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Big Daddy Offroad Body Guards

By Rob Hall

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Big Daddy Offroad Rocker GuardsLet's talk about rockers. No, not this kind of rocker! What we’re talking about is the kind that protects your Jeep’s tender sides. Body Guards have evolved from the flimsy aluminum decorations that AMC added in the 70’s and 80’s to full-blown armor plating capable of withstanding the entire side-weight of the vehicle. Rocks see these as an impenetrable force field. If you ride in rocky areas, then this is an upgrade that you are sure to benefit from.

I’ve seen them made from a variety of materials such as: wood (not practical or weather resistant), sewer pipe (not sanitary), and even plain old angle iron (not pleasant to look at). Keeping in mind that we all aren’t made of money, quality rocker protection should be made affordable. The crew at Big Daddy Offroad have heard our cries and have delivered.

Big Daddy’s rock sliders are laser cut from 3/16” steel and a press is used to form the outer edges. They are then sent to powder coat. Upon return from the powder coater, they are wrapped, boxed and delivered by a friendly brown truck driver. The order comes in two boxes (I’m sure Big Daddy was looking out for the delivery guy’s back!). These are heavy-duty items!

Now that the product is here, it’s time to remove the current rocker covers. These have been on the TJ for about three years, with moderate results. I recently found myself in a situation in which I feel the Big Daddy’s would have saved my body, lower door hinge, and door.

Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards

The BDO’s extend three inches away from the body. The originals only came out about an inch. The added distance would have kept the rocks at bay and off of my Jeep. Hex head cap screws and a couple of 3/8” bolts were all that held the old panels on. Big Daddy Offroad Rocker GuardsThey were removed and retired. On stock vehicles, the fender flare extensions and/or step assembly must be removed from both sides prior to installation.

Just carrying the new guards out to the Jeep, you are compelled to notice the huge weight difference. For grins I put them each on the scale and the difference was startling. The BDO’s were each 7 lbs. heavier. The added weight is of little concern, though, given the benefit of body protection, which far outweighs the argument of added ballast.

Always remember, SAFETY FIRST! Do not attempt any modification to any vehicle if you or someone else may become harmed! Always remember to wear safety glasses when hammering or drilling. The eye you save may be your own!

This whole job can be simplified with a helper. The extra set of hands is helpful when positioning the guards for marking and for final installation. Working alone will require the use of a floor jack and some blocks of wood. The latter is the method that I employed for this build. I cannot stress enough the importance of quality tools when you do a job. Matco, Snap-on, Mac, and Craftsman are all good names that come to mind. If you are using a cordless drill, make sure it is fully charged and regardless of what kind of drill you use, sharp drill bits are a must.

The list of tools is relatively small for this install. The basics are as follows:

Needed:

  • Power drill
  • 3/8” drill bit
  • Ratchet and 9/16” socket
  • 9/16” open/box end wrench
  • 7/32” hex head Allen key
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Sharpie marker
  • Center Punch

Optional:

  • Floor jack & wood blocks
  • Vacuum
  • Caulking gun & caulk

Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards



Big Daddy Offroad Rocker GuardsThe sides of the Jeep should be cleaned at this point.Any debris will cause improper fitment. Dirt, sand and mud can cause rust underneath the panel if left behind. Just remember, rust is the enemy! Later, I’ll show you a tip to keep the debris out of the seams. My Jeep was filthy and water just smeared the mess. A 50/50 mix of Simple Green took care of the residue.

Here’s where you’ll need those extra hands. Position the rocker on the side of the body. The floor jack insured that the rockers were completely flush with the bottom of the tub.

Mark the holes and lightly center punch them. The goal of the center punch is just to give the drill bit a centering point, not to make the hole for the bolt! The holes for the bottom of the tub are slightly trickier. A 1-1/8” gap exists between the bottom of the tub and the rocker. Careful marking was eventually tossed in favor of using the bottom holes to “guide” the drill bit. Each of the two bottom tub holes was started in this fashion. Remove the guards.

Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
A jack with stacked wood can be a big help
Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
Mark your holes carefully with a Sharpie

Next, vacuum your floor. Trust me. I had no idea that I would create such a huge dust cloud when I pulled up the carpet! Jeeps have wiring running under the door along the tubs, so look prior to drilling. Carefully move the wires while drilling. A project that should take a couple of hours can turn into a weekend project if any wiring is harmed and a short is involved. Finally, drill the 3/8” holes.

Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
Begin with a little cleanup. It's probably time, anyway
Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
Holes drilled and ready to mount the rocker

Sort your hardware. You should notice that all the Allen head bolts are stainless and the tub bolts are gold Zinc-plated. This type of upgraded hardware is typical of the Big Daddy line of products. The bolts in the side of the tub should be fitted first with the fender washers. Leaving them loose will ease the installation of the bottom bolts later. Spacers are provided to close the gap between the tub and the lower lip of the rocker. They are easily installed by slipping them under the edges.

Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
Before you start, make sure you have all of the hardware.
Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
Spacers are used between the rocker and body when mounting.

The 3/8 x 2” bottom bolts are now installed using the fender washers and the all-metal locknuts. These bolts get tightened first, and then move to the Allen head bolts on the side. Big Daddy suggests that the bottom tub bolts may need a bit of trimming, but I had no excess to worry about and left them alone.

One down and one to go! The other side is fitted in the exact same manner.

Jeeps find their way into all kinds of muck and grit. This is a fact. An added precaution to keep it from wedging between the body and rocker was taken. A thin bead of caulk was applied to the top edge of the joint. I used white (obviously), but clear can be used to keep it from being noticed.

Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
Caulking the top can give a nice finished look and keep dirt out.
Big Daddy Offroad Rocker Guards
All done and ready to bash on the rocks!

The whole job can be completed in less than 4 hours. This is an excellent weekend project, because you can work on the rig early on Saturday morning and be wheeling by noon! The other upside to this modification is that if you get only half done, you can still DRIVE around!

The Big Daddy Offroad Body Guards look awesome and offer incredible protection, as well as a handy step to assist those vertically challenged people that you occasionally haul around.

Big Daddy has hit a home run with these Body Guards. Style, durability and function all rolled into one sexy black powder coated package…Sign me up!

 

RESOURCE
Big Daddy Offroad
710 Greensboro Rd.
High Point, NC 27260
Phone: (336) 454-5707
Email: mail@bigdaddyoffroad.com
www.bigdaddyoffroad.com

 

Rob Hall

Rob Hall is born-and-raised Texan and lives near Austin these days. Rob did time in California, earning his wings as a drivetrain expert, while working for Advance Adapters.

Contact Rob at robhall@rockcrawler.com