Trimming A TJ's Belly Fat
We’ve been preaching the benefits of running larger tires with as little lift as possible for several years now. Heck, about 10 years ago Jp built the first no-lift TJ to grace the pages of any off-road magazine. The fact is in almost all off-road situations, having a low-slung rig works better and feels much safer than a Jeep with gobs of lift and tons of uptravel. They also tend to drive better on-road too and even do pretty well in the fast stuff in the dirt. As with almost anything, there are unfortunately drawbacks to keeping the framerails of your favorite Jeep relatively low to the ground, but luckily for us there are also ways of dealing with these issues.
The main problem that our ’97 TJ had is that the stock T-case skidplate does a remarkable job of getting hung up on rocks, mounds of dirt, and the occasional log. This quickly halts forward progress, thanks to the hook-like lips and bends that cover its surface. We’ve done a good job bashing the stock skidplate, and although it’s fairly stout, it has yielded enough to pop the exhaust off its hangers once or twice and knock our T-case shift linkage loose. We’ve had questions from readers like you asking what to do about this tendency of low, yet otherwise capable Jeeps getting hung on the slightest breakover. What did we do? Well, we contacted our pals at T&T Customs for some trick parts that help with a Wrangler nip and tuck. This, combined with a drivetrain boost with stout parts from Brown Dog Offroad, a few more trick parts from our friends at Advance Adapters, Daystar Suspensions, and a new rear shaft from Tom Wood’s Custom Driveshafts, and we have remedied this problem. Follow along to check out exactly what we did.