Rock Slide Engineering Step Sliders
One of things I really liked about my Hard Rock Edition Rubicon was the way Jeep spec’d the vehicle from the factory. It had all the trail worthy pieces bolted on it. It was fairly well protected with factory skids for the transfer case, fuel tank and Hard Rock rock rails(sliders). It was all the protection I would need!
One thing you soon figure out in the Jeeping world is that the aftermarket will offer something more robust and more functional. I began looking at various slider options shortly after putting 37” tires on my Jeep. With a 4”+ lift under Rubi, getting in and out was getting challenging, especially for my wife, dressed for the office in a business suit. I had added a set of modified M.O.R.E. folding steps, as an aid, but that was only up front. The steps did their job, but I was looking for a better way, and wanted a step for both front and rear passengers.
I was looking at “boat side” style slider(wide smooth angled sides). The smooth wide surface would offer a generous place to stand on for access to my roof rack, as well as having the smooth outer surface to help slide off obstacles on the trail. I also like the way this style of slider cleans up the lines of the Jeep visually. After previewing a boat side slider fitted to a Jeep on 37” tires, it was obvious that this was too high up to step for my wife. This had me looking at a step slider design that would drop down, but could I find one beefy enough for trail use, and still provide a nice functioning step.
After some research, I found the perfect solution. Rock Slide Engineering’s Step Sliders. These sliders are made specifically for the Wrangler JK 4 door. They are a no-drill mount, attaching to the frame and the pinch seam. The no-drill aspect is important to me because I live in the Midwest, where we spend a couple of months each year dealing with road salt. Drilling the body panels seems like a nice way to invite rust…no matter how well I paint and seal the new holes.
RSE Step Slider Highlights
Constructed of Heavy Duty 11 gauge Laser Cut Steel
Durable Textured Powder Coat with Thermalplastic Layer
No-Drill Frame Mounting
Plug and Play Installation
Automatic Step Drops Down 12” Below The Jeep For Easy Ingress/Egress
Weight Rated at 650 lbs
Stainless Steel and Aluminum Internals to Prevent Corrosion
Sealed Motor is WaterProof To Handle Any Weather Condition
Trail to 5 and below
Optional Skid Plate for + 5 Trails
Made in the USA
Here’s a look at the install. The sliders arrived in perfect shape. Rock Slide does a great job packaging these, making sure all pieces are well isolated in the box. The box was strapped to a shipping pallet.
Unpacking the various pieces, you quickly see the quality. All the finishes look great, the bags of parts nicely organized…
Here are a few detail shots of the sliders. The welds look great!
For my install, I needed to remove the Lund Rhino Lining rocker guards I was running. These are held on by adhesive. You can see in the pic on the left, I was beginning to catch the top edge of them getting in and out of the Jeep. The edge was starting to pull away. If I was going to continue to run these, I would attach a small angle of aluminum to cover that top area and make them more durable.
The rhino skins came off pretty easily. Pulling nice and slow allowed me to pull off most of the adhesive backing, leaving me with a little adhesive stuck to the paint that needed to be removed…
I used acetone and then paint thinner to clean the remaining adhesive off the paint. Next, I hit the paint with Meguiars #82 mirror glaze polish. This polish is great for removing small swirl marks and imperfections in paint. This would get the paint ready for the next step in the install.
Here’s a look at the cleaned, restored paint..
Next, I’m ready to apply the bumpstops. These are aluminum strips with rubber at the top of the strip. They adhere to the body with 3M VHB double sided adhesive tape. These are designed to distribute any contact forces along the entire side of the vehicle.
Here are the bump stops installed…
Next I’m ready to attach the brackets that will bolt the sliders to the frame. The brackets slide between the body bolt and the large body bolt washer. The slider will have three attachment points to the frame on each side.
At each bracket, the slider will attach via four (4) 5/16” bolts. All the hardware was high quality…
The step sliders are also attached to the pinch seam at eight (8) locations on each side. Six (6) of these attachments are a stud attached to the sliders, the other two (2) are via the front two factory pinch seam bolts. After torquing down all the bolts, it was time to start laying out the wiring harness.
From the battery, you run across the back of the engine bay, and down into and through the factory opening in the firewall on the drivers side. Once I had that wire pulled, I detached the drivers side moulding on the rocker panel to run the harness along the bottom of the doors, following the factory wire harness that is located here…
The wiring harness will cross the rear seat floor, routing power to both sides. Rock Slide has included a plug for an optional LED light if you choose. Speaking of plugs, the connections outside are Deutsch style, making it waterproof.
To get the wiring outside, under the carpet you will find a factory rubber grommet. Remove that and modify it to accept the harness going through it. After reinstalling the grommet with the wire harness running through it, I used a little silicone to seal where the harness passes through, just to be safe.
Lastly, I attached the four (4) sensors on the door jambs, as well as the magnets that attach to the doors. Under the passenger rear seat the main control box is attached to the bottom underside of the seat. This will keep it up and out of the way of possible water in the Jeep.
Inside the cab, Rock Slide supplies a bracket to mount a kill switch that locates on the driver footwell. This attaches to the door wiring harness bracket. The switch will allow you to cut power to the steps, so they don’t extend.
This would be helpful on the trail where you might find yourself in among the boulders and still want to open the door(s). You can also use the switch to lock the steps in the down position. This was a great feature when we were camping, and getting in and out of the Jeep often. This will also keeps the LED lights in the off position.
It’s pretty cool sight when you install the main fuse and power it up for the first time, the steps will deploy and then retract.
Here’s a couple of pics of Rubi with her new look…
The step deploys 12” down, this puts it at the perfect height for comfortably entering and exiting the Jeep. The step extends very close to the Jeep, so as not to make contact with a person standing right next to the vehicle. The steps will stay down for a full two (2) seconds after you close the door. They close with a very solid thunk! The design of the step allows ample room for both front and rear passengers. I have received rave reviews from anyone who gets to experience using these. They also have surprised a few who were not aware an electric step could be had on a Jeep!
Out of curiosity, I did weigh my rock rails that I removed from Rubi, and weighed the new Step Sliders before install. The OEM rails weigh 39 lbs. The Step Sliders weigh 58 lbs. So, I’ve added 38 lbs of additional weight to my Jeep…not bad!
The step has a nice robust grip surface on them that was great in the rain and snow we were running on the trails. I added the optional light kit. Having the area below the steps illuminated when you open the door(s) at night is a great convenience.
I was able to easily attach my Cyclone Rock Lights to the mounting bolts on the sliders. This worked out to be an ideal location, keeping the lights tucked up out of harms way.
out on the trail…
I recently had a chance to test the RSE Step Sliders on the trails of Ouray and Moab. We ran class 6 and 7 trails, subjecting them to some pretty good hits while in the rocks. The sliders performed perfectly. The frame mount design carried the load, keeping the impact off of the Jeep’s bodywork. They have an excellent finish on them that proved to be very durable. We were climbing all over them for a week with sandy shoes/boots, and the finish still looks great. I really like the nice wide area on the top of the sider. It provides a good size area to step onto to gain access to the roof rack.
Here’s a quick video of them in action at night. My wife loves that they are lit, giving great visabilty in the dark.
I really appreciated having the lights on the steps while we were setting up camp. The general area illumination they provide made it easy to set gear down next to the Jeep after dark, and still be able to find things. The lights are an LED strip that attaches via double sided tape up inside the slider.
The Step Sliders are rated to handle up to class 5 trails. To equip the RSE Step Sliders for trails rated 6 and higher, RSE offers Step Slider Skid Plates.
These are fabricated from 3/16” steel. The idea here is that these take the abuse, can be removed and repainted after being subjected to trail rash. These would give the ultimate protection on those class 6+ trails.
The RSE Sliders have been a really great addition to Rubi, making getting in and out of a lifted Jeep on 37’s a breeze. I really like the nice clean lines of them as well! Hats off to the crew at Rock Slide Engineering for coming up with an innovative step slider solution tough enough to handle the trails and so easy to use. Bravo RSE!