We've run a ton of trails with 2 inches of lift and 30-inch tires in our '98 Cherokee. Our belly skid and gas tank skid tell the tale of numerous encounters with rocks. Our stock trailer hitch got us caught up more than anything else. But by and large we were sick of picking up plastic pieces after knocking them off on some obstacle or another. Add to that all the sheetmetal hanging out behind the rear axle that we hadn't cut off and it was time to do something to protect our Cherokee's soft butt.
We contacted JCR Offroad for a set of corner guards. The corner guards are available in three configurations. They can be optioned to work with the stock tail lights, to extend over and protect the stock tail lights, or with built-in tail light boxes to eliminate the stock lights altogether. Since we were on our second set of hard-to-find late-model lights, and one of them was barely hanging on, we went with the stock light replacement option. The LEDs that JCR offers with the kit should be the last set of tail lights this Jeep needs.
At the same time, we contacted M.O.R.E. for the company's new rear bumper and tire carrier combination. We like how the bumper is designed to work with the stock lines of the Jeep body, the two-stage bear claw latch, and how the swing arm is recessed into the bumper. It also includes a trailer hitch, and while it is not rated for towing, the design of the supporting brackets is stouter than the stock trailer hitch ever was.
Here are the ins and outs of how the armor installed and how we actually gained ground clearance at the same time.