Yeah, right! For some strange reason four wheelers tend to see body
damage as some sort of war wound or a testament to a hard fought battle.
I personally see body damage as a sign of a poorly prepared driver
or a poorly prepared Jeep. If you hit the trail with the right equipment
and mindset you should be able to come home without a scratch (or
at least just little ones). The goal here is to be able to drive it
to the trail, drive it home and then use it to play with another day.
For the last sixty years the Jeep has been evolving. And for
sixty years the two door convertible Jeep has had the same vulnerable
point just below the doors. For the most part, the rest of the Jeep
stays out of harm's way. The rocker panels are the number one spot
for a rockcrawler to mess up if not properly equipped. That is why
this was on the top half of our list of upgrades. If you cruise
back though the "Cross
Trainer" articles you will see that the rockers were replaced
would be amazed at all the thought that we have put into the "Cross
Trainer" project. Some of the choices may seem obvious when
you look at them, but there are so many styles and brands to chose
from out there that sometimes the choices can get pretty tough.
The hardest part has been staying true to the goal of the "Cross
Trainer" and not making quick decisions. So, the first thing
we had to do was define our problem and analyze our possible solutions.
the "Cross Trainer" is a Sahara it came with the plastic
body molding that runs from fender flare to fender flare. It also
came with a factory plastic step that mounts to the frame just below
the side molding. This extra stuff made the choice a bit more difficult.
Any type of rocker protection we chose would have to either protect
the plastic side molding or replace it altogether, while covering
the holes in the body where it was mounted.
At first, I
thought the side steps would just come off and go in the trash.
I soon realized that I use them quite a bit for washing the Jeep
or putting objects on the roof like mountain bikes and snowboards.
So removing the steps would decrease the utility of the Jeep and
go against the "Cross Trainer" theory.
Now that we
fully understand the problem, lets look at the options and why we
chose the Four X Doctor rocker protection.
Our first choice seemed obvious. Just put on some "rock rails".
You know, the kind that are a 2x4 square tube that bolts to the
frame and stick out just below the rocker. This was actually a pretty
good option. It would protect the plastic body molding of the Sahara
and leave us with a step. The only thing I did not like about this
is that I would gain nothing for ground clearance over the factory
Jeep had your basic rocker panel armor that mounted flush against
the Jeep's body. The major advantage of this is that you lose no
ground clearance. In this case, I would actually gain some clearance
by removing the factory step. While there are many options like
this on the market, I could not find one that I felt looked good.
I felt like most of them gave the "covering up a mistake"
remembered looking at some tube-style rock rails a few years back
that the "Four X Doctor" had made. Even though I knew
this was not the style that I was looking, for I checked out their
web site anyway just to remind myself how cool they were.
DOCTOR IS IN! --->>>
let this happen to your rockers. This rocker is from our Project TJ,
which did, actually, have rocker protection. Without covering the
sides of the rockers themselves, you still leave the sheet metal vulnerable.
TJ Sahara model has plenty of extra plastic parts that are just
itchin' to be removed by rocks. The steps just get in the way and
we've seen them sheered right off on their first real trail rides.
In addition, in snowy climates, as you can see, they are worthless
as steps anyway.
the Four X Doctor Rocker Panel Guards on and the step on for demonstration,
you can see the huge difference in clearance getting rid of them
affords you. Can you say 4-5 inches?
Four X Doctor Rocker Panel Guards not only have your typical tubing
outriggers, but also mount flush against your rocker panels for
even more protection.
you say clearance? Clean and extremely functional guards.