Rocker Guards and TJ Rear Flares - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
StanF
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Rocker Guards and TJ Rear Flares

Edit on 7-16-2017: Since Photobucket went crazy, I attached the first 10 pictures in each post (this is the forum limit). Some pictures are still missing. Post in this thread if you need any missing pictures/details.

I started a new project a few days ago - Rocker Guards. I've been wanting a set, but have been procrastinating. On my last wheeling trip, I had a minor hit on my passenger side, so I decided to get to work before I get a major hit. I'll be installing TJ Rear Flares for more tire clearance at the same time, since the stock flares will already be off the vehicle.

Rocker Guards:


(I took this picture after I already welded one set of angles)

I decided to fab them myself and save about half of the cost. I couldn't find angle in the size that I wanted, so I just bought flat steel and welded it into an angle.

Cost Breakdown:
$60 - 20' of 3/16" x 5" Steel Plate from local metal supply
$77 - Prebent Tube Kit from AtoZ Fab
$10 - Black SS Screws from McMaster-Carr
$60 - Rubber Gasket Kit from Quadratec (2 sets at $30 each)
$0 - Extra steel to tie into body mounts - I have some scrap laying around
$20 - Extra steel for backing plates


I started with making angles out of the steel. It took me a couple of hours + to weld both sides and grind everything smooth. My grinding skills greatly surpass my welding skills

The magnets weren't strong enough, so I also used some clamps while I tacked the two pieces together. I was trying to keep a 90 degree angle, and both pieces are pretty close to 90deg along the entire length.

I welded the inside corner first.


Then I flipped it over and welded the outside corner:


Then there was grinding...lots of grinding!



The next step will be to remove all the flares, so I can mark them to the length and angle of the wheel wells.

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post #2 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
StanF
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2-25-2014...Rocker Guards continued...

TJ Flares

I had to install the TJ Flares, since cutting for them impacts the edge of the wheel wheel.

All four flares and rear inner fender wells were removed. I won't go into any detail here. (There are already some great writeups on swapping TJ flares on a YJ). The process is mark the cut line, cut to the line (I used an angle grinder), drill the mounting holes and install.

A few notes:

1) My TJ flares need a coat of paint - I'll be spraying them with Krylon Fusion Black Satin.

2) I left the flanged edge on the rear flares, so it would cover the sheetmetal line - other writeups may tell you to cut this off. You need to mark two lines if you keep the flange. First, mark the inner line, then mark another line 3/16" further out which will be your actual cut line.

3) Spring clamps or welding clamps are great at holding the flares in position.

Flare removed and first line marked.


The same process was followed for the front flares.

Here are some pictures of the first full install. (I had to install all the flares for an offroad trip this past weekend). I'll have to remove them to tack on the body mounts to the rocker guards.
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
StanF
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2-25-2014...Rocker Guards continued...

Cut to Length:

I used a Harbor Freight transmission jack to hold the Rocker Guard into position while I marked it to length. It's a cheap little thing, but it has proven to be very useful. It was able to (mostly) support an AX15 and Transfer Case while I attached it to the engine. It was also invaluable for the Rocker Guards. Honestly, it was probably overloaded with the AX15 and Transfer Case, but it did work. We took extra care to support it and not tip it over.
http://www.harborfreight.com/450-lb-...ack-39178.html

I did not cut the rear edge of the rocker guard at all, but you could if you desire. There's not much angle at the rear, and leaving it square gives you a nice reference for measuring the holes, etc. This area is covered by the rear flare, so it isn't a cosmetic issue.

I aligned the rear with the edge of the wheel wheel, and then took a Sharpie to the front wheel wheel edge. After some cutting and a grinding, it looks like this:


Side Mounting Holes:

I marked and drilled six mounting holes. I used flat head 1/4" SS black oxide screws, so I also had to countersink the holes. Vertical Location: For my 5" tall rocker guards, I found that the proper location for the holes was about 1.5" below the top edge. Horizontal positions: From the rear edge of the Rocker Guard, my holes measured at 9", 17", 25". 33", 41" and 49". Be careful with the 49" hole - it's very close to a support rib in the tub. Basically, I kept all my holes at 8" spacing, because I thought it would look better (we'll see later if this is true!)



I would have liked to get two additional mounting holes - one further back under the rear flare, and another further forward under the front flare. Unfortunately, the tub is double-walled in both of these areas, so I decided not to add a mounting hole in these areas. I will be tying into the 3 body mounts, so that should give me adequate support.

Bottom Mounting Holes:

I also dropped three mounting holes into the bottom of the tub along the passenger foot well. Two would probably be enough.



Body Mounts:


Here are the tabs that I will weld onto the edges of the rocker guards. The frame widens, so the tabs have to be different lengths. It's just 3/16" steel. I drilled a 3/4" hole and then made the slot with an angle grinder.



Passenger side tacked on and welded. The process was pretty easy - remove all 5 body mount bolts from one side, and the front body mount bolt under the radiator; carefully jack up the tub from the side; remove the three body mount bushings; insert wood spacer to support tub and remove jack; position the rocker guard; line up and tack in the mounts. Remove the rocker guard and burn in the mounts.



The long brackets at the front of the rocker guard will need an extra 3/16" thick spacer above it. They don't line up perfectly flat with my tub. Your Jeep may be different. You could fix this several ways, but I'm just going to weld on a spacer since I already made the long brackets. You could also just weld the bracket on top of the rocker guard and not have a spacer, but my bracket wasn't long enough to do this, and it was easier to make two new spacers than two new brackets.
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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Rocker Guards continued

I welded on the sliders and painted one of the two rocker guards while we had some nice weather:
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Rocker Guards Continued

Backing Plates


I made backing plates for inside the tub to provide extra strength. Two long ones for the sides, and two shorter ones for the bottom. I used 1/4" x 1.5" steel. Additionally, I purchased a second kit of Ruff Stuff rocker guard gasket, so that I would be able to put the gasket on the backing plates.

The side backing plates just have holes in them, and I'll use a nut to secure the screws. I tapped the bottom backing plates, so I could screw directly into them. I didn't want the extra thickness of a nut on my floorboard. And they are all painted white to blend in with my Jeep.


Gasket cut roughly to size:


Finished backer plates with gasket installed. I used a hollow punch to cutout the holes:
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the Ruff Stuff rocker guard gasket installed. I put it everywhere the rocker guard touched the body. This required me to buy two packages of the gasket @ $30 each.

Here's some early morning (somewhat dark, unfortunately) pictures:


Body Mounts:

Since I tied the rocker guards into the body mounts, I had about 1/4" of extra thickness to account for. 3/16" for the steel + about 1/16" for the gasket.



There are two options. First, you can cut down the six body mounts that the rocker guards mount to by 1/4". Or you can add a 1/4" spacer to the other five mounts. I chose the second option and added two 1/8" thick fender washers above the other mounts. I didn't mind the extra 1/4" body lift, and (more importantly), precisely cutting 1/4" off of the six rubber mounts would be difficult.



Conclusion:

1) Rocker guards are pretty easy to make from scratch.

2) The AtoZ tubes made things very easy - highly recommended.

3) It was a time-consuming project, when you include the TJ flares. There's a lot of measuring twice and test fitting before drilling holes, cutting the sheetmetal, etc.

4) I didn't cut my front fenders for the TJ flares yet - I may or may not do this in the future.

5) If you have the time and tools, you can save about 1/2 the cost of manufactured rocker guards.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 10:36 AM
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-18-2014, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
StanF
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A QUESTION:
I am (again) ready to do the rocker guards. I'll start in earnest this weekend, but first a question for anyone who has some thoughts - how do I handle the interface between the front flares and rocker guard and rear flares and rocker guards.

At first, I was thinking that I would run the rocker guards from wheel well to wheel well for best coverage. The problem is that I would have to run under both the front and rear fender flares to do that. I'm afraid running the guards under the flares will look a little bad. The flares will sit flush at the top, and then gape out where they run over the rocker guards.

Another option is to just shorten the rocker guards and cut it right at the flares.

Thoughts? Anyone have pictures of some installed guards that may be helpful?

The Delay:
I've had about a 7 week delay, but I'll be (re)starting this project on Saturday. I made productive use of my 7 weeks - this is like peeling an onion - lots of layers.

First, I had a leaking front AX5 transmission seal, which was causing my clutch to slip. I could have just replaced the seal and clutch, but I did the complicated thing (of course!). I sold the AX5 and NP231, and I replaced it with an AX15 and a TJ Rubicon 4:1 transfer case. I had both of these sitting in my garage along with a (used) Advanced Adapters kit for interfacing the AX15 to my 2.5L engine. I'd starting purchasing this stuff for a 4.0L/AX15 swap. Early this year, I fell into the TJ Rubicon transfer case at a price that I couldn't pass up. Installing everything went pretty well, but the Rubicon Transfer case is quite a bit larger. To keep my flat tummy tuck, I ended up cutting a big gaping hole in the floor of the tub under the driver's seat, and then built a sheetmetal box to fill in the hole. Then I had to cut and rebuild the seat bracket to fit over the bump in the floor. I also had to redo the crossmember and modify the skid plate. There were also numerous electrical and vacuum lines that need to be swapped, changed, etc. I also had to add a little Speedohealer box to scale my speedometer correctly.

Second, I wasted some time buying a good 4.0L. I found a good one, and went ahead and bought it, even though it slowed down the other projects for several days.

Third, my Jeep hadn't been running well, and I solved some of its issues. My vent line was pinched, and causing high fuel pressure, so I ended up dropping tank to fix that. I also changed out the motor mounts. And also tried to track down the cause of a high-idle problem which ended up being a leaking intake manifold gasket.


Here are a few pictures:
Clearance hole in the floor:


Completed box with seam sealer:


Modified seat bracket and painted box:


Skid plate stiffeners:
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post #9 of 26 Old 02-18-2014, 03:25 PM
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I have tube fenders front and rear. My rocker guards are cut to fit flush in between them.

A recommendation on the rockers. I have a similar set up, and slid off a rock and it caught the rocker tube and bent the tub in slightly because the only anchor points are the guard bolted to the tub.

I made tie in straps that are welded to the lower inside edge and tie into the 3 body mounts... I added a thick fender washer to the remaining body mounts to make up the extra thickness of the tie in straps.



Edit: I see you are planning to tie into the BM

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post #10 of 26 Old 02-18-2014, 11:38 PM
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Sorry I don't have a better picture, I used a dremmel and trimmed the back side of the flare and make it sit flush on top of rock slider.



I can quit drinking anytime I want, but hey I'm no quitter :)


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post #11 of 26 Old 02-19-2014, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plumber1 View Post
Sorry I don't have a better picture, I used a dremmel and trimmed the back side of the flare and make it sit flush on top of rock slider.


Got it - that looks nice! Looks like we have a winner! I'll do the same thing.

Did you also do TJ front flares?


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post #12 of 26 Old 02-19-2014, 10:03 AM
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I cut a small section 2.5" out of my rear TJ flares to fit around the tube on my sliders



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post #13 of 26 Old 02-25-2014, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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I made some progress over the last few days - checkout the 2nd and 3rd posts from the beginning of the thread. Here's a teaser pict:
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post #14 of 26 Old 02-25-2014, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plumber1 View Post
Sorry I don't have a better picture, I used a dremmel and trimmed the back side of the flare and make it sit flush on top of rock slider.


X2. You will have to cut the backing/mounting area off the flare just where the trimming needs to be. Otherwise notch it until it sits flush. Add this to your life lessons; Plastic is easer to cut than steel.
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post #15 of 26 Old 02-25-2014, 09:37 PM
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I am getting ready to do this same set up after my tube fenders are completed. Could you get pics of how you tie in the bottom of the sliders into the body mounts.
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