4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!
|Back when I had my CJ-2A, I recall marveling at all the new
trucks that were coming out with 4-wheel drive and precious little protection
underneath. The CJ-2A I owned had a huge, thick skid plate protecting the transfer
case, another that protected the space between the front of the oil pan and the front axle
tube, little deflectors to protect the brake lines. Mine also had extra heavy duty
leaf springs, plow frame (this was both an asset and a liability off-road), a tow frame,
and a large metal shroud that someone had fabricated to protect the PTO. There was
very little that could get damaged underneath. I had some clearance problems but it
went places that lots of higher rigs could not. The only thing I ever ruined was the
metal steps that were bolted to the body. Those came off after about a week of
So when I bought my new Jeep, I was aware that the protection underneath would be lacking. I was pleased to see that the factory "skid plate" for the transfer case was a little higher and fairly thick. I still don't trust if for slam-and-bash rock climbing, but I don't expect to be doing anything like that.
Notwithstanding my driving style, I still felt that the underside needed a little more protection than the stock vehicle provided. The oil pan and front exhaust system seemed vulnerable. Also, the lower control arm mounting points on the front axle seemed ripe for damage.
I chose to put skid plates on both the engine and control arms. After reading the reviews and tales of woe from people who installed different types of protection, I choose the Skid Row Automotive plates for these two areas.
|Engine Skid Plate|
|The Engine Skid plate was a straight, bolt-on installation. The only step that was fussy was reversing the bolt that holds the passenger-side, rear portion of the plate so that the head would be positioned for easy assembly.|
|This plate provides a flat surface that runs from in front of the engine directly to the transfer case skid plate. This makes for easy wheeling if and when you encounter something that might want to reach out and touch you. The exhaust system is nicely protected too. This photo shows one side of the skid plate, viewed from the passenger side from behind the front tire. One side of the plate is held by the lower control arm bolt that can be seen to the right of this photo.|
|Here is a picture from
one of the trips that shows
what happens when you balance the Jeep on the engine skid plate. Your results may
vary... In actual use, I have not made many marks on the engine skid plate.
But sometimes the stuff that can cause trouble is not going to leave a mark. I can
remember fishing brush out from under my CJ-2A on lots of trips. One time something
caught hold of my oil pressure gauge line and I ended up with no oil pressure (caught it
real quick and was able to get home). I expect that soon enough I will bless this
plate and be ever so glad that it is there.
Photo courtesy Jackie Cooper
|Control Arm Skid Plates|
|The Control Arm Skid plates were a little harder to install. The locating bolts for the lower control arms must be removed; the U-Bolts must be coaxed onto the axle tube, and on the drivers side, some of the casting parting lines must be filed away from the axle assembly to get the U-Bolt to slide on. Other than that, it was pretty darn easy to install. Just don't do it lying in your driveway in the rain like I did...|
|This is a view of the lower control arm on the passenger side, with the skid plate installed. Viewing from behind the passenger-side, front tire. In the center of the picture you can see the lower control arm bolt and below it, the rear portion of the skid plate.||This is a view of the skid plate. Near the center of the picture there are four bolts that hold the plate on to the axle tube with U-Bolts. The instructions for installation recommend cutting off the excess thread - I haven't gotten around to it yet...|
The Control Arm plates have seen their share of abuse. These spots are low on the vehicle and have spent some time deep in the mud, munching on smaller rocks. I am convinced that my lower control arm mounting points would be chewed up somewhat if I had not installed these plates.
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