I purchased a lifted 2014 JK Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited and my wife has a lot of trouble getting into the passenger side of the Jeep with her arthritis. I have a simple 3” lift with 35” tires.
I wanted something to help her get in without having some step rail permanently attached hanging down or stupid step-stool. I looked around and there were a few types out there, and this had all the checks.
The order was drop shipped from Rock-Slider in Utah and was shipped in a large well packaged box on a pallet. I had to arrange to be home for the delivery and at the price these are, you want to be there to inspect the delivery. There was some confusion on the order and my home phone number wasn’t used in the shipping information, so it is wise to call back a few days after ordering to ensure all your contact information is correct. There was some drama with the local delivery company it was transferred to and they fudged the first delivery attempt with me taking off work and waiting at home all evening and no one showing up or calling me back. I was quite upset with this company and let them know it. It ended up being delivered the following Tuesday afternoon.
The box/with pallet was around 200lbs. The box was heavily stapled shut and extremely well padded. Nothing was damaged or scratched. Nice job.
The install instructions were actually on the Rock-Slide website. Though they were generally adequate, there were few “what the heck” moments during the install.
The first challenge was during the removal of the factory rock rails. Seemingly straight forward, the first oddity was the two forward seem bolts that looked like they were part of the rock rail fastener. They are independent of the rock rail and you may drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why the nut turns and you can’t get a wrench on the backside. At first I thought the stud in the rock rail was spinning, but in reality, it isn’t connected to the rock rail at all.
Once you get the rock rail off, I put the original fasteners back on the factory rock rails because there are fasteners provided for the JK Sliders.
Though this may seem common sense, I completely cleaned the paint that was under the factory rock rail. I also spent the time to wax it to give it some protection from future oxidation. I even touched up the bolt holes in the pinch seem.
I used an impact gun to loosen the body mount bolts to allow for the three required brackets to fit between the bolt and washer. This is all part of the install prep before you bring over the slider.
The first thing you must install is a metal strip called a bump stop plate. Though on the online videos don’t show the type I had in my box, it was straight forward. I did like the rubber gasket that ran the length of the metal plate. There is a notch that should point down toward the rear of the Jeep matching a body seem. Instructions explain this in a straightforward photo. You are supposed to align the edge of the radius bend of the underside of the door to this metal strip. I would like to see a closeup quality photo of this alignment prior to the install, but in the end I had to give it my best guess.
I was able to do the heavy install by myself, though it was heavy at times. I unpacked the driverside rail, which was packaged on top, and laid it on my creeper to roll over to the side of the Jeep.
I slide the rail under the Jeep and sat cross legged and lifted the rail into my lap. After a few curls and alignment checks, it was fairly easy to get the JK Slider studs to align onto the pinch seem. To aid in keeping the rail from falling, I put two of my jack stands on each end just under the rail for security.
There was an odd pattern of 1/4 20 and 5/16 18 stainless nylon lock nuts and washers you have to install. It’s tight getting your fingers and hands in there and be prepared to drop washers and nuts over and over. I found the easiest tool was a ratcheting box ended wrench. The factory bolts are all metric, but the JK Rail hardware are all standard.
Once you get a few fasteners installed and loosely tightened I moved out the jack stands to allow more room to move around. Safety glasses are a must with dirt and washers falling down in your face.
Once the pinch rail bolts are all on and still lose, then do the three rail brackets. There are four bolts/washers for each. I used impact gun for these and kept loose. Then I went back to tighten down the nuts on the pinch rail to torque specs. Then installed the one bolt thru the front panel bolt. You can’t get the final pinch bolt thru until the end when you open up the step and have to reach inside to get it. This is explained in the instructions as the final step.
To finish the bolt install is to torque the three large body bolts with my impact gun and checked torque with my wrench. I have to say that this rail gives me a big sense of side impact security. The rail is quite structurally sound and seems to be able to take quite a load and I had a sense it would easily hold the weight of the Jeep on the edge of a rock or log without bending.
The passenger side was just as straight forward as the drivers with no surprises. The JK slider studs aligned perfectly with no modifications needed.
I began the driver side on a Friday evening and it took about 3 hours to unpack and get the first rail on. (No wiring, just the rail install). The following Saturday I started at 11:00 and took until 5 to complete, with wiring.
I started the wiring in the engine compartment and wisely removed the fuse from the harness before I began. For the price of the sliders, I would think it would include a dollars worth of zip ties, but none were included. Anyway, the harness provided was well made and looked very factory professional. I just followed the harness that went from the battery up along the cowl and engine cover toward the driver side, match zip tie to each factory junction. What I found in my JK, I have a 6 speed manual, I had to figure out a way to run the power wire back thru the firewall and down towards the driver side kick panel. This instruction wasn’t included. What I ended up routing is following the rear washer fluid hose that went thru a rubber plug. I used a wire pulling kit rod with a hook end and put the harness with electric tape to protect the end of the hook from catching anything under the dash. It pulled thru easily with no issues. I cut a slit in the body plug the washer hose was using and put the plug back in with the slit at 3 o’clock position to keep water from running down or up into the plug. Then I sealed the slit with black silicone.
The rest of the install of the harness was straight forward. Please invest in a quality body panel removal tool so you don’t damage the black panel fasteners. I had to remove the trim along the drivers side door thru the b-pillar over the front seatbelt mechanism. The rear carpenter just flips forward from under the rear seat and the harness runs toward the rear passenger side. Then I pulled the body plugs and ran the power wires (I got the light kit and you’ll need to run both sets of wires), down under the Jeep.
After a dry run of where I wanted the wires to lay, I installed the driver side kick panel power bracket, which is where the door tether attaches. Connected the wires as instructions show and start covering up the harness with the trim panels. Hind sight I should of tested the entire setup before I closed up the trim, but honestly the trim comes out so easily I wasn’t to concerned.
At this point I installed the door jam activation sensors. The kit came with two little alcohol wipes and double back adhesive pads to mount the sensors. I didn’t care for the double back pads included and the adhesive seemed inadequate, but used them anyway figuring if it didn’t hold up I could easily replace down the road. I was worried about the sensor wires going under the trip and wrapping around the metal of the pillar. I wrapped the wire in a couple layers of electric tape thinking it may keep the thin wires from chaffing. We’ll see how that goes, but this does seems like a weak part of the entire wiring system.
I temporarily aligned the sensor magnets on the doors as best I could and did not apply adhesive until I knew they were aligned properly. I did have to move one magnet around after the install was complete, so hold off doing so.
Installing the rear door sensor was like the front, though more wire was visible on the door striker plate. I’m a little concerned something could catch on the exposed wires and I’m going to cover the wires with color matched heavy duty vinyl tape. The wires aren’t out flopping around, but I like a clean install.
Working the harness back to the rear I ran the harness neatly across the metal floor in a way it wouldn’t be crushed by feet or something heavy laying on the floorboard. I mounted control box under the rear passenger side seat with zip ties as the instructions note. I cut slits in the floor body plugs for the harness and ran the wires down. I left the carpet up until I had the excess wiring pulled up from below, so it wasn’t loose and dangling. I considered zip tying the harness to the rear seat brackets, but for now I left them neatly loose.
I connected the power wire to the the sliders and finally did a basic test. I put the fuse back into the harness and turned on the power. Both sides extended and I honestly jumped a bit because I didn’t know what to expect. I turned off the power and then checked it all out. The arms are heavy stainless steel and seemed well constructed. At this point I began the lighting install. There really was no instruction for this, but I did the best I could. The LED light strip installed easily and I basically pulled the backing tape off, and stretched it tight and moved it around with it stretched tight and stuck it to the rail and not the body paint. I basically guessed as to the best location by plugging in the strip and watching the light pattern. Once completed, I began pulling up slack in the wires back up thru the body plug under the back carpet. The lighting wire was actually long enough to pull the entire plug back up into cab. I made sure no wires were on any sharp edges or heat sources. I tightened up the wire inside the cab and finished laying out the wires smoothly under the carpet and finished up.
At this time, I put in the final pinch bolt and you had to do this with the rail extended down. I tightened it up and this was done on both sides.
Then I did the finally magnet alignment. I turned on the system and closed all the doors. Driver side was aligned and worked when the door was opened and closed. I basically used some superglue jell under the magnet and put back to the original locations and retested. Passenger side I had one magnet that I had to move around a few times to get correct. The magnets are super strong and hard to move around in small increments. I got these aligned and glued in.
The powder coat finish is nice and heavy. I ran a powder coat line for years and can spot bad finish quite easily. The stainless arms that extend down have some brakepress die scars that could have easily been avoided with die protection, but most people won’t notice. The step has factory installed grippy tape and works perfectly. I really like the lights and helps so much in the dark, especially on the trail where there are no ambient lights. My wife just loves them and with the added handgrip bars she gets in with zero effort. I had to reseal my hard top and do some work above and found the step is the perfect height for these activities.
I will say that when the slider retract, it does make a large thud that I would like could have been engineered out with a smartly located rubber bump stops. However, hearing it clunk, lets you know they are up.
I tested the sensor but blocking the rail with my leg from coming down and it worked perfectly. Also going up. My dogs like climbing in and out and I was worried it would catch their body somehow, and it seems the slightest resistance they will stop movement.
These were a big investment and the construction and install were inline with the cost. I would easily say this was the best addition to my Jeep I’ve done so far. Time will tell thru the winter on how they hold up with moisture and ice. But honestly if it was super cold with freezing rain etc. I would just shut it off to avoid the risk of the slider getting stuck open. Just common sense.
In all A+
Since 2004, Utah-based Rock-Slide Engineering has been steadily producing exterior bumpers for 4x4s and the company has evolved to manufacture drivetrain and lighting products as well. Being situated in the rocky desert region is ideal for Rock-Slide to test their creations in real-life off-roading country, and Jeep enthusiasts appreciate their attention to detail and durable construction that comes through in the clutch. Whether it's Tierra Del Sol, Moab Easter Jeep Safari or Truck & Jeep Fest, you'll find Rock-Slide's lineup on hand and in action. Protect against rocks and trail hazards with heavy-duty Rock-Slide bumpers that still exude a sense of style. Shop Rock Slide Engineering Now