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Old 11-27-2019, 10:56 AM
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Rock Hard 4x4 - Do I Need Crossmember with Skid Plates?

I'm looking to get the engine/transmission and transfer case skids and my impression from pics is that they'll bolt up to the crossmember and make a nearly seamless surface underneath it.

With that in mind... so long as my OEM crossmember isn't mangled to the point where I can't line up the skids plates to bolt them on, is there any value in replacing it?

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Old 11-27-2019, 11:04 AM   #2
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If it's not mangled now, it'll still get mangled with the rock hard skids on in my experience. Eventually it's not the easiest to bolt everything together.

The aftermarket cross members are nice. I switched out to the artec kit with thicker T6061 aluminum and a crossmember and love that the cross member is more solid now, skids being about same strength, no rust, and lighter weight even with the cross member than the steel was without it

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Old 11-27-2019, 11:10 AM   #3
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Do you have to replace the stock cross member? No. Should you? Yes.

No matter what, the cross member is going to get banged up. The stock part is actually pretty flimsy compared to and once that happens, trying to line things up becomes a chore if you succeed at all. (speaking from experience here).

Pretty much any aftermarket cross member will work, I went with a JCR because I could have it quickly but Rock Hard, Metalcloak, etc are just as good.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:16 AM
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Anything I put on is going to be heavier as I'm going with steel, but the difference in just the crossmember isn't going to matter.

Have any of you run the skid plates with the OEM one and had it still get mangled up? I thought the skid plates would prevent that.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:20 AM   #5
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Have any of you run the skid plates with the OEM one and had it still get mangled up? I thought the skid plates would prevent that.
Yes for me. That's what I was trying to say above.

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Old 11-27-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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The weight of the aftermarket skid plates and whatever dings you get helps taco the OEM. Replace it when doing the skids while everything is still straight because attaching mangled "well loved" skid plates to a new crossmember later is not a job for the weak lol. Thank us later.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:29 AM   #7
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I got the Rockhard crossmember. Itís a beast.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:41 AM   #8
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I replaced our stock crossmember with one from JCR. I was impressed with the JCR piece and stunned at how flimsy the stocker was. Bolting the strongest skids to that stock crossmember seems silly. I would expect it to simply put more force into the stock crossmember and twist it up.
I would replace it before I installed aftermarket skids. In my experience, upgrading the crossmember adds more strength than upgrading the skids.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:49 AM
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The skids aren't really about "adding strength" are they? They're about putting something in the way of hitting whatever sensitive bits like oil pans and transfer cases are above them?

Looks like the answer here is unanimous though. Better to bash everything together than to have to try to attach bashed skids to a new crossmember in the future.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:23 PM   #10
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The skids aren't really about "adding strength" are they? They're about putting something in the way of hitting whatever sensitive bits like oil pans and transfer cases are above them?

Looks like the answer here is unanimous though. Better to bash everything together than to have to try to attach bashed skids to a new crossmember in the future.
The skids aren't really about adding strength, but stronger skids will feed more load into the crossmember that they bolt to. That stock crossmember got fairly well mangled for us running the stock skids. I would not want to bolt stronger skids to it. I think of it as the foundation, you need a good strong foundation to bolt your HD skids to. The stronger the skids, the more impact / force they can take. But that impact / force is simply feed into what they are bolted to, in this case the crossmember.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:26 PM
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That's fair.

It's not a huge extra cost in the overall scheme of things and everything I've read here suggests that if I don't do it, there's going to be a day in the future when I'm cursing myself for the poor decision and WISHING I'd spent the money.
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:31 PM   #12
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FYI my rock rails from Rock Hard 4x4 rusted in less then a year and they didn’t stand behind their product.
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:50 PM
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Anyone else have issues with them?

I’ve been researching these and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

I hate that you had a bad experience with them. Could their other parts be less well liked than the skids?
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Old 11-27-2019, 06:44 PM   #14
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Steel skids left untreated will rust after scraping the rocks or soaking in winter brine. RH skid plates and crossmember are much thicker than OEM.
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Old 11-27-2019, 07:53 PM   #15
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The rock rails came with their finish. There are several threads that mention the poor quality of their finish. If the plan is to buy bare metal and then have them finished then no need to worry.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:05 AM   #16
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I have never heard of anyone having any problem with the finish on RH products. That said, skids and crossmember are steel. If you live somewhere with road salt, a lot of moisture etc scrapes will surface rust. This is not a RH issue. I believe many folks who live in those environments fo some type of weather seal finish to prevent rust.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
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FYI my rock rails from Rock Hard 4x4 rusted in less then a year and they didnít stand behind their product.
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Anyone else have issues with them?

Iíve been researching these and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

I hate that you had a bad experience with them. Could their other parts be less well liked than the skids?
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I have never heard of anyone having any problem with the finish on RH products. That said, skids and crossmember are steel. If you live somewhere with road salt, a lot of moisture etc scrapes will surface rust. This is not a RH issue. I believe many folks who live in those environments fo some type of weather seal finish to prevent rust.
I got the RH Patriot sliders that come powdercoated. The finish started to show signs of failure within a year. At year 3, the powdercoat is chipping and coming off, rust everywhere. Definitely not a quality finish, and the RH warranty specifically exludes powdercoating. And yes, other people have had this issue as well. Not really germane to skid plates, though.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:49 AM   #18
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Rock Hard 4x4 - Do I Need Crossmember with Skid Plates?

My RH skids are 5 years old and no flaking of the powder coating. - except for hits.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:58 AM   #19
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Powder coating is brittle. Not surprised they get chipped by the tires slinging rocks and begin to corrode pretty quickly, not to mention there intended purpose. This is a common complaint with most manufacturers. I hit my sliders with rattle can bed liner right out of the box. Touch up is easy. 4 years later no corrosion, and yes, I get to the mall at least once a week.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:57 AM   #20
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Back to a cross member. There are multiple companies that are offering a replacement ent cross member. The number one rule of business is to fulfill a need. If there was not a need, they would not be offered. I have a metal cloak, it came with my skids. Since the skids were put on when the jeep was a week or two old, i am certain the previous cross member was not bent. I also compared the two, and realize how thin the metal was. Worth it for the nominal cost, at least for me.
Rockhard could not possibly guarantee their powder coat, because there is no way that anyone could predict what you are going to do with your jeep. I am pretty sure that no one has a coating guarantee. There is good reason for that.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:15 AM   #21
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My RH skids are 5 years old and no flaking of the powder coating. - except for hits.
The difference is you live in Arizona and I’m in Chicago. The elements both natural and manufactured here are ten fold of what you would experience. On the other hand my poison spyder bumpers look brand new and they’re a year older than the RH4x4 sliders.

As far as someone saying they haven’t heard of anyone having finish issues you need to Google more. The threads are out there.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:51 AM
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I've sanded and painted the damaged parts of my rock sliders at least once a year so I'm used to that. I imagine it'll be more difficult to do the skids, but it's all part of the game right? If I don't scrape them up, then I never needed them in the first place. But if the top side starts to corrode because of a bad finish... well... that would be disappointing.

Guess I'll find out though. I've pulled the trigger and they should be on their way soon. Including the crossmember.
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:37 PM   #23
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The difference is you live in Arizona and Iím in Chicago. The elements both natural and manufactured here are ten fold of what you would experience. On the other hand my poison spyder bumpers look brand new and theyíre a year older than the RH4x4 sliders.

As far as someone saying they havenít heard of anyone having finish issues you need to Google more. The threads are out there.
Yeah, I live in Virginia, we use a lot of salt and brine and I don't have any issues with my RH skid.

But, I also maintain mine regularly. You have to take care of those things if you live in these environments.

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Old 11-28-2019, 11:10 PM   #24
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IMO if the stock cross member is in good shape and you don't normally drop your rig down on the rocks there is no need to swap. The engine and the tranny skid overlap and many people are also using a spacer there. All told that is over a 1/2 inch of plate steel added at that point. Your really going to have to come down hard to bend anything in that area.

Concerning the finish anything you get from most of the manufactures is not going to be up to par with having it privately done. They are competing for you dollar so they are not going to get the best finish possible. I had my skids, front and rear bumper done by a marine powder coating outfit, cost was around $1000. Sand blasted even though I handed them new bare metal parts. Then primed and powder coated. Very tough finish but it is still brittle like any powder coat. What keeps it from rusting is the primer finish. The other thing to remember is in general slider take more abuse that skids. And with any of the you need to stay on top of the maintenance.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:23 PM   #25
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The difference is you live in Arizona and I’m in Chicago. The elements both natural and manufactured here are ten fold of what you would experience. On the other hand my poison spyder bumpers look brand new and they’re a year older than the RH4x4 sliders.

As far as someone saying they haven’t heard of anyone having finish issues you need to Google more. The threads are out there.
Yeah, I live in Virginia, we use a lot of salt and brine and I don't have any issues with my RH skid.

But, I also maintain mine regularly. You have to take care of those things if you live in these environments.

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I have a heated garage and drive my Jeep maybe 6k miles a year. It’s the poor finish and not my maintenance schedule. This isn’t my first rodeo.

Again I have no issues with my Poison Spyder bumper.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:41 PM   #26
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I have a heated garage and drive my Jeep maybe 6k miles a year. Itís the poor finish and not my maintenance schedule. This isnít my first rodeo.

Again I have no issues with my Poison Spyder bumper.
Then let them rust. /shrug

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Old 11-28-2019, 11:54 PM   #27
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Rock Hard 4x4 - Do I Need Crossmember with Skid Plates?

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I had my skids, front and rear bumper done by a marine powder coating outfit, cost was around $1000. Sand blasted even though I handed them new bare metal parts. Then primed and powder coated.

Any reputable powder coater will always sandblast as part of their process. If they donít, Iíd look for a different shop. Thatís actually not that bad a price considering you had primer as well. Think I paid around $450 for my bumpers.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:06 AM   #28
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When you open up the cross member box and feel the difference between the two.....you'll understand it was a no brainer....
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:38 AM   #29
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Metalcloak zinc process holds up much better than powder cost on my experience. But yeah Chicago keep an eye and touch it up and it'll be ok

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Old 11-29-2019, 10:04 AM
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When you open up the cross member box and feel the difference between the two.....you'll understand it was a no brainer....
I don't think that's necessarily a fair statement.

There's no question that the new one is FAR stronger than the OEM. But if the OEM was good enough once reinforced with the skid plates attached to it, then it doesn't matter.

I'm not saying it's not worth the upgrade. I just ordered one. I'm just saying that comparing the two is irrelevant. You could order a 1/2" plate steel hood and, when compared to the original, suggest that the upgrade was a no brainer. But you're not accounting for the fact that nobody needs a stronger hood in the first place.

Now then... I've just watched an installation video for the cross member. Man... I'm not looking forward to this. Did you guys all have to pull your frames back together to get the new one in??? Should I go out and buy a super-heavy-duty ratchet strap before I make my Jeep undrivable?

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