Today I spent time under the XJ wrestling with the belly pan to get it installed. Total PITA! Funny when aftermarket parts are supposedly "bolt-on" and they are amost always more than just that. If I had this to do over again I'd have an extra set of hands for the entirety of the install. By the grace of God a buddy from my local Jeep club just happened to stop by when I was laying on my back trying to get the last part done. I guess after all the cussing I'd done and damning the skid and the Jeep to Hades - the good lord decided to step in......lol Anyway - thanks Tommy!
First things first - jack the trans/tcase to support it once the crossmember is off.
This location proved to be worthless because I needed access to that spot when it came time to mount the skid. Best place to jack the trans is right where it marries-up to the rear of the block.
Next thing to do was wrench off the crossmember and the trans mount bolts:
Now that the crossmember and 1" tcase drop kit is off I'll put it up for sale:
Next I assembled the rear section of the skid to the main crossmember:
Then had to tap the forward most nutsert on the bottom of the unirail with an M10 x 1.5 tap:
Now it's ready to place into position. Another jack is basically a must without a helper:
It was a major biznatch to get this sucker lined up with the 3 mounting holes on each uni and the 4 trans mount bolts. Seemed easy enough, but it did not want to line up. I had to yank on the tcase and hammer the skid side to side all while applying the right amount of up force on the jack to get it all to line up - but I got it.
With the main crossmember in place mark the holes on the flange that tucks against the inside of the driver side rail. The rear portion of the skid will have to be disassembled now in order to properly mark and drill the mounting holes. These marks will get a 1/4" hole drilled in them. I used a punch on all 4 marks to set a starting point for the drill because you can't really get perpendicular to the drilling surface without a 90degree drill (I don't have one):
Also note that I transferred the vertical lines to the bottom of the rail, and then around to the outboard side of the rail. Then, measure up from the bottom of the rail to the horizontal marks on the inboard side and use that measurement to mark horizontal lines on the outboards side:
Now it's ready to drill. Using a step drill bit I put 13/16" holes on the outboard side:
Then come through the outboard side with a 3/4" holesaw to drill out the inner member of the unirail. (The forward hole was the only one with an inner member. Once that's done go all the way through with a 1/2" hole on the inboard side.
This is when my buddy came by and he helped me get the rear section mounted back to the main crossmember and the inside of the unirail:
I hand tightened the rear bolts so I could still move it around in order to line-up the flange/unirail bolts, anticrush sleeves, and nuts. Then I torqued those 4 down. Then torqued the 3 bolts on each unirail. And last I set the trans mount bolts in the middle of the crossmember.
And there ya have it - easy as pie, huh? I wish:
It tucks up there nicely:
And the awesome part: when I eventually get an SYE I'll have to unmount this thing to reagin access to the tcase for that install. Can't wait........
Eliminating the tcase drop does make the rig feel different underneath when on the gas - but I can live with it for now.
Until next time.....................