In the past I've really benefited from folks that have posted their instructions and feedback on installing items so I wanted to take the time to pay it forward so I documented my recent installation of the Mopar Rock Rails on my new 2014 Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4. I took my GC offroad at a nearby offroad park here in Texas and it performed great till I went over a little bit too high rock and rubbed the bottom edge sill under the passenger side door. So I decided to add some sliders to protect the car.
I searched around for options and read the threads online here and found that the Mopar Rock Rails were well reviewed. I'm glad I purchased them and they look great on the car.
The next decision was do I try and install them myself or do I take it to the dealer and have them do it. After reading some other posts about how the dealers didn't have experience or missed installing the cut off sill plate I decided to go at it myself.
I would say that I'm good at working on things in general and a handy man kind of person. If it has instructions and doesn't require welding or special tools that cost a lot to own, I'm open to trying it myself.
I started in the morning around 9:00am and finished that evening around 6:00pm with about 1-hr for lunch. So it wasn't too bad for someone doing it all by myself. I didn't have any help installing these. Should you be so lucky it would most likely cut this to about 1/3 the time.
The instructions are very simple to follow and the reference to checking the hardware prior to starting by screwing on the nuts of all the bolts that someone else recommended in another thread is very wise. It was very good to make sure that they all worked before putting them in the slots and finding that the nuts don't work. It would be a pain to get them out since they sit inside the channel and would have to use a magnet to pull them out.
Some helpful notes on the installation:
- The step having to use J hook tool to take off lower trim, not needed. Just remove heads of the plastic rivets and pull out. It will come right off, at least mine did on both sides.
- Use caution when using the chisel at the front of the sill cover since they use that part to cover the front edge of the rails in the wheel well.
- Since they don't have you use the back support piece, the one that has you bend out of the way, I took the bolt and the metal clamp nut and moved to the front so that I can bolt the sill piece on, see video for details.
Here's a short video as well showing the final product and pointing out some things learned:
Here's a link to my PhotoBucket photo album if you want to see full sized photos in a slideshow
Step 1. Remove the factory sill cover
by using a hammer and chisel to cut off the heads of the plastic rivets, be careful in the front fender well to not mar the plastic since you need to use this part. Later in the instructions they have you cut it off the sill piece and trim to fit and reuse just that small piece in the wheel well.
Use Caution on these Rivets in the Front Wheel Well - You use this piece later:
Step 2 Pull the Sill Cover away from the vehicle.
They state to use special J-Hook Scribe and putty knife. No need, just pull out. They came right out.
You can see here that the clips are very flimsy and come out easily:
Pictures of sill guard removed. The holes shown with the doors open are where the bolts go in and you can see some with the foam that needs to be removed.
Step 3 - Remove the rubber grommets
from bottom of sill
Step 4 - Remove the Foam from the sill at Front and Rear.
This takes a bit of time and I may have removed more than needed, but I didn't want to take the chance of having the bolt fall in the sill and have to fish it out. So I removed enough to easily get the bolts in there.
To Remove the foam I used the recommended screwdriver but I found a nice use for the J-hook scribe since I didn't need it for the trim. It's nice for taking out the foam and pulling the pieces out the small hole.
Step 5 - Install the Bolts into the Rectangular holes
and 1 round hole in the middle. Note that you 2 bolts that don't have the extra washer size on them. They go into the round hole in the middle of the car. You use the special tool that's included with the kit to push the bolt onto the hex wrench that's welded to the flexible metal arm. They hold on nicely and I was fortunate enough to not loose any of them.
I would use the tool to locate the bolt into the hole and then I had a nice long screwdriver that was thin enough to slide into the hole from the outside and I could pinch the bolt into place allowing me to push on the quick nut that holds the bolt in place while you install the bars.
They suggest using a 13mm deep well socket to push the quick nut onto the bolt. I tried that and it worked well. I could get the nut and bolt on tight allowing for the best amount of threads and to keep it tight when putting the bars on.
Very important to push the quick nut all the way on so that you get as much of the small bolt exposed since when putting the bars on, you have very little to work with. In fact the threads are so short, on several of them I had to start the nuts in the reverse mode at the step for installing the bars on the car.
Step 6 - Follow the easy instructions to install the 3 bolts under the sill
in the correct holes that you took the grommets out and removed the foam from. Important note is that there are 2 sizes of these. Use the 2 longer ones towards the front and the shorter one for the rear. Sorry missed taking a pic of these.
Step 7 - Install the Rock Rail
- I used the recommended jack stands to hold the bar in place and later used a floor jack to adjust as needed. I worked on the bolts above first putting them all on with the nuts lightly and then went to the next step of installing the bolts and the metal bar on the inside edge.
Step 8 - Inside Edge bar installation
- They include a thin metal bar that you install along the inside of the vehicle which you connect to the rock rails. They have nuts welded in place that you connect to. In the photo you'll see a black support bar bolted to the car. It was in the way for me so I unbolted and pulled it down just a little so that I could install the one bolt at the end. No need to take it completely off, just unbolt the two bolts and pull while installing. Note that there is a difference on the bars as to how you install them. The hole patterns have to be in the right orientation and the holes are closer to the edge on one side along the bar, that goes on top. Important because if it's not right, the holes won't line up with the sill or the rock rails.
When installing these bolts and the metal bar, I had to use the floor jack to push the rock rail up to align the holes. I would install 1 or 2 if I was lucky and then move the jack down the bar to the next set of holes.
Also I used the recommended locktite during this process since I torqued them down per the recommended settings so I didn't have to mess with them. They mention that on the passenger side you have to remove the wire harness casing to get access to the holes. Not a big deal at all, just remove a few nuts and it pulls down and away enough for you to easily access the holes and then when your done with that side, just reattach the assembly.
Tighten down everything and use locktite as prescribed.
Step 9 is to fabricate the end piece
for the front wheel well. I cut off the end to make it easier to work with and then placed it on the car and kept trimming it to finally make it fit. I used the scribe to mark the line to cut it. I used a dremmel tool to cust the plastic. Makes it easy and fast. They do provide a template to cut it out, but I just used the vehicle and cut to fit.
Here's the piece installed with the bolt as noted above at the beginning. I still need to install the rivets provided, but I didn't have the right size rivet gun so off to Advanced Auto Parts to borrow one.
Finished product installed: