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Armor Up: Jeep Rear Corner Protection

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on November 9, 2018
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When you begin doing a little hard-core wheelin’, you soon realize that the rear corners of your Jeep are exposed to all sorts of rock rash and other forms of abusive terrain. Protecting those rear corners can be as important as keeping any other part of your rig’s body from getting beat up too badly. This Jeep JKU was already outfitted with rock sliders, gnarly bumpers front and rear, and sturdy steel fenders. However, it lacked rear quarter-panel corner protection. Scanning the horizon for just the right thing led us back to Poison Spyder Customs.

Poison Spyder Crusher Corners are laser-cut from 3/16-inch plate steel and then roll-formed. The holes for mounting hardware are counter-sunk, and stainless steel hardware is supplied with the kit. They are available in Standard, Stock, Comp Cut, or Modified profiles to match up to a variety of fender flare styles. Our subject Jeep JKU had full-width (6-inch-wide) Crusher Flares already, so we went with the Standard Crusher Corners to match up perfectly. Be sure you confer with Poison Spyder to be sure which is right for you before ordering.

Installation was easy because we had the right tools, and easier still because we also had pneumatics. However, this installation can be accomplished in your home garage with basic tools and a few non-typical tools. You’ll need a drill motor and drill bit set, open-end wrenches, hex keys or hex driver bits, 2 3/4-inch hole saw, Sawzall, Phillips and standard screwdrivers, duct tape, and some good C-clamps. A test light to check power to the lights was helpful as well. We also highly recommend a professional nut-sert installation tool; you won’t regret getting one.

Poison Spyder Crusher Corners are available (as of this report) for the Jeep CJ-7, CJ-8, YJ, TJ, LJ, and JK. We bet units for the new Jeep JL are on the drawing board, if not about to debut. Follow along as we show you highlights and key steps in the installation process on this Jeep JK Unlimited, and we’ll offer up some tips and tricks we learned along the way.

Installation of the Poison Spyder Crusher Corner body armor was pretty easy, and while it does take some time, and there is quite a bit of drilling and some cutting to do; we were done by suppertime.
Removal of the factory taillights was first because we had chosen Crusher Corners that were pre-cut for new round LED taillamps. The replacement lights we had in store for the new corners plugged directly into the interior side of the factory taillight harness plug.
With the taillights removed, we positioned the Crusher Corner in place against the body of the Jeep to use it as the template for drilling the holes needed to attach it. We held the armor in place, measuring the gap between its top edge and the soft top seal-lip around the top of the Jeep’s rear tub to be sure it was properly aligned, then duct taped and clamped it into place. You don’t want it moving while you’re drilling.
There was a hole to make and tabs to cut off in the Jeep’s body—another good reason you don’t want the “template” to move—in order to clear way for the new taillights. We used magic marker to outline the areas that needed to be removed.
After removing the duct tape and clamps and setting the Crusher Corner aside, we measured, marked, and then punched the center of the circle to be cut for the new LED reverse light. We began with a small drill bit to create a pilot hole and finished up with a 2 3/4-inch hole saw.
We had the luxury of a small pneumatic saw to cut the marked-off steel tabs, making room in the OE taillight location for the new round LED taillights. Use what saw-like tools you have available.
This is what it looked like when we were done with surgery on the body. We then took a file to all the cuts, removing burrs and sharp edges.
You can drill the holes needed for the nut-serts that go into the sheetmetal with the Crusher Corners in place while being used as a template. Or you can punch and drill pilot holes in the rear quarter-panel at that time, then remove the corner armor to do the cutting and final drilling like we did so no harm comes to the armor’s mounting holes while drilling through them into the body.
This tool was a godsend. You may want to consider getting a professional nut-sert installation tool (this one was about $40); otherwise, the job becomes a “task.” A manual nut-sert installation tool made of common hardware was included in the kit, but the pro tool not only made this installation easier but also quicker. You will find many more uses for nut-serts if you do enough mods to any vehicle.
We wanted no slop between the holes and the nut-serts so the holes were drilled to exactly match the outside diameter of the nut-sert. Prior to using the pro nut-sert installation tool to squeeze a nut-sert around both sides of the sheetmetal, we inserted a bolt from our “random bolt can” and lightly tapped it flush against the sheetmetal.
This is how they should look once installed. The outer flange of the nut-sert is pressed tightly against the outside of the sheetmetal and the malleable outer casing around the threaded insert has been pulled toward and deformed firmly against the inside of the sheetmetal so well that it won’t spin when the Crusher Corner mounting hardware is installed later. Slight deformations in the sheetmetal may occur, but will be covered up by the body armor.
With all the nut-serts installed, the Poison Spyder Corner Crusher was again snugged up tightly against the rear quarter-panel, and its mounting holes were aligned with the nut-serts in the body. The button-head bolts included in the kit were then used to affix the armor to the body. Be careful: Over-tightening the bolts can cause a nut-sert to lose grip and spin. If you do get a spinner, there are a number of methods to deal with it, but Poison Spyder suggests placing a bolt in the nut-sert to prevent spatter getting into the threads while you tack-weld a spot on the edge of the nut-sert to the body, then remove the bolt, sand the tack-weld down (touch up with paint to prevent rust), and proceed with installation of the Corner Crusher.
We decided to go with all new taillighting and ordered up a couple of Truck-Lite Red Round LED Signal-Stat (PN 4050) Stop/Turn/Tail lights and a pair of Poison Spyder 2.5” Round Lamps¬-Clear (PN 41-40-300). This pre-assembled plug-and-play wiring kit from Truck-Lite came with the stoplights. The harness included a line to power the third brake light.
The round clear backup lamp from Poison Spyder was installed with its grommet in the hole created for it. A splice-clip connector was used to get power from the factory harness to the backup lamp, and the ground wire was attached to a grounded screw just inside the rear corner.
Snapping the male end of the Truck-Lite stoplight wiring harness to the female coupler on the factory end of the taillight wiring harness is all it took to get power and ground to the Truck-Lite Red Round LED Signal-Stat (PN 4050) Stop/Turn/Tail lights.
We found it easier to install the grommet for the stoplight into the Crusher Corner first. A spritz of WD40 on the inside of the grommet made squeezing the Truck-Lite stoplight into place a little easier.
With the passenger side all done, we moved on to the other side. The installation procedure of the driver-side Poison Spyder Crusher Corner was almost identical, and now that we had practice, the rest of the installation went like clockwork.
PhotosView Slideshow

Sources

Poison Spyder Customs
Banning, CA 92220
951-849-5911
www.poisonspyder.com
Truck-Lite
Falconer, NY 14733
800-562-5012
www.truck-lite.com
4 Wheel Parts
Compton, CA 90220
877-474-4821
www.4wheelparts.com

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