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Old 01-11-2017, 09:11 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
I'll take almost any steps or rocksliders, regardless of features........for $200 or less.
That's kinda how I feel too....or rather, it seems to sum up kinda how it seems the market for side-step/rock-sliders is a trickier one to get people happily ponying up solid coin for.

When someone starts a project to "kick-ass-ify" a van that's is still largely stock in appearance, it seems the usual / logical order of planned cash purchases/modifications/part swaps is:

1) wheels/tires
then
2) suspension
and then
3) bumpers

And then *maybe*

4) side rails

Before getting to number 4 (or even 3...or even 2!!) a lot of the owner's original "project budget" might be spent. And unless someone is truly using them as a rock slider, the reality for most people is that they're really just a step. Once a simple step is more than $200, a lot of people get motivated to just lift their leg a little higher when they climb in/out.

Compounding this....for those that really need a step....there are lots of inexpensive but good-looking side-step options already out there. It's probably a really small sub-set of people who truly need rock sliders, and see the value in paying for it. That's gonna be someone with 4WD and a lot of coin tied up in their rig, and who really gets aggressive with where they take it.

So whatever side step/rail gets conceived of in this group, for it to be worth developing/pursuing.....it seems like it's gotta be at least two of the following three things:

(Pick any two.)

A) Cost-effective
B) Better-looking than anything else out there
C) Offer some new form of rugged rail slider function unseen before

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Old 01-11-2017, 10:04 AM   #62
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My problem with the rock slider/steps is:

1. most offer little to no protection
2. most don't help me get in or out of the van

So what's really the point?

I'm happy to spend money, and had bought a set of high dollar AMP engineering ones, but decided against them due to reliability and lack of protection. I then was going to buy the Rockslide ones, but they were discontinued (and have lukewarm reviews).

So I have nothing still.

What am I looking for? Something that provides some modicum of protection, and something to make it easier getting in and out, especially when camping and using the side door. Would love something powered, but open to some sort of slide out camping step integrated into slider.

One issue to think about on these is how to attach.. Everyone's van is different in terms of what is stashed on the frame rails, so how do you know where to attached? Maybe some sort of sliding mount that can be welded once put in place?
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:48 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by rallypanam View Post
One issue to think about on these is how to attach.. Everyone's van is different in terms of what is stashed on the frame rails, so how do you know where to attached? Maybe some sort of sliding mount that can be welded once put in place?
That's a great idea Rob.

I'm staring at the underside of my van right now and the only other really strong possibility seems to be something that mounted on the bottom of the frame rails and comes out to the sides, or just goes all the way across.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:51 AM   #64
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The front mounted tire is an interesting thing. It would open up room on the back bumper to add another box/rack/whatever. If the bumper was made to have the tire recessed into it, it would keep the front profile low. Obviously no winch then, this considers keeping the tire under or right about the line of the grill.



Another item I would be way into is a sizeable fold/swing down step for the barn doors. I know I am gonna need one of these for my dog who is getting on in years and just in general. I see way too many step stools on camping pics. May try to find a way to actuate it as well, put a trigger on the inside of the door or something. Here's a Thule one, but its closed height is too close to the open height, I would want to try for something that is pretty flat.



On the rear bumper, I am toying around with a frame box for a drop in cutaway camper thingy and one thing occured to me was the ability to make full height swing away frames with hinge points high and low making them very stable. You get away from the obvious drawbacks of a single hinge point. Don't know how to apply this to a regular van as there is very little outside of the gutter to mount to.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:35 AM   #65
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Elegant idea, Flux. Here's what I would do with that one...I'd make the upper rail removable by pulling a couple of pins. I'd leave a sling in place under the tire. And I would add a couple of lifting rings to the inside corners of the headlight guards.

This would make it really easy for me to get the tire in and out. Drop the upper rail, attach a simple block and tackle to the sling and the lifting rings, lift the tire up, then push it forward, and drop it down onto the ground. Not as macho as just grabbing the tire and putting it in and out, but I make no claims in the macho department. I just wanna be able to change a tire when I need to.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:43 AM   #66
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That'd never work for some of us.. My transmission temps are already high, no way I could through a tire in front of the grill!
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:11 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Glider View Post
Elegant idea, Flux. Here's what I would do with that one...I'd make the upper rail removable by pulling a couple of pins. I'd leave a sling in place under the tire. And I would add a couple of lifting rings to the inside corners of the headlight guards.

This would make it really easy for me to get the tire in and out. Drop the upper rail, attach a simple block and tackle to the sling and the lifting rings, lift the tire up, then push it forward, and drop it down onto the ground. Not as macho as just grabbing the tire and putting it in and out, but I make no claims in the macho department. I just wanna be able to change a tire when I need to.
It's a bummer that there isn't just **a bit more room** under the rear of the van in the OEM "dirty spare" tire location, as it's hard to beat the ease of lowering/stowing a tire with the winch that they give you from the factory to do that.

Seems like you once you've gone over the factory-original tire size by even an inch or two, you're shut out of fitting a tire into that space.

Or.....are you truly?

What if....
.....a custom bumper was designed to be "coved out" on its backside.....with a crescent-shaped negative-space carved into the back of it......so that it allowed a larger-OD wheel/tire (33" or so?) spare to nest just a bit further rearward in the van underneath....and still clear all the rear axle bits? I haven't measured the maximum available *width* underneath the van to fit a tire in there, but maybe this could be something worth investigating.

OF NOTE:
Any custom rear bumper solution that attempted this approach would need to make sure it left an "access slot" in itself (in the area directly below the rear door sills) so as to be able to still get a lug wrench into the socket for winching the dirty spare up/down using the factory-installed tire winch.

Successfully figuring out a way of getting a full-size (oversize!) spare mounted under the van would allow the rear bumper swingarms to be more thoroughly utilized for storage of all kinds.

Edit: Just remembered that what usually interferes with the rear dirty spare tire is the rear trailer hitch. Hmmm. Perhaps a custom bumper would incorporate its own trailer hitch, such that there was no need to have a standard aftermarket one installed.
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:19 PM   #68
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MBR, my 33" 285/70-17 spare currently just squeezes in, under the van, between the generator and the rear bumper. You are absolutely right that that is the easiest spot to work with in terms of getting it in and out.

For now, that's good enough. But I'm thinking that eventually I am going to want that room for something else--batteries, fuel, water..."dirty stuff" storage--and that's when I'll get serious about hanging the darn thing off the front or the back.

If hanging it off the front won't mess with my engine or trannie temps, then that would still leave the back open for other items. Or I could just let go of using the room under the van, and do the simple thing--leave the tire where it is. That might be the best solution.

Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:29 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Glider View Post
MBR, my 33" 285/70-17 spare currently just squeezes in, under the van, between the generator and the rear bumper. You are absolutely right that that is the easiest spot to work with in terms of getting it in and out.

For now, that's good enough. But I'm thinking that eventually I am going to want that room for something else--batteries, fuel, water..."dirty stuff" storage--and that's when I'll get serious about hanging the darn thing off the front or the back.

If hanging it off the front won't mess with my engine or trannie temps, then that would still leave the back open for other items. Or I could just let go of using the room under the van, and do the simple thing--leave the tire where it is. That might be the best solution.

Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...
Hey, nice it fits!
Do you currently have a rear trailer-hitch installed? (An aftermarket, frame-mounted one with a solid cross-member)?

I'm guessing it's only possible without an aftermarket frame-mount hitch....but that's still good dimensional info to know.

Your 285/70R17 tires are right in the same 33" OD camp as the 285/75R16 tire, both of which seem to be a pretty darn common size for a lot of SMB builds around here (2WD or 4WD both.) So it's cool to know that a 33" tire can be fit underneath in at least some cases.

But just thinking of more of those tradeoffs, tradeoffs:
It's probably the case that not everyone wants to let their more-expensive-and-pretty spare wheel/tire getting steadily made ever-more-filthy under their van.....(and there must be some instances where getting that tire out, while off-road somewhere and with perhaps a flat rear tire, might not be someone's favorite solution....)
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:40 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Glider View Post
MBR, my 33" 285/70-17 spare currently just squeezes in, under the van, between the generator and the rear bumper. You are absolutely right that that is the easiest spot to work with in terms of getting it in and out.

For now, that's good enough. But I'm thinking that eventually I am going to want that room for something else--batteries, fuel, water..."dirty stuff" storage--and that's when I'll get serious about hanging the darn thing off the front or the back.

If hanging it off the front won't mess with my engine or trannie temps, then that would still leave the back open for other items. Or I could just let go of using the room under the van, and do the simple thing--leave the tire where it is. That might be the best solution.

Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...
Seems like you'd be better off using the other space for smaller things, as opposed to moving the big heavy thing someplace more difficult, and then putting smaller lighter things where it was.
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