The EVOlution Of JK Rocker Protection
If you’re going to take your Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JK off-road, then one of the first upgrades on your list needs to be a quality set of rocker guards. It’s the most venerable section of body for the four-door Wrangler and the most expensive to repair. One good hit in this area and you could be dealing with a severely damaged tub. To avoid this nightmare bodywork scenario you can opt for a set of heavy-duty rocker guards.
For the JK Unlimited, there are two main types of rocker protection. The first actually attaches to the body of the Jeep. While these tend to offer higher ground clearance over frame-mounted guards, they are attaching to somewhat thin sheetmetal. Given that it’s not uncommon to see four-door Wranglers in the seven-thousand-pound range, it stands to reason that this type of rocker guard isn’t ideal for hard-core ‘wheeling.
Your other option is to use a frame-mounted rocker guard. Sure, the frame-mounted guards will sit slightly lower, but the strength and protection advantages of the rock sliders are significant. Since you are using the frame as a supporting base, you also have the option of welding or bolting the protection in place. This means you can use stronger material to protect the JK's tub. We recently stopped by our local 4x4 shop to check out an install of one of the most robust JK rocker guards on the market on a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. We’re referring to EVO Manufacturing’s weld-on sliders. Here’s how it all went down.
EVO MFG ships to the sliders bare, so you have the option of painting or powdercoating the sliders prior to the install. Both metal-coating methods have their pros and cons, but most opt for the thicker and more durable powedercoat finish. Since this set was powdercoated, it was necessary to take a grinder and remove the coating from the spots where it will be welded to the frame.
Frame prep is equally as important. Once the frame is down to the bare metal, you can clamp the sliders in place to make sure they are in the correct location. You will need to leave a little room between the body and slider. This is to allow for body flex as the JK’s tub and frame will often move independently from one another in extreme articulation and hard hits off-road.
Once you determine proper placement, you can weld the sliders in place. Here, we’re using a MIG welder as it’s a fast and effective way to get the job done.
The final step is to add paint to any exposed areas on the framerail and the sliders footing.
The end result is a set of 1¾-inch, 0.120-wall DOM rocker guards that are proven to protect the body of the JK in extreme conditions. This JK was also equipped with EVO MFG Rock Skins that add an additional layer of body protection.
Check out how it all went together in the video below.