Preparing for 35s: Trimming the Rock Rails
When I bought my Jeep there were a few reasons I decided to spend the extra money on the Rubicon model. One of those reasons was that they came with factory rock sliders and while I don’t ever really intend to use them, having that little bit of extra protection was worth it to me.
When fitting bigger tires, these sliders can become a clearance problem, mainly in the rear. Check out how they stick into the rear wheel well.
When installing a 35” tire, like I am doing, there is barely enough room with no wiggle room for flex or mud caked on the tire. Rather than try to get the 35” tires installed and possibly deal with a clearance issue, I decided to take care of it before getting the new shoes.
I removed the step bars (ACE Engineering) and started taking off the rock rails. Overall, this was a very easy process and the hardest part was cutting them down.
Before cutting them down, I thought about the strength of the step bars and contemplated just removing the rock rails all together and reinstalling the step bars by themselves. I did this on one side and decided that it didn’t look that good to me and I should probably stop being lazy and just do the job right the first time. So I did.
I took the end caps out of the rail and used tape on the end to mark the 1” I wanted to remove. Then I hacked away with a Sawzall until the ends were shortened. I painted the fresh cut metal, hammered the end caps back in, and installed them back on the Jeep.
This added a lot of extra room for the rear wheel to move around while keeping the protection for that pinch seam on the body. Overall this was very easy and allowed me to finally clean all the rocks from behind them.
After all was said and done, the 35s fit great and I am glad I took the time to take care of the sliders before trying to shove new tires in there.
Are any of you running rock rails on 35” tires without cutting them down? Is this a waste of time? I’d be interested to hear some of your experiences.