Thursday, April 18, 2013

FJ Cruiser: the Rock Rails...

I've been looking forward to installing the rock rails (or “sliders”) on our FJ, as they're one of the things that change the appearance.  I got them on today, as you can see in the photos.  These are the All-Pro APEX “Extreme Duty” rock rails, which I selected based on the many positive reviews I found online.

The folks at All-Pro have consistently been very helpful (perhaps taking pity on me, as they met me when I picked up my order).  This was especially so with the rock rail installation, as I quickly discovered this morning that the instructions didn't seem to match what parts I had.  With a couple of emails, the folks at All-Pro set me straight: the instructions were for their standard rock rails; the APEX rock rails are constructed slightly differently and have a simpler installation.  Once I got myself educated, installing the rails was a snap.  Each rail bolts directly to pre-existing threaded holes in the FJ's frame.  The bolt holes in the rock rails are elongated to provide a little “slop” in the alignment, but in my case none was needed – the fit was perfect.

If you're not familiar with rock rails, they are designed to protect the side of your vehicle should you bang the side into a rock.  This happens most often when your in a place where your vehicle is tilted sideways on rough or slippy-slidey ground.  In these circumstances it's very easy for your vehicle to move a foot or more to one side as you try to drive through the patch.  If there happens to be a bit rock (or wall) next to you, your vehicle might very well end up scraping against it.  I'd much rather scrape these tough, relatively inexpensive rock rails than the thing sheet metal of the body!

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