All-Pro Extreme Rock Sliders (2012) ...
Effective rock sliders , also known as "rock skids" or "rock guards", are one of the first accessories that should be added to any off road vehicle. It doesn't matter if you drive a Jeep, Toyota, Land Rover, Mitsubishi or any other four wheel drive vehicle. There is no worse sound than coming down off a rock and hearing the crunch of sheet metal. Hearing the crunch of sheet metal and then being unable to open your door is bad with a large dollop of miserable on top.
Everyone has their own ideas on how a rock skid should be designed which is largely the result of each person's unique needs. Vehicle size, weight, terrain, and a dozen other criteria. After many arguments, lots of research and some plain common sense I decided to go with All-Pro Off Road and their Extreme Rock Sliders.
Now, fast forward to 2012. After twelve years of four wheeling in Colorado and Utah, week or more long excursions and being a daily driver I decided it was time for a fresh build. The new vehicle would again be purpose built but the purpose would be a little different. This time the aim would be a dedicated four wheeling, excursion vehicle with the ability to ocassionally drive it to the office and back rather than a true multipurpose, daily driver, wheel a couple times a month type vehicle.
So, the goal it to build a Montero Sport that will be capable of doing more technical trails like Pritchett Canyon, Moab Rim, and Metal Masher. With a vehicle built to take on some of Moab's most technical trails its probably safe to assume that rock skids will frequently come in handy and they'll need to do their job when needed. My existing rock skid's durrability and functionality made choosing All-Pro as the supplier of the next set of rock sliders a 'no-brainer'.
Ordering a new set of rock sliders for a Montero Sport is a little unconventional since All-Pro designes and builds their parts for Toyotas not Mitsubishis. Usually, a quick call to their sales department with an explanation of what the skids would be installed on and the length bar needed would be all that was required to get a set ordered, but it's been a while so I wanted to confirm that the process hadn't changed. I also wanted to ask some questions since based on their web site it appears that some things had changed.
The first change is that there isn't a 'standard' set of sliders and an 'extreme' set of sliders as there was in the past. All-Pro no longer sells the standard set of skids without kick-outs. That's fine with me because I wouldn't purchase a bar without the kick-outs anyway. The 'extreme' sliders have changed slightly. The tube dimensions and length are the same but the rest of the dimensions have changed just enough that the new fill plates offered as an option will not fit the old 'Extreme' rock sliders from the early to mid 2000s. I'd hoped to be able to order fill plates for my old skids so in that respect I'm a little disappointed, but since I was ordering new sliders with the fill plates plates there wasn't an issue.
All-Pro can build two different 'grades' of rock slider. The standard rock sliders use electrically welded mild steel tube. This is .120" wall, electrically welded steel tube with a 2" primary tube and 1 3/4" outer and stringer tubes. My original set of rock skids from All-Pro were built using this material and have withstood a lot of abuse with no issues.
Offered as an upgrade now, is the use of 'drawn over mandrel' or DOM tubing. This is 1/8" wall DOM steel tubing with the same 2" primary tube and 1 3/4" outer and stringer tubes. DOM is significantly more crush resistant and therefore should withstand a lot more abuse. Unfortunately, for weight sensitive vehicles like the Montero Sport, DOM is also heavier.
There are some things that will color an entire vehicle build, in either a positive or negative manner. Building 'on the cheap' would be a 'negative manner' and almost always ends up costing way more in the future than was ever saved. Saving $120 now to risk several thousand dollars in body damage later didn't seem like a very intellegent choice so I chose to go with the DOM upgrade. I also chose to use All-Pro's gussets and since I was supplying the material for the legs to use 2" DOM there, too. Just to add a little distinction and make the bars a little easier to stand on I also ordered the filler plates. Including shipping the cost was a little over $500. All-Pro's speedy order processing and shipping had them at the shop in a little more than a week.
Due to resource conflicts I wasn't able to do the installation myself so I had Four to Go here in northwest Denver install this set. Having a template to work from certinly helped, I'm sure. I stoped by long enough to let them take measurments from my existing Montero Sport and then motored on to the office. A couple days later it was finished and ready for pick up. There isn't too much of note here. All-Pro's rock sliders are delivered unpainted so I had the shop primer and paint them satin black. Rather than weld directly to the frame I had them weld 6"x6"x.25" plates to the frame and then weld the bars to those. Welding on the Mitsubishi chassis requires makeing several short 1" welds; letting the area cool between welds to prevent weakening the frame. The fuel filter was relocated slighly and that was pretty much it.
Since I've had All-Pro's old Extreme rock sliders on my existing Montero Sport for some time without incedent I expect this new set won't behave any differently. Once the build is completed here in a few more months I guess I'll have to take them out for a test run.