Just getting started on a few issues with my TJ. After Jolene (that's my 99 TJ's name) sat in the garage over the weekend I walked out and found a large pool of ATF on the floor. I thought we'll crap what now, so I crawled under and took a gander. Well to my surprise every bolt on the transmission pan was loose. Not that I could turn them by hand but I could tighten them with a 1/4" ratchet. Well I then found out 3 of the bolts are stripped. That isn't a huge deal I've had good luck with heli-coils in the past. Now here is the reason for the my post.
Two of the striped bolts are on the rear of the transmission and access is blocked by the transfer case skid plate. I have done a little research around here and it seems there can be a few problems trying to remove the skid pan. Here is my dilemma do I risk the potential headache of dropping the skid plate or do I drill holes in the skid pan to gain access to the stripped bolts.
Also I hope this isn't a stupid question but can I drive around without the skid plate for a few miles or is it supporting the transfer case.