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Jeep Skid Plate Install - JP Magazine

Jeep Skid Plate Install - Suck Up The Gut Pete Trasborg Brand Manager, Jp jeep crawling Photo 9197854

It's happened to all of us at some point: high-centered with no way off to be seen. Well, with our '94 YJ, we decided that 111/42 inches of lift was enough. We cleared the 33-inch tires we wanted to, and it was still a good daily driver and weekend warrior.

The problem came in that low-hanging factory transmission skidplate/mount. We had about a foot of clearance under the middle of our Wrangler, and that just wasn't enough. We were still hanging the transmission mount bolts up on everything. The kicker is ('03-and-later TJ guys) the later the model of Wrangler, the worse the problem becomes.

PhotosView Slideshow The stock skidplate offered us just 1231/44 inches of clearance under the belly of the Jeep. That measurement was to the transmission mount bolts, of all things, so when they got caught, we were stuck pretty well. We alleviated the driveshaft angularity and the proximity of the components to the body with the M.O.R.E. 1-inch lift bombproof motor mounts. Since the transmission mount is toward the front of the transmission/transfer case assembly, it acts as a lever. Everything behind the transmission mount was effectively lowered. The new high-clearance skidplate from 33 Engineering netted 1411/44 inches under the lowest point, and it's a smooth surface to facilitate sliding over those nasty rocks. Even with our 1-inch body lift, we had to drop the new skidplate 1 inch so things underneath would clear.

We decided on the 33 Engineering skidplate because it was a two-piece design, meaning we could access the transmission and transfer case easily because the skid was separate from the transmission crossmember. We were also able to get it with an aluminum skid, which made lowering it easier and made it easier for our four-cylinder to tote around than if we had gone with a much heavier aftermarket steel skidplate.

PhotosView Slideshow Some of the many things that need to be checked when doing this sort of modification is the physical clearance between the transmission, transfer case, and the body. In our case, we just cleared. You might not be so lucky. Something we encountered and hadn't planned on was the clearance between the rear driveshaft and the body. Again, we just squeaked by, but it's an issue you need to be aware of if you are going to try this on any Jeep. Possibly the biggest problem we encountered was the rear driveshaft angle. With only 111/42 inches of lift, a JB Conversions Super Short SYE, and a CV-style driveshaft, there was still a small amount of vibration after the skidplate was installed. Larger lifts could very well see interference in the driveshaft yokes here.

We learned that everything has an equal and opposite reaction, but as long as you are thorough and watch for wires and cables - as well as clearance with the body - this is a great way to gain 111/42 inches under your Jeep. Which, of course, is like going up almost 4 inches of tire size.

PhotosView Slideshow On TJs, the transfer case shift linkage is bolted to the body, and whenever you change the relationship of the body and transfer case, you'll need to readjust this linkage and possibly cut some of the body to clear. Novak Adapters makes a cool kit to take the mount off the body and base it on the transfer case so you are free of those concerns. The motor mount lift is not without its pitfalls. If you've already put the body lift on your Jeep and lowered your fan shroud, you will have to raise the fan shroud back up. If you are doing all this at the same time, you'll still need to unbolt the fan shroud for clearance and reinstall it when you're all done. The finished product. We went with the aluminum option for its weight reduction, but the new heavy-duty unit was still five pounds heavier than the stock skidplate. Nonetheless, the two-piece design of the 33 Engineering skid allows us to change the fluid and check seals without ever having to support the drivetrain and lower the stock 35-pound plate when we need to access.