I always knew I needed to armor my Jeep a little better than the few skid plates that it came with from the factory, but I’ve been dragging my feet a bit (A LOT!). I looked at the products from River Raider, I looked at EVO products, and while everything looked good I just wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on anything. And I still wasn’t last week… until I helped my buddy Scott install his kit from RockHard 4×4. The parts were recommended to him by Mr. K (yes, the very same!) and they are not only heavy duty as hell, but offer soooo much coverage it’s not even funny! The front piece (RH-6003) covers the oil pan, transmission, the catalytic converter and comes with a long shim that doubles up the coverage on the crossmember.
A smaller, but just as important piece of armor is the EVAP Canister Skid Plate (RH-6005). An EVAP canister is part of the emission system and contains charcoal to absorb hydrocarbons that are released as fuel is burned or from fumes that build up while fuel is stored inside the tank. In addition to being an important component of the emissions system, it hangs down a little low and is quite expensive to replace should a rock decide to keep it for a souvenir! Here’s a comparison of the OEM mounting piece (very light weight and thin metal) to the new Rock Hard 4×4 EVAP skid.
After helping Scott with his components, I waited all of 5 minutes before picking up the phone and calling Mr. K to order myself the very same parts. I really like the tapered bolt head protectors on EVERYTHING that’s hanging down and the fit that required absolutely no drilling or cutting. Sure I had to do a little Jeep yoga to install everything, but now that it’s on there I think it looks great and I’m also thinking it might reduce my drag coefficient with that smooth cover. I’ll probably pick up the matching transfer case sooon, but first I’m off to Rausch Creek this weekend and I’ll be able to test it both on the highway and on the rocks.
Some notes for anyone else doing the same install…
- In case you didn’t figure it out, REMOVE the stock EVAP canister skid and mount the EVAP canister directly onto the new skid plate.
- For RH-6003, install but don’t tighten the front brackets to the motor mounts before putting in the skid. It’s just easier to reach the motor mounts before the skid is in place.
- You don’t need to remove the OEM transfer case skid, but do loosen the rear bolts so that it’ll have a little play in it.
- Put the front of the skid plate RH-6003 onto a hydraulic floor jack so you can move it around on wheels laterally and adjust the height to help you align to the rear bolts easily.