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This was one of the craziest and longest installs I have ever done on my Jeep! So crazy, but really glad it is in place.

Took the skids to Moab last week and they performed flawlessly!

Hope this can help others with this install. Check it out on the blog.

Scott
 

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Nice job.
 

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Holy hell man that was an awesome write up. I don't wheel half as hard as you and really don't need that kind of armor but I was impressed by your detail. Artec should give you those skids in return for them using your write up on their website.

Just let me ask you a few quick questions. Would a lift help in the install? Did you use hand tools exclusively? Would air tools make the install quicker?

I am looking at the Rock Hard armor for my purposes but am always interested in what others are experiencing. This kind of scared me away from armor. Once again I dont have tons of rock climbing opportunities in Wisconsin.
Great Job, thanks for sharing.
 

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Holy hell man that was an awesome write up. I don't wheel half as hard as you and really don't need that kind of armor but I was impressed by your detail. Artec should give you those skids in return for them using your write up on their website.

Just let me ask you a few quick questions. Would a lift help in the install? Did you use hand tools exclusively? Would air tools make the install quicker?

I am looking at the Rock Hard armor for my purposes but am always interested in what others are experiencing. This kind of scared me away from armor. Once again I dont have tons of rock climbing opportunities in Wisconsin.
Great Job, thanks for sharing.
Great Job OP... I never would have been able to pull that off.

I have the Hard Rock engine/transmission and transfer case skid and they were a breeze to install compared to the OP's writeup. No cutting or modification.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys80SCb6XmU
 

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great job and write up. Kind of steered me away from Artec tho. I am mechanical but not sure I want that much of a job to install when others probably offer decent protection for a lot less work. I do think if you are going to be doing extreme hardcore rock playing hard to beat Artec for ultimate protection.
 

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Holy hell man that was an awesome write up. I don't wheel half as hard as you and really don't need that kind of armor but I was impressed by your detail. Artec should give you those skids in return for them using your write up on their website.

Just let me ask you a few quick questions. Would a lift help in the install? Did you use hand tools exclusively? Would air tools make the install quicker?

I am looking at the Rock Hard armor for my purposes but am always interested in what others are experiencing. This kind of scared me away from armor. Once again I dont have tons of rock climbing opportunities in Wisconsin.
Great Job, thanks for sharing.
Good morning and thanks!

A lift would have been nicer, but not really a requirement. We had enough room to move around on the garage floor just fine. Air tools, again would have been nice, but we only used the drill, cutoff, and sawzall.
 

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Great Job OP... I never would have been able to pull that off.

I have the Hard Rock engine/transmission and transfer case skid and they were a breeze to install compared to the OP's writeup. No cutting or modification.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys80SCb6XmU
I heard the steel ones are a lot easier to install. I assume this is because the steel is strong enough that it doesn't need the interlocking or bracketry to remain strong.
 

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Great Job OP... I never would have been able to pull that off.

I have the Hard Rock engine/transmission and transfer case skid and they were a breeze to install compared to the OP's writeup. No cutting or modification.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys80SCb6XmU
X2. This would have been my install from hell.

HR installed in less than an hour.

The Artec looks like it might have better brackets up front, a little more coverage to the frame, and you do end up with a pretty smooth belly pan (all compared to HR). Is it worth that effort? Depends on what you need and what you like to do. I can see some enjoying the challenge. Its not for me right now.
 

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Here's what I posted in the blog.

Thanks for the write up and feedback Scott. Your situation was truly a worse case install…exhaust spacers, EVO brackets, and manual tranny. That’s the most difficult thing about product design that spans multiple systems in a Jeep (engine, exhaust, transmission, t-case, drivelines, gas tank, suspensions, axles, etc.)…dealing with not only OEM options but hundreds of different aftermarket manufacturers and their modifications. Even within the OEM frame, it’s clear there is a wide range of acceptable tolerances from the factory as we’ve installed many of these and sold a ton without a report of having to clearance the skid for the frame transition. I generally offer a wide enough tolerance to compensate for things like this but unfortunately there is a fine line between trying to compensate for something we can’t possibly know the extent of and just plain leaving a huge gap. We do have a bolt strip that we can send you that takes the place of those nuts you had to cut out and will fill all the remaining holes where you have no bolts. Give us a call and we can send you that. The manual transmission is tough simply because the automatic doesn’t require any modification because it doesn’t use those same bolt holes. We are working to make it more universal and we will use your write up to help us in that process so thank you. As a final note, as I said at the beginning, yours was definitely a worst case situation, because, in contrast, we’ve had installs that only took 2-3 hours. Those reports were very positive and they were amazed at how well everything fit together. As you’ve encountered, certain aftermarket changes complicate things. Again, thank you for your write up. It definitely helps to hear details about how things go together.

On a separate side note, if your Jeep is really abused and bashed underneath, this can also complicate install because it is no longer within OEM spec. In discussing your install with our tech department who helped you, it seems this may be the case where your crossmember frame brackets may be tweaked due the challenge of installing your new crossmember which is to exact OEM specs. Since the whole bellypan is based off the crossmember, if it is off, everything else will be off. It is highly recommended that anyone replace the factory crossmember as one of the first upgrades to a JK. -Nate at Artec
 

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The multi quote button isn't working for some reason, but I'd like to answer a few questions.

In most installs, there is no cutting or modifications necessary. The only thing about 90% of people need to do is drill some holes in the frame and factory gas tank skid and cut off a piece of the OEM gas tank skid. Obviously this was not the case of the OP and that's simply because of the aftermarket EVO brackets and the manual tranny. We are working to make the manual tranny easier to install as stated below, but a few of our initial testers indicated that all they had to do to make it work was press out some press nuts in the crossmember bracket and the holes for the tranny bolts lined up. The OP couldn't lower his crossmember down so he could put the transmission bolts through the steel piece he ended up having to cut. More on why he couldn't lower his crossmember below.

After discussing this with the tech guys who helped Scott, each whom have done multiple bellypan installs themselves, I believe one of the biggest reasons he had problems with this install was due to the abuse on the underside of his vehicle. The crappy factory crossmember is known for buckling and based on the pictures in the blog, this was the case. Where it sounds like it really did a number though was on his frame brackets for the crossmember. He discussed with us for a lengthy period on the phone how difficult it was to install the new crossmember. The crossmembers we ship are designed to exact OEM specs but if those OEM frame brackets are really tweaked, it's tough to get it in there. That said, if the crossmember is off, then all the bolt holes that line up to other parts of the frame are also going to be off as well as the frame transition section where he had to modify the skid. I'm not saying it's his fault or anything, it's just a logical answer to a problem for a product that we get daily praise from customers about how well everything fits and easily it went together.

That said, the more people I talk to who wheel their vehicles on rocks, the more they tell me that one of the first and most importat upgrades should be the crossmember and in turn under armor. It may not be the first thing you see, so it's not as fun to buy, but it's the upgrade that'll keep you driving and prevent really expensive damage.

Our kit is made with 3/16" steel brackets and 1/4" 6061 T6 aerospace aluminum skids. This aluminum is stout. We continually bash on it and it continues to surprise us with how rigid and strong it is. One of the great characteristics of this aluminum alloy is that is has some give and then it spring back into its original shape. Other lesser grades do crumple and even steel will crumple. A large benefit is also the weight savings. An equivalent skid out of 3/16" steel was 100 lbs heavier and way harder to install due to the weight. Our tech guys usually install this kit by themselves and within a few hours. The savings in weight helps everything, from better MPG to less wear and tear on all your components.

Aluminum also works great because of it doesn't rust. It doesn't need to be continually maintained and painted after every trip just to keep it from falling apart. This is important because as a skid plate, it's almost guaranteed to get scratched and because it's under the Jeep, it's generally hard to notice.

Another advantage to our skid is the totally flat underside. We don't have any bolts hanging down (if used with our crossmember) to get caught on rocks. This has proven invaluable when the vehicle is totally suspended on a rock and nothing is keeping it from going over. See video below.

We not only do testing in house but also with other people prior to release, just in case people were wondering. Most of these are customers or dealers whom it is in their best interest to give us good feedback and from that feedback we have made modifications.

Here is a couple reviews on our website, FWIW.

5 Stars
4 Door belly pan
I put this on to test out at my shop have been wheeling twice so far with it over so pretty nasty rocks even high centered my jeep on a rock and had to winch over got back put it on the lift barely a scratch on the pan it is awesome
-Reviewed by: Stephen from Knoxville TN. on 6/3/2015

5 Stars
4 Door belly pan kit
Perfect fitment, hassle free install
Reviewed by: Chris K from RubiTrux. on 1/22/2015

Here's us at Moab using this bellypan quite thoroughly especially on the first obstacle. In a group of 30+ JK's, no other JK dared that obstacle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zmfEgGqo6A
 

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Yes I agree Artec. My underside was pretty banged up and the install would have been MUCH easier if done earlier.

And, I know I have quite a few suspension upgrades that made this a challenge.

Your stuff is awesome (I run the axle armor kits and the bellypan). I am learning that as the Jeep gets more and more modified (and more and more abused) simple kit installs will be more of a challenge.

Scott
 

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Yes I agree Artec. My underside was pretty banged up and the install would have been MUCH easier if done earlier.

And, I know I have quite a few suspension upgrades that made this a challenge.

Your stuff is awesome (I run the axle armor kits and the bellypan). I am learning that as the Jeep gets more and more modified (and more and more abused) simple kit installs will be more of a challenge.

Scott
Thanks Scott.

FYI, if anyone does have questions, I'm not on this forum a lot but you can contact us at [email protected].
 

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This was one of the craziest and longest installs I have ever done on my Jeep! So crazy, but really glad it is in place.

Took the skids to Moab last week and they performed flawlessly!

Hope this can help others with this install. Check it out on the blog.

Scott
Wow man..... I have to be honest. Your install write up is swaying me away from them. I'm just looking for a full skid I can bolt up with minimal modifications. I'm glad I read this before buying them.
How are they holding up?
 

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Hello,

So @scottmphoto and @ARTEC, if I understand the blog and the posts above, I should have no problem? I ask this because if I buy this, it will be going on a to-be ordered brand new Wrangler Hard Rock with the 6spd. I won't be doing heavy duty rock crawling, nor am I going to lift it or put huge tires on it. But I prefer aluminum over steel, and will go so far as to place plastic membranes between the two to prevent oxidation. Thank you in advance for your responses.
 
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