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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.
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 email@example.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.