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WestTexasMike 08-22-2010 06:47 PM

2003 Wrangler X Nuts turning inside frame on skid plate
2003 Wrangler X. 4.0L with RLE auto transmission. I was trying to change transmission filter and was going to remove the transmission skid plate to gain easier access. When I started loosening the front bolts on the skid plate, the nuts inside the side frame members started turning. I have tried driving a screw driver blade between the skid plate flange and the frame but can't stop the turning. The only access hole in the frame member is a slanted hole about 3/8" x 1" located about 4" behind the nut location. I have tried to stick all sorts of pieces of metal in there to wedge between the nut and the side of the frame member w/o any success.

First question: Can I drop the transmission pan w/o removing the skid plate? There is about 1" between the bottom of the pan and the skid plate. Does anything stick down into the pan which would prevent me from dropping it and sliding it out the side?

Next: If I ever need the skid plate off do I grind the bolt heads off or is there another way?


Whobeme 08-22-2010 08:01 PM

I ground the heads off of mine and then ground them down to the point that the flange on the nutzert was ground off. Then I drove it into the frame and fished it out with a magnet. I then replaced the nutzerts. I can't help you on the tranny.

Jerry Bransford 08-22-2010 08:07 PM

You might get the pan off but for sure you couldn't get it back on. Cut through the bolt and drop the skidplate.

Here are two ways you can get new nuts installed to fix it. The next time you install those t-case skidplate bolts, apply some anti-seize to the bolt threads so this won't happen again...

Nutsert for Transfer Case Removal and Install
Transfer Case Weld Nuts - Another way

WestTexasMike 08-22-2010 10:00 PM

Thank you WHOBEME for the info. I figured it would come to that but I wanted to verify before I warmed up the grinder.

Thanks to Jerry for the pan info and where to get the replacement nutz. I will also be on the lookout for your Jeep. We are on I-20 & see lots of CA traffic. Not too likely but just in case.

Thanks again you guys. You have been a great help in a quick timeframe.

Have a Great Jeep day,

WestTexasMike 08-24-2010 11:53 AM

The plate is off!! Went to the link you sent & read & re-read. Got a pry bar & impact wrench instead of screwdriver & ratchet. Used my little floor jack to help hold the pry bar & add a little PRY and an hour later both bolts were out & the plate was laying on the bank.

Thanks for the info. Have a Great Jeep Day. Mike

rrich 08-24-2010 05:09 PM

Drive the remaining weldnuts up into the frame.
Weld or JB Weld a short length of wire (stiff baling wire, welding wire, coat hanger etc.) to the head of the bolts you want to use. Use the wire to sneak them through the hole in the frame till the ends drop through. Position the skidplate, put the nuts on, tighten with an impact. The remains of the weldnut inside the frame, and the wire, keeps the bolts from turning.
Quick, simple and cheap.

Jerry Bransford 08-24-2010 05:12 PM

So tell me... using that method, how does one get the bolts out with nothing holding the nuts to the frame the next time the bolts need to come out?

RoSs 08-25-2010 04:12 AM

:confused: good question Jerry.. My guess is it would involve some duct tape (camo duct tape of course) bailing wire, a roll of alunimum foil, 3 plastic spoons and about 4 tubes of JB Weld.... Oh and a bfh just because. :rofl:

WestTexasMike 08-27-2010 07:44 PM

All done!!
Sorry about that guys. I have been out of town. I got the new nutserts installed, dropped the pan, changed filter & fluid & she is purring like a kitten. I didn't want to go through that again so I fixed it right. Nutserts tack welded & they DON'T TURN now!! Put some anti seize salve on and they are fixed for good.

Thank you guys for the help. It's been a pleasure.

:wavey:Next project is the rear oil seal. Where is a good place to get stock exhaust pipes? I have to drop the exhaust to pull the pan so I may replace.

rrich 08-28-2010 01:07 AM

The bolt heads are up inside the frame hanging down through the frame and skidplate, the nuts are on the bottom.
The head of the bolt digs into the pieces left by the broken weldnut inside, keeping it from turning. The wire you attached to the bolt's head also helps keep it from turning. When tightening you usually don't even need an impact.

When removing, first try a hand wrench, it usually works. If not, use an impact, spins the nut faster than the bolt. The acceleration of the impact usually spins the nut right off.

But - if it doesn't, the bottom of the bolt end can be slotted with a grinder and a screwdriver used to hold it.

Or if it's really badly rusted and still won't budge, do it like you did to get the original bolt out when it was stuck to the original broken Weldnut. Grind or torch it off, or use a nut splitter.

Of all those I've done it on, only one came off hard, the end of the bolt was buggered from a rock, a nut splitter did the trick easy.

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