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
When playing in rocks like these, gaining two or three inches
in the middle can make a huge difference
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?
Stock TJ crossmember next to a complete 33 Engineering crossmember
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
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.
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.
M.O.R.E BombProof 1" Motor Mounts
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.
To The Paint & Install --->>>