33 Engineering High Clearance Skid Plate for TJs
By Shawn Pagan

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33 Engineering High Clearance Skidplate
When playing in rocks like these, gaining two or three inches in the middle can make a huge difference
Gaining the proper clearance for your rig these days goes far beyond simply adding a block to your springs to clear bigger tires. Suspensions these days are far beyond what they were five or even just three years ago.

Many people have tweaked their suspensions as far as they want to or have exceeded the maximum lift or tire requirements either imposed by their local laws or their family, but they want to do something because they keep getting high-centered or stuck when climbing over and around rocks or high breakover points.

One of the easiest way to gain more clearance under your mid-section and increase your breakover angle is to install a flat or high-clearance skid plate. Most of these plates are not completely flat, as they do protrude down from the frame some, but generally by two or three inches less than the factory skid plate. That two or three inches in the middle can give the equivalent clearance under your belly of moving up four or five inches in tire size! Another plus is that these plates are smooth and do not offer nearly as many places for the terrain to grab onto like the factory plate does. The final bonus to these plates is their strength. If you're going to upgrade to something, you should make sure that it is stronger than what you started with, right?

33 Engineering High Clearance Skidplate
Stock TJ crossmember next to a complete 33 Engineering crossmember

With some experience under our belts from installing and using these aftermarket skid plates, we were intrigued when we looked at the new plate designed by 33 Engineering. Their new design had a number of features that we found to be stand-outs. The coolest, by far, is the fact that the 33 Engineering Plate is designed as a two-piece system. Unlike the stock transmission crossmember or any of the aftermarket ones we had seen, you don't have to have jackstands or jacks to remove the skid plate in order to do maintenance or inspections. In addition, the plate is designed for maximum driveline angle clearance.

Like most of the other high-clearance skid plates on the market, 33 Engineering's requires you to install a 1" body lift and a 1" motor mount lift in order to keep proper driveline angles and to keep proper clearance between your transfer case and the floor pan of your Jeep. In most cases, they also recommend having a Slip Yoke Eliminator Kit (SYE) and using a high-angle or C/V driveshaft.

After receiving the skid plate, we picked up the phone and called Michael at Collin's Bros. Jeep and he hooked us up with Mountain Off-Road Enterprises (probably better know as M.O.R.E.) for their new BombProof Motor Mounts with "Torsion" Rubber bushings and 1" Motor Mount Lift (Part #JM603L) and also drop-shipped us a Performance Accessories 1" Body Lift. The test mule (in this case, my father-in-law's 1997 4 cylinder TJ) had a new (to him) 231 Transfer case already prepared with an Advance Adapters Heavy Duty Slip Yoke kit and a new C/V driveshaft so we were now set to get started.

33 Engineering High Clearance Skidplate
M.O.R.E BombProof 1" Motor Mounts
33 Engineering High Clearance Skidplate
Performance Accessories Body Lift

At least we thought we were ready. It turned out that the used transfer case he had had the incorrect spline for his 1997 TJ. Before we could really get started we had to replace the input shaft on the transfer case with the right one. But once we got that done, we were ready to start for real.

On To The Paint & Install --->>>

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