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Help with adding step to factory Rubicon rocker guards

Bofa-Deez

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Jul 19, 2019
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Thibodaux, LA
I need a little help and a few ideas to add a step to my factory rocker guards and eliminate these massive ugly nerf bars. Current setup is pictured below.

IMG_20190812_103004.jpg


IMG_20190812_102956.jpg


IMG_20190812_102932.jpg


IMG_20190812_102919.jpg


First of all, I want to fabricate them myself (not to save money, but because I like fabricating) so buying is out of the question. I have pipe, plate, square tubing, Tig and stick welder on hand, but the largest square tubing I have is 2x2. I have been doing some brainstorming and I have come up with the following options in order of preference for the time being:

Option 1- fabricate a rail out of 3/4" or 1" pipe that angles up slightly, like the commercial brand sliders with rails, and weld it to the factory Rubicon rocker guards. My concern here is whether the factory rocker guard fasteners will support the weight. Adding braces, backup plates or additional fastening here would not be a deal breaker

Option 2- use tubing and some plate to make a rail flat at the top and angled on the bottom sort of like the mini boat style sliders (but not with the full protection of the pre fabbed offerings, this is more for looks.) Concerns: Attaching with as little additional drilling to the tub as necessary. Possibly mounted in the same manner as the Nerf bars are on there now, but with more clearance and with more than 2 anchor points. The Nerf bars are bolted to the bottom of the factory rocker guards but not drilled through the tub. I was thinking I could add clearance by using 2x2 tubing instead of the 3" pipe and mount the tubing as far up on the mounts as possible.

Option 3- Fabricate complete sliders from scratch. My only concern here is that it would take longer and I don't have quite enough plate on hand, and I was trying not to have to buy additional material and avoid the hassle of designing the entire slider and rail system when all I really want is a descent step for the wife and kids that doesn't reduce ground clearance by 4".

I live in South Louisiana so no rock climbing in the near future and I don't really need the protection of a full blown slider on this rig at the moment. I also want the step to be permanent, so I'm ruling out removable steps and those pull out straps for now.

More information on my jeep, along with a custom interior mount I just finished up on, is here.

I have worked in steel fabrication for 20 years and I have already designed and built a double door, vertical reverse flow insulated smoker along with building the trailer it sits on (among other things,) so simplicity of design here is not really Paramount, although I don't have a CNC plasma machine.... yet. Thanks in advance and any pictures of diy steps and sliders are welcome.
 
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jjvw

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Is the goal to make a functional step for stepping or a low profile rub rail for the Jeep to ride on? There are some completing and conflicting interests between the two.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Functional step for stepping only, but I am a rather large fella. I have no intentions of having the jeep ride on the rockers, but I do like the looks of the low profile rub rails, so I'm trying to go with that form but without the functional protection they provide. Does that make any sense?
 

jjvw

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It might be helpful to mock up a step and various heights. Those rails that we see protruding from the sliders are quite high to be a useful step. Frankly, I'm not always sure what some of those rails use really is. :)
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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That's what I'm going to do in the next day or so. I want that monstrosity gone asap. My main concern was if the factory rocker guard would be strong enough without modification to weld a useful step to. I know the step would be a little high if I do it that way, but it would be easier than slinging a leg through the door without a step at all. Later on, I will fabricate a complete slider just cause. At that time, I have a few structural engineers I may tap for a little help, but those guys don't know as much about the TJ as you guys do
 

jjvw

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What I'm getting at is that the monstrosity you have now is very likely a better functional step than one that is higher off the ground.

Thee rubicon sliders will need backing plates inside the tub to support the weight and leverage, at the very least. The underside might need more attachments.

In your case, I would have to wonder if frame mounted steps wouldn't work better and be easier and cleaner to build.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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I was under there just now and thinking the same thing. What do you think would be the easiest way to attach them? Welding would be easier to mount but harder to remove. Would bolting a frame mount step be a viable option? Are there any manufactured for the TJ that mount that way so I could take a look?

I have a body lift, so frame mounting would be a piece of cake while leaving the factory rocker guards unmolested, which I like
 

jjvw

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Have you seen the frame mounted factory step that came on some of the regular TJs? I believe our Rubicons have the mounting holes on the frame.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Now that you say that, my old TJ had one like that, but I sold it years ago and wasn't into modding it much back then so k don't exactly remember the way it was mounted.

Okay, now the mental juices are flowing. If the step is fabricated correctly, they could possibly be made to be easily retractable or removable when not in use by pulling a couple of pins.

I'm going to have to mock up steps at a couple of different heights to see where I go from here, but every time I do this crap I over engineer it. This will probably end up being electrically extending and retracting when the door is closed before this is all over with. 😁
 
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MountaineerTom

LJ Enthusiast, Retired USAF Weapons Loader
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You could add these, but may need to cut out a small amount of the bottom of the rubicon rocker guards for them to fit and operate correctly.

They are spring loaded so they stay tucked up when not being stepped on. And the step can be completely removed by putting pins, leaving just the bracket ticked up out of the way.

Just an option.

https://www.extremeterrain.com/more-hide-a-step-black-tj-tjstb.html?utm_content=XT Exterior - Side Steps|M.O.R.E.&T5_Var4=J100155&intl=0&utm_campaign=XTW+Wrangler+Brands+&+Vehicle+Low&dialogtech=ppc&utm_source=google-pla&utm_medium=shopping&T5_Var2=shopping&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI__vx_qb-4wIVxZ6zCh3GoQhkEAQYASABEgKKZvD_BwE
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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So I have decided to fabricate my own using the discontinued dropkick slyders as a model. I will weld them to the frame and use gussets for strength anlong with some connections to the tub to avoid deflection under load. I'll detail the build in a thread if anyone is interested in the design.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Got the mounting brackets cut today. The 1" miter jog in the brackets is to compensate for the body lift. Hopefully I can get them mocked up tonight or tomorrow. They will weld to the frame right next to the body mounts so there really isn't any additional clearance issues introduced near the frame that the body mounts themselves aren't already posing.

IMG_20190814_175434.jpg
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Thibodaux, LA
Passenger side nerf bars removed
IMG_20190814_180726.jpg


Damn those things were ugly
IMG_20190814_180757.jpg


Being the cheap bastard that I am, I'm shooting for a total out of pocket expense of $0. Luckily I have a BBQ pit build coming up that those 3" pipes will be perfect for, but that's another thread for another day. I'll start a design/build thread tomorrow when I'm sure there aren't any unforseen hickups that would cause me to abort.
 

Plumber1

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May 27, 2019
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Location
San Ramon, CA
I took some steps and welded them to a flat plate, then drilled the flat plate with two holes for 3/8" bolts. I then drilled and tapped the underside of my Poison Sypder Rock Sliders. Now I can't remember how far back my origional Rubicon sliders extended or how think they were. I did this for my wife and I leave them mounted on both sides when running around town. When I hit the trails remove two 3/8" bolts each side and I am ready for the trail. Here are a few pictures showing the steps installed and one w/o

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Iphone6 1480.JPG


Iphone6 002.JPG
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Thibodaux, LA
Very nice and I really like the minimalist look when the step is attached. I'm going to incorporate this into my slyder build. I'll be sure to give you credit.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Location
Thibodaux, LA
Got a little more done in the last couple of days

Making cut marks for the piece that kicks out the rear portion
IMG_20190814_182923.jpg


Final mock up before welding the components.
IMG_20190816_112832.jpg


IMG_20190816_112842.jpg


Gonna weld out the passenger side this afternoon. If all goes well, paint tomorrow.