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1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ - Project Teal-J II, Part 10

Posted in Project Vehicles on May 1, 2005 Comment (0)
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Project Teal-J II, Intro
Project Teal-J II, Part 1
Project Teal-J II, Part 2
Project Teal-J II, Part 3
Project Teal-J II, Part 4
Project Teal-J II, Part 5
Project Teal-J II, Part 6
Project Teal-J II, Part 7
Project Teal-J II, Part 8
Project Teal-J II, Part 9
Project Teal-J II, Part 10
Project Teal-J II, Part 11
Project Teal-J II, Part 12
Project Teal-J II, Part 13
Project Teal-J II, Part 14

Protecting the vulnerable underside of a 4x4 is one area many of us tend to overlook. Some think the stock skidplating will suffice for frequent trail use. Others feel the added weight of aftermarket protection is too great a drawback to justify the initial expense. This way of thinking is unfortunate because the thin-stamped underpinnings that some manufacturers call "undercarriage protection" frequently fail when put to the test on the trail. We've seen it happen, and for this reason we decided to address the problem in this phase of the buildup.

Teal-J had three areas of concern that we felt needed to be addressed. They included (1) the gas tank, for obvious reasons, (2) the engine oil pan, and (3) the rear Dana 44 axle, which on close inspection showed signs that it may have needed more help then just a simple bolt-on axle skid can provide. More on that in a future segment. For now, check out the beef we had the guys at Overkill Jeep Fabrication in Campbell, California, install on project Teal-J.

Kilby Enterprises manufactures a very stout gas-tank skidplate constructed from three pieces of 3/16-inch steel plate, which are first laser-cut, formed, and then welded together. The front and rear of the skid have built-in departure angles to aid in sliding over obstacles, and four small drain holes are incorporated right into the design. Another nice element of the Kilby design is that additional clearance was engineered into the front of the skid to give the track bar more room to cycle. The guys at Overkill said it was a snap to install because it used the existing mounting provisions. An attractive black powdercoat finish is standard on all Kilby gas-tank skids.

Our next modification was a trick rear-axle skidplate, called a Slider, from Nth Degree Mobility. The Slider hides all of those annoying edges and bumps on the stock differential casting, making it easier to slide over obstacles. Most importantly, it hides the flange lip at the bottom of the axle, which is commonly known as the biting edge that anchors you down on the trail. The Slider is an alternative to shaving the differential. It also extends beyond the pinion to protect the spinning yoke. The Slider simply bolts on in most applications, requiring you attach three U-bolts (one over the pinion and one on each axletube). It looks trick and without a doubt will help prevent hang-ups.

The final piece we decided to add to Teal's dirty side was this nifty oil-pan skid, also from Nth Degree. Constructed from 3/16-inch steel, the oil-pan skid is the perfect bolt-on for under $150. It fits all 4.0L Jeep engines with stock transmissions. Almost too simple to install, the unit utilizes a few unused holes in the bottom of the engine block and two on the transmission bellhousing. It also features a large notch to allow easy access to the oil-pan drain plug.

Project Teal-J II, Intro
Project Teal-J II, Part 1
Project Teal-J II, Part 2
Project Teal-J II, Part 3
Project Teal-J II, Part 4
Project Teal-J II, Part 5
Project Teal-J II, Part 6
Project Teal-J II, Part 7
Project Teal-J II, Part 8
Project Teal-J II, Part 9
Project Teal-J II, Part 10
Project Teal-J II, Part 11
Project Teal-J II, Part 12
Project Teal-J II, Part 13
Project Teal-J II, Part 14

Sources

Overkill Jeep Fabrication
Campbell, CA 95008
408-626-8660
www.arabiasoverkill.com
Kilby Enterprises
Burbank, CA 91504
818-565-5945
www.kilbyenterprises.com
Nth Degree Mobility
www.nthdegreemobility.com

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