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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At least I think that's what it's called. Heavy gauge metal shield bolted into the frame on both sides of the car, spanning the middle...

On my 2002 TJ, I was plowing today and I hear a distinct metal snap, like I hit something, but I wasn't near anything. Later on I noticed it's hanging down on the driver side. All three bolts let loose.

I assume there is a quick fix I can implement, so that all the weight isn't hanging on the passenger side, risking pulling those bolts loose as well. Then there is the longer term "proper fix" that I can look into when plowing my driveway is not an imminent need.

Talk to me folks. What are my options here?
 

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At least I think that's what it's called. Heavy gauge metal shield bolted into the frame on both sides of the car, spanning the middle...

On my 2002 TJ, I was plowing today and I hear a distinct metal snap, like I hit something, but I wasn't near anything. Later on I noticed it's hanging down on the driver side. All three bolts let loose.

I assume there is a quick fix I can implement, so that all the weight isn't hanging on the passenger side, risking pulling those bolts loose as well. Then there is the longer term "proper fix" that I can look into when plowing my driveway is not an imminent need.

Talk to me folks. What are my options here?
Definitely want to fix it. That's not just a shield, it's also holding your transmission and transfer case up.

A lot of people break those bolts while removing the skid, should be plenty of creative fixes on the web. I'm no help there, but DEFINITELY DEFINITELY want to get that fixed before driving anymore.
 

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This same question pops up every so often... 99% of the time the fix is a new frame or a new jeep... as heart breaking as it is
 

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This same question pops up every so often... 99% of the time the fix is a new frame or a new jeep... as heart breaking as it is
Yep, probably a rotted frame. Safe-T-Cap repair or new frame.
 

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3rd the new frame/frame repair. They likely let loose because of rust and frame rot.
 
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Any pics?
 
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Not trying to be a Donnie Downer, but quickly after reading just the topic of your thread, I was already thinking rust.

I'm still just a half witted newbie here, but one of the most common things you learn about the TJ frame is rust.

For your sake, I hope I'm wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Skid plate.jpg

Not a great picture. I can grab a better one tomorrow in the daylight.

It looks like the bottom of the frame has been replaced in the past. You can see the bead of weld running along the bottom. Not the cleanest job either. Probably better than I can do, so I shouldn't complain.

I can see a hole where I could get a new nut in on the right, but I don't see any similar options for the center or left. Just trying to come up with a temporary solution to keep things from getting worse while I figure out a long term solution.

I took a look at the Safe-T-Cap web site. It looks promising. Way beyond my meager welding skills, but there is a shop a couple towns over on their website that is certified to install them.
 

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View attachment 4188483

Not a great picture. I can grab a better one tomorrow in the daylight.

It looks like the bottom of the frame has been replaced in the past. You can see the bead of weld running along the bottom. Not the cleanest job either. Probably better than I can do, so I shouldn't complain.

I can see a hole where I could get a new nut in on the right, but I don't see any similar options for the center or left. Just trying to come up with a temporary solution to keep things from getting worse while I figure out a long term solution.

I took a look at the Safe-T-Cap web site. It looks promising. Way beyond my meager welding skills, but there is a shop a couple towns over on their website that is certified to install them.

I hate to say it but that frame looks pretty rusty. You better check the frame by your front and rear control arm mounts which are common rust points. These frames rust from the inside out. If the outside looks bad the inside could be worse.
 

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No quick fix is needed, the damage is done.... leave it parked until it gets fixed... if it gets taken somewhere for repair ot needs to be on a rollback.... I'm sorry to tell you but your frame is in really bad shape
 

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As others have said, it's definitely not a quick fix. Google "Wrangler TJ frame rust" and you'll have days of reading ahead of you. The good news is that it can be repaired by frame caps or swapping the frame. The bad news is, it's not cheap and is time consuming. If you can weld and have a decent 170+ amp 240v welder, it's a DIY job. If not, it's time to consider other options. Good luck regardless.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have a Lincoln Weld-Pak 175HD. So is just barely meets your requirements. What I don't have is the expertise wielding it. I've done 100 small projects with it, so I know what my limitations are. Reading about the Safety-Cap installation, it sounds like it would take me weeks of work just attempting the removal of the old frame section alone. It's also my plow vehicle, so having it out of commission starting with the first storm of the Winter couldn't be worse timing.

I'm going to give that local Safety-Cap shop a call and see what their schedule is like and get a quote for how long it would take and estimated cost. I still have some money left in my budget to get this plow vehicle operational.
 

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If you are ONLY plowing your own driveway and not driving on the road at all you could strap it up with some heavy 2" ratchet straps but due to the very high probability of extensive rust in other parts of the frame you shouldn't drive it on a public road at all... ie haul gas to it in 5 gallon cans...
 

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I think you could probably just fish plate the frame depending on how badly it's rotted. you would have to probably pull off the fuel, lines, brake etc but I wouldn't think you would have to spend 2-3000. you could buy a decent welder and do it yourself for that much!
A couple hundred and a decent fabricator that understands how to fishplate something with creating a place for a crack to start is your best bet.
 

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There's nothing there solid to weld a small patch to... he needs to replace large portions of the frame at a minimum and MAY need a whole new frame....

It very well MAY be cheaper to simply buy another jeep and part this one out.

Example, I just sold a 100% rust free 97 4 cyl w 130k miles and a few dents for $4500...
It had been my daily driver but I picked up 6 cyl w 75k miles to replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I called the local shop. $800 labor to replace with the center Safety-Cap for both sides. One day job. I ordered the sections yesterday to be delivered directly there and I'll use AAA to get it flat-bed hauled to the shop on Thursday. They will do both sides together on Friday. Less expensive than I was afraid of, but I'm still concerned they might find other frame-rot issues once they start into the job.

They are a certified shop for the Safety-Cap work and specialize in trucks (typically much bigger ones than TJs).
 

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Good luck.... we'll keep our fingers crossed for ya
 
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