When you hit the trails in a nimble Jeep or mini-truck, there are tons of options for body and belly protection. But when your ride of choice is a fullsize truck, then you need to look a little harder for protection. We recently did some upgrades to our Red Sled in order to protect the body and vital components underneath, but found the aftermarket supply lacking for some of what we wanted to do. With some work we ended up with a mixture of off-the-shelf armor and custom-built parts for the big beast. We know the big trucks can be disdained on the black-diamond trails, but we've seen them run some impressive obstacles even when strapped with fat weight and mile-long wheelbases. The Sled is more weekend explorer than rockclimber, but as we keep upgrading parts, it keeps stepping closer to the harder stuff, and these upgrades will make it that much better for the little Jeep obstacles. If you like wheeling a fullsize truck too, consider these upgrades to make your wheeling trip that much more enjoyable and getting home in one piece much more realistic. 1. The front of the Sled was lacking in the protection category, so the 4xDoctor in Burbank, California, quickly had the old chrome sheetmetal bumper clattering to the floor. We knew we wanted something with integrated tow points, a winch mount, and a rugged look that could push brush out of the way while protecting the massive radiator cooling the 454 behind the grille.1. The front of the Sled was lacking in the protection category, so the 4xDoctor in Burban 2. ARB has an iconic styling to its front bumpers (aka Bull Bars), and since the Sled was built to be a U.S. version of those outback explorer trucks, the ARB bumper fit the styling needed. The ARB Deluxe Winch bar for the '88-'98 1500, 2500, and 3500 pickups incorporates a fabricated lower sheetmetal base which can house a winch and has mounting points for front turn-signal marking lights as well as larger off-road lights.2. ARB has an iconic styling to its front bumpers (aka Bull Bars), and since the Sled was 3. The mounting is done with some simple brackets that slip into the framerails and bolt into place. With older trucks, some drilling may be required, and the framerails may have been tweaked over the years from all types of abuse. A come-along pulled everything in line, and with the help of three guys to lift and install the bumper, we easily had front armor in place.3. The mounting is done with some simple brackets that slip into the framerails and bolt i 4. The ARB Bull Bar has space for a 12,000- or 15,000-pound winch and is compatible with most of the Warn Winch models. We had a 15,000 model from an old project that we filled the recovery void with. The bumper has dual recovery points for shackles as well as Hi-Lift jacking points to raise the front.4. The ARB Bull Bar has space for a 12,000- or 15,000-pound winch and is compatible with m 5. We sourced a rear bumper for the Sled from Trail Ready since our original bumper was beyond battered and ugly. The Trail Ready bumper required some welding to get it to mount perfectly on our '91 chassis, but that was fine since we also added some upgrades. Take care to center the bumper when mounting it, otherwise your neighbors will all laugh and point.5. We sourced a rear bumper for the Sled from Trail Ready since our original bumper was be 6. A set of recovery points was welded through the bumper and attached directly to the frame mounting plates. These have proven valuable whether as a recovery point or as a solid winch point when dragging our old friend who now happens to be the editor of Off Road magazine. The recovery point kits came from EMS Off Road in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. To help enlighten camp, a trailer, or backing into the shop, we added a set of 5.7-inch Daystar 1000 series driving lights that can be wired in with a switch or based off the reverse lights.6. A set of recovery points was welded through the bumper and attached directly to the fra 7. Even though we have a longbed truck, we opted to build a swing-out tire carrier for the Sled so the bed is kept clear of clutter when truck camping. EMS also offered these weld-in spindle kits with bearings and latches for the build-it-yourselfer. We tied the spindles in at the top of the bumper and underneath so it was mounted strong enough to support a spare 37-inch tire. Be careful to protect the spindle from weld spatter.7. Even though we have a longbed truck, we opted to build a swing-out tire carrier for the 8. We also built a custom tire carrier that doubles as a Hi-Lift carrier. The unfortunate issue is that this will make our mile-long truck even longer, but keeping the spare out in the open rather than sliding around in the bed is a plus. You'll need to decide if the hassle of swinging the tire out of the way every time you want to open the bed of the truck is worth it.8. We also built a custom tire carrier that doubles as a Hi-Lift carrier. The unfortunate 9. The long wheelbase means roughly three blocks' worth of rocker panel open to trail damage, so we began looking for some sliders. Unfortunately no one was making off-the-shelf pieces so we contacted Shaffer's Off-Road outside Reno, Nevada, to build a custom set. Mounting the sliders isn't that hard, but make sure they stick out past the body of your truck and make sure they are made of thick enough material that they can take a hit. The Shaffer's units weld directly to the frame and are built strong enough that Hi-Lifting the Sled off of them isn't a problem. They also make a great step for getting into the cab or rear bedside toolboxes.9. The long wheelbase means roughly three blocks' worth of rocker panel open to trail dama 10. With the front, back, and side-to-side covered, we started looking underneath. The rear differential needed some armor to keep the ring-and-pinion spinning freely, so we added a Blue Torch Fabworks Corporate 14-bolt rear differential cover. Fabricated from 1/4-inch steel plate with a 3/8-inch mounting ring, this should keep our gears and locker out of trouble.10. With the front, back, and side-to-side covered, we started looking underneath. The rea 11. We also added a rear axle truss and front pinion protector also from Blue Torch Fab. The truss is great for building off of should you want to add a linked suspension, and the protector keeps the low-lying rear driveshaft yoke from smacking rocks, which can scatter U-joints.11. We also added a rear axle truss and front pinion protector also from Blue Torch Fab. T 12. With the big-block torque and so much weight there is a severe possibility of some rear axlewrap. One tool to fix that also acts as armor. It is an antiwrap bar that can double as a driveshaft guard. We had Sam's Off Road build us a fullsize truck version of its popular Jeep antiwrap bar, and we're mounting it to run parallel to the driveshaft, yet just below so it helps keep the rocks clear.12. With the big-block torque and so much weight there is a severe possibility of some rea SOURCES ARB 2-06/-264-1669 www.arbusa.com Sam's Off Road Blue Torch Fabworks Shaffer's Off-Road Daystar 800-595-7659 www.daystarweb.com Trail Ready EMS Off Road Warn 5-03/-722-1200 www.warn.com Hi-Lift www.hi-lift.com Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!