Rock River Offroad Strongbox Review/Write up - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-09-2014, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Rock River Offroad Strongbox Review/Write up

Larry from Rock River Offroad recently contacted me and asked if I was interested in conducting a review of their recently released Strongbox. The Strongbox extends your existing rear cubby compartment my cutting out the existing cubby and bolting in the new one. I agreed to do the review and he sent me one of the Strongboxes with optional tray. So here is my unbiased review of the Strongbox.

Shipping:
It arrived via FedEx about a week later from Arkansas. The unit was wrapped up with a cardboard box and used bubble wrap to protect the corners. Unfortunately the bubble wrap did little to protect the corners of the 40lb box and tray. While the corners are easy to straighten out it still needs to be better protected for shipping. The unit I received did not come with any hardware, template, or gasket. It is my understanding that subsequent units will be shipped with these items.


Paint:
I used alcohol to clean up the metal and painted it with Rustoleum Bed Liner Spray. They offer a powder coat option but I think it would be very difficult to ship and install it without damaging the powder coat.

Installation:
Cut Carpet here.
I made a 24"x11-3/4" template out of cardboard. There are two ridges on the forward edge of the cubby that I used to evenly align the template with laterally.
In order to align longitudinally I drilled a hole 1-1/2” forward of the cubby door tab within the lateral parameters of the ridges. Then take a look from under the cubby to ensure that you are at the edge of cubby compartment pinch seam.
I don’t have the pull tab anymore so your measure meant might be a little bit more forward of the seam but that’s ok because after the rough cut you will clean it up with a flap disk later. Now you can trace the template using those points of reference. Use caution to what’s on the underside and cut out the cubby compartment. I then used a mallet and 2x4 to straighten out all the curved sides of the floor where the cubby used to be. You can then reapply the template and mark what needs to be cut again. Test fit cubby and grind/flap disk anywhere that needs it until the cubby slides down and sits flush in the tub.
Ensure the Strongbox has cleared all components. I then used a ¼” drill bit and drilled all holes needed for mounting hardware. Special attention is need to the aft side of the box because the mounting holes need to be offset forward enough so that the washer and nut can fit in between the Strongbox and the jack compartment. I used nutserts on the forward side and washers and nuts everywhere else. Now that the Strongbox fits in the cut out and all holes and nutserts are in place you can primer all bare metal. I used rubber weather stripping from Lowes to seal the box. I then fastened all hardware starting with the nutserts, being especially careful not to cross thread them.

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Last edited by PhrogMech46; 06-09-2014 at 01:09 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-09-2014, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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I really like this product but I feel there are some things that could be improved on.
1. Better shipping packaging
2. Pre-drill Strongbox for mounting hardware
3. I had to add an extra inch of flange to both side so that I could mount it securely to the tub. (Larry is looking into this.)
4. They are still working on including a template, gasket, and hardware.

In the end I am very pleased the way it came out and the extra storage for my trail gear was worth the time it took to install. The box is heavy duty and extremely functional. It hangs even with the factory tow hitch and seems to be no lower than the factory exhaust.Some may be hesitant to cut the old cubby out but I assure you if you take your time and measure many times before making any cuts you will be fine. Another thing to note is my rear sway bar is relocated back about an inch and just barely clears the Strongbox. Thanks Larry for providing me with the opportunity to be one of the first people to install the Strongbox.

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Last edited by PhrogMech46; 06-09-2014 at 12:57 PM.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-09-2014, 04:54 PM
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Hey Phrog, Looks GREAT!!! You did a phenomenal job with the pics and write up. To your points, we will be adding supporting wood framing to the flange for shipping, and are going back to the shop with our inventory to extend the flange an inch on each side. Working on a source for a good quality button head bolt. Let's discuss some options on the templates.
We really appreciate your willingness to test our product and look forward to working with you on some really cool stuff in the future.
BTW, NICE RIG!!!

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-10-2014, 07:13 PM
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Great review and sweet product. Rock River off-road seems to really use the feedback

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post #5 of 11 Old 08-10-2014, 11:55 PM
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I like the concept, but I think the design and construction needs more thought.

The box hangs down very low, which is great for storage capacity. But it also means the box will be very exposed to hard contact on the trail.

The corners don't seem to have enough of a radius to avoid getting caught on obstacles, and the sheet metal doesn't appear thick enough to withstand the weight of the Jeep coming down on the box. Given how far this box extends downward, contact with obstacles is highly likely. Ultimately, I think this needs to be shallower, probably so the bottom of the box is no lower than the sway bar.

Then there is the mounting, relying on 1/4" fasteners to the thin JK sheet metal. Even with fender washers I am concerned the screws will snap or the JK sheet metal itself will fail and the box will rip up off the floor. I would suggest a backing flange to better distribute impact forces across a larger area than the 14 or so contact points currently used. I might even suggest using metal adhesive/epoxy to provide additional joint strength and water resistance.

And there should be a drain plug, because many of us regularly wind up topless in the rain, and some of us have the mistaken impression that a Jeep is an adequate substitute for an amphibious vehicle.

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post #6 of 11 Old 08-11-2014, 02:55 AM
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"The box hangs down very low, which is great for storage capacity. But it also means the box will be very exposed to hard contact on the trail"

Exactly my thoughts. Cool idea but hangs very low.


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post #7 of 11 Old 10-03-2014, 12:44 PM
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strongbox update

Greetings all from RROi!

Since Phrog's review we've made some updates. First, all our current inventory and future production will have the wider flange on the ends to cover the pan cut-out easily.
Hardware is now included, 8 2" x 3/16" hex bolts, (except international shipments, where we include metric hardware). We are still looking for a reasonably priced stainless supplier and will continue to upgrade our kits as we progress.
Rubber gasket material is now included. If you order raw metal, it will not be attached, but if you order black duplicolor bed-liner, it is pre-applied.
If you request, box will be pre-drilled. Some choose to weld it in, some use structural adhesive, so it's your option.
Shipping: We've doubled the thickness of our cardboard and added additional corner protection for shipping.

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post #8 of 11 Old 10-03-2014, 01:05 PM
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Concern on box height

kjeeper, wanted to address your concerns on box height. We've done extensive testing for correct box height to avoid damage yet provide room for as much storage and equipment as possible. We wheel our company JK (Tough Love) like this..., "if we believe we can crawl it, we go for it." Not saying we crawl any harder than anyone else, but if you'll go to You Tube and look up Crazy Larry on Rocker Knocker you'll get a feeling for what I'm talking about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRJSn3cqICw

In three years of proto-type testing, I dinged the box once, when I was crossing a river and rolled a boulder under my pumpkin and dropped directly on the box, but it was a minor ding. We sat the box precisely in line from the bottom of the pumpkin to the bumper, so it just doesn't get hit.
A good test is this: If you have smashed your stock muffler more than 1" flatter than it started, you have a valid concern if you plan on doing it again. Then I would choose the LPSB (Low Profile Strong Box) (2" shorter than the standard.
Regarding fasteners, in the instructions we note you can use self tapping screws if you have a seriously concern about popping the box out, industrial adhesive, welding, or bolts.
We mounted our first test unit with F-26 and ended up using an air chisel to get it out. What a mess.
Anyway, we are always looking for feedback and have made numerous changes prior to releasing the box initially. We will continue to improve on the design as users put it through it's paces.




Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
"The box hangs down very low, which is great for storage capacity. But it also means the box will be very exposed to hard contact on the trail"

Exactly my thoughts. Cool idea but hangs very low.


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post #9 of 11 Old 10-03-2014, 03:12 PM
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Well done guys !!!

2007 JKR | PSC Big bore box | Rock Krawler 3.5" x-factor arms l SteerSmarts YETI track bar, tie rod, no drill flipped drag link, Griffin | Synergy frame brace | 37x12.5x17 Nitto RG's | Dana front DS | Fox IFP shocks | Artec front armor kit/Currie JJ's | Teraflex rear axle bracket | EVO Rockstars | Ridged D's, A pillar mounts | VKS sliders l Trek Armor seat covers | Superchips/Sprint booster | Savvy half doors w/ Bestop uppers
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-04-2014, 09:41 AM
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that there is top notch customer service!!

Blacked out 07 JKUR, safari straps, Treadwright 35's on stock rims and Spydertrax spacers, stubbied front bumper, trimmed flares, 2" body lift, 2" spacers in front with 1" spacers in rear, Gen Right Tire carrier, more to come!
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-05-2014, 07:06 PM
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We shipped our first International shipment yesterday, going to Canada via USPS , so that should be a good test of our new packaging efforts. USPS was actually a better value than fedex.
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