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Homemade Rock sliders/steps

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by torqydd, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. torqydd

    torqydd Rockstar

    Just curious has anyone built there own rocksliders/steps or a combination of both. I have almost everything needed minus the steel to construct my own. Just looking for some opinions on using round tube or square tube and whether or not to attach them directly to the frame or use the body mounts. If anyone has what size of round/square tubing did you use and how did you go about mounting them.
  2. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    I would go with round stock. something like .120 wall tube at least. That is the standard size for roll cages. I would say attach it to the frame with multiple points. Using the round vs. square will allow the obstacle (rock, tree or Ford) slide better. If you go back and watch xtreme 4x4 on spike from last weekend they actually installed a set of sliders/steps onto a full size blazer. I don't remember the year but it was the last body style before they stopped making them.
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I've been fabbing sliders for my trucks for about 6 years, building and selling them to friends in the rock crawling community for about 5 years, right up until last year when I quit competing in rock crawling to spend more time with the family.
    Square tube limits the ability to make good looking strong corners, you have to weld every corner which makes it a weak point, the corners on square tube sometimes catch on ledges and make it harder to slide off where round has no corners to catch, and lets face it round tube just looks better.
    With round tube you can make a nice tight radius curve (on a tubing bender) that retains strength and looks much better.
    Never attach sliders to body mounts, it'll introduce forces to the body mount that it was never intended to withstand and it'll fail dropping the cab directly on the frame at the very least, possibly causing body damage or making the vehicle undriveable.
    Attach the end of the tubes to 6"x6"x1/4" plates then weld the plates to the frame, this spreads the force/weight across the frame better. Most frames are so thin they would never withstand the stress of a slider tube being directly welded to the frame, they'd break off and take chunks of metal out of the frame the first time you dropped the truck on the sliders (this I've seen many times).
    .120 wall 2" steel cold rolled round tube is probably the best material for sliders.
    Never use aluminium, even though it saves weight rocks will gouge into it and make it harder to slide across. Steel stays nice and slick allowing you to power the truck right off obstructions even with 2 wheels in the air.
    Cold rolled is the best but HWW (Hot Wire Welded) tube will work just as well. HWW is always cheaper $$ than cold rolled (steel prices fluctuate with fuel prices) I've heard a lot of complaints about the possibility of HWW splitting at the weld on impact points, after 8 years of competitively crawling I've never seen one split yet (still wouldnt use HWW for a roll bar though due to other issues but for sliders it's perfectly adequate).
    Good sliders should be welded to the frame, I've seen lots of sets pinch bolted on the frame with plates on the inside and outside, this always causes bends in the frame rails.
    Always gusset corners and joints if possible, when your finished the sliders should be able to support the full weight of the truck, in addition to sliding over obstructions you may need to use the sliders as pull points or lift points for the truck at some time.
    If you need steps on top of the tubes a piece of wire mesh tack welded to the top of the tube works well to get grip.
  4. racekid91

    racekid91 Rockstar 3 Years 100 Posts

    Thanks for the info! I've been wanting to build some myself.

    Any pictures of that Blazer from Xtreme4x4 with the sliders?
  5. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    Check out powerblocktv.com.
  6. torqydd

    torqydd Rockstar

    Awesome guys thank you very much for the input. I will be making a trip to the local steel store this weekend and talk with them about doing some of the bends since they have a tube bender and I don't from there time to crank up the welder. Also I was going to try and incorporate some kind of step as well on them. Do y'all think taking a scrap piece tubing say 6 to 8 inches long cutting it in half and welding it directly to the main tube and capping the ends which would be just enough to get the front section of a shoe (toe hold) would get in the way of anything. Since I am going to try and keep the slider as close as possible to the rockers. Again thank you aloxdaddy99 and tbplus10
  7. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    Check out nfab.com. They have something like what you are talking about. Good luck with your project and post some pics when you get it done.
  8. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    One reason I dont like putting steps on sliders is their usually added at the bottom of the rail and this makes a perfect place to get hung up when your sliding across rocks or ledges, you want the bottom of the rails smooth nothing hanging down to catch on, I'd even recommend grinding down any welds that are below the bottom edge of the slider tubes.
    If your building a set for looks steps could would work, but if these are working sliders I dont recommend you do it, just tell everyone to step a little higher.
    When mounted to the frame you want the sliders 2-3" from the bottom of the rockers, any lower and they're suceptable to catching on stuff, any higher and you take a risk of flexing them up into the body. They need to be kept far enough from the body so that if they do get bent up a little they wont make contact with the body.
    Another reason you dont want to mount them to the body mounts is if they get bent into the body besides the potential damage they would inflict they also cause a heavy annoying vibration accompanied by rattling and banging (it's really not fun to drive a couple hundred miles home with a noisy vibrating slider stuffed into the rocker panel).
    Having a shop do the heavy bending is a great idea, portable benders usually arent capable of making nice smooth curves and the small hand jack style benders usually put little crimps in the tubes.
    If using a hand jack style bender (like the ones at Harbor Freight or Northern Hydraulics) you can fill the tubes with sand, cap the ends with screw on or weld on caps, then heat the tube with a torch as your making the bend, this prevents getting crimps in the tube, but remember to tap a tiny hole in the cap so any steam created by the heated sand can escape and not create a small steam bomb.
    Forgot to mention when attaching sliders to the frame use no less than 4 points, your truck is probably a little longer than most I build sliders for, my rule of thumb is a support every 18" on center.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  9. ALH4X4

    ALH4X4 New Member

    Hey there Tim,

    I too am looking to make some rock sliders for my truck. Its a 2000 silverado 1500 LT. Any other tips for making these guys? Im looking online to templates or some more ideas, but cant find anything. Do you have any tips?

    Thanks!
    Andre
  10. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I dont think I've ever seen any plans or templates on line, I'm sure theres some out there it's just finding them.
    Some of the hardcore off-road sites might be a better place to find plans like that if you dont mind putting up with their sarcastic and rude attitudes that seem to go along with the sites.
    I've never drawn up a plan and most of the templates I use end up getting scrapped or cut up and reused until their no longer useful.
    A few years back we fabbed a set for a 4 Runner by using Romex wire to outline a frame to get an idea of where we wanted to go, then did our measurements from there and fabbed after that.
    For the most part the opposite side will be a mirror image.

    The first set I ever built I used every picture I could find on the internet to give me ideas and built them from there, they turned out ugly as hell but since then the very same set has been reengineered and is serving duty on my 91 rock crawler for the last 4 years, they've been beaten as hard as I can and havent failed me yet, I noticed a few weeks ago on the bottom back corner of the passengers side I've drug them across enough rocks to wear a hole right through the metal.

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