Boogielander Build - Part 8 - Rock Sliders

This build journal shows up as Technical Tuesday post on the 5thgenrams Forum and various Facebook groups for 5th Gen Rams.

Technical Tuesday: 

Technical Tuesday is a series of technical discussions I post on Tuesdays (well, unless I don’t remember to post) to help the community make good decisions regarding their builds. This only applies to people who want/ enjoy taking their trucks off pavement, so all the technical discussions do not apply to bro-dozers and the like. This week we are talking about rock sliders vs steps. 

  • What are sliders? 
    • Sliders are frame mounted protections that are made of strong tubings to protect your truck’s rocker panel when wheeling. When you are in contact with rocks or obstacles, it is the sliders that are taking the damage, not your truck’s body. Sliders also allow you to “slide” down an obstacle instead of getting hung up. 
    • Sliders are frame mounted because your frame is a boxed structure, which is stronger than your rocker panel (a sheet of metal). When mounted to the frame, the force of impact is dispersed along the frame in a horizontal direction. 
    • Some sliders, like the one from White Knuckle Offroad, offer a rear kickout design. This design helps you to push yourself away from the obstacles and protect the truck’s body. 
  • What are steps? 
    • Steps are body mounted. These are often for aesthetic and help people with short legs entering and exiting the truck. These mount to the studs on the rocker panel, thus offering no real protection. When impacted, it is the rocker panel (again, a sheet of metal) absorbing the force of impact instead of your frame (a boxed structure). 
  • Why is it important? 
    • Imagine crushing an aluminum can. It can easily be crushed if it is put horizontally with pressure applied vertically, but when the can is standing vertically it takes a lot more force to crush it with pressure applied from the same direction. That is the difference between body mounted and frame mounted. When the can is sitting flat on the table horizontally, it is like when force is applied to body mounted steps. When the can is standing vertically on the table, it imitates when the force is applied to frame mounted sliders. The difference is, with steel frames the force it takes to crush is so great that you will not see that while you are wheeling. 
  • What are the benefits? 
    • Aside from body protection mentioned, one benefit is that it can also act like a step with top plates. Now, you have both body protection and a step! Wow! 
    • The other benefit is that sliders also protect your truck from door dings. When people swing their door open into your truck, they will hit your slider first before impacting the side of your truck. Sliders will then do more damage to their own door, and nothing happens with your truck other than a scratch on the slider. 
  • What are the drawbacks? 
    • Well, aside from the cost there is not really any drawback to this. But if you think about it, all it takes is one wrong contact with the obstacle for you to sustain thousands of dollars of body damage without proper equipment. Suddenly that ~$1000 or so of rock sliders do not look so expensive anymore, eh? 

In conclusion, if you take your truck off pavement, sliders are better choices than steps. Even the Mopar “Rock Rails” are body mounted and offer no real protection. 

See the pictures for descriptions. 

Over here I cleared the front through that rock, and had to use the kick out to pivot the truck when I turn passenger side for  proper front tire placement after.  

With steps... 404 no pivoting point found. 

Here I dragged the slider through the rock. 

With steps... I'd be hung up. 

Here as my front tires came down from that rock the slider made hard impact with the rock. Force is then transferred to the frame and distributed along the frame. 

With steps, it'd be a collapsed step and body damage. 

Here the rear kick out design helped me pushed the rear away from that rock. Unfortunately I still had contact with the bush so... pinstripes.  

With steps... steps would collapse and I'd be looking at body damage. 





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