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Unread 01-10-2011, 02:04 PM   #1
Jeepin72
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Clayton TJ Main Skid Plate Install

I just installed the Clayton Off Road Manufacturing TJ Main Skid Plate. I have a Clayton long arm front and triangulated 4 link rear. The install was fairly straight forward. This is a two piece skid plate made up of a transfer case cradle and the skid itself. The skid bolts to the cradle. A 1.5" of clearance is advertised.

It was shipped bare steel. This skid plate is a monster at 70 lbs (per the UPS label). I did not weigh it. It is 1/4" steel.

First I cleaned it, I sanded it, cleaned it again, and coated it with some self etching primer (Duplicolor). Then I painted it semi-gloss black (Duplicolor).



Here is the TC cradle



The Skid and the cradle with primer



Painted



After two days of primer and paint, I removed the OEM skid. The OEM skid was cut to make room for the frame side lower control arm brackets. These brackets hold both the upper triangulated arms and the lower arms. The Clayton skid (as one could assume) was fabbed to give these brackets room.






I got the cradle installed. It wasn't until later when I tried to install the skid that I realized that there was enough room in the bolt holes to move the cradle laterally which later impacted the fitment of the skid. I had to unbolt, etc...and locate the cradle to allow the skid to fit. There is no mention of this in the instructions. If you do it, just mount the cradle, then test mount the skid, then tighten the cradle and prepare to install the skid!

The Clayton site says a 1" BL is required for Rubicons. I do not have a Rubicon. I do have a Daystar 1" BL that came with a TC drop bracket. I did have to remove the bracket after installing the Clayton Cradle. I had to use a floor jack to lift up the drivetrain w/ cradle and bolt it on.



After the cradle was installed came the bear of lifting the skid by myself. Of course it did not fit right the first time because the bolt holes did not line up as previously stated. Blah, blah, blah, On it went. This thing is heavy enough that if paint is an issue for you, find a friend!











Final thoughts if I had it to over again. I would have painted the cradle and then mounted it. I would have then checked the fit of the skid and made adjustments. Then painted the skid. I chewed off a lot of the paint I spent two days painstakingly laying to get an even look.

So far I have only driven about 5 miles with the new skid. No vibrations or noticed problems.

It looks clean, when I get to wheel with this summer I will post an update if there are problems. Unfortunately, in my haste didn't I do any exact measurements on my clearance gains. I think I gained about one inch.

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Unread 01-10-2011, 02:06 PM   #2
Norythm101
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Looks pretty good!
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Unread 01-10-2011, 02:33 PM   #3
bairy
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If you think the TJ skid is a monster, you should see the one for the LJ. Next add on the oil/engine skid!

don't worry about the paint on the bottom. For removal and install, use a floor jack to the middle of the skid, remove bolts, lower down and slide out. Reverse for install. I have done this many many times and I even leave on the oil/engine skid bolted to it. With my cordless 14.4 impact driver and a jack, I can install and remove in 5 minutes. Leave the main skid off for weight savings and easy to repaint.
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Unread 01-10-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
wushaw
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It looks good You need the eng skid now.
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Unread 01-14-2011, 07:23 PM   #5
Jeepin72
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After a bit of inspection, I noticed that my engine was tilted so far forward that the fan was hitting the bottom of the fan shround. I dropped the shroud as low as it would go when I did my body lift. I did not do a MML at the same time.

I also put a protractor on the rear driveshaft and discovered a slope of 27 degrees.

A JKS 1 inch MML should be here soon. I will re-check everything after the MML.

When I called Clayton they said this is not uncommon since there is a bit of a tummy tuck. I would be nice if they let you know that in the instructions.
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Unread 01-23-2011, 11:34 AM   #6
Jeepin72
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So I installed a JKS 1" budget motor mount lift.



It wasn't to bad, two hints if you are going to do:
1) On the passenger side, torque down the nut below the frame prior to lifting the engine
2) On the drivers side, loosen the cross bolt before removing the motor mount assembly

After installing the motor mount with the OEM skid I had a rear drive shaft slope of 18 degrees. It was 20 degrees prior to the motor mount lift with the OEM skid.

I reinstalled the Clayton skid. I dropped it about a 1/4 inch and have a 23 degree slope now. I am going to leave it that way until spring.

I took it out on the highway (snow covered here still) and go it to 70 mph with no drive shaft vibration. I will try it without the spacers in the spring.
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Unread 05-19-2011, 10:38 AM   #7
TURBevO8
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This along with the engine skid is on my list of things to do after I install my new axles this summer. That and a SYE kit and Tom Woods rear ds at the same time. My question is do you have a SYE kit and a cv-driveshaft? Cannot really tell from that one pic. Ultimately I am asking why you lowered the skid 1/4". Thanks.
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Unread 05-19-2011, 07:09 PM   #8
Jeepin72
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I do have a SYE and CV driveshaft. I was getting rear driveline vibes and still had a steep driveline angle. I later figured out that adjusting my upper control arms and bringing the pinion yoke up fixed the issue. I was then able to install the skid as intended.
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Unread 05-20-2011, 07:50 AM   #9
TURBevO8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepin72 View Post
I do have a SYE and CV driveshaft. I was getting rear driveline vibes and still had a steep driveline angle. I later figured out that adjusting my upper control arms and bringing the pinion yoke up fixed the issue. I was then able to install the skid as intended.
OK, thanks for the info. The D44 I am swapping to here when I get time is already rotated (everythign was cut off and then rewelded) for driveshaft angle so I should not have this problem. Good to know!
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Unread 12-01-2013, 09:17 PM   #10
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Jeepin 72
Nice right up.

I have been looking at a "tummy tuck" , mostly at the Teraflex and Claytons.

You put the motor mount riser in, but could you hve avoided that if you had changed the Pinion angle with the upper arms?

The teraflex install video includes a 1/2 in motor mount riser to help with the pinion angle.

I note that Clayton says that you must have a 1 in body lift on rubicons with this product.

I would like to avoid body lift and engine lift. I have a rubicon, Woods drive shaft (double Cardan) and clayton adjustable arms.

Do you think I can correct everything with just adjusting the control arms?

Dif
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Unread 12-15-2013, 06:08 AM   #11
Jeepin72
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As I recall I could NOT have made the Clayton skid work by adjusting the control arms. When I did it the Jeep actually had to sit for a few days because I tried to do it without the MML initially. I didn't even have a MML in the garage!

The rear drive shaft was at some obscene angle without the MML. Even with a double cardan drive shaft and a SYE, the vibrations were horrible and I am sure it would've bound up. I ended up ordering the MML and fine tuning with the control arms.

When I first did this I had a NP231 transfer case. I had plenty of room. When I swapped in the Atlas I still had to clearance the tub even with the 1" body lift.
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