Sliders for my 80 series TLC
Essential protection for the exposed rocker panels of a LWB vehicle like the 80 series.
I was fortunate to purchase a TLC that did
not have the factory running boards.
So, my wife has always had to hoist herself up into the vehicle - you never miss what you never had ;-)
Construction details can be found here.
A hint to why sliders are a good idea can be seen below. 35" tyres are still not big enough ;-) Fortunately Amando had a set of sliders on before attempting this interesting obstacle... Amando claims to have thrown a rock in first to check how deep it was - maybe he threw a wooden rock in - that floated ;-)
35" tyres, OME and spacers and the sliders just grazed the top of the bump. This is right at the top of Truck Hill at Hollister SRVA.
As far as the factory running boards go, they are mounted with several brackets to the actual body of the vehicle, ensuring maximum damage if the step is ever called upon to actually slide over a rock.
I originally mounted a set of ARB siderails/steps but was disappointed by their relative weakness. ARB uses only 2 long outriggers from the chassis combined with 1 1/2 inch thin wall (in my opinion) round pipe. The wall thickness of the pipe is further compromised by the bends that are used to form the shape. Cutting the pipe at the bends showed considerable thinning (due to stretching). In addition the outriggers only support the rear and middle of the siderail. The entire front section of the siderail relies on the middle support and the connection to the ARB bullbar. Having seen a picture of a TLC on the rubicon with ARB siderails further convinced me that they are not likely to offer any real protection in case of sliding over a rock. The ARB siderails are just fine if all you require is a sturdy step and modest rocker protection from sticks etc. This is the best place I've found to store the two sets of ARB siderails at my home ;-) They are being recycled into something else and whatever's left of them will end up in the spring clean bring out your dead pile. Fortunately my wife also hated them - trying to get our little boys into their car seats was a real challenge. The siderails/steps stick out far enough to make it quite a stretch to heave each of them in.
So, I then had the go ahead to toss the ARB's out and come up with an alternative. After investigating various designs and mounting systems I decided on a particular design that would suit my own requirements.
The following picture shows the finished US/PS siderail. Due to the catalytic converter, the front most outrigger requires some inventive fabrication work to attach from the siderail to the chassis rail as will be seen in later pictures. The siderail outriggers have around 1/4" of clearance to the bottom lip of the rocker panel. The final result looks pretty slick in my opinion and compliments the lines of vehicle.
The view of the US/DS slider.
From the above pictures you can make out the 2 bolts at the bottom front and rear of the sliders. Prior to capping the ends of the sliders I tack welded nuts on the inside of the sliders. The nuts were to allow me to be able to add an extension to the slider to act as a step - for visiting relatives etc. Then I had an idea for recycling more of the ARB siderails. I cut off their outriggers and the portion that bends up and over the front wheel arches. I then welded brackets at the bottom of the remaining ARB siderails to allow them to be bolted to the two bolts at each end of my sliders. The result allows an extension of my sliders by a further 3" - allowing them to become steps. I retained the aluminium checkerplate of the ARB siderails to provide a slip resistant surface. The result can be seen in the following picture - looks neat and is very functional as a step. When heading into the rough stuff a couple of minutes with a spanner and they are easily removed. We'll see whether my wife decides that we should leave them on all the time (when in the city) or only when the relatives visit - either way as I said, it only takes a couple of minutes to take them off.
The following picture shows the US/DS modified ARB step bolted onto my sliders - looks pretty good and works fine as a step. I ran a couple of beads of silastic along the full length of the rear portion of the checkerplate (the part that sits on my slider) to prevent it rattling and scratching the paint ;-)
Rear view of the mounted step. Note my (not quite 3yr old at the time) son driving his Warn equipped flintstone car ;-)
A close up of the front mounting bracket with a little bit of 'finishing' of the front portion of the ARB step. After cutting off the section of the ARB siderail that goes up over the front wheel arch the resulting step is a little short. Even though it looks a little weird close up as in this photo, the final result looks ok from a distance.
A close up shot of the rear mounting bracket. I trimmed the extra length of the ARB siderail after the curve and then capped it. It ends a little before the siderail - for a good finished look.
As can be seen from the next picture of the US/PS, the addition of the step doesn't compromise the ground clearance any more than the basic slider. Obviously for more extreme 4wding removal of the step is advisable since it is only fastened at its extreme ends. To bolt the steps on takes about 5 minutes a side, removal is even faster, essentially the time to unfasten 4 bolts, slide off the step and then fasten the 4 bolts back on.