ROCKCRAWLER.com
Shrockworks Jeep TJ ShrockBars

By Shawn Pagan

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Passenger side ShrockBar with TJ interior plates
Protection. Protection is one of those words that sometimes seems strange to those outside of our sport who see dings, dents and sometimes damage as “momentary loss of sanity” or perhaps a total loss on our part. But those of us in the sport realize that we must protect the vital parts of our rigs from damage, less our rigs simply become another obstacle on the trail. And truthfully, many of us in the sport don’t much like dents, dings or damage at all.

Today, more than ever, the trails are full of all types of wheelers from stock showroom straight rigs to custom-built tube-framed buggies. The rigs' rocker panels are an area that needs some kind of protection because,even if you don’t mind having them banged up you still need a smooth area that will glide over things instead of getting hung up all the time.

Sure, there are alternatives to rocker protection like cutting your rocker panels out completely but for those that want to keep a fairly stock-looking appearance to the body, that’s not an option. Since we like the fact that our Jeep still looks like a Jeep and here at Rockcrawler.Com we enjoy well… crawling around on rocks...we need something to protect our rocker panels, whether it be sliding across something or using a nice big boulder as a pivot point.

I will say that there are a lot of products on the market from a basic aluminum strip to cut-your-rockers-off-and-angle them protection and the fact remains that for basic protection there are many 'wheelers that have chosen an angle iron solution. That requires some skills and tools that others may not have or have access to. In addition, while this might look like a cheap alternative, don’t forget that if it’s not done right it could actually cause more damage to your rocker panels – damage that you may not see until it’s too late.

For many, spending $200-$300 on a set of quality rocker panel protectors goes a long way to enjoyment on the trail - especially considering the cost of doing body work to correct your trail damage (if it's even possible to fix).

While looking for rocker panel protection we also decided that we wanted something that didn’t extend very far below the rocker panel itself and we wanted a pivot bar that could also be used for a step. We began going through the usual sources when we happened across a company in Texas called Shrockworks that make their own brand of mass-produced rocker protection called ShrockBars. After looking at their design and talking to their owner we were sold on the solution. Shrockbars have a nice, good looking, smooth underside with heavy-wall tubes that can be used as pivot points, jack points and steps. One of the things I really liked about the looks of the ShrockBars is how high they come up the side – almost all the way to the door opening.

As it says on Shrockworks' website: “Don't settle for a slider design with tube welded on as an afterthought. Ours were designed from the ground up to be fitted with side tubes and withstand all the abuse you want to throw at them.

But, of course, like all forms of protection – the proof is in how well they work, not how well they look, so let’s move on to the actual product and see what happens.

Initial thoughts:
Our new ShrockBars arrived from Shrockworks well-packed and protected. Ours were ordered unpainted and we coated them with a nice thick primer and followed it up with two or three coats of gloss black. The ShrockBars can be ordered with a powder coat finish which we did not opt for, because we believe that paint is easier to fix and touch up after each trail ride.

In the box you should find the following (or similar, depending on what you order and your application):
  • 2 Rocker Guards (1 Passenger Side, 1 Drivers Side)
  • Interior Backing Plates – 2 Large, 2 Medium, 2 Small
  • 14 Stainless Steel 5/16”x1” cap screws
  • 12 Black 2 ½” x 5/16” flush head cap screws
  • 27 sets 5/16” nuts and lock washers
  • 13 5/16” washers
  • 15 5/16” fender washers

They include one set of extra fasteners in each kit just incase they miscount or you lose one during the install (nice touch and in my mind it shows that these guys have been there and want to make your installation go smoothly).

Start by sitting back and admiring how nice everything is put together. This is where we really noticed that Shrockworks bars are unique in many ways. First off, they provide a completely smooth surface underneath the vehicle. Shrockworks has taken the time to provide all the flush-mounting hardware and create recessed mounts for all the bolt heads under the vehicle. The welds are cleaned up and flow nicely, which is something some manufacturers can fudge and cover up during powdercoating. In addition, their attention to details like the use of welded-on metal blocks for support against the underside of the body (as opposed to some competitors that use plastic spacers) and the angle and spacing of the external tube and supports makes this a clean-looking functional part that should last through many years of abuses. Also note that they have left a hole where the stock TJ floor drain is at.

Kilby Steering Skid Plate
Kilby Steering Skid Plate
Slider w/ TJ mounting Plates
Notice the drain hole and the smooth lines.

Shrockworks uses intenal mounting plates that sandwich the vehicle's rockers so that twisting and turning forces that are applied to the extrenal bars will not damage the bars or the vehicle. On the Samurai and CJ installation, they call this “The Vise.”

Kilby Steering Skid Plate
Kilby Steering Skid Plate
"The Vise" installed in a CJ
The rear plate installed in a TJ

Note: As you read through this article note that we cover the installation on a TJ. The CJ / Samurai will be similar but the internal mounting plates are quite different. Because of the double-walled floor and the general shape of the TJ floor pan, Shrockworks designed a different mounting system that utilizes separate plates to clamp the body of the Jeep.

 

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