Skid Plates for JK 2011 and newer

Phoenix

Adventurist
#1
When Jeep put a new engine in the JK, it also created some new challenges for protecting the sensitive parts in the belly. The new exhaust loop creates challenges when you lift the Jeep as the boot for the drive shaft comes very close to a hot exhaust pipe. Evidently this is much more of an issue for the 2 door vs the 4 door model. I have the 4 door model, so the rest of this post will be from my experience solving the issues for a JKU.

One solution that the aftermarket provided was some exhaust spacers. The issue I found with installing the exhaust spacers was that they shifted the exhaust system back a few inches. While this gave additional clearance for the driveshaft boot, it also made installing aftermarket skids more difficult.

As my driveshaft appeared to have the minimal clearance necessary, I opted to install the EVO Protek skids.

The EVO Protek skids went in over time. It is a 3 part system. The first part is the oil pan. They suggest doing this as you change your oil. This takes as long or longer than the other parts as you have to remove and reinstall 14 screws that hold up the oil pan. The screws on the corners are a particular pain to put back in place.

The next section to install is the Auto trans skid. This locks into place using some bolts on top of the tranny, as those bolts are on an angle and have plenty of lock tite on them, they are difficult to remove. Then you get to use a floor jack to lift the transfer case just enough to slip the driver side connection over the bolt. This takes a bit of trial and error. One error you do not want to experience is raising the transfer case too high and having the bolts move out from under the rubber bumpers. We managed to avoid that.

After this is accomplished, the final large belly/ cross member skid is installed. This is much more of an alignment, and drive the bolts home effort. I have 1 area under the passenger side door that needs to be opened up an 1/8 to get the bolt home.

Other skid systems for JKs of all years that I have seen or heard good things about include:

Synergy
Artec
Jcr
River Raider
Rock Hard
M.O.R.E.

Each comes with its own price / ease of install / materials challenges, but they all seem to get the job done.

What skid system are you using to protect your underbelly on your Jeep?
 
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m(a)ce

Adventurist
#2
we've been running the EVO setup on our 2013 JKR for a couple years & it's been solid.

we have Rock Hard Aluminum skids on our 2014 JKUR. they went on this year so not a lot to report yet. we had their steel version on our 2008 JKUR (which saw a lot of rock crawling) and liked them a ton. speaking of which, they were heavy! haha




delivered by winged monkeys
 
#3
Per the discussion on another page I am now up the creek with no sign of propulsion. I am now left with buying pre fabbed skids which I didn't want to do but I have several opportunities from now until the end of the year to be offroad and it's either buy a "kit" of skids now or wait at least 60 days for a reputable shop to have time, get my Jeep to them, get a rental home, rental back, etc. I tried contacting some people in my area ("fabrication experts") and it's amazing how they post on forums about hard times, no money and selling their toys because of no work but when someone reaches out to them with 3k to spend on one project with more work down the line such as drive shafts, control arms, possible 5.7 or supercharger install etc they can't return calls or emails. Everyone sure seems to have plenty of time to wheel, go to the beach and other fun activities.

So I am two weeks out from AR and I need to get something ordered in the next 24 hrs to ensure I can get them in and have time to start pulling/installing parts. With that said at this moment MY short list is (in no particular order) synergy, gen right, artec and river raider. I will be calling all of them tomorrow to see what their in stock status is and hope that someone has skids available near the east cost so shipping doesn't eat me alive.

So far I am leaning toward artec as they have a replacement cross member that is much more HD than stock and their skids are aluminum (or aluminium if you are British) I was already planning on ordering their front and rear 44 truss kits anyway. From what I've seen of their stuff online/in person it can take some punishment. Gen Right come in two grades of alum and I have seen the abuse they can take on KOH and bouncer rigs. It's impressive but that comes with a impressive price tag as well. Also have to use their proprietary trans (not really impressed with) and cross member kits, with an added evap and exhaust skid I would be at 5k. River raider seems have good reviews, know nothing about their company and have never seen their products in person. I've seen synergy skids that have been out west and dragged over the rubicon, moab etc and can't say I've found any negatives. Cost is on par w/ artec and it seems like a quality product as well. The extra step of dropping the tank for the install doesn't trill me. Have never spoken with anyone running evo or rock hard products to get their impressions of what they like/dislike, the abuse they can take etc.
 

Phoenix

Adventurist
#4
I can put in an experienced positive endorsement for EVO, I know people that run RockHard and say good things. I don't know anyone today with the Artec, but based on the cross over and my experience with their truss and gussets, I would put them very high on my list if I needed to do it again.

The sound of steel scrapping over rocks makes me smile.
 
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