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Jeep Engine Skidplate - Just Skidding

Posted in How To on November 1, 2002
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Rocks. It's a love-hate relationship. We love 'wheeling over them but hate the way they gash and grind the under belly of our 4x4s. They puncture our oil pans, rip off our steering boxes, shatter our stock plastic fuel tanks, and reap general havoc on our drivetrain components. And in the end, we love them so much that we go home, fix what they broke, and haul back out to give them another shot at doing more damage. It's masochism at its best, and certainly one of the most fun and dysfunctional relationships we've ever experienced.

Skid Row Automotive
After charging a few trails in our Project P.M.O. Jeep TJ, we began seeing the scars of our rock relationship and decided to do something about it. The transfer case and transmission were already safe from rock damage, thanks to the Rubicon Express heavy-duty, high-clearance crossmember, which also serves as the backbone for the RE Extreme Duty Long-Arm suspension system (see the June '02 issue of 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility). The engine oil pan, however, was still vulnerable. That is until we contacted Skid Row Automotive. Skid Row offers its 3/16-inch-thick steel engine skidplate for many Jeep applications, including the TJ. The engine skid is available for four- and six-cylinder engines and allows plenty of clearance for the driveshaft during full articulation of the front axle. Possibly its coolest feature is that the engine skidplate from Skid Row mounts solidly to the vehicle's frame without any modifications to stock components or even any drilling.

Another spot we seemed to continually slam into rocks during approaches was the factory steering box. The coil suspension on the TJ left it much more vulnerable than a leaf spring setup might. To eliminate damage to the steering box, including the possibility of having it ripped off the frame, Skid Row produces this steering box skidplate. Also constructed from 3/16-inch steel, the steering box skid is easily installed and requires just one hole to be drilled.

Four X Doctor
Further into our quest for a non-battered undercarriage, we realized that the factory tin shield protecting the stock plastic gas tank on our TJ was taking a pretty good beating. Hoping to alleviate any further damage, such as a shattered fuel tank that could strand us in the middle of nowhere, we picked up a gas tank skidplate from Four X Doctor (FXD). Laser cut from a single piece of 3/16-inch steel, all FXD gas tank skidplates are bent from front to back and then welded along the seams. Available for Jeep CJs, YJs, and TJs, in addition to Ford Broncos using a North West 20-gallon tank, the gas tank skidplates offer ground clearance gains over the factory set up. All of the skidplates are shipped bare metal and should be primered and painted before installation.

02114wd 00zoom+Jeep FJ Wrangler+Front Driver Side
01. The Skid Row plate fits perfectly between the control arms. 01. The Skid Row plate fits perfectly between the control arms.
02. The only glitch we encountered was due to the Rubicon Express control arms. The RE long-arm kit requires the upper control arms mounts to be completely removed, and the Skid Row plate uses the passenger-side control arm mount when being bolted in.We simply took some measurements, cut the Skid Row bracket to fit, and then welded it in place. 02. The only glitch we encountered was due to the Rubicon Express control arms. The RE long-arm kit requires the upper control arms mounts to be completely removed, and the Skid Row plate uses the passenger-side control arm mount when being bolted in.We simply took some measurements, cut the Skid Row bracket to fit, and then welded it in place.
03. The Skid Row steering box plate goes on with three bolts. Two of them are the same bolts that attach the steering box to the frame; the third bolt requires that one hold be drilled in the front crossmember. 03. The Skid Row steering box plate goes on with three bolts. Two of them are the same bolts that attach the steering box to the frame; the third bolt requires that one hold be drilled in the front crossmember.
04. The steering box plate took all of 20 minutes to install, largely because everything lined up perfectly. 04. The steering box plate took all of 20 minutes to install, largely because everything lined up perfectly.
5. As indicated by the numerous scratches, the stock fuel tank tin shield on a Jeep TJ leaves the stock plastic fuel tank vulnerable. 5. As indicated by the numerous scratches, the stock fuel tank tin shield on a Jeep TJ leaves the stock plastic fuel tank vulnerable.
6. The stock fuel tank assembly was lowered out of the vehicle, and the fuel lines were disconnected. This is most easily done when the tank is empty or nearly so. 6. The stock fuel tank assembly was lowered out of the vehicle, and the fuel lines were disconnected. This is most easily done when the tank is empty or nearly so.
07. The one-piece gas tank skidplate from Four X Doctor uses the factory tank straps to secure the stock tank in place. 07. The one-piece gas tank skidplate from Four X Doctor uses the factory tank straps to secure the stock tank in place.
8. Note the cool 4XD laser cut-out. We tacked on a painted yellow plate behind it so the logo would stand out and match the bright-yellow paint on our PMO TJ. 8. Note the cool 4XD laser cut-out. We tacked on a painted yellow plate behind it so the logo would stand out and match the bright-yellow paint on our PMO TJ.
9. The Four X Doctor Gas Tank Skidplate not only better protects the fuel tank from rock damage, but it also offers an additional inch of ground clearance. Six drainage cut-outs are incorporated to ensure a long, rust-free life. 9. The Four X Doctor Gas Tank Skidplate not only better protects the fuel tank from rock damage, but it also offers an additional inch of ground clearance. Six drainage cut-outs are incorporated to ensure a long, rust-free life.

Sources

Four X Doctor
Burbank, CA 91502
818-845-2194
http://www.fourxdoctor.com
T&J's 4 Wheel Drive Center
Orange, CA 92687
Skid Row Automotive
Shermans Dale, PA 17090

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