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Old August 13th, 2019, 12:22
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: california
Posts: 544
Rock Rail Selection

I am looking at add rock rails to my 1990 XJ. I have a 5.5 inch lift, 33 inch x 12 wide tires.

I see different types for sale


Some mount to the pinch seam only. others have either 2 or 3 on each side transverse supports that bolt or weld to the frame rail. Others have the transverse supports to frame, and only a partial pinch seam attachment, other habe a full length pinch seam attachment.

What are the pros and cons of the mounting methods?

Partial pinch seam support, with two support bars to frame...

Full pinch seam mount, Three support bars...

Weld in, no cross bars, pinch seam only mount...

Style... Three styles, one is rail only. two is a rail, plus an outer bump bar that protrudes out to the side more for extra protection, three is a kicker style that juts out infront of rear tire.

What are pros and cons of the kicker? how useful is it? My tires are large, and stick out well past the fenders, so I doubt my over all width will change much with the kickers, the only downside I see with kicker is that it can make the vehicle wider, but in my case, probably not.

Kicker Style......

What are the pros and cons? I have pulled up near a dozen different rail types of the web

including brands.....
Affordable Off Road (Weld on pinch seam, option for cross bars)

AJs ( two cross bars)
Hooligan (Weld You Own kit)
Ares Fab (Two cross bar mount)

TNT Custom ( Three cross bar mounts, plus full pinch seam) tnt_customs

Rock Hard ( three cross bars)

Smitty Bilt ( No cross bar mounts)

JCR (2 mount bars)

Rusty's (two cross bar mounts, partial pinch seam mount)

Dirt Bound ( two cross bar mounts, partial pinch seam)

Rocky Road ( two cross bar mount, full pinch seam, kicker rear end)

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Old August 13th, 2019, 14:38
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Tim_MN Tim_MN is offline
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Re: Rock Rail Selection

Legs necessary, pinch seam is too fragile. 2 legs is good enough for most, add your own 3rd leg or buy 3 legs for serious abuse. The rear leg should mount to the leaf spring pocket like AJ's does. The pinch seam is not very strong so you want as much pinch seam support/engagement as possible, preferable tube and not angle iron, and there should be several cross ties or gussets between the pinch seam rail, and the rock rail. Kickers or not would probably depend on the size of the rocks, the size of the trees, or personal preference.

Rock rails are not hard to build, mine were done in one day and coast about $75 for materials.

Originally Posted by bimmerjeeper

People are dumbfounded when I tell them I know how to change the spark plugs on a car.

Last edited by Tim_MN; August 14th, 2019 at 04:04.
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Old August 13th, 2019, 16:23
RCP Phx RCP Phx is online now
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Re: Rock Rail Selection

I use 3 legs and the pinch seam on all my rails.
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Old August 13th, 2019, 16:46
RCP Phx RCP Phx is online now
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Re: Rock Rail Selection

Some installed pics.......

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Old August 13th, 2019, 20:23
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Anak Anak is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: In a strange land
Posts: 3,535
Re: Rock Rail Selection

I would suggest that an important consideration is the ability to remove the rock rails and reinstall them as needed.

Rock rails which are welded on make it pretty much impossible to remove the forward leaf spring bolt and the lower attachment screws on the front fender (which then means you can't service your door hinges).

If you have plated your frame rails you should also make sure the rock rails you choose are designed with that extra thickness in mind, particularly if they attach to the pinch seam (which they should).

I gave up trying to figure out if anyone's rock rails matched my needs and decided to simply build my own.
Project "Scope Creep": 1996 4wd 4.0L, AX15

Baby it's cold outside.
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Old August 14th, 2019, 14:44
bajabronco bajabronco is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 173
Re: Rock Rail Selection

I am running the older JCR rock rails that I modified and added a rub rail to. Years ago they came without the rub rail, now they have that feature as part of the rail. My rock rails are welded to the frame as well and the A pillar of my cage is welded to the rock rail. Anak mentioned that you can not remove the front leaf spring bolt with the rock rail welded to the frame - there is a simple fix for that! I have a pic of the fix below.

JCR Rock Rails on my XJ

JCR Rock Rail with added rub rail

Cage front A pillar where it meets into the Rail

Simple fix so you can get your leaf spring front bolt out!

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Old August 15th, 2019, 18:54
trippled trippled is offline
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Location: colorado springs, co
Posts: 2,321
Re: Rock Rail Selection

That number 3 Amazon option requires cutting the rocker out and welding in. Not bolting to pinch. Honestly my preference would be tnt ares or jcr. The first set I built had two legs to the frame and nothing else. They would move but took some pretty good hits well. Never had any issues.

The next best thing would be to cut out the rocker and add some 2*6 with 2*2 legs to the frame. More clearance and still strong.
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