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Steps Sliders and Side Protection

by Superior Engineering

Not all side-steps and sliders are created equal. Find out which is the best protection for your pride and joy!

Rock sliders are an essential part of any 4WDer or off-road enthusiast's wish list.

Whether you need them to protect the bodywork on your pride and joy or just something sturdier to step on when climbing around your 4WD.

Not only do sliders give your 4WD the protection it needs but they can instill confidence into the driver knowing that they can negotiate obstacles and adverse terrain without doing thousands of dollars' worth of damage.

With so many types, shapes and styles available it's a daunting task to work out what best suits you, so here is a quick guide on what things you should look for.

First and foremost the types of side protection can be easily put into three categories, but beware, some manufacturers advertising really doesn't reflect what you might be getting.

PROTECTION STEPS

Generally made from extruded aluminum or light gauge steel pressed sheet/tube.

Mostly used for allowing easier entry into the vehicle and to deflect small rocks or road debris that can cause abrasion to the paintwork or body.

Not suitable as a jacking or lifting point and will often easily comply with airbag side impact ruling due to the light-duty mountings.

SIDE RAILS AND STEPS

This is the most common category, although many manufacturers like to think they are making a ROCK slider.

These are generally made from SAE 1010 ERW tube or SHS, some premium brands may use HREW or DOM SAE1020 tube which does provide a strength increase and a better finished product.

Tube sizes can range from 30-60mm diameter and generally have 2-3 solid mounting sections going to the chassis.

Side rail/steps construction is adequate enough to be used as a jacking point and will absorb reasonable impacts before bending or moving on the bolted mounts.

The side rails/ steps can be finished or filled in with a tread plate (such as alloy checker-plate) to aid in access to the vehicle and give a nice clean appearance, the addition of bolting plates can also allow front scrub rails to be added which run from the step up to the outer edges of the bulbar.

Most commonly a single or twin tube rail design which runs the length of the body, the fill or tread plates are often only on the top section and the tube underside can get caught on rocks or sticks.

ROCK SLIDERS

True rock sliders are VERY solid in their construction and should be designed for protection not only for the sills and bodywork but also to stop the hardest of side impacts.

They should also offer the highest level of abrasive resistance and have a shape or profile that allows the vehicle to slide un-impeded across or along the worst of obstacles!

This is where the best materials and manufacturing processes must be used, heavier steel plate and thicker tubing such as 3.2mm SAE1020 DOM, 3mm 4130 chromoly tube and 4mm steel pressed sections are the ideal starting platforms.

Mounting plates from 8-10mm steel plates in either bolted or weld-on configurations are utilised, with welding to the chassis being preferred for most competition level setups.

A true rock slider will easily allow the weight of the vehicle to be supported on its edge and can resist very hard impacts.

The shape and design will allow other items to be integrated to them such as front/rear scrub rails and even exo-cages if you're keen on a bit of fabrication.

You won't really find a true 'rock slider' with a piece of polished aluminum checker-plate pop riveted to the top of them, but a good rock slider will allow easy vehicle access with the addition of some well-placed tread tape.

Designs can vary from basic twin tube full length rails to fully plated and gusseted twin-tube chromoly and all the way up to the Superior Stealth slider which are manufactured from large sheet of 4mm steel plate, pressed with a series of bend or 'steps' to provide the maximum strength available and resist impact force from any direction.

The sleek 'faceted' section blends seamlessly into the lower on current model 4WDs.

Once you have decided on which type of slider or step best suit your needs, also consider the finish and the coating as well as the possibility of getting them colour coded if daily duties are the main function.

Another thing to consider is the integration with other items such as scrub bars, bumpers, bulbars and belly-plates, always do a little planning so that all the parts fit nicely and enhance the look and functionality of your 4WD.

As with any off-road protection or accessories you may need, contact your local 4WD specialist for information on the best parts for your vehicle.

A set of heavy duty Superior Engineering Stealth Rock Sliders
A set of heavy duty Superior Engineering Stealth Rock Sliders
The Superior 4WD fitted with a set of heavy duty Superior Engineering Stealth Rock Sliders and side protection
The Superior 4WD fitted with a set of heavy duty Superior Engineering Stealth Rock Sliders and side protection

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1/116 Lipscombe Road
Deception Bay Queensland 4508
Australia
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Date Published: 2016-05-16

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