I was thinking I would order the Bushwacker stick-on rocker panels ( Bushwacker 14002 - Bushwacker TrailArmor Rocker Panels for 97-06 Jeep® Wrangler TJ - Quadratec
Although, I guess, if someone really wanted to use this as a write up to do something similar, feel free, but there are much better ways of doing this. I just wanted to do something, and make it my own
I did not want to waste almost $110 bucks (including shipping and duty), for stickers. So, since I had a few hundred tons of steel in the shop, I knew I had to have some checker plate.
I found some 14 ga diamond steel plate, which was light enough to work for this application, I didn't want something too heavy; that would mean larger bolts, and I wanted to use 1/4" HDG (Hot Dipped Galvanized), carriage bolts. Anyhow, I cut two pieces to 4" by 55". I decided the width because I didn't want to cover the TJ logo on the Jeep. I know, it's a sticker, but I like that one, and I paid $15,000 CDN for it
I cut them to 55" long BECAUSE, I wanted the rockers to slide under the stock fender flares.
Okay, so took my two cut pieces of checker plate, and painted 'em using Tremclad flat black, painting them on both sides with several coats.
What I did next, is probably a little unorthodox, but I didn't want the steel plates in direct contact with the Jeep body, didn't like the thought of it.
Went to Home Depot and picked up a piece of rubber liner, used in small garden ponds. This stuff is about 1/16" thick, and since it's rubber liner, I thought it would be a perfect buffer between the new plates and Jeep, and as a bonus, the rubber would... SHOULD help seal the bolt holes. I didn't take any picks of the rubber, I think this should be pretty easy for anyone to grasp, and there's probably a hundred good reason someone will say it's not a good idea.
To keep the rubber on the back of the plates, so as to make installation a heck of a lot easier, I put a few dabs of Super Glue on the back of the rubber.
My next task, which took A LOT longer then I think it should have
was to cut slots in the stock fender flares. Tomorrow I'll take better pics, time permitting. To do this, I removed the bottom screw on each of the fender flares (5/16" screw),so I could slide the new rockers underneath.
Clamps are a huge time saver for the rest of this.
[i][You MAY have a problem of the screw and backing nut being fused together, especially if you live in an area that describes weather in terms of wind chill. Make sure you have a nice size pair of pliers to hold the backing nut].
Then, using a utility knife, I cut the slots to match, as close as I could, to the thickness of the new rockers. To make this fit correctly, you will also have to trim off the fender flares on both faces, otherwise the flares will not fit snug against the body. Do this part SLOWLY, one wrong move with the knife, and you might be running for the touch up paint. (no pics of that part yet, but I'll post tomorrow and update).
Next task, was to drill the holes for the bolts. To make this easy, for me, once I had the rockers set to where I wanted them on the body, using clamps to hold them, I drilled and installed a bolt under the flare on each end of the plate. Once that's done, it was just a matter of drilling the holes for the bolts that would be visible.
Tomorrow I'll post the distance between bolts. All I did was set the bolt holes to 3/4" from the edge of the rocker. I placed the bolts according to the available access for the nuts.
Here is another shot, sans dimensional lines
Finally, this is the finished product.
If anyone wants to do this, here's your shopping list:
2 - 14ga. Steel Diamond Plate, cut length 4" x 55" (or to suit personal preference)
18 - 1/4"-20 Galvanized Carriage Bolts, minimum 3/4" long to 1-1/2" long (I used 1-1/2", my Home Depot didn't have anything shorter)
18 - 1/4" Galvanized flat washer
18 - 1/4" Galvanized lock washer
18 - 1/4"-20 Galvanized nuts
1 - garden rubber pond liner, 1/16" thick, or something close to it Cut size is minimum 55" x 8", or whatever dimensions you decide on
1 - tube glue (for sticking pond liner to back of rockers
2 - cans of rust resistant paint, colour is your call. I went with flat black
1 - electric/pneumatic drill
1 - minimum drill bit size is 1/4" Don't go smaller otherwise you will have a hard time getting the carriage bolt to sit flush to the checker plate
1 - utility knife, with spare blades
1 - 5/16" box wrench, ratcheting wrenches work great for this
2 - clamps (to hold the rockers to the Jeep body)
1 - 7/16" box wrench, and ratchet with 7/16 socket. (A deep socket would be a good idea for some of the bolts)
1 - measuring tape