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Unread 02-14-2010, 01:19 PM   #1
RubiconRazorbac
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Savvy Offroad Rocker Guards with Metalcloak Fenders Install

There's a couple of good threads on the Savvy Rocker installation out there already. However, I've had a couple of questions concerning making them fit the Metalcloak fenders. Also, I still had a couple of questions concerning the install that were answered by Jerry Bransford in some posts and by Gerald Lee (provelogear) via some phone calls. So I thought I could share some of those tips that helped me out.

The situation was that I really like the way Savvy Offroad designs their products. In addition to the rocker guards/sliders in this install, I have their corners and tail lights to be installed as soon as I get to them. I also like the Metalcloak fenders. The fact that they are a complete replacement fender, don't require an aftermarket intake, don't require relocating accessories, and yield significant clearance was what I was looking for. Plus, as a bonus, I'm one of the folks that likes the way they look...

So originally, when I ordered both products, I honestly didn't consider compatibility. I installed the fenders a few months ago and have been very happy with them. Now, the Savvy rockers are a perfect wheel well-to-wheel well fit on the Jeep TJ. However, with the Metalcloak fenders you gain clearance not only above the tire, but behind as well. The front wheel well is moved back several inches. Now to figure out how to best make the Savvy rockers fit.

When I started trimming and test-fitting, I originally thought I'd do some fancy cutting & grinder work to make the rocker guards conform to the fenders/flares. I spend a couple of weekends trimming as little as 1/4" at a time to see what I wanted to do. Well, in the end, I decided to simply trim the rockers at the front margin of the sliders, then at an angle simliar to the rocker guards Metalcloak sells. It turned out great! Obviously I wish I would have just done this from the start, but oh well...

The original trimming & cutting was done on the driver's side. Then I used that rocker guard as a template for the passenger's side. So the pics of the install are of the passenger's side since I actually installed that side first.

Note: I'm used to cutting steel. Aluminum obviously has different physical properties and behaves a little differently. At first I used a grinder with a cutoff wheel. I didn't like the results I was getting. The aluminum, rather than cutting, seemed more to "displace" rather than cut. Same with finishing. A grinding wheel sort of "smeared" the edges rather than ground them. The best results I got were to cut the large pieces off with a sawsall, trim with a simple jigsaw, then finish with an 80 grit flap wheel on the grinder.

Here are the driver's side trimmed to fit:





This pic shows how much of the Savvy rocker guards I had to trim.



One of the reasons I spent so much time trimming is I wanted to keep the top countersunk mounting point that you can see is just above where I had to cut. I tried and tried to think of a way to keep this intact, it just wouldn't work. However, now that they're installed, I'm not worried about it.

ON TO THE INSTALL

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Your shaft isn't long enough to handle that kind of droop...
My build thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ru...thread-792423/
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Unread 02-14-2010, 01:19 PM   #2
RubiconRazorbac
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So the first step was to remove the rear flares and the OEM Rubi rocker "protection."

Before pic:



To remove the Rubi guards, there are 5 torx bolts on the side and 5 hex bolts underneath. The torx bolts are T-30 and the hex bolts are 10mm.

The rear flares are held on by 8 hex bolts/screws. They are 8mm.

Pic of the flares and rocker guards removed:



At this stage I cleaned up the road salt & crap off the area where I'd be installing the Savvy rockers. Visible are the OEM nutserts that are used to fasten the OEM rockers. We'll have to remove these nutserts in a minute...



Now comes a very important step in the install: preloading the rocker guards. In the pic you can see I used C-clamps and a 4x4 on top of a floor jack. Basically, I positioned the rocker guards perfectly, then tightened them against the tub as tight as possible with the clamps, and with enough force from the floor jack to lift the tub a good two inches.



At this point I used a good center-punch to mark the location of the holes I'll be drilling. Then I drilled 5/16" holes in all locations marked. Note, only the holes in the side of the rocker and on the inboard row of the bottom of the rocker need to be drilled. The outboard row on the bottom of the rocker only bolts to the slider later. Once those holes were drilled, I removed the rocker guards from the Jeep. At this point, I determined which holes were going to be able to be secured with regular nuts and which ones would need nutserts. All of the holes you drill on the bottom of the tub (6) will need nutserts as well as the the ones in the tub that don't bolt to the backing plate. I'll have a pic of this below. It should be easy to tell, but you can also check using a long, skinny phillips screwdriver. If you poke the screwdriver through and it hits solid metal after a few inches, then you'll need a nutsert there. For the holes that require nutserts you'll need a 17/32" drill bit. Yes, it's an odd size, but just get it ahead of time. I ordered one online and it was on the doorstep within a week.

The arrows below show where the nutserts had to be installed in the side of the Jeep.



This is a good time to discuss the OEM nutserts. I thought I could get away without having to deal with them. However, on my Jeep they interfered with the placement of the backing plate in the tub. Here's a pic:



So, I had to get rid of them. I took a dremel with a cutoff wheel to the outside of the nutsert and ground it down until it was paper-thin.





Then, I used a large phillips screwdriver and with a good bump from the palm of my hand, popped the nutsert out. Note, if it takes more than just a firm bump, you want to grind off more of the outer rim.



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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Your shaft isn't long enough to handle that kind of droop...
My build thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ru...thread-792423/

Last edited by RubiconRazorbac; 02-15-2010 at 08:31 PM..
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Unread 02-14-2010, 01:19 PM   #3
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So now that we've had fun popping nutserts out, it's time to put some in! Thankfully, Gerald sent a nutsert installation tool with my rockers & corners. I wasn't sure how much torque it would take to seat the nutserts, but got some good tips from Jerry Bransford that I'll add below.

First, here's the nutsert tool and the instructions it comes with. Pretty simple and with pics for the occasionally brain-dead like me!



To use it, you'll need a 9/16" open-end wrench and a 1/2" socket. Again, you'll need the location drilled out to 17/32".

Place the nutsert.



Thread the installation tool. Note, it's easier to thread the tool in the nutsert, then put it in the correct location, but I wanted to get some good pics. You can do it either way.



Hold the nutsert in place and the "base" of the tool steady with the 9/16" open-end wrench. Then, simply tighten the 1/2" hex head with the socket.



When you first start to tighten it'll feel pretty tight, then it'll "give" and be easier to turn while the nutsert is setting. Once it's seated, you'll know. Get it good 'n' tight and you're set. One thing not shown is to make sure you use plenty of antiseize on the nutsert installation tool threads. Also, after about 6 uses, the top of the tool "base" started getting damaged by the hex bolt. I placed a 5/16" grade 8 washer between the two and that fixed the issue.



Ok, so the nutserts are installed. It was at this point that I took a break to watch some Olympics. While on my extended break, I took the rocker guard into the house for some more prep. I had bought a set of Tough Stuff Products rocker guard gaskets and figured it'd be a good indoor project while watching Team USA.

The Tough Stuff gaskets come in sets of 2. One of the key points the instructions make is to install the gasket to the rocker guard, NOT the Jeep body. The gaskets have a simple adhesive backing. I just placed the gasket on the rocker surface that would contact the side of the tub. I only extended the gasket to where the rocker guard starts to curve at the bottom.

Here's a pic of the gasket in the Savvy rocker guard:



I trimmed the edges using a utility knife, then cut out the bolt holes the same way.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Your shaft isn't long enough to handle that kind of droop...
My build thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ru...thread-792423/

Last edited by RubiconRazorbac; 02-14-2010 at 02:17 PM..
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Unread 02-14-2010, 01:20 PM   #4
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Now time for the good stuff.

First thing is to bolt the slider onto the rocker guard using the bottom bolts only. They're connected by 6 large phillips head countersunk bolts that are secured by 1/2" hex head nuts.

Pics:



Here's a view from the bottom:



Once the slider is on, it's time to bolt the whole assembly onto the Jeep.

I started attaching the assembly to the tub with the bottom row of on the sides. These holes go through both the slider and the rocker (with some also going through the backing plate inside the Jeep). They're secured with panhead bolts that either screw into nutserts or with 1/2" hex nuts after the bolts pass through the backing plate.



Now in the front, I needed to secure the rocker/slider to the Metalcloak fender. The access panel is easy to remove, but it can be difficult to go through to get to the very bottom of the fender. However, it was very easy to come up through the bottom just holding the nut with a box-end wrench.

Just put the nut in the wrench.



Place the wrench through the bottom of the fender.



Then you can just look through the holes to line them up & shove the bolt through.



The top row of bolts for the rocker/slider is secured with countersunk phillips head bolts that either screw into nutserts or are secured with 1/2" hex nuts for the bolts that go through the backing plate.



Here's the backing plate inside the Jeep.



Finally, I scooted underneath the Jeep and placed 6 hex head bolts that are secured with nutserts. For this I used some grade 8 hex bolts that are 1/4" longer than what came in the hardware package with some grade 8 washers. This was a recommendation from Gerald and I think they may have changed the hardware package (I bought these back in October).



Now I just tightened everything up and moved to the driver's side. Note the threads of all bolts were given a good coating of antiseize.

Then just put the flares back on and you're done! Yes, there's a gap where the flare meets the rocker/slider but the flare can relieved a bit to fit that (it's plastic). However, since I'm putting on the corners next, that'll solve the gap issue.



I'll try to do the same type write-up for the corners.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Your shaft isn't long enough to handle that kind of droop...
My build thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ru...thread-792423/

Last edited by RubiconRazorbac; 02-14-2010 at 02:50 PM..
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Unread 02-14-2010, 01:31 PM   #5
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So far, that's looking really good. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the pics, this looks like another great writeup in the making.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 01:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubiconRazorbac View Post

One of the reasons I spent so much time trimming is I wanted to keep the top countersunk mounting point that you can see is just above where I had to cut. I tried and tried to think of a way to keep this intact, it just wouldn't work. However, now that they're installed, I'm not worried about it.

ON TO THE INSTALL
The nice thing is you can go ahead and drill another hole in line with the others any place you feel the need to. The countersink is a standard 82 for the shoulder on the flat head fasteners.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 02:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
So far, that's looking really good. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the pics, this looks like another great writeup in the making.
Thank you, and thanks for your advice while I was setting this up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
The nice thing is you can go ahead and drill another hole in line with the others any place you feel the need to. The countersink is a standard 82 for the shoulder on the flat head fasteners.
Thanks for the spec on the shoulder. That was going to be my next call to you guys I don't know if it's going to need it or not yet though. Having two rows of bolts, plus the backing plate has them set pretty damn solid
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Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Your shaft isn't long enough to handle that kind of droop...
My build thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ru...thread-792423/
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Unread 02-14-2010, 03:18 PM   #8
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dude, awesome writeup! TOTALLY using this when i install my SAVVY rockers. KUDOS!
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Unread 02-14-2010, 03:45 PM   #9
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Yep your writeup turned out great, nice pics & nice descriptions! That will help out anyone installing Savvy's rocker guards with tube fenders like Metalcloak's.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 05:55 PM   #10
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Looks great. I ordered mine a week or so ago. I have genright fenders but I'm probably going to cut mine like you did yours.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 06:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by aghostinside View Post
Looks great. I ordered mine a week or so ago. I have genright fenders but I'm probably going to cut mine like you did yours.
You will not need to cut your Savvy Rocker with genright fenders because genright uses the stock wheel well and therefore does not provide any extra clearance over stock at the rear of the front tire. MetalCloak fenders increase clearance at the rear of the front tire by 4" with a new replacement wheel well, therefore your Savvy install with genright fenders will be very easy.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepineer View Post
You will not need to cut your Savvy Rocker with genright fenders because genright uses the stock wheel well and therefore does not provide any extra clearance over stock at the rear of the front tire. MetalCloak fenders increase clearance at the rear of the front tire by 4" with a new replacement wheel well, therefore your Savvy install with genright fenders will be very easy.
That makes sense. Mrblaine, the developer of the Savvy rocker, runs a Genright tube fender up front.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 07:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepineer View Post
You will not need to cut your Savvy Rocker with genright fenders because genright uses the stock wheel well and therefore does not provide any extra clearance over stock at the rear of the front tire. MetalCloak fenders increase clearance at the rear of the front tire by 4" with a new replacement wheel well, therefore your Savvy install with genright fenders will be very easy.
Even though mine have the 4" flare?
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Unread 02-14-2010, 09:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by aghostinside View Post
Even though mine have the 4" flare?
yes, the genrights dont extend the wheelwell back from the stock location so you will be fine
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Unread 02-14-2010, 10:36 PM   #15
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yes, the genrights dont extend the wheelwell back from the stock location so you will be fine
Iffen I was a betting man, I'd put money on some trimming because our rocker backer goes wheel well to wheel well and under the flare. Seeing as I've had to trim off the front of the backer on a few that had welded on flares, I'm likely correct.
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