How to install Custom 4x4 Double Tube Rock Rails on an XJ!

By Robert B.

This was probably one of the most enjoyable installs I have done on my XJ. I have been looking into getting a good set of Jeep rock rails for quite some time, mainly asking different people at the Jeeps Unlimited Forums for their opinions on which rock rails I should get.

I finally decided to get some rock rails made by Custom 4x4 Fabrication, but I couldn't decide which type. They offer three designs for XJ's, 2X2" square guards, 2X4" guards, and some double tube rocker guards. I choose the double tube rockers because they cover the most space on my rocker panels, they stick out far, and they look pretty good too!

It was only a couple days after I placed my order that I received my rails! These things are are beefy, with each rail weighing in at about 35 lbs! I inspected them for quality and craftsmanship, all of the metal was black powder coated and all of the welds looked good!

Because I received my rails in the middle of the week, I had to wait a couple days until the weekend arrived to install them. Believe me, it was hard waiting that long! Well that following Sunday me and my dad got up early to install the rails.

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  • We set out all of our tools, some jackstands, a couple rags, and of course, the rock rails themselves. This picture should give you an idea of everything we had set out. And also here is what my XJ looked like before the install. Another note, have some protective eye wear! My dad did not wear his and got some metal in his eye. He went to the Emergency room and an Eye Doctor to have the metal removed. Don't worry, he is ok now, but he was in a lot of pain for a couple days.
  • In order to mark the the pinch seem holes we had to raise the rail up the to Jeep by using some jack stands. My stands were just barely to short, so we put some rags on the jack stands. Make sure the rail is all the way against the pinch weld and the rear of the rail is against the leaf spring hanger.
  • The holes were marked with a pencil and then we used a center punch to mark the center of the hole. The mark left by the center punch also helps to kit the drill bit from walking around on the metal.
  • The instructions provided by Custom 4x4 say to use their 21/64" bit for the holes, which is a pretty large bit. We drilled starter holes with a 13/64" bit, and then went in with the 21/64" supplied bit from Custom 4x4. This made it A LOT easier to drill the holes. Be careful when you drill these holes because the pinch lip is not very wide and you could mess up your hole if you drill too low.
  • Next we loosely tightened the 6 bolts in our freshly drilled pinch lip. Then we attached the frame rail bracket on the front of the rock rail. We then marked the holes with a pencil and center punch.

  • After removing the bracket and rock rail my dad drilled the holes in the side of the frame rail, but because our drill and its bit were too tall, we had to jack up the Jeep a couple inches. We drilled the holes with the 13/64" starter bit and then went back through with the 21/64" supplied bit. After these holes are drilled we mounted the rock rail to the pinch lip and then put in the 4 bolts in the bracket on the frame rails. Because these frame rail bolts are self tappers be sure to use a torque wrench and torque to 20 ft. lbs. We used a socket set, but if you do this, be VERY careful not to tighten the bolts too tight because you may strip the frame rail holes.

  • The last step is to drill the rear leaf hanger holes. After marking the holes, we used the starter bit and then the supplied bit. Thread the bolts through and tighten them down. Check to make sure all of your other bolts are good and tight.
  • Just for looks, I went through and sprayed the front and back of all of the bolts with black rustoleum.

The install was very straight forward. It took us a little less than 4 hours to install them, but we were in no hurry at all. The only bump we ran into was when we had to jack up the Jeep. Besides that, I say that it was a job well done! I give it a thumbs up!

If you have any questions about these Jeep rock rails or the install you can contact me here. I carry the full product line for Custom 4x4 Fabrication, so you can purchase these double tube rails by clicking here.

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