By Jon Maib
We wanted to take our stock Rubicon rock rails and beef them up a bit by adding some additional tubing to act as sliders and to provide a step as well. The Rubicon rails are pretty stout but, they just need some improvements to be great. All of what we did can be done at home if you have a welder and a grinder and perhaps a tube bender (If you don't, find a fellow offroader that does). We happened to have a buddy that had a ladder rack that came off his son's truck that they were getting rid of. So before they took it to the dump, we grabbed it from him (for free) and figured we could use the metal from it.

We began by cutting the top bars off the rack and then cut them down to the size we needed to fit onto the Rubicon rails. They did require a small bend to be added by our Harbor Freight pipe bender to get them to the correct shape we wanted. Using pre-shaped metal made it pretty easy to design our new slider bars. We mocked them up and prepped everything to be fully welded. As fate would have it, just as we got to welding, we ran out of shielding gas. Luckily, we had flux core wire laying around and our Hobart welder has the ability to switch over. After switching the wire out, we were able to get the bars welded on.

In designing these new rails, we wanted to plan for larger tires, so we cut an angled section off the back Rubicon rails that normally sticks out past the body and made a patch of metal to give it a clean look and to keep water and dirt from getting in.

After adding the additional rails, the weight of the Rubicon rails was significantly heavier and we noticed after our initial test install that when standing on them, there was a bit of body flex due to the way Jeep engineered the Rubicon rails to be bolted on. Our solution was to be able to bolt the rails to the frame giving them additional strength. We decided to take the brackets off of our old stock rear bumper as they were the perfect length and were already bent so made them easy to mount to the frame. We did however need 4 of these brackets, so found a fellow Jeeper that had an old stock bumper he was willing to donate, giving us the 2 additional brackets.

We got the new frame brackets mocked up and then welded on. It was then time to clean up welds and give it a clean professional look. We then shot the rails with a black primer and followed that up with some Rustoleum truck bed coating to give the rails texture and anti-slip properties. The coating came out great on these rails and we recommend that if you need an anti-slip coating on something, grab a can or 2 of the Rustoleum. After spraying the truck bed coating, it was a bit glossier than we were hoping for. As our project 'Vulture' is suede black, we wanted these to match. We fired up the air compressor and shot the rails again in Blitz Black to match the Jeep. We are really happy with how they turned out and look forward to getting them tested on a rock or two.