Thoughts on DIY rock-sliders


Original poster
Dec 4, 2011
I know some of you have the experience with this, so I'm looking for any pitfalls to try and avoid... First off, my intended use. I won't be getting into anything nearly as rough as many of you enjoy, but I do like to get up into the back roads in the mountains at times. I would like to make something that tucks in close to the body - maybe within 1" so I don't have issues with trying to step over the bars like I had to step over the original running boards. And while I am going for a certain aesthetic look, I still want to make them solid enough that they are functional for a light drop.

If memory serves me correctly, the Toyota rock sliders that some folks are using here have approximately 0.121" walls. My local welding shop has some 2" pipe with 0.128" walls, so this seems perfect for the application. They also have some mandrel-bent 90* curves. My plan would be to take four of the 90's for each side and cut them to 60*. I would have the long straight pipe running along the underside of the doors, the a 60 at each end curving downwards, followed by the last 60's turned inwards towards the frame. There would of course be a second long pipe running end-to-end and welded in between the S-curve of the the pair of elbows, and then some short spans going across the framework for structural support. Essentially the final product will be similar in construction to others I've seen, except for using the pair of elbows on each end to get more of a smooth flowing curve under the body. (I'm hoping smooth curves means less chance of getting snagged on something.)

So I have a pretty decent mig welder. I have the regulator setup for doing a gas shield, but I don't have the bottle, nor the experience welding that way. I know it is critical, especially with using the extra elbows, to get full penetration around each weld. I'm planning on welding some test pieces until I get the bead I want, and then since each elbow will be fairly short, I should be able to get a good visual on the inside of each weld (and possibly even doing touch-ups from the inside if needed).

Mark already mentioned using a 4" plate of 1/4" steel to attach the rock sliders to the frame. What else should I be aware of in the general construction? Or do I have it covered? I know my materials cost will be about the same as purchasing some pre-mades, plus I'll have more labor involved - but I really enjoy making things myself and want to have something unique.


Nov 18, 2011
You will want to gusset to the plates and my plates actually wrap over the frame rails.

I am sure Mr. Barton would help you out with this project. He really knows metal and how to keep the strength needed. You might PM him.


Nov 20, 2011
I'm honestly a little lost on what your design is, and why... You aren't talking about doing like James' guy did, and go out and down with the "rocker" bar, and go in and down with the outer bar? Don't do that. If you look under the plastic, the actual rocker planel is flat, and it's just the plastic that comes out and down. Just cut the bottom of the plastic off, even with the rest of the rocker plastic, and you not only can't see what's been done when standing up next to it, but your sliders can be 1" close to the body, and get you 1" more ground clearance. It also protects the bottom of the rocker right behind your front tire, where making it come out around the plastic, leaves that area somewhat open.

Yes, all the ones I've done, I've made load distribution plates like you're talking about, and I've gussetted them to the frame, as well. Normally a 1.5"x2.5" gusset.

The angles that go in on mine (and most others) are 45 degrees at each end. You could get away with (1) 90-degree section per side.

In order to not have big nasty welds going on, on the tubes that are normally smooth, you'll want to get a gas bottle (they're only like $160 for an 80cf bottle that will do 6 hours of trigger time, which works out to about an 11# spool of wire, with me doing nearly all 3/16"), and you'll want to put a full bevel on your mating edges, so you can get your weld down in that bevel, and still be able to grind/sand the top smooth with the tube.

Remember that MIG welding is actually "fusion" type welding, where you aren't actually melting the 2 pieces together, like TIG welding does. The only thing sticking the tubes together is the weld, so you can't weld over a square butt joint and expect to grind it flat, and have it hold up. Kyle got a set of end links from "another source" before I started getting into them, and they lasted less than a week of street driving, because this individual apparently didn't know this, and just welded a nut to the end of a piece of tube, then ground it all down smooth. There was about 1 square mm of material, total, holding the 2 pieces together. Don't do that. Bevel your joints.



Dec 3, 2011
reading through what you want, a slider that is not real obvious and doesn't stick out much, I wonder if a slimmer version of what BartonMD's wife proof running boards would be in line.
instead of having them sticking out a couple inches, have them stick out an inch or a 1/2 inch, whatever you think you are comfortable with
It would also seem if it were a little wider than that, the square surface would be a better anchor for a hi-lift if needed.


Original poster
Dec 4, 2011
Barton - I had a chance to talk to my brother-in-law tonight who is a welder. He said if I get the pieces cut and tacked together, he can take them in to his shop and use the tig to get a solid weld. That still leaves attaching the sliders to the frame with the mig, but hopefully with the gussets that will still be solid enough. Thanks for the info! I appear to have a few projects ahead of the rock sliders now, but hopefully by this Summer I can get them put together (and I may be picking your brain on steel front bumpers soon)...

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