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Liberty Rock Rail Install and Review

Author: deserthorizons

Install

Happy ValleyFinally! Expecting the UPS at anytime, they show up at 5:00pm. The Rocky Road Outfitters Rock Rails had arrived. I lugged the rails into the living room. The rails weighed more than 60 pounds and were packaged like a side of beef. If unwrapping the package was any indication of what was to come, then I was in for a treat. As if to herald the arrival, I cut into the bubble wrap and it sounded like a box of fireworks had gone off. The person responsible for wrapping was obviously being paid by the foot. There was enough wrapping to cover a path from the kitchen to the bedroom. Every thing that was supposed to be there was intact and looking good.

After insuring that all parts had arrived and had distinguished the right side from the left, it was obvious that these were some heavy, duty rails. They are made of ¼" hitch steel and weigh over 30 pounds each. Rocky Road Outfitters Rock Rails come with a full lifetime guarantee as long as you own your vehicle; no doubt they will outlive the vehicle. These babies will not bend or cave into the body!

The step-by-step instructions are forthright and need not be repeated. They explain everything more clearly than I ever could. Basically it is drilling 8 holes and putting 8 bolts per side.

One important factor missing from the instructions is SAVE the PLASTIC STRIPS and snaps that are removed during step 2. You will reinstall the strips at the end of the rail installation.

The test fit went smoothly. They do fit rather snug. I had to jack up the rails and the jeep about 2" and then give the rail a kick to settle in place. I used a hammer to adjust them left or right. Even though they fit in there tight, when you are taking them down from the test fit they could still fall, so caution is advised. There is an outside rock rail and inside seam rails. When placing the tape strip for marking, you line up the holes on the tape strip between the outside and inside rail. It makes a difference on which way the tape is facing if you want the holes to line up properly. Use the C-Clamps to hold the strip in place while you are center punching the place to drill holes in the seam rail, being careful to not put the strip up too high.

Rock RailsI had to make two runs to the store in between all the fitting. The first trip was to get the small C-Clamps and a center punch. After returning from the initial trip, I began to drill and realized that my bit had been used too many times so was too dull for the job. Thus explaining the 2nd trip!

Once the holes were drilled, I raised the Rockrail, and put the 4 hex bolts in. Do not tighten them yet. Another hand would have been helpful, but the one floor jack I had worked nicely to hold everything in place. (with a small piece of carpeting on the top of the jack to avoid getting any scratches...) I moved the floor jack to the front crossmember rail to line up exactly where I wanted them. This was where I could fine tune the way the rails looks. Drilled two holes with the rail in place, put the 2 bolts in and tightened.

Had to move the jack to the rear crossmember, drilled two holes, but this time I had to use self-threading bolts into the frame. Pushing while turning, they went in easily. Proceeded to tighten up the remaining 6 bolts. Ta-Da done with side one.

Since I was slightly more concerned with the way the driver side looked, I did the passenger side first. Then used that knowledge to put the driver side in. Again, after making sure I had the correct side of the metal tape toward me, I clamped and center punched the holes. The back hole on the driver side was right where an edge was, so I did not even bother trying to drill a hole there. The main purpose of the seam rail bolts is to stop the Rock Rails from dragging on the road. All of the strength comes from the frame bolts and from sitting up against the seam. The driver side rail took less than 20 minutes to install. Total installation time was about an hour.

With the 4 bolts in the seam and another 4 in the frame, it is clear these rails are not going anywhere. Being made from ¼" hitch steel, they are also not likely to get damaged or bent.

All in all it was a nice, clean, easy installation. Rocky Road Outfitters provided clear and concise instructions. And the Rails fit nice and tight and look great!!

I wheel with my Liberty fairly hard and the RRORR don't show any signs of wear. The RRORR are made from 1/4" hitch steel. If I had anything less, they would be toast by now.

Review

Lockhart BasinWhen I first installed the RRORR , my Liberty was basically stock, so I needed all the protection I could get. There were a few times they saved my rocker panels, but I was driving so carefully, that it was really more scraping along than anything else..

Since then I have also installed the Rocky Road 2.25" Combo lift kit and that combined with the Rock Rails I can travel just about anywhere with confidence that I won't be breaking my rig.

The first place I wheeled after the installation of the RRORR was a trail in Southern AZ known as Happy Valley. There is an optional spot into the wash that I would not even think of doing without the RRORR.

When my tire dropped off the rock I heard a "thud."

It was just the Rock Rails taking all the weight of my Liberty and showing no signs of wear.

The first nasty trail I did was the Charleau Gap trail. It has a few "fun" spots and is rated a 4.0.

The trail is a mix of boulder hopping and creek crossings. At one point about 50 yards before the creek, I had to maneuver over some boulders. A few of the CJ's and YJ's before me had become hung up and I helped push them off. Not wanting to be pushed off, I was using just a bit too much throttle. I came off this one boulder and I heard this loud BOOM as I came down on the RRORR. I just knew that I had to have at least bent the RRORR even though they are guaranteed not to bend.

I got out and looked, and it did not even scratch the powdercoat. These are some beefy Rails.

In September I went to Moab to meet up with some other wheelers, but first I drove up the Lockhart Basin trail just south of Moab. It had apparently rained pretty hard and it was washed out in many, many places.

The trail is about 40 miles long, and after 35 miles I came to a spot that is down a 1/2 mile long dugway. The dugway connects the shelf road I had been on with the Chicken Corners trail that leads into Moab. Well, after driving the 35 miles I did not want to turn back, but the road ahead looked mighty bad. Or good depending on your point of view.

I had already passed the point of no return about 5 miles back anyway, so I pushed ahead. I had my passenger get out to spot me down the dugway. It was over and around a jumbled mess of boulders. If I had not had the RRORR I am sure I could not have made it. There were places that I was riding on the rails just to get through.

But I did make it through, in large part because of my RRORR.

Golden CrackWhile in Moab we did some of the "fun" trails there, including: Hell's Revenge, Metal Masher, Moab Rim, Cliffhanger, and the infamous Golden Spike. Each trail offered it's own opportunity to damage my RRORR.

The Golden Spike connects the Poison Spider Mesa trail with the Gold Bar Rim trail. Much of the route is near the rim above Moab Valley and offers gorgeous views in all directions. It's main claim to fame, however, is that some bypasses (where they exist!) still rate a 4+. There are no bypasses around the Golden Crack. If you want to finish this trail, you have to do the crack. This is one place that the RRORR really saved my Liberty.

The Crack needs to be crossed at a precarious angle, and in doing so, I got my KJ tilted over to such an angle I thought for sure it was going to roll over.

I looked down and lo and behold, I was resting on my RRORR. Had the RRORR not been there I just might have rolled it.

All in all it was a great trip, with no damage to my Jeep, and no matter what I did, no damage to my Rocky Road Outfitters Rock Rails.

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