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Discussion Starter #1
So I took my JK out for my first real crawling trip today. I realized a few things...

1) Wheeling with manual is a pain in the a$$
2) The 3.21s have to go
3) I am woefully under armored

Even though this trip was pretty tame, I still slammed the rear bumper on departure pretty good a couple of times and I spent a lot of time worrying about hitting my diff's. A guy wheeling with us smacked the gas tank on his XJ on a rock and we smelled fuel the rest of the trip.

It got me thinking, what all should I armor for crawling. I don't want to spend 2k on I underarmor and add as many pounds, but I do want to cover the most critical spots. Rock rails were already on the agenda and diff covers are now too. Any other suggestions for a part time wheeler and full time DD?

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Skid plates..stubby bumpers. That's on my list. I scratched up my bumper yesterday. .same way as you.
What lift do you have? We're you in 4 low???? 4 high is is less for climbing.. 4 low keep in 2nd gear little gas goes up over anything. I have same gears but use 4 low huge Fri kin difference then 4 high. I'm re gearing this Thursday to 4.88 and eaton e lockers.. I tried in 4 high and kept killing it. 4 low never killed it. I have 6 speed manual.
 

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My JKU armor includes rock sliders, engine/transmission skid plate, and lower control arm sliders. I also have HD diff covers (PSC for the D30, Riddler for the D44). My stock gas tank skid has a nice dent in it, but nothing on the much heavier engine/transmission skid. So an aftermarket gas tank skid may be in the future sometime. I think most important are the rock sliders and the engine/transmission skid.
 

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You're on the right track. In order of importance, I'd say: Rails, diff covers, skid plates, LCA skids.

Checkout Evo for the skid plates. I have a '12 and got their 3 piece skid set (protek) for around $400 which will cover the essentials. No need to replace the gas tank skid, it works. Just keep an eye on it. If it gets a nice dent, you can take it off and bang out the dent.
 

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The only thing you REALLY need are evo skids. They cover the two vulnerable spots...the oil pan, and the automatic transmission line. OEM skids are fantastic, and can take a better beating than most aftermarket stuff. Diff covers...I run ARBs....I will admit 100% that they are simply for looks. OEM steel covers are extremely strong (they don't crack, they bend, which CAN be fixed on the trail) the only thing you may want to do is grind the lip off to make sure you don't have any peeling. Next, a good set of sliders. If you play hard, you want DOM tubing sliders, not mild steel stuff. A front bumper would help crawl up steep ledges without damage, and protect from idiot drivers and animal strikes. Rear bumper isn't necessary. You can install a smittybilt beavertail to help with plopping off a ledge without damage. Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the info. I have to admit, there were several types of armor that I had not even heard of. I've read through all your comments and have been investigating some of the skids that I'm not familiar with. However, I'm torn right now...

I had a blast on Sunday and I'm dying to go out again. But after spending several hours trying to clean the dust out of my interior and get mud off the underside and then inspecting the little bit of damage that I've incurred I'm squeamish about beating the $hit out of my daily driver.

I'm thinking it might be time to start looking for a beater TJ (or even a YJ) as a crawl-only rig. I don't know how some of you guys do it. I see a lot of JKURs and 10As on this forum that must have upwards of $50-60k invested in em. I don't think I could wheel in those. I've only got maybe $35k in mine and I'm having a pretty tough time seeing the effects from a single crawling trip. The XJ that we were with had 3x more cash in the wheels and suspension than he did in the original vehicle (he was having a hell of a time). First time I've ever been jealous of a beater...
 

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My weekend wheeling trip at the Gulches with my DD. I have ARB diff covers, Ace rock rails, and LCA skids. My rock rails and front diff cover took some hits but everything held up fine. I'll probably add an oil pan skid because it's in a vulnerable spot. Of the 5 jeeps on the trip with me, 4 were DD.

 

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It does take a toll on your rig and wallet.

I've gone through two OEM driveshafts and finally sucked it up and bought a 1350 rear because 37's will be next. When I added my rear LCA skids, my shock mounts had to be repaired from the constant beatings with rocks.

I know I'm pressing my luck with some of the things I do in my Jeep which is also my DD. I just can't seem to stop taking the 'fun' line. :D
 

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I have heavily skid plated my dd JKUR and take it wheeling a lot. That is what they are for.You don't have to beat on them, being a good driver means a lot.You can avoid all kinds of stuff. BTW, some people swear by manual trannys but, I think they are kidding themselves.It can't be that fun stalling all the time.
 

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It does take a toll on your rig and wallet.

I've gone through two OEM driveshafts and finally sucked it up and bought a 1350 rear because 37's will be next. When I added my rear LCA skids, my shock mounts had to be repaired from the constant beatings with rocks.

I know I'm pressing my luck with some of the things I do in my Jeep which is also my DD. I just can't seem to stop taking the 'fun' line. :D
That's the best part!!

I've come to realize that the more that you put into your jeep he more you get back out of it.

33's, 2.5" lift, wrong gears and one locker almost have to hammer there way thru the rocks as where 37's, 4" lift, properly geared and 2 lockers have a tendency to just roll on thru.

Then like SuicideKing said... Then you can't HELP but take the harder lines.
 

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BTW, some people swear by manual trannys but, I think they are kidding themselves.It can't be that fun stalling all the time.
I didn't realize how true that statement was until I started doing more rock crawling. The jeepers with autos definitely have an easier time only worrying about 2 pedals on the more technical stuff.
 

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That's the best part!!

I've come to realize that the more that you put into your jeep he more you get back out of it.

33's, 2.5" lift, wrong gears and one locker almost have to hammer there way thru the rocks as where 37's, 4" lift, properly geared and 2 lockers have a tendency to just roll on thru.

Then like SuicideKing said... Then you can't HELP but take the harder lines.
My Lunatic has 37s and a big azz lift. And you are right-some scarey looking stuff he just rolls right over like my toy 32 inch tires would go over a speed bump at the mall. HOWEVER, rolling over speed bumps is no fun. So he drives over bigger stuff. And his skids and underneath of his Jeep look far far far worse than mine lol! Guys on 37s crunch stuff and need skids too. The one that surprises me is he has just the Rubi rails-and has brought the Jeep down on them many many times. They have taken quite a licking and are scratched all to heck, but have performed quite well.

I already did rock sliders (Fab Fours). I plan to do the 3 piece skid (auto), evap skid, diffs, LCA and a beefier gas skid. To start... So far the LCA and gas skid have taken decent crunches-sorta makes sense trying to avoid hanging on the low point on the diffs I tend to take stuff on the sides which is where I bang the gas skid and LCA. My diff covers have a little rock rash but not bad.
 

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It's all relative to what you have. There are buggies that roll right over the triple black trails that jeeps with 37s are challenged by. In fact, I'm not sure I'd want a buggy that makes it look so easy.

To me, part of the fun of jeeping is finding the limits of what your jeep (and skills) are capable of, then you can decide if you want to take on a higher level of challenges. You just need to be prepared to spend the coin for upgrades and breakage.
 

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Manual transmission here. I'm not the greatest driver off road. But I don't understand why people keep complaining about stalling it. There's that pedal.... Far to the left, let's call it a clutch. If you press it in, it won't stall. Who'd a thunk it.....
 

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Manual transmission here. I'm not the greatest driver off road. But I don't understand why people keep complaining about stalling it. There's that pedal.... Far to the left, let's call it a clutch. If you press it in, it won't stall. Who'd a thunk it.....
Do you rock crawl? I know very experienced wheelers with manuals that will stall on the rocks on occasion. Inching forward, stopping, inching back to get the wheels turned for a better line, it's inevitable. Of course, if you just smash the skinny pedal, it's not a problem. Since I regeared to 4.88, it doesn't happen as much, but it's still difficult on really slow, technical climbs to keep from stalling it on occasion.
 

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Never stalled while crawling, but it is pretty annoying to have to balance the clutch, brake and gas all at the same time trying to get over one stupid rock.

I've driven manuals all my life, and for sporty driving there's nothing quite like a manual, but my next Jeep will definitely be an auto.
 

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I've driven manuals for 40 years, and I love driving a stick, but I'll admit I haven't perfected the art of keeping the right foot on both the gas and brake at the same time, and the left foot on the clutch, all while balancing precipitously on a 4 foot rock or ledge. I don't think anyone would question that an automatic is easier.
 

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Thanks for all the info. I have to admit, there were several types of armor that I had not even heard of. I've read through all your comments and have been investigating some of the skids that I'm not familiar with. However, I'm torn right now...

I had a blast on Sunday and I'm dying to go out again. But after spending several hours trying to clean the dust out of my interior and get mud off the underside and then inspecting the little bit of damage that I've incurred I'm squeamish about beating the $hit out of my daily driver.

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Here is the problem with a beater- it's been beaten. Don't forget all the maintenance involved with an older vehicle. I've looked at doing the same thing- but trying to find something in even decent shape that won't need lots of $$$ just to get it running or keep it running adds up. And buy something that's already been modified and who knows what you get. A lot of beaters die or break on the trails.....
Get really good armor for your Jeep and you'll feel much more comfortable about wheeling your DD. Once I did that I could focus less on what I was damaging vs. driving. But no doubt- it gets expensive. Getting rid of those 3.21s and the manual...those make it tough.
 

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I really like TNT customs skid setup. aside from that rockers. I went with ace due to the reviews and price. I've come down pretty hard on them with the weight of the jeep a couple times and they did their job.
 
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