Here's a few notes on what I did with my installation. This is a 3 beer (+/-) mod.
**edited 4.9.2011 - You will need a special riveting tool to reattach your side skirt ends (a standard rivet tool will not work). I found this one on the cheap at Harbor Freight tools and it does a nice job, and even comes with more POM rivets for future projects (mudflaps, or attaching any other plastic trim you might want). Tool is about half the price of others out there - don't forget to use your Harbor Freight 20% off coupon that can be found online or just about anywhere http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-ri...ets-97757.html
1.) I followed the advice and used a skinny putty scraper (steel) and small hammer to knock the tops of the plastic rivets along the bottom. On the rear rivets (wheel well area), I stuck the putty knife behind the sill so as not to damage the face of the end portion that is to be re-used.
2.) I used the same putty knife, wrapped in blue painters tape, to whack the clips between the molding and body of the car. Just shaved them right off with a couple taps of the hammer - don't bother with the hook method, a waste of time. Good idea to use painter's tape though
3.) Rather than bending the rear clip that formerly held the end of the sill, I grabbed a 5/16" drill bit and drilled out the three spot welds holding them on. You may or may not want to do this, but I figured if I'm not going to use them I don't want them in the way. No need to drill all the way through. You just want to drill the thickness of the bracket and then pull/gently pry it off. I dabbed the drill spalls with a bit of paint to cover them.
4.) Have a beer or your favorite beverage here.
5.) This is where you install the 24 bolts into the body of the truck. Once you get a rythym going, you can make quick work out of it. If you futz with each one all the way around, it is going to be a long day/night. Worse yet, you don't want to be removing the rails to adjust them after they're on there (so they need to be as tight as you can make them). I've provided a short little video on the process that worked for me in hopes that it will save you some time and give you the results you're looking for. The strip caulk in the head of the bolt saved some frustration - didn't drop a single bolt into the body and was able to use a bit of force when needed to push through the foamed in areas on both ends of the truck. If you don't have any 3M strip caulk, you could get creative and use silly putty, or some other material with that kind of consistency. You could probably use chewing gum in a pinch (thank you McGuyver).
6.) Have another beer
7.) The next part depends on whether you have 1 or 2 people. I was flying Hans Solo so I had to make use of what I had in the shop to get the rails up to the body of the Jeep. I'm guessing that these weigh about 58 lbs apiece. You could definitely man-handle them up there, but you have to be careful that you don't chip/scratch the paint on the body or the doors of the truck. I grabbed my floorjack and positioned the rail in the center and used a 4X4 piece of wood block to support the outer side of the rail, as it is heavier. Once I jacked it to the point where it was aligned with the flag bolts and it would clear a set of jackstands, I positioned the stands under the tubular part of the rail. I continued jacking until the bolts were in the hole and then applied the 2 nuts on either end and lowered the jack so I could install #3 in the center. You want to install the nuts so they are flush with the threaded end of the bolt. It is now suspended by the bolts and the jack stands. You should protect the top of jack and the stands with pad or at least a shop rag.
8.) Next you will be installing the 8 backside bolts through the provided frame stiffener and to the frame. First, pull out on the tube part of the rail so that the rail is outside the frame and clear of the cap screws you installed in step 5. Follow the instructions on installation sequence. It will take some moving the part around in order to get alignment from one end to the other. My advice is to get all bolts started and once they are all in, thread them in (working center- outwards) as far as they go without actually seating - at the same time you are drawing them in, watch the lip as it comes in to the cap screws, you don't won't it to get caught under them and possibly damage the threads. Tighten the 8 bolts, adjust your jack height, and guide them onto the capscrews. It was kind of a tight fit, so I had to take my prybar and gently push down on the capscrews to get them to penetrate the holes on the lip (under the door seal). At this point you are mostly home-free. If you installed the capscrews correctly and tightly, and you have drawn the rails into the door by tightening the 8 backside bolts, all you have to do now is put the nuts on the capscrews and follow the instructions on tightening everything. I tightened the backside first, followed by capscrews, and finally the three on the bottom. Done and done.
9.) Have another beer and admire your work.
Note: My rails came with missing parts (the 6 M8 spring nuts needed to lock the nut onto the 3 flag bolts that secure the underside of the rails to the frame). Big thanks to Superior Cam
in Michigan. They are the OEM supplier/fab shop to Jeep, at least on these rockrails. Called the guy up and he FedExed them to me...got here in less than 48 hours from the time I called him. If you're short on parts, good luck getting anything done through the dealer - they want to send out a whole new set of rails. FWIW, my dealer did connect me with Superior CAM though. Jeep needs to get the spare parts piece of their third party OEM relationships figured out. Sure you can sell it...how are you going to support it? Meantime, they can send me a check for $125 - that's about what I saved them from having to ship a new set of rails cross-country. If you are missing parts call the supplier directly until Jeep gets this figured out.
My thoughts on the rockrails: These are well-built units. They fit perfectly, with no modifications necessary. They are beefy and strong - with that comes the weight. Maybe it's in my head, but I could feel the weight difference. The weight is down low at least, which is good for stability. I'm not an engineer, but I bet these would make the cockpit safer in a crash too, how could they not? From the side and front/rear you now have a much stronger frame.
So, I know the big question that has popped up a lot is "can they be used as a step". The answer is yes. They protrude out more than enough to be used for this purpose, maybe a tad more than the tubular side steps. That said they are slippery when wet. You will need some grip tape or something to enhance the safety of you/your passengers. As someone else stated, they are great for short people (my wife) getting IN to the car, I'm not sure whether they make getting OUT of the car better - in fact maybe more difficult. I can imagine trying to get footing and having to swing the car door open for support as she gets out. Works great for access to topside of the vehicle! I weigh 200 lbs and was jumping on this thing like a monkey and it didn't so much as let out a squeak. Great for putting a box or other gear on top of your rig. Another side benefit: these rails, along with the chrome side strip, will protect your Jeep from the wayward parking lot car door! They are just the right height.
As for its intended purpose I haven't gone Dukes of Hazard and jumped on top of a hickrystump yet, but imagine if I did it would take it. This is a great complement to the skid plate package and will go a long way in increasing your confidence off-road. We bought them as a step and because they looked tough. Now that I'm equipped I may go off-roading for the sheer pleasure. This was a "must DIY" as I wouldn't have paid for installation on top of the part. On average I don't imagine someone would do this job for less than $400-$500. Of course, YMMV. I got my dealer to price-match JustforJeeps.com and after tax I paid $820 or so for them. The box they come in just barely fits in the back of the JGC with the seats folded down btw. Big, heavy honking box. Real-life usage will tell how good these are, but for now I would rate these a 4 out of 5 on the mod-o-meter and would do it again.