456

I like the idea of having them be removable, but I also like the structural rigidity of having them welded on. Decisions...
I'd bolt them on. The Dropkicks held up with no issues. I'm not an engineer by any means but I'd imagine the bars would bend before the bolts broke. Plus it would make it easier to do touch up painting in the future.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Okay, I have decided to make brackets to bolt them on. I'm pretty sure that 1/8" would be on the thin side for the bolt on brackets so I managed to dig a 2'x2' piece of 1/4" plate out of my scrap pile, and after taking measurements and studying the pictures that @06lj posted, I went about laying out what would be the "channel" for the brackets.
IMG_20190819_133321.jpg


After cutting the parts out, I set the miter saw depth to cut almost all the way through the plate.
IMG_20190819_153316.jpg


After a couple of whacks with the deadblow, I had my brackets and was able to test fit them to the frame
IMG_20190819_154940.jpg


IMG_20190819_160945.jpg


IMG_20190819_161001.jpg


They all fit on the frame with less than 1/16" slop top to bottom. Only one of them was a little tight, but I have a plan to deal with that guy later. I would have just cut another one, but my last band saw blade broke while cutting the last bracket from the plate.

To anyone who has installed these, was there any slop at all present on the brackets when slipped over the frame? I'm sure once the backing plates are bolted on it will be fine. If not, I can drag a couple of beads inside the clamp and grind them down slightly to act as shims.
 
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06lj

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I couldn't remember how tight or loose they fit. I went out to the garage and slid one of the brackets on. It fits like a glove with no slop at all. The inside measurement of the bracket is 4 3/16".

20190819_143009.jpg
20190819_142658.jpg
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Just measured mine again, they are 4-1/16" and have the same 1/16ish slop on multiple places on the frame. If you can, get a measurement inside to inside on the "u" part and see if it's the same as the open part of the clamp.

I'm gonna go with what I have anyway. Like I said, I'll just add some weld beads as a shim if needed