By Jose Alvarado
I recently bought some rock sliders for my 1994 Land Cruiser from White Knuckle Off Road - an off-road slider company located in Apple Valley, CA. They have been in business since 2008 and have quickly made a name for themselves in the off-road industry for being a high quality product. I knew that when the time came for me to order sliders for my vehicle, I was going with this company based on all the reviews that I read on different forums online.
I have to thank Cody for helping me out with the install. Although it is possible to install these on your own, it is just so much easier to have another person to help lift and position the slider during the install. Cody, I owe you one. Full disclosure, I paid full retail price for these sliders. The TrailChasers not have any affiliation with White Knuckle Off Road.
The installation was pretty straight forward, and the sliders came with all the hardware and a set of instructions. So, let me quickly talk about the customer service and product packaging from White Knuckle. When I got to the shop to pick up the sliders, all the bay doors were open in their shop and I took a quick glance inside and all I have to say is - wow. The shop and work area were so clean. Everything looked so well organized. Next, the owner and his son loaded up the sliders into my Land Cruiser and the owner told me that if I had any questions at all, to give him a call on his cell phone. That is awesome customer service! The sliders came wrapped in foam and plastic throughout the entire slider to prevent any scratches on the black powder coat.
We started with taking off the Land Cruiser's factory side steps. They are well built for daily use but hang too low for off-roading purposes. Although I haven’t had an issue with clearance with the stock steps, the worry of hitting or damaging them was always there. More on that later. We began by installing the driver side first. Depending on the year of the 80 series Land Cruiser, the catalytic converters sit on either the driver side or passenger side of the vehicle. My 94’ has them on the passenger side and we knew that side was going to be the more difficult side of the install. On the driver side, the sliders install with the heavy-duty C hooks that are provided by White Knuckle. Presley, Cody’s daughter, noticed that Cody and I looked a little confused during the install and decided to save us from ourselves. She took control over the process and instructed us on how the hardware was to be installed and how to follow the provided directions.
There are brake lines that are hard mounted to the frame on the driver’s side, but White Knuckle provides hardware with spacers to accommodate the width of the slider. There is one bolt that reattaches the brake line to the frame and is nearly impossible to install, so we decided to forego that one bolt. To keep the brake line secured on that end, we wrapped the brake hardlines in rubber hose and zip tied them. I do not see this being an issue or a failure point in the future.
Next, we tackled the passenger side. This side was definitely interesting to install. The slider attaches to the frame with four pre-existing tapped holes. The only problem is trying to get your hand in between the slider and the catalytic converters. On a 1994 Land Cruiser, the cats are on the passenger side and run parallel to each other. In later years, the cats run in-line with one another and I assume it would be easier to do a slider install. Typically, when you are working on your vehicle, you usually slide in head first on the side you are working on. From this angle, it was nearly impossible to try and hold the slider up, get the bolt lined up with the hole in the frame and then start screwing in the bolt. This is where two heads are better than one. Cody decided to get under the truck feet first. This totally changed the leverage point and allowed him to screw in the bolts to the frame. I would like to assume that I would have figured it out myself if I was installing these sliders solo. We will never know. The rest of the passenger side install went without a hitch since it was just two more C hooks that bolted around the frame.
By the time this is posted on the website, it would have been almost a month with the sliders installed. I know I am extremely late on getting this blog out but hey, at least it is out. Ok? Lol. We have done one trail run since I installed the sliders and so far I have not needed to use them. My biggest take away since installing the sliders is the new dynamics of the truck and the confidence that I have while choosing a line on the trail. Knowing that I have rocker protection gives me peace of mind in case I bottom out. I am not saying that I am "sending it" every chance I get, but I definitely look for a more aggressive line on the trail. Having these on the Land Cruiser now, made me realize that I should have gotten these a lot sooner. I would say that if you are getting into off-roading, no matter what vehicle you end up getting, tires should be your first mod and then sliders immediately after.
I just want to thank Cody again for taking the time on a weekend to help me install these. I know that weekends are sacred and are for family. Also, want to thank White Knuckle Off Road for making such an incredible product. It is made here in the good ole US of A and I love supporting small businesses. Go check out their website, https://white-knuckleoffroad.com/, if you are in the market for some well built and engineered sliders. Until next time- We are the TrailChasers.