I would say you don't need to but if it makes you feel better you certainly can. Completely at your discretion.
Drive shafts are alot like axle housings and tubes: They are not thin sheet so the OEM's don't feel a need to paint them. They will develop a surface coating of rust which actually protects the inner steel. However, when anyone starts to go custom on them they generally paint them.
I never had any contact problems with my budget boost, Can you snap a pick of the crossmember, I wonder if the "shovel" (stock crossmember) was puilled down. mine has been peel back a little from hitting it a few times.
It just unnerved me. I heard something scraping and I'm not to the point that I can disregard those horrible noises coming from the underside of my beastie.
Yep, that's it. When you are at full extension on the driver side, it will rub. Keep in mind that you also lowered the transfer case (which lowers the driveshaft, further reducing clearance). If you had a bigger lift, it would limit extension of that wheel.
I cut mine at the edge of the skid (where the red arrow is) so the crossmember only attaches on the passenger side. That skid still attaches to the TX case skid and seems to provide enough protection. I've bounced it off multiple rocks and my transmission pan is still untouched, so I assume that the skid and shortened crossmember don't flex much.
The noise is just something you'll have to get accustomed to. Keep in mind that all the noises are exaggerated inside the vehicle. Kinda like a guitar, the body acts like a sound box and amplifies the noise. Once again, it's all just part of the game.
I miss hangin' out too.... Between the craziness at work going on right now and school, I don't get much time to hang out on the board. I'm hoping things work will calm down by the end of July so I'll have more time while I'm at work.
Right now I'm taking a business law class. 350+ pages of reading, plus a paper, plus a legal brief every week until the 16th of July. It's a killer! No time to have any fun, the closest my jeep's been to "off-roading" in the last two months and been driving on the freeway shoulder to get around an accident. I'm hoping to get out on the weekend of the 21st of July.... I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it goes.