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Thread: TJ Flat Skid Plate/Drivetrain Support, rear Pinion adjust

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    TJ Flat Skid Plate/Drivetrain Support, rear Pinion adjust

    I've finally stated my build flat skid. Building it form a 1/4" steel plate I got as part of our group buy a while back. I've been using my 4 1/2 angle grinder to do all the cutting, and I have to say my Dewalt came through with flying colors. 4 disks later this is where I am. I'll draw up the measurements once it's more complete. AS of now it's 35" on the front side, 42" on the rear and 24" long.

    After the first cut, still have a large piece left over as the orginal was 53"x48".


    Drawn out area to clear the front drive shaft.


    Who says ya can't cut a curve with an angle grinder.


    Full skid, with rounded corners. Next up I have to find some angle iron around these parts and some square tube to support the NV4500. Because the mounts are different then stock I need to build this a little different then a normal Jeep skid, I actually think it will be easier.

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    OK, been awhile since I've worked on this. I might want an opinion or two. I'm building a two piece skid/transmission mount with the NV4500/Atlas II I've got. I'll be using the above 1/4 steel as my skid.

    I broke my high lift a few months ago and I'm using the main I beam as the mount. Question, is it strong enough? In the photos below you'll notice a slight bent to it. That make my a little nervous. I'm planning installing the skid over it mounting it to the 4 outside mounts on the frame and a 5th bolt in the middle attaching it to the support, probably with a spacer (my old t-case lowering kit).

    AS it is right now it's really easy to get to everything under the Jeep, so it would be nice to drop 5 bolts in the skid without lowering the driveline to get to everything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BR View Post
    I broke my high lift a few months ago and I'm using the main I beam as the mount. Question, is it strong enough? In the photos below you'll notice a slight bent to it. That make my a little nervous. I'm planning installing the skid over it mounting it to the 4 outside mounts on the frame and a 5th bolt in the middle attaching it to the support, probably with a spacer (my old t-case lowering kit).
    If it is already bending, then it probably isn't strong enough. The 1/4" skid would add enough strength that you would not have a critical failure on the trail, but it might move around a lot on you (up and down).

    I know a lot of guys make the transmission mount out of square tubing with poly bushings at each end. The bushings bolt to the inside of the frame for better clearance. This would allow you to bolt the skid plate directly to the frame with no spacers, which is desirable.

    For the price of some square tubing, poly bushings, and a little welding, it is probably worth it to have a stronger transmission mount and better clearance.
    -Brent
    '89 YJ - 4.0L/AW4/231/HP60/60/37's

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    Ya, I think that is what my plan is going to be. I think I found a place down here to get some square tubing. I'd rather it be strong enough to hold on it's own rather then worrying about it or even needing the skid to help support it.

    Biggest problem I have with it right now, if I move the drive train up much more then it is now, I'm getting binding on the rear drive shaft, even with the double-cardan. Would I need adjustable control arms to help rotate the rear axle to help with the binding? When it stops raining this morning I'll go take a few shots of the angles.

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    Ditto what Knoxville said. If it has an obvious bow in it while just sitting still, imagine what is happening when a combination of torque is going through the system and hitting bumps. The hi-lift as you are using it is really 90 degrees out of phase to support the weight anyway.

    Since you are going to the trouble anyway, I would build a crossmember that does not hang down below the framerails and thus force the skidplate to hang down also.

    I would also have to recommend using at least two bolts per side when attaching the crossmember to the frame to distribute the load more.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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    Your 2 mid bolts go to the bottom of the trany, right? I bought a 2x2x 6inch long square-tube from AdvAdapters - it has the the 2 holes for the trany, and 2 holes on the opposite side for mounting to a 3x12x0.5thick steel bar - the bar has a hole at each end for rubber bushings - half-bushing on top, other half on bottom (4 bushings all together) - and those 2 bushings allow a 5/8 inch bolt to go thru, with a big fender washer on the top of the top bushing, and the bottom bushing sits on your skidplate - drill 2 big holes in your skid for those 5/8 bolts to go thru. I know - - - confusing as heel to describe, but AdvAdapters has pics in their NV4500 catalog on page 18. The bar, bushing & bolts are at the top of the page. The sqr-tube is in the middle of the page, and it sits between the bushings (beware, the sqr-tube holes on top are spaced a bit off from those on the bottom). The sqr-tube is needed to keep the trany up high, or you end up with whats on page 51 - the bar bolted to the trany bottom, but the NV4500 belly is way lower than the bar will be, so you need the sqr-tube as a 'spacer'. I welded some metal inside the sqr-tube to make it stronger, to stop from crushing.

    Sure wish I had a digital camera - I could show you mine.
    Last edited by clarknorm; 11-15-2007 at 02:09 PM.
    -Norm

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    I had a square tube in above my transmission mount though I took it off right now. I think I might actually get a smaller one as it raised the transmission up too much, 2 x 2 should do fine. Because as you can tell from the photos the Nv4500 does hang down too far. My main problem is when I raise it up too high I get binding at the rear drive shaft. My angles are too severe. I think I can fix it with some adjustable control arms so I'm trying to pick up some used ones now. At some point I want to go with long arms and my angles will be easy to fix at that point. I'm out of town for the next week and half so this whole project will be on hold until after I get back. Lucky is stays warmer in NC

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    dont laugh at my drawing. Click on pic for a larger view.
    Last edited by BR; 05-18-2010 at 09:42 AM.
    -Norm

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    P.S. you could get those t-case/skidplate lowering kits to bring the trany down - they sell bars and sleeves, that go between the skid and the frame.
    -Norm

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    Ya, that's what I have, cept I don't have the tube between the mount and the transmission. I'll have to get a new tube and drill some holes in it, should be the same mount that you have. My photo below I circled where I'm getting binding when I raise the driveline up too far. Suggestions?
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    Quote Originally Posted by clarknorm View Post
    P.S. you could get those t-case/skidplate lowering kits to bring the trany down - they sell bars and sleeves, that go between the skid and the frame.
    True, I actually already have one that came with my lift, would like to not run it if possible, though I might run it until I put long arms on it.

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    This is the first time I have seen this thread....Looking good Bryan.

    As mentioned earlier..... OVERBUILD the transmission mount. I would use the box as well....It is worth a little extra time, expense, and frustration now to do it and FORGET ABOUT IT....

    What you dont' want is to high center on a rock/log some where and have it push up the transmission/t-case and snap a u-joint/pinion yoke/crack output on atlas/etc. because of binding issues.

    Keep us posted with what you come up with.

    Btw...it is flurrying, up here today.....
    Steve Stroud
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    "Don't hate the player......Hate the game!!!!!"

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    For better driveshaft angle - lift the motor(its like lowering the trany/tcase), and angle the pinion up(easy for me - I used leafspring wedges).
    -Norm

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    Already have a 1" motor mount lift. So changing pinion angle is the biggest thing I need to do now. Which, since I have coils means I need adjustable control arms. I was just looking here for ideas:
    http://www.4x4wire.com/tech/pinionangle
    There's a set of arms (4 lower) on eBay right now at $51, though it hasn't hit the reserve yet, here's hoping they don't go too high. Though I can get 2 arms for around $200-$250 new.

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    Or to get a better angle you could stretch the wheelbase ,get bigger axles tires. whoops i am getting ahead of this project.
    Tyler
    1988 Suzuki Samurai,SPOA, 31x12.50 boggers, 15x10 Eagle 589s, 6.5:1 T-case gears, H shift pattern in t case. F/R lockers, diff guards, rocksliders, custom bumper w/ 5500LB winch, power steering, rear disc brakes, Sony CD player and 6.5" speakers, 300 watt amp, and 10" sub.

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    I like how he thinks!

    Quote Originally Posted by ernie View Post
    Or to get a better angle you could stretch the wheelbase ,get bigger axles tires. whoops i am getting ahead of this project.
    Tyler
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    OK, I've figured out that I can adjust the pinion with adjustable upper control arms on the rear. I'm thinking about building my own. Maybe practice to build a long arms later. An ideas on arm ends? I don't need anything like
    johnny-joints, but who has some decent bushings I could use for arms, and actually a pair for the transmission mount as well like Brent mentioned earlier.

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    Hey Bryan, check out polyperformance.com

    They will have everything you need. The link below is found under "Suspension Joints".

    http://www.polyperformance.com/shop/...&cat=28&page=1
    -Brent
    '89 YJ - 4.0L/AW4/231/HP60/60/37's

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    Thanks Brent, I'll have to pick up a few joints for the transmission mount.

    I just won an entire set of Skyjacker flex series adjustable control arms from eBay for $102. The seller says they need new joints, but seeing as it was going to cost me around $150 to build just one set of upper arms I figured I'd go for it. It also give me an extra set of all 8 arms that are adjustable if I need them. I'm hoping the joints for the rear uppers aren't too bad, or at least good enough to run for a little bit until rebuild them. I'm not sure, but they look pretty much just like Johnny Joints.

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    I got a set of used Skyjacker "Flex" control arms for next to nothing but they need new bushings. I pretty much only need the upper rears for now and I'd like to use Johnny Joints in them instead of the crappy Skyjacker parts. Anyone know which size they would take? I'm thinking the uppers take 3/4 JJ and the lower arms take either 1 inch or 1 1/4 inch.
    I was thinking about building my own, but this was easier then creating my own arms with Johnny Joints and cheaper then buying the DOM for the arms. All I need to do for these is repaint them.
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    OK, looks like I don't need to replace all the heims. Took two of the front uppers and I have 4 decent enough to run on the rear uppers. Two of the lower arms have good heims as well, so I may actually run all adjustables on the rear axle for now and fine tune the pinion. The uppers have already been wire brushed and painted, I should finish the lowers tonight.

    Ordered 3" poly joints to mount the cross member on and they should be delivered on Friday. I'm going to try to find 2" x 3" square tube for the mount, if not I'll go with 2" x 2".

    As long as I find a local place to get steel this week I'll do the full install/fab this weekend.

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    Good deal BR. Being able to fine tune your pinion angle will be A+. Post up pics after the weekend.
    -Brent
    '89 YJ - 4.0L/AW4/231/HP60/60/37's

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    Update on this, I'll probably have to change the title of this post sometime soon. I didn't get to work on it much this weekend, a little on Sunday, but mostly started on Monday and today.

    Sunday, cut a piece of 2x2x 3/16 square tube for the transmission mount. Got one poly mount welded on the end of it. Started fabbing the mounts out of some extra 4x4x1/4 square tube they are going to sit in that will be bolted/mounted to the inside of the frame rails. Figured out fairly quickly I needed a better drill bit.

    Monday: Pulled the rear drive shaft. Greased up all the u-joints, noticed one is missing it's grease zerk, so I'll probably replace the u-joint before this project is over, pretty sure I have an extra in my parts box somewhere. Took off the stock rear upper control arms, replaced them with the new (ish, well repainted anyway) adjustable control arms and rotated the rear D44 up. Didn't go as far as I wanted, but I'd leave it until the next day.

    Today...noticed the rear shocks hitting the coil buckets. Joy, should have seen this coming, one project leading to another....Pulled off the shocks, so now the stock mounts won't work as they have rotated too far down. Pulled off the rear trac bar, as it's hitting the gas tank skid. Lucky, have an extra adjustable one One things going right. Cept one bolt takes me an hour to take off. I trim the exhaust to make more room for the shock and track bar. Go to put the trac bar back on, only to put it on upside down and the same damn bolt is stuck again. It's getting dark so I stop for the day and go have dinner with the wife.

    After dinner I run out to Home Depot to pick up a few (10) cutting disks for my grinder. I then set to task of fabbing up some new shock mounts out of the 20 ft of 2x2 square tube I picked up last week. Got the mounts created in about 45 mins and I'm very happy with them, I'll weld them on tomorrow. Pictures also tomorrow hopefully.

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    Getting to be more of a build up everyday. Sorry, still no photos, but got a little more done. I moved the mount for the trac bar over about 2 inches, more directly over the axle actually so I wouldn't have any issues with it hitting the gas tank skid. Got it on and all 4 adjustable arms on, testing the placement for the shock mounts, but I think I'll put them on last to see where the best placement will be.
    Tomorrow will be actually adding the transmission mount and see the actually height so I can adjust everything where I want it.

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    Ok, went out this morning and too a few photos.

    Question, the shock mounts are not attached yet, do you think they are too high? I can rotate them down the axle a bit, though I kinda like them where they are now. Fairly protected and the lower spring perches can help support them.

    I haven't adjusted the pinion in yet, I'll do that once the transmission mount is in place. On another note, I've been following the local wheeling scene at www.nc4x4.com and just found a set of newish 3" lift springs (on for 10,000 miles) for $100. One of my rear springs has actually been broken for awhile, but it was at the bottom where the spring sits in the perch. I've been a little leary of it though and also don't mind a little extra lift, I'll prob get about an entire inch of ride height as I'm sure the 6 year old springs are sagging. I have to whole thing apart now, so I might as well replace it now.

    Oh on another note, I'll never buy anything from Rancho ever again (cept shocks), my original suspension kit was a Rancho 2 1/2 inch lift kit. As I've been taking it off my Jeep I noticed alot of rust of the "zink oxide" arms, with one arm having a rust hole completely through it. The springs where powder coated (in my book short for, will rust eventually under the paint) and very rusty, and one spring broke. Actually it rusted so much it froze to the bottom spring perch and the spring broke before it came free. I'll be repainting the perches before I put in the new springs. Ok, rant over.
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    Br,

    My only concern with your shock mount is if it is close enough to the spring mount that the shock can bump it as the bushing flexes..... You also may want to check the angle of that shock....As long as it isn't too far, it should be ok....I forget what Degree angle it is, but there is a rough rule of thumb about not going over a certain angle which pretty much kills what the shock is doing......That's all I can think of!

    Looking good!
    Last edited by SES; 12-06-2007 at 12:59 PM.
    Steve Stroud
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    "Don't hate the player......Hate the game!!!!!"

    "I live my life one trail at a time!" ............Ben Stroud

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    I think I'm good on the bushing, the mounting point seems to be out far enough that it won't hit anything, actually the farther down I attach the mount, the more problems I have. But I have decided that this will be the last thing I weld, that way I can see where the axle sits. This was faster and cheaper then ordering the bolt on shock mount relocation brackets, stronger i think also.

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    Finally got to work on the actual support. Brackets are built, welded and painted. One side of the brackets are thinker because I needed to fill some space for the mount, figured a 1/2 inch of steel wouldn't hurt. Got the driver side on today, hopefully the other over the weekend and the support in place, maybe even the skid plate. It's a tight, tight fit, no way I could get the huge NV4500 and Atlas up this high with out the 2" body lift. I still might have to do some creative work on the skid and clock the Atlas differently to make it work.
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    Not alot done today, though it was 68 deg out today here
    Got the driver side mount on, measured the correct length for the 2x2 transmission mount. Cut it, ground it, welded the other poly mount on the second end. Got it painted and primed tonight and will hopefully finish up this support tomorrow. Photos in the morning

    I have a feeling I might be pulling out my center console out, cutting a bigger hole in the floor boards to make room for the Nv4500 and Atlas. I might be able to get away with pounding out the floor with a BFH to make everything fit, though it's hard to tell right now.

    What gauge metal would you recommend for floor boards? Might be creating a whole new 'center hump' shortly.

    Don't have much planned for tomorrow and it's suppose to be 73.....not to rub it in or anything

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    Got a few more hours into this today.

    The Atlas was not fitting up high enough, so was looking at cutting some of the body, but decided to clock it a little. I though I was going to have to pull the entire t-case out, but once I pulled the 6 bolts out holding it in, I was able to turn the Atlas in place, just had to move it slowly and keep trying to test fit the bolts. Got it fairly quickly and test fitted the cross member once again (for about the 30th time now) I finally got the second poly mount to fit entirely into the mount. I think I am going to still trim some on the body as part for the t-case is still touching, but much better then before.

    I think I'll have to do a little work to move my catalytic converter forward about 4 to 5 inches. It's pined between the new cross member and the body. If it's just a pipe there will be enough room.

    I have to say I'm glad I now work at home and really don't have to drive the Jeep everyday like I used to. This project which started out as a simple one or two day job has turned into alot more. I pretty much want to get it right and if anything over build. I think it will turn out pretty well though. The drive train is really tucked up well.
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