Relations Race Wheels Bolt-On DOM Rock Sliders Step-By-Step Install Guide & Review for the 3rd Gen Tacoma
There is no shortage of rock sliders on the market. In fact, it’s probably one of the most common and foundational mods that most of us do when we get our hands on an SUV or truck that we’re looking to take off-road.
Sliders protect an exposed, easily damaged part of your Tacoma, such as the doors and rocker panels. With a longer wheelbase, you’re much more likely to either get hung up on your undercarriage or hit the lowest hanging portions of the body on a rock, tree stump, etc. Sliders are a simple investment to ensure you aren’t left with an expensive repair bill and let’s face it, they look pretty rad too. Not to mention, they double as a step to help get into the truck or to get stuff on your roof.
Relations Race Wheels had been on my radar for quite some time, and before I got my wheels from them, I installed my rock sliders. RRW is a great company with an attention to detail that exceeds many others. The sleek design and good reviews from friends were enough to convince me to run these sliders.
If you’re interested in learning more about Relations, check out the company highlight we did on their company. If you were wondering which wheels I have on my Tacoma, as seen above, those are the RR6-H wheels, also from RRW. If you want to learn more about those, I covered an in-depth review and overview here.
In this article, I’ll be doing a quick overview, a detailed install guide and an initial review.
Find It Online
- RRW V1 DOM Bolt-On Rock Sliders (Double Cab Short Bed (DCSB)): Check Price
Features & Specifications
These sliders are extremely stout; they feature a full DOM construction (1.75″ – .120 DOM tubing), with 3/16″ mounting plates, so you can rest easy knowing they won’t let you down. If you want to know the benefits of DOM steel, check out our article, the differences between DOM and HREW rock sliders. Each leg has large reinforced gussets to increase overall strength and rigidity. You can also use them as a lifting point for your hi-lift or another off-road jack. These sliders come powder coated in a durable satin black finish that is textured to increase grip.
The integrated kickout is helpful for a variety of situations and can even help to prevent your tires from catching on rocks. It’s also good for using as a step to get to the roof rack or getting in the truck. Since the sliders stick out so far, they’re great for preventing door dings.
Total installation time, if you’re not super mechanically inclined, should be about 2 hours. With a helping hand, mine took me about 30 minutes per side. When installed, the design angles the sliders slightly upwards at eight degrees.
Unboxing & Packaging
The sliders came to my house super quick. I know that lead times vary, depending on how many orders a company has, but the wait was not bad at all.
The box was in great shape and everything seemed to be in order. Your sliders may be shipped differently, like on a freight pallet, because mine was a bit of a rush order.
Everything was very well packaged, and there was plenty of cardboard packing material to ensure the sliders didn’t get damaged. This was my first time buying bolt-on rock sliders, so I was excited to install them.
I have had a couple of builds in the past, and all of my rock sliders had been welded onto the frame. It seems that in recent years, this trend has changed. Bolt-on rock sliders dominate the space and pretty much everyone has the bolt-on option now.
These bolt-on sliders are superior for a few reasons. First, you can take them on and off. I can’t tell you how many times I was super frustrated during projects when I had to work around my weld-on rock sliders. If you ever need easy access, these are not difficult to remove. Second, they can be just as strong as a weld-on set. With the proper design, you don’t need to worry about bolt-on sliders failing.
So how difficult is the install? Not very. If you have two sets of hands, it’s very easy. I did the majority of the install by myself and with the aid of a floor jack. Having another person to help out is not a bad idea though.
- Mechanic’s Tool Set: Check Price
- Floor Jack: Check Price
- PB Blaster: Check Price
- Rotary Tool: Check Price OR Utility Knife: Check Price
- Frog Lube CLP (optional rust inhibitor): Check Price
Step 1. Visualize Driver’s Side Frame Where Rock Slider Mounts
To begin, we will start with the driver’s side. While this install is relatively straightforward, there are a few things to note. There are some differences in mounting between the passenger’s and driver’s side of the frame.
Once you get under the truck, you’ll see some things that are in the way. You’ll need to remove some nuts and bolts before you can start installing the rock sliders on the truck.
Step 2. Remove Driver’s Side Metal Bracket, Module, Plastic Brackets & Frame Bolt
The driver’s side has the above-pictured long metal bracket, and the two rusted nuts for an electronic module found inside the c-channel of the frame rail. The image above is just a close-up of the same image from the first step.
Remove the metal bracket and bolt, set the bolt from the metal bracket aside and push the loomed wire harness above the frame. Then remove the two nuts which hold the previously mentioned module. The nuts I’m referring to are the ones just to the right of the metal bracket.
There are also three, white plastic brackets that guide the brake lines inside the frame, that need to be popped out. You can see them in the image in Step 1. One of them is immediate to the right of the rusted nuts. These holes will be used to help mount the sliders to the truck.
Finally, there is a bolt, which is seemingly unnecessary, that is reused to mount the part of the slider mounting plate that is parallel to the ground. This bolt is located at the end of the cross member that holds the carrier bearing. You can see this bolt in step one, directly beneath the four large black rivets in the frame rail. Remove this bolt and put it aside to be reused.
Step 3 (Optional). Prep Slider & Frame with Favorite Rust Inhibitor
Since I live in the Midwest, corrosion is a big problem. I always take extra steps to try and prevent as much rust as possible. If you have the same issues, taking these steps can dramatically decrease the amount of rust you’ll see.
Personally, I really like Frog Lube CLP. This stuff is technically used to help clean and prevent rust in firearms, but it was recommended to me years ago by a fellow off-roader. It’s non-toxic and a potent rust inhibitor, I’ve been using it for years.
I took a handful of the lube and smeared it across the entire surface of the mounting plate where there was going to be metal on metal contact.
I took similar steps with the frame rail. I went ahead and coated as much of it as possible with the rust inhibitor.
Now that this portion is done, we can move onto the actual slider install.
Step 3. Raise Driver’s Slider into Place
At this point, it would be great to have someone to help guide the slider into place as you work. I was able to do so on my own with some creative use of a jack, an old rag and a piece of wood.
The rock sliders have four guide holes towards the end of the mounting plate. These holes correspond to the metal rivets that help to hold the frame together. Line these holes up with the rivets on the frame and your slider should be almost perfectly aligned.
Step 4. Bolt Rock Slider into Place
I decided to describe this part a bit differently than a typical install. There are a total of ten bolts that attach the driver’s side rock slider to the frame. You can see most of the hardware above.
I thought it would be best to describe which hardware goes where. Certain frame mounting points require larger washers than others. Leave the nuts and bolts loose until all of them are installed, while you keep the slider supported by a jack, and tighten them down when everything is properly lined up.
Starting towards the rear of the slider/truck, you can see there are three nuts, bolts and washers that hold the slider in place. Some of the holes are larger than others, and so, they require you to use the larger provided washers. These are the bolts that are before the cross-member.
The first bolt, which is just to the right of the gas tank, requires a larger washer. I had a ton of extra smaller washers, so I added, for extra peace of mind, a smaller washer on top of the larger one. The second bolt is right next to the plastic brake line bracket that I popped out earlier. Finally, the third bolt, once again, will require a larger washer.
Moving to the next section, you can see the module I removed in the earlier steps. To get a bolt properly oriented in the largest hole, you’ll need to gently bend the brake lines to make room. Don’t worry, slight bends will not affect your truck’s braking.
There are a total of five mounting holes in this portion of the frame. Technically, you could reuse two of them to mount the module back once the other bolts are installed. However, the new bolts can interfere with this. I decided to add extra nuts, bolts and washers in this spot, and zip tie the module in place. You’ll understand this better in the next image.
It’s slightly tough to visualize, but out of the five bolts mentioned above, four are visible here. One to the left of the module, two to the immediate right of the module, and the final bolt, directly next to the ones by the modules.
From left to right, the first two bolts have a normal washer (one of these bolts is behind the module), the third has a large washer and the fourth bolt has a normal one. The fifth bolt only needs a normal washer as well. You can also (kind of) visualize the bending that was done to the brake lines when you compare the above image to the image before it.
As for the module, I grabbed a piece of styrofoam I had laying around in the garage, placed it between the module and the brake lines, and zip tied everything together securely. This was done to avoid any excessive rubbing between the module and the brake lines. The last thing anyone needs is to damage their brake lines.
Next, once the main frame rail bolts are all connected, you’ll need to grab that bolt that was removed from the frame, near the carrier bearing cross member, and reinstall it. Some PB Blaster is helpful here as well.
Finally, you’ll need to grab the large black spacer with a nut welded to it. This combo goes inside the frame in the transmission cross member. You’ll insert the spacer through the hole in the angled portion of the cross member. Then, you’ll grab a bolt and a washer, and carefully thread it into the spacer/nut combo.
You might need to temporarily hold it in place from an adjacent hole in the cross member, but with some patience, it will eventually catch. I didn’t get a good shot of this portion, to better help visualize everything, but jump to Step 6 on the passenger’s side to see how I did it on the opposite side.
Do your final tweaks and adjustments, and tighten down all of the nuts and bolts completely. With that, you’re halfway there.
Driver’s Side Mounted
Aesthetically, what I really like about these sliders is the step plate. The kickout is a perfect size and the step plate design just looks cool. Might not seem like a big deal, but it’s the little things that really count.
Step 5. Passenger Side – Remove Connector/Wire Plastic Cover & Frame Bolt
On the passenger’s side, the overall install is a bit easier, since there is nothing in the way, like the gas tank or brake lines.
You will, however, notice this black plastic cover as seen in the image above. I’m not exactly sure what it’s for, one end comes from the inside of the cab, but there are some wires and connections behind it. The way the slider mounts, affects this cover. You’ll need to do some minor trimming. Two bolts hold this piece on. If they’re corroded, it would help to give them a small spray of PB Blaster.
This is what lives under the cover. Two more bolts attach the metal bracket to the frame.
You’ll have to remove them, and just like the small metal bracket on the driver’s side, reinstall everything once the slider is on the truck. So save these bolts. As I mentioned, the plastic piece will need to be trimmed. But more on that once the slider is bolted on the truck.
Next, just like on the driver’s side, remove the bolt next to the big black rivets and put it on the side to be reused later.
If you’re going to prep the frame for rust, don’t forget to do so before mounting the slider.
Step 6. Bolt Slider to Frame
Once again, the image above helps to visualize the slider bolted on the truck. You can see six silver bolts, one is hiding behind the leg in the back. This slider bolts on with a total of nine bolts.
Just like the previous side, I’ll outline which bolts go where.
Starting from the back of the truck/slider, you can easily see the order of bolts and which ones require a larger spacer.
Moving towards the front of the slider, you can see the final four bolts. At this point, it’s pretty self-explanatory where the bigger spacers are mounted.
You can also see that random bolt that attaches the slider near the cross member, just to the right of the four bolts I just mentioned.
This is the part I was referencing in Step 4. This picture shows you the proper orientation of the welded spacer/nut combo that serves as the final attachment point to the frame.
Again, take your time here, this part just takes a bit of extra effort to line everything up correctly. Finally, once you’ve got all the bolts and the slider lined up, tighten everything down completely.
Step 7. Reinstall Metal Bracket & Trim Plastic Cover
Remember the plastic cover and metal bracket for the wires/harnesses? It won’t mount properly with the way the slider is designed. To make it fit, you’ll need to trim some plastic so this piece can slide over the new slider. It might take a couple of tries, but eventually, you’ll trim just enough to clear the slider.
Use the above image as a guide to eyeball how much you’ll need to take to off. With that done, you’ve successfully installed your rock sliders.
Passenger’s Side Mounted
No more than a couple of weeks after installing these rock sliders, we were headed out to the mountains of Colorado to do some testing. Little did I know, this trip would test not only my driving abilities but also the various products on my truck. Along with the skid plates, the sliders definitely took their fair share of abuse. You might’ve noticed the trail damage on the sliders throughout the article.
To date, the trails we ran were some of the most technical I’ve ever found myself on. As seen above, there were plenty of big rocks. All humor aside, when we had arrived at the first trailhead, a hiker saw the boulders at the entrance, and us getting ready to start the trail, and he couldn’t believe that we were about to attempt to cross them. These boulders gave the sliders their first test, protecting the doors and rocker panels from damage, and using the kickouts to help pivot the truck around obstacles.
All in all, the trip was a success and the sliders definitely did their job. At one point, I dropped the whole weight of the truck pretty violently against the front of the slider. Even with that much force, the deflection was only enough to just barely dent the pinch weld at the front of the body closest to the front wheel well. With that kind of force, you’re bound to get some flex, with any slider. So I don’t count that against RRW. Solid product that took a lot of abuse over three tough days on the trails.
So what’s left to say? I’m stoked on these rock sliders.
These will likely remain on the truck until I decide to sell it. If you were in the market for a set of these, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. They’re fairly priced and they get the job done. I like the design and after some testing in the mountains, I couldn’t be happier. They already saved my truck on more than one occasion. Looking forward to beating these up for years to come!