Doing the belly crawl with your Jeep is always annoying. The fact is that high-centering your Jeep can be embarrassing and even costly if you hit hard enough to bend or break things. The addition of larger tires and a lift help a little, but those also entice you to take on the challenge of even larger boulders, creating the same situation all over again. The solution to your low-hanging center skidplate is to replace it with a Tummy Tucker from Nth Degree Mobility.
The Tummy Tucker is a replacement center skidplate that will raise your Jeep's belly by as much as 2-3/4 inches. Several things make the Tummy Tucker unique compared with other high-clearance center skids; one is the fact that the Tummy Tucker is designed to be as flat as possible, meaning that most of the unit is flat, with the exception of a small sump to allow for the transfer case. The sump only applies to Rubicon TJ models; Jeeps with the NV231 T-case don't require it. The second item of note is Nth Degree Mobility's unique Low Profile transmission mount. This mount allows the Tummy Tucker to be closer to the frame than any competitor's unit designed to use the stock tranny mount. Better still, the new mount eliminates the access holes normally needed for the stock tranny mount, meaning less chance to snag the Tummy Tucker on sharp rocks.
The Tummy Tucker is constructed of tough 1/4-inch-thick steel gusseted to provide the ultimate in protection for the tranny, T-case, catalytic converter, and locker air pumps (if you have a Rubicon TJ). The use of 1/4-inch steel and gussets provides the optimum balance between strength and weight; the TT only weighs 25 pounds more than the stock skid'.
Tummy Tuckers are available for YJs, TJs, and the Rubicon TJ. There is even a do-it-yourself version for those with non-stock Jeeps. Nth Degree Mobility also offers a transmission pan skidplate upgrade for the four-speed automatic available in the '03 TJ. All Tummy Tuckers come equipped with mounting brackets to allow you to upgrade to the Nth Degree Stinger rear suspension at a later date.
In testing the Tummy Tucker on the Dusy-Ershim Trail, Lloyd Matsuda, a long-time 'wheeler, reported that he didn't hit the Tummy Tucker on a single rock. He did mention, though, that before installing the Tummy Tucker he'd dragged the stock belly pan on his four-speed-equipped TJ several times, and on less-rugged trails.
Take a look at the photos as they highlight what it takes to install a Tummy Tucker and four-speed auto tranny skidplate on a Rubicon TJ. Since this is the most involved of the non-custom installs, it will give owners of regular TJs and YJs a good idea of what to expect.