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STEP IT UP

Smittybilt Sure-Steps Offers Affordable, Easy-To-Install Convenience

Story Tom Morr Photos Tom Morr Smittybilt is generally credited with creating the nerf bar.

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tubular sidebars were introduced approximately 40 years ago to protect rocker panels from off-road dents. As 4x4s got taller, nerf bars for trail vehicles evolved into dual-purpose sidebars. They still provide rocker protection - often against runaway parking lot shopping carts and door dings - and now also serve as steps. Some enthusiasts even weld their bars' end caps solid, plumb in fittings, and use the bars for compressed-air storage. Smittybilt's bars have morphed from their original roundsteel design. They now include slip-resistance polyester step pads. Available finishes are polished 304L stainless steel and mild steel in a choice of gloss black or texture black (Jeep only) powder coating. For corrosion-resis- BEFORE: This TJ is just tall enough that its owner's wife has a hard time getting in it. pAfter the bare Sure Step is dipped in acid to remove impurities, it goes into an e-coat vat to help inhibit rust. Dual-stage power coating provides the final layer of protection. 10 / ORA OCTOBER 2012 SOURCES 4 Wheel Parts Performance Center Thousand Oaks, CA 805-495-3344 tho@4wheelparts.com Smittybilt smittybilt.com tance, all bars are acid-dipped prior to receiving their finish. Stainless Sure Steps undergo two stages of polishing to achieve a mirror finish. Black bars are dipped in an ecoat to electrostatically inhibit rust inside and out prior to powder coating. Smittybilt claims that this makes the black bars pass 500-hour salt-spray tests. Smittybilt Sure Steps are also designed for DIY installation. Hand tools and a drill are all that's required. Lifted 4x4s with tall enough tires might not even need to be raised off the ground to do the job. 4 Wheel Parts Performance Center technician Mike Loehner (from the Thousand Oaks, California store) demonstrated how a set of Sure Steps can be installed on a TJ in slightly more than an hour. AFTER: The Smittybilt Sure Step eases ingress and provides rocker protection. pTextured Black, a Jeep-only finish, got the call here. The bars are shipped with stickers that identify driver's and passenger's side bars. The kit also includes mounting brackets, hardware and instructions.

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