Note: Toys by Troy shut down their operation at the end of 2007. Instead of removing this write-up, I am leaving it on the web site for a couple of reasons. The steps for installing it are pretty much the same as one from another manufacturer and so you’ll get an idea of what is involved if you decide to do this type of modification. If you happen to come across one on the used market, you’ll have some information about it that can help you do the installation correctly.
Side sliders? Yep, side sliders…..they protect the TJ body between the rear corner guards and your rock steps. That spot right behind your door (before you get to the flare) seems to be a rock magnet at times…..it covers that…..and the body area above your flares….taken care of. We take our doors off to make sure we don’t nail them with a big ol’ rock….and we cover our rockers so we keep them from getting all banged up. And what happens? You guessed it, that rig rock finds that strip of vulnerable body and whacks it. So throw on a pair of side sliders and help take the bite out of that rock.
NOTE: Before I get started on the install comments, I will say that I did NOT have the proper rear corner guards to make this a “bolt on” modification. Although my corner guards came from Troy, they are 1st generation vintage (maybe even older than that depending on how you track the changes). My guards did not match up correctly with side sliders as the sliders were made for the more recent corner guard design. As such, I used the grinder in a few places to get everything to line up. No biggie, it made for an enjoyable Saturday morning when MikeW came over to help with the install.
A 4″ angle grinder with a 60 grit flapper disc makes for a great fitting tool. It is much easier to control than the hard cutting/grinding wheels. You can gently remove a burr from a piece of metal or you can lay into it and do some serious metal removal. As they say, it’s all in the wrist. Myself, I prefer the “trim a bit and test fit….repeat as necessary” method. It takes a little longer but I get better results in the end. So the first part of this project was taken up using the angle grinder to make new parts and old parts fit together.
Once I was satisfied with the fit (the trimming took more time than the actual mounting), Mike grabbed one end of the slider (he is out of the picture here) and I the other. I put a 5/16″ bit in the cordless drill and marked one of the upper holes using the slider as the template. Keep the slider pressed firmly against the TJ’s body to ensure hole accuracy.
With the hole properly marked, I used a corded drill to finish the work. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU DRILL AS YOU DON’T WANT TO PIERCE ANY WIRING ON THE OTHER SIDE! No, I didn’t drill through a wiring harness…..just passing along a good reminder. Cutting into a wire bundle with a drill bit is a lousy way to spend your free time splicing wires.
After the upper hole is drilled, place the side slider in position and secure with one of the button head screws and a flange nut.
Next, mark and drill the forward most hole by the rocker guard (below the door). THERE IS A WIRE BUNDLE ON THE INSIDE OF THE TUB (DRIVER’S SIDE), VERY CLOSE TO WHERE THIS HOLE WILL BE DRILLED, SO BE VERY CAREFUL! Install another button head bolt and loosely tighten.
Take a couple of minutes and make sure all of the mating edges are lining up correctly. The rear mounting point on the slider should be flush against the corner guard (above the rear tail light). If all looks good, tighten the two screws that you have already installed. Now mark the remaining holes for drilling. I drilled the four 5/16″ holes with the side slider bolted in place. When you drill the two holes adjacent to the rear edge of the door (the top and middle holes), you will see that the body is double sided in that area. You will need to drill through the inner side too. Keep the drill straight and level and continue drilling the hole all the way through. You will enlarge the inner hole later on.
Note that the rear mounting point uses a 3/8″ bolt so you’ll need to change drill bits for that one. I used a center punch to mark the hole and then drilled it with the side slider in position.
Toys by Troy Side Sliders
When you have drilled the remaining holes, check them for alignment with the side slider in place. Make sure everything lines up correctly. Before you bolt the side slider in place, you will need to enlarge the two holes that were previously mentioned so that you can fit the flange nut onto the 5/16″ bolt.
I measured the diameter of my 1/2″ socket (for the flange nut), it was 3/4″ in diameter. So the inner hole needed to be increased to 3/4″ so a flange nut could be attached to the bolt. I opted to use a regular step drill, as shown in the above photo. In my opinion, it is easier than a hole saw. However, if you have a hole saw available in the correct size, by all means use it.
I grabbed a cordless drill and started on the upper of the two holes. The step drill bit cut through the inner body layer quite quickly. Be careful as you near the proper hole size as you don’t want the other end of the drill cutting into the outer hole. You will need to do this for the hole beneath this one as well. While the space was a little tight, I was able to enlarge all four holes so the 1/2″ socket could fit through the hole.
Put the side sliders in position and tighten down the button head bolts. You’ll need an Allen wrench or one that fits on a ratchet, as I have in the above picture. You will get better results if you hold the button head bolt with the allen bit and tighten the flange nut using a 1/2″ wrench. If you get a little carried away with the allen bit, you can strip the head on the stainless steel bolt (the one drawback of using stainless).
Use the supplied flange nuts on the bolts. This pic shows one on the driver’s side above the wheel well. You can see the wiring bundle that I moved out of the way when I was drilling the holes (along the top edge of the slider). As I mentioned earlier, always verify you are not drilling into wiring or some other fluid line (brake, gas, etc.). It only takes a second to save yourself a big headache.
The rear mount is secured with a 3/8″ bolt, using the supplied washer as shown. It too uses a flange nut inside the tub.
Now that you got one side finished, time to go start on the other one. I’ve seen the beating that a friend of mine has given his side sliders. They have saved his rear tub a number of times, no doubt about it.
Well, that is about it for the install. It only amounts to 7 bolts on each side. A big thanks to MikeW for helping with the trimming and fitting process. It was good to have a 2nd pair of eyes looking at the fit-up and the extra hands to hold the slider in place while I used both hands on the drill.
Good luck with your side sliders….may they scrape the rocks and save your rear end!
Note: The following day I was finishing up some odds and ends and remembered that I needed to re-mount my CB antenna. It’s previous mounting bracket had to be removed from the rear corner guard when the side slider mount was attached to the corner guard. I spoke with Troy to see if he thought I would lose any structural support if I was to drill the end of the rear slider mount and locate my antenna on it. He said it would be a minimal impact to the overall strength of the side slider so I decided to go with my idea. Here is the CB antenna mount I am using now.
I was wheelin’ a month ago with some friends who were new to the area we were running that day. We had finished the trail and were heading back to the air-up spot when we decided to take a little side trip down a 20 minute long wash that had a couple of funs spots along the way.
I’ve been over this crack a dozen or two times in the past 8 years and have spotted three times that number of people over it. There is always a first time for everything and on this particular day, I was off the line with my rear tire by about an inch (it’s only two inches wide to start with). My front wheel had made it but I turned too soon and the rear dropped all the way off of the ledge and down to the bottom. When that happens, it is strap or winch time. (it was a friendly tug on the strap for me)
So…..the folks along on this run got to see first hand why I have side sliders on my TJ. The driver’s side tub would have been into the rock had it not been for the slider. Yeah, it got scratched up a bit (now it better matches my rocker guards). I try not to “depend” on the guards and skids on my TJ. Finding the best line and keeping on it reduces the dragging and scraping that some drivers assume is “Jeep driving”. Instead, the guards and skids are there for when I can’t keep the line and gravity takes over. It’s a good feeling when a bystander yells out….”No biggie, it was just the slider.” (better that than the body)Good trails and remember to TREADLightly!