Category Archives: Armor

Armor Up! (First Round)

When you wheel a non lifted Jeep, every thing that hangs down from the frame is going to take a beating and the lower control arm mounts are no exception.  The stock mounts (left) are not the strongest metal to begin with and it only takes a few rocks to cause enough damage to make changing out a control arm a challenging task.  So, before you go, armor those LCA mounts up!  I’ve selected a set from Synergy Manufacturing.  This weld on skid comes as a pair of angled steel plates that protect and strengthen the LCA mounts.  I touched them up with a little rattle can black after the welds cooled off and was ready to hit the trails!

Skid Row’s Steering Box Skid

I know the steering box had to go somewhere on the Wrangler, but why did they put it hanging down like bait for a rock to snag, I’m not sure I’ll ever know.  Look at it below, just begging to take a beating from the first rock you see!

Not on my watch!  Below is the Skid Row steering box skid.  It’s a quick and easy mod that will run you around $50 to protect the steering system in your Jeep.

To install, remove the two bolts I’m pointing to below using a 16mm and a T-55 torx bit.

Hold up the skid and finger tighten the bolts so that it’s in position.  There is also a 3rd hole (not pictured) in the skid facing the passenger side that lines up with the stock cross member.  The kit comes with a self tapping screw, but first you’ll need to mark the spot and drill out a 5/16’s (I think that’s the right thickness) hole.

Once you’ve drilled out your pilot hole, install the skid using the front star bolt, the horizontal 16mm bolt, and the self tapping bolt.  Tighten those three bolts and that’s all there is to it.  There you have it.  A nice chunk of metal protecting your steering box from any rocks you might come down on.

All this mod took was a few hand tools and about 5 minutes of labor making this a very worth while and easy improvement.

RE’s Gas Tank Skid, the verdict.

After dragging my feet for much, much, much too long, I finally bring you pictures and thoughts on Rubicon Express’ latest skid plate for the JKU as promised in my last post.  The packaging was just ok, but it is essentially just a a big chunk of metal so what’s really going to happen to it in shipping?  I’m sure it did more damage to the boxes around it during shipping, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself since there were some holes in the box when it was delivered.  Nothing terrible and no damage to the skid plate.  But enough of my yammering, you came here for pix, so scroll down and gaze away!

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Installation was fairly simple.  Drop the bolts from the OEM fuel tank skid (which means loosening the t-case skid too) and position the new piece in place covering (yes, covering.  Do NOT try to remove the OEM gas tank skid) the OEM gas tank skid.  The bolt holes lined up really nicely but I still found it incredibly handy to have a floor jack to assist in holding the REA1016 in place while I threaded the bolts.  Now, if your skid (like mine) has taken a little beating, it might not slip over as easily as an undamaged skid but the bolts still line up nicely.  It also played very well with my Artec cross member and works great with my OEM transfer case skid.

If I had to make a criticism, it’s that Rubicon Express should include three nut/bolts instead of two (pictured above, bottom right) in the hardware kit.  On the two door version, two bolts is perfect and all that it’s designed for.  But for the longer 4 door JKU version I’d like to have that extra mounting point for a piece of metal this long.  The hole is already in the skid and lines up perfectly, so why not use it?  I went back and forth with Rubicon Express for a few weeks, but in the end I sprung for the $0.75 bolt from home depot.  Not sure why they wouldn’t just pop one in the mail.  I even offered to pay for it.  Odd.

For $150, I’m very pleased.  The REA1016 is thick, sturdy, heavy duty, and bolts on easily.  All in all, a great low cost mod worth picking up.

More Armor in the queue!

Brown Santa just brought me a gas tank skid from Rubicon Express!  This is a brand new product that RE is showing at SEMA and mine shipped out just before.  To be brutally honest, it was the price that caught my eye first but the design seems to be identical to more expensive units & it’s made of the same 3/16″ steel as my current skids.  Quadratec is listing this skid at only $150, so I’m looking forward to unboxing to see if it’s a new hidden gem on the market or if it’s a cheap POS.  Stay tuned!

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Stupid Winter

Ok, I can’t really blame this one on winter.  I was so excited to get my new Poison Spyder Rico step kit on last summer, that I just slapped them on despite the crappy powder coating job they received.  Beautiful welds, but I saw bare spots from the powder when I picked them up.  I pushed back on the company that did the work and they admitted they need to be redone.  They promised to redo the job and I promised to pay them when they did.  After chasing them around for a few months with no results, I just let it go.

Fast forward to today after the harsh winter we had and those rust spots are getting worse by the minute.  Moral of the story… If you don’t have the facilities to do the work yourself, make sure you go to a quality shop.  As my buddy always said, do it right or do it twice!

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Slip Slidin’ Away

Once I started tinkering with my ride height, I knew one day I would need some assistance getting into my rig while keeping the pinch seams protected.  Over the past calendar year, I went back and forth comparing steps/sliders from ACE, Body Armor 4×4, EVO, Garvin Industries, HyLine OffRoad, LOD, M.O.R.E., MOPAR, N-Fab, Olympic 4×4, Poison Spyder, Quadratec, Rock Hard 4×4, Rock-Slide Engineering, Rampage, Rugged Ridge, Shrockworks, SmittyBilt, WARN, & White Knuckle.  In the end, the simple minimalistic design of the Poison Spyder DIY Rico Step Kit won me over and since they weld on to the OEM Rubi Rails, you don’t loose any ground clearance either.  Win!

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There’s really not much to the kit.  2 pieces of CNC bent DOM tubing, 2 front steps, 2 rear steps, and 2 gussets.

PSRicoStep2Front steps pictured above, rear steps below.

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Since I currently have no welding skills, I’m having to outsource this job to my fabrication guy.  Here’s the last shot of the rails on my Jeep with 5 body lines marked on each rock rail.  The front fender line, 3 door lines, and the rear fender line.PSRicoStep4

It looks so naked with out those rails, but hopefully it’ll only take my guy a few days to get them welded, primed, & powder coated.  I take a lot of pride in doing all of my own work, but for this project it’s just not feasible.  I simply don’t have the skill set for welding (yet!) and I don’t have access to a facility to do my own sand blasting or powder coating.

PSRicoStep5To put it mildly, I’m incredibly excited to see the finished product on my rig!

I’m like f***in’ Pablo Picasso in here!

One of the down sides to being part of team low & slow is that it’s not just a catchy name. Most of use really are low and we wheel pretty damn slow. As a result, your skids are going to take quite the beating (assuming you have skids). Every now and then it’s a good idea to drop your skids and check for damage. As you can see, I have found a few rocks here and there…

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All it really takes is a little love with from a wire brush and an angle grinder to get that rust out of there. Followed by a coat of rust-over primer, a few rounds of semi gloss black and ta-da! Looks good as new. Protip – If you think it’s dry, give it 15 more minutes!

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Ok, well maybe I’m not ready for the Rolls Royce spray booth yet and I could have gone over the whole thing with a sander, but I think it looks pretty damn good. I bet the first rock I hit will really appreciate it!