So due to a long series of circumstances, I have two Jeeps. The 2001 has, of course, always been the "good Jeep" as opposed to the 1987, which has had to suffer the indignity of having that nasty Weber 34 DGEC that they basically now disown installed on it. Someday, it will get the Howell, and it will be glorious.
The 01, however, had a PO drag its stock-a$$ underside through a central Indiana creek with enough glacial drift to bang up the tranny and force them to get it replaced or rebuilt. Apparently it also stressed the skid plate and frame, because a month ago, this happened:
Amazing I could drive it at least 15 miles like that to get it back home. It had sagged more before I put the jack under it.
Anyway, even before I had left the state park where I first noticed the problem, my redneck wheels were turning. "Surely, I could just drill some holes and clamp the skid plate back to the frame." To cut a long story short, a search for stainless steel u-bolts eventually led me to Titan Climbing
, because as we all know (???), titanium is more resistant to corrosion than stainless steel. I mean, I'm a broke redneck, but I have some standards. Actually, what happened was an e-mail conversation kind of ran amok and Martin got himself excited enough about the project that he started making the u-bolts.
So that's how the 01 came to have freaking James Bond British titanium u-bolts. The shipping was reprehensible, let me assure you, but the goods are doing the job:
You can see that the back two go in as designed with no problem, with the flat plate sitting on top of the frame rail, but the front one I had to invert and could not wedge in all that close to the front of the plate because the rail, body, and skid plate all taper together. In the end, I drilled another hole all the way through the top of the frame rail and put a stainless steel bolt and a short jam nut there at the front:
5" is too long, but 4 1/2" is barely long enough.
Ok, the real point of this is to name-drop the wonderful vendors or products that are in no way responsible for my lunacy in Frankensteining my Jeep back together this way. Besides Titan Climbing, Bolt Depot
are awesome folks with a very generous return policy, so if you need something a little obscure, look them up.
Also, despite what you may read on some website or hear even if you call Dewalt directly, the blessed carbide DEWALT DWA56326 1/2-Inch by 6-1/4-Inch Multi Material Bit does NOT have a 1/2" shank. It fit very nicely in my 3/8" drill, which is what I suspected based on the pictures. This bit and some lawnmower motor oil worked wonders, along with a 3/16" cobalt steel bit I used to drill pilot holes.
(The whole album of larger pictures is here