Front Range Off Road Fabrication Sliderz Short Cuts

| Toyota Reviews | Toyota Section | |

By: Harry Wagner. 3/2004

Any vehicle used for rockcrawling needs protection in the form of bumpers and rocker guards, regardless of the make and model or amount of ground clearance. Fortunately for Toyota pickup and 4Runner owners there are several options to choose from. Most of these options utilize round DOM or HREW tubing for a prerunner look. While this sort of armor is light weight and provides good protection, I have always thought that it looked out of place with the square lines found on second generation (1984-1988) Toyota pickups. When it came time to purchase rock sliders, I wanted square tube units to match the lines of my front ARB Bull Bar.

The FROR Sliderz before and after paint.

With such demanding criteria I had become resigned to building my own custom rock sliders. I took comfort in knowing that I was not completely starting from scratch, planning on using images of Erik Bibelheimer's and Brian Ellinger's sliders to work from. Both of these wheelers had designed rocker protection similar to what I wanted. Brian Ellinger is the owner of Front Range Off Road Fabrication in Red Feather, Colorado. After receiving enough inquiries from people like me about the rock sliders on his personal truck, he began offering Sliderz for sale in the summer of 2003. The decision to buy these new rock sliders was an easy one, as they met all of my criteria and saved me from performing even more of the custom fabrication that was keeping me off the trail and in the garage.

Just because aesthetics were a consideration did not mean that function was left out of the equation. I was searching for something strong enough to support the weight of my truck during impacts with rocks, yet not so heavy as to negate the weight savings four cylinder Toyota pickups enjoy on the trail. Other considerations were the shape of the sliders and the mounting system. Some sliders stick out further from the body than others or offer a kickout at the rear. The thinking behind this is that the slider will contact offending obstacles instead of the body. I am of the opinion that to some extent this is a self fulfilling prophecy and prefer to keep the entire vehicle as svelte and narrow as possible to try and avoid obstacles altogether. As for mounting, the two methods typically employed are bolt-on and weld-on. Bolting allows the rock sliders to be removed more easily and does not require a welder, however the mounting is more complicated. Weld-on would work fine for my application.

The clamps used to hold the Sliderz in place for installation.
The plate welded to the frame.

I ordered my Sliderz in bare metal and painted them to match the body in another concession to aesthetics. Front Range Off Road Fabrication offers the Sliderz with a powdercoat finish for an additional cost. Other options include the addition of expanded metal along the top of the Sliderz. This prevents getting a foot caught between the slider and the cab, and also offers more traction upon entry and exit and keeps road debris from contacting the cab. Front Range Off Road's Sliderz are made from 2x2 box tubing with .188 wall thickness. They feature three mounting legs that weld to the frame as well as 1x1 angle iron that sits directly below the pinch weld on the cab. The purpose of this angle iron is to distribute the load across a wide area when an impact is encountered that is severe enough to flex the main bar of the slider.

Front Range Off Road's Rock Sliderz arrived to my door quickly, even though I placed my order during the busy Christmas holiday season. The Sliderz were well packaged and the beautiful welds and stout construction were obvious from the moment I unpackaged them. Despite the rugged construction, I felt the need to add 3 inch square inch thick mounting plates to provide more surface area and strengthen the mounting. These plates also aided in the mounting. They were first welded to the Sliderz and then used to clamp the rock rails to the frame so that they could be welded.

The modifications made to the cab mount.

The installed Sliderz, complete with grip tape.
A view of the Sliderz from the bottom.

When it came time to mount the sliders, I encounted a problem. It was impossible for me to fit the rock sliders without contacting one of the cab mounts. This was due to the relocated cab mount used when I grafted an Xtra Cab body onto a short wheel base frame. I had notified Ellinger of this (he owns a similar truck), but did not provide him with measurements. For most customers this would not be an issue, but I now had to consider my options. Returning the Sliderz would be cost prohibitive, as they are 20 pounds each and I had already painted them. I thought of cutting off the rear mounting leg and relocating it, but in the end I modified the rear cab mount to fit the mounting leg underneath it. There is not enough room to fit a rachet between the bar and the frame, however I can still get a box wrench on the nut and put a rachet on the top in the cab. This added considerable time to the installation, however I am very pleased with the final product. The Sliderz look great and are plenty strong to use as a jacking point. As a final touch, I added grip tape to the top of the painted bars to aid in ingress and egress. Check back soon for a full review of how the Front Range Off Road Sliderz hold up on the trail.

Contacts Related Links
  • Front Range Off Road Fabrication
    Department 4x4Wire
    24192 Red Feather Rd.
    Red Feather, CO 80545
    (970) 881-2418

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