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Discussion Starter #1
It's time for me to start shopping for skid plates. I have a 2014 2dr automatic.

The rock crawlers say that the factory skid places are basically tin foil and useless to them. But I'm not a rock crawler. I stick to light to moderate trails in New England, which means lots of mud, some small rocks and tree stumps. Two questions.

1. For that kind of lighter duty, which of the factory skids should be replaced?
2. What is the higher priority - replacing factory skids as needed or adding skids to exposed areas? It seems like common sense, but if the factory skids are really that bad they could do some damage...
 

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I found lower control arm mounts were the things that normally made contact in this kind of stuff, I never would have marks anywhere else ie cross members or canister or muffler or tranny skid etc. Now get into bigger rocks and that can change. keep your tires up on rocks will keep your belly off them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, jadmt. The trails I hit tend to have rocks about that size, and fewer of them at that. Very helpful.
 

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I think most would say the one to add is the oil pan/trans skid. The oil pan comes unprotected and is somewhat vulnerable, even though it sits way up. The gas tank skid is kind of weak so that might get some dents if you come down on a rock.
 

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Well, I'm going to say here is one place I think "more" is definitely better. In general, the stock skids will hold up to moderate trail usage...AND rocks. The problem as I saw it, was that they are nowhere near full coverage. jeeptjDuner is right regarding the oil/engine are for sure, but if you crawl under there and take a real good assessment, you'll see that it's not only a lack of coverage, it's all the little bolts, nooks and bends...rods and recesses that will catch on stuff leaving you at best having to recover off of obstacles instead of merely sliding off of them. For this reason, I opted to go with a full coverage system, Claytons in specific, but RROR, TnT, Synergy/poly and many others make comparable, full coverage/recessed hardware based systems. And if your overly conscious of the weight or something, remember that these sit at the lowest possible part of the jepp, so if anything, a little extra weight here may actually LOWER your COG depending on lift and other variables....but most can be ordered in 1/4" thick aluminum too....making the trade from stock to aftermarket negligible weight wise. I'd rather have the piece of mind, myself. YMMV....
 

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I think most would say the one to add is the oil pan/trans skid. The oil pan comes unprotected and is somewhat vulnerable, even though it sits way up. The gas tank skid is kind of weak so that might get some dents if you come down on a rock.
Agree with that! I got a Rock Hard one and it's very well made. I'd definitely recommend.
 

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One thing you might not have thought about yet is diff covers. The factory ones are a joke and many people "peel" them back and break the seal. Get an aftermarket one and you'll be amazed at how much more stout the after market ones are. There are a lot of popular brands on the forum and seems to be some pros/cons to each. I got ARB party because it has a built in dip stick so you can check fluid level. I wouldn't run stock diff covers, it's definitely worth the investment.

I also got one of these...might be overkill with after market diff cover but it definitely takes a beating and I feel better knowing its there.
AEV Conversions NTH24220AB - AEV Rear Slider for 07-15 Jeep® Wrangler & Wrangler Unlimited JK with Dana 44 - Quadratec
 

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On an automatic, definitely add an oil skid since right now....you dont have one.

Gas skid is less of an issue on 2 doors than on limos - the factory one should survive a while if you are not bringing it down on rocks on a regular basis.

Control arms skids for sure - other than differentials, these are your lowest hanging part.

Beefier differential covers.

But just remember, all it takes is one decent sized rock in your trail at the right angle and you may be in for a world of expensive repairs. I went on an "easy" trail a few months back. We were in about a 50 foot wide sandy wash with nothing more than pebbles the size of grapefruit. There was one taller pointy rock in the middle. Somehow the driver ended up with his belly on it and high centered. The photos were funny because at an angle you didnt even see the rock - so it looked like he was being winched off of a grapefruit. Right up the middle that one rock couldve taken out the oil pan, transmission or transfercase. He had steel skids tho.

If you have the budget, I would full skid. Otherwise, the control arms, differential and oil skids as these are your lowest and most vulnerable parts on a 2 door.
 

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One thing you might not have thought about yet is diff covers. The factory ones are a joke and many people "peel" them back and break the seal. Get an aftermarket one and you'll be amazed at how much more stout the after market ones are. There are a lot of popular brands on the forum and seems to be some pros/cons to each. I got ARB party because it has a built in dip stick so you can check fluid level. I wouldn't run stock diff covers, it's definitely worth the investment. I also got one of these...might be overkill with after market diff cover but it definitely takes a beating and I feel better knowing its there. AEV Conversions NTH24220AB - AEV Rear Slider for 07-15 Jeep® Wrangler & Wrangler Unlimited JK with Dana 44 - Quadratec
Is your Jeep stock? I am wondering if those ARBs make contact with the track bar on a stock Jeep. Belly armor is my first priority before I start taking my Jeep out so I've been researching this a lot and appreciate everyone's I put.
 

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Do I see correctly: the skid covers your shafts? I smashed the shafts on my 2012 JKUR. It cost $1,100 to replace front and rear. I could've put that money towards a full skid like this!
No, they don't. Thats the River Raider skids that I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You folks, as always, have been very helpful. Oil pan / transmission are definitely at the top of my list. I'm not sure I need the control arm skids right away as I have Rock Krawler's high clearance arms. I took a brief look at Clayton's set. Is it really full coverage with just three skids? I'm seeing engine / oil skid, 2 door gas tank skid, and transfer case skid. Is that really all I need?
 

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I dig the purple Sueby!

I am a little curious tho why folks spend $30-40k or more on a rig and would even think twice about "do I really need real skids?" A good set of full skids like the ones Sueby has will run $1k+ for sure, so they arent cheap. But have you priced out a new transfercase or transmission for example on the chance you bust it up? All it takes is one good hit - and you will realize those skids were a bargain compared to cost of replacing the broken stuff.
 

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You folks, as always, have been very helpful. Oil pan / transmission are definitely at the top of my list. I'm not sure I need the control arm skids right away as I have Rock Krawler's high clearance arms. I took a brief look at Clayton's set. Is it really full coverage with just three skids? I'm seeing engine / oil skid, 2 door gas tank skid, and transfer case skid. Is that really all I need?
You will still ding the lower control arm MOUNTS with RK, trust me on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I dig the purple Sueby!

I am a little curious tho why folks spend $30-40k or more on a rig and would even think twice about "do I really need real skids?" A good set of full skids like the ones Sueby has will run $1k+ for sure, so they arent cheap. But have you priced out a new transfercase or transmission for example on the chance you bust it up? All it takes is one good hit - and you will realize those skids were a bargain compared to cost of replacing the broken stuff.
I think you're misunderstanding the point of this thread. "Do I really need real skids," while possibly how my questions have come off, is a huge twist from my intent. I'd feel insulted, but you really don't know me so there's no way you'd know better. I'm not trying to get away with spending less, I'm trying to buy just what I need. If the skids that came stock were okay for the mild stuff, I'd be focusing on buying piecemeal skids for the exposed bits (eyeing the Rock Hard transmission / oil pan skid). Knowing that the skids that came stock are not good enough even for the mild stuff, I now know I should be looking at a complete skid system.

You will still ding the lower control arm MOUNTS with RK, trust me on that.
So even the complete systems aren't actually complete? Don't get me wrong, it seemed a little odd to me that three plates would be complete coverage. I'm just all kinds of confused.

One more question: Are bolt-on skids alright? I don't have the skills or tools to weld something on but I can always pay a shop to do it. I'd rather go bolt-on and do it myself if it's safe.
 

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browse these photobucket albums and know that they were all done with only lower control arm skid plates and never any dings or scratches. I am sure if someone just bombed through without thinking they could do damage but I guess my point is if you pick your lines and think about vehicle placement you can do some tougher stuff without doing any damage.

Goose Lake 4x4 Photos by jadmt | Photobucket
Fisher Lake 4x4 Photos by jadmt | Photobucket
Mountain Ben Lake Photos by jadmt | Photobucket
Moab March 2014 Photos by jadmt | Photobucket
 

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I think you're misunderstanding the point of this thread. "Do I really need real skids," while possibly how my questions have come off, is a huge twist from my intent. I'd feel insulted, but you really don't know me so there's no way you'd know better. I'm not trying to get away with spending less, I'm trying to buy just what I need. If the skids that came stock were okay for the mild stuff, I'd be focusing on buying piecemeal skids for the exposed bits (eyeing the Rock Hard transmission / oil pan skid). Knowing that the skids that came stock are not good enough even for the mild stuff, I now know I should be looking at a complete skid system.



So even the complete systems aren't actually complete? Don't get me wrong, it seemed a little odd to me that three plates would be complete coverage. I'm just all kinds of confused.

One more question: Are bolt-on skids alright? I don't have the skills or tools to weld something on but I can always pay a shop to do it. I'd rather go bolt-on and do it myself if it's safe.
No problem! And doing it piece by piece is fine, most skid systems are designed to allow you to do that. So starting with your most vulnerable areas makes sense.

You want bolt on for the belly skids underneath, so those are definitely DIY-able with just regular tools. I think all belly skids are bolt on - if you weld on your transmission skid for example, and later have a transmission problem, the bolts can be removed to service it. I have all the Rock Hard skids on the belly - really like them. I do have the welded on Artec LCA skids, the fronts came with the Axle Armor kit when I did the truss. I added the rears LCA ones to my order - which actually replace the whole factory bracket altogether and have the built in skid.

The RK arms themselves may be "high clearance", but they use the factory mounts. The mounts the arms sit on are what get dinged, not the arms per se.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
he RK arms themselves may be "high clearance", but they use the factory mounts. The mounts the arms sit on are what get dinged, not the arms per se.
So if they use the factory mounts they're still considered short arm, yes?

Wrath0r, the Claytons are pretty much all encompassing skid wise. Check out their site for more pics, but here's a few of them sitting in my garage awaiting paint for some detailed views...
Okay, so if I'm understanding you both correctly the three piece systems are sufficient for belly armor, but belly armor is not the only armor I need. I guess I thought of all armor that's under the Jeep as belly armor, but that's not right. Armor for suspension components like lower control arms is different.

It sounds like a full belly armor set, piece by piece, is the right place to start. I noticed the Clayton set and the River Raider set don't have a separate skids for the evap canister. Is it covered by one of the other plates in these sets? Rock Hard does have a separate one. And then there's the EVO system. I've read so many good things, but at around 1/3 of the price of these other systems... how can that be?

Thanks again for the help!
 
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