Just finished testing the mods on both beaches on Pleasure Island (Carolina Beach and Kure Beach towns with 4x4 drivable beaches, $ for daily or annual permits).
Carolina Beach has Freeman Park where I have an annual pass. Now is $20 for a daily pass. About 1.3 miles of beach and very crowded, although we will see whether the raise from $10 to $20 per day changes that. Allows camping and has porta potties. Very amusing to see the awds and others get stuck. Very benign driving and a good place to spend a weekend afternoon. My FD I had no trouble before adding skid plates and lift and could be driven a little faster after the additions because it did not scrape as often.
Kure beach has the state recreation area next to the Aquarium. Daily rate is $10 annual $40 versus the annual of $60 at Freeman park. This is the southern end of the island. Around 6 miles of drivable beach, however sugar sand, deep ruts, severe erosion yielding high banks. I uset to play climbing the erosion banks with my Land Rover. The liberty I brought out once and it overheated. Tried the mods here on Saturday and the Patriot did very well never shifted the FD I to a lower gear (did NOT attempt to climb erosion banks that would have required someone to tow me out). This beach is so difficult some times that my fun with the Land Rover was towing Wranglers and Cherokees out when they got stuck. Rover only needed low range on the tranny once. Will I take the Patriot on this beach very often? No, it did well and the lift and skid plates helped a lot but I am not confident in its abilities to handle this particular beach. We traveled along with my son in law's Wrangler Sahara so I figured I had a tow ready if I needed it. Also had added a trailer hitch to provide a tow point.
Gramps provided the step by step for the installation of the skid plates. Performance Innovations of Wilmington NC followed his directions with the exception of the oversize holes where they fabricated the equivalent of the factory attachment. They also installed the lift, strut brace, and trailer hitch. Link to their site: http://www.per4manceinnovations.com/
owner is Brendan Burke contact number is on the web page. Finally the alignment was Greenfield Alignment in Wilmington apparently the place all the 4x$s with lifts go to get it done right.
Pictures upon request, will take some when we put it on the lift to check all the bolts later this week. If you want a set I can email them since the site does not allow newbies to post them.