think of ‘body armor,’ visions of police
officers dressed in SWAT attire running through the streets with
the theme song from COPS playing in the background might come
to mind. “Bad boys, bad boys - watcha’ gonna do…” Sorry
to disappoint you, but this article is about a different type
of body armor. We’re talking here about giving your Jeep
some ‘bullet-proof’ protection.
Several years ago, when I brought my Jeep CJ-7 home for the
first time, my thought was that this would be the coolest daily
driver of all time. Since that time, my Jeep has grown from a
semi-stock street queen to a fairly capable trail vehicle whose
driver is not afraid to rub a little sheet metal when necessary.
Over the past year, my Jeep has been on her side twice, completely
rolled once and has gotten up-close and personal with more rocks
than I can count.
When my Jeep
graduated from daily driver to dedicated trail vehicle I decided
that when she got too beat up I would
replace the body tub since, in its present state, the tub consisted
of equal parts of hidden rut, good sheet metal and Bondo. Great
plan, however, the way I drive a new tub would be badly beaten
and just as scarred as my current tub. I needed a better solution – body
Poison Spyder Customs manufactures custom body
armor for the most popular Jeeps (CJ,YJ, TJ and even Unlimited).
On my Jeep, the only straight piece of sheet metal was the glove
box cover. As a result, I decided to go with a pair of Crusher
Corners and Rocker Knockers to cover all of the existing body
damage to my tub and protect it from future damage.
If you read my previous Rockcrawler article on York air compressors, realize that I tend to do things the hard way.
Of course this project was no exception. I decided to add body
armor to my Jeep after she was beat-to-hell. This added quite
a bit of preparation and made the installation a little more
difficult. For those of you that are smarter than me (no need
to raise your hands), you might be inclined to add the body armor
before your tub is too badly beaten. So, everyone that has already
beaten-up their rig and wants to make her look pretty again, read
on. For the rest of you that are smart enough to learn from our
mistakes, you can skip the prep work and go right to installation.
Preparation – AKA
Making room for Crusher Corners
You can see from the photos that I have little regard for the
rear corners of my Jeep. Not only were my corners dented, rusted,
and just plain ugly, but they were so badly twisted that the
Crusher Corners would not even fit.
Corners from Poison Spyder Customs will cover everything from
the edge of the tailgate opening
all the way forward to
the back of the door jam. My tub corners were so badly dented
that I had to pop out the dents in the corners. Since I am not
(nor will I ever be) an expert in repairing body damage, I selected
the tools that I thought were best suited for the job. In this
case, it turned out to be a hammer and a 3/4” drive adapter
on a 1/2” drive extension. After quite a bit of hammering
to get the dents out of the corners it was time to wire wheel
everything to prep it for Bondo and paint.
The corners had been so badly damaged that they needed a little
Bondo assistance to reshape the top edge of the corner, purely
for cosmetic reasons. So I plastered a little Bondo on, sanded
it down with my palm sander and painted all the exposed metal
with some black Rustoleum. Then I hit the top edges with some
bedliner to help match the bedliner that had previously been
sprayed over the tub rails.
noted that the only straight piece of sheet metal on my Jeep
was the glove box cover. This was
With the Crusher Corners and Rocker Knockers, the entire tub
(sans cowl) was going to be covered with armor. In addition,
I was in the process of building some tube fenders for the front
of my Jeep (Poison Spyder has since come out with tube fenders
for CJ’s) and I had a new hood to replace the one crumpled
in my previous roll-over.
Except for the cowl, the ENTIRE exterior of my Jeep was about
to be painted. I decided it was time for the Jeep to have a color
change so I picked the exact same factory gray as my Ford F-350.
One of the reasons I went with a factory color was because I
can easily get rattle-cans at the local auto parts store to match
the Ford factory color. In the future, as I scratch and bash
the paint, I can easily touch it up.
Hints before ordering your corners
You can order the Crusher Corners in their standard form with
all the accommodations to fit your Jeep as if it rolled off
the showroom floor or you can customize them til your heart
is content. I ordered some custom corners.
I did not order them custom enough, so learn from my mistakes
(read MY mistake - not Poison Spyder’s
mistake). I drive a CJ-7 so I got the appropriate corners and
had them modified to widen the wheel well to fit my TJ flares.
I also had them omit any cut-outs for tail lights and the gas
filler. Poison Spyder will only cut out holes for round tail
lights, and since I was planning to use oval LED’s, I’d
have to cut them myself. In addition, I plan to install a fuel
cell in the near future so I did not want a large hole in the
nice new corners for my soon-to-be-obsolete filler cap.
Fortunately, the mistakes I made when ordering my corners were
MISTAKE #1: By default, when you order CJ corners, they have
holes to accommodate the stock tire carrier. Similarly, TJ and
YJ corners are slotted to accommodate the tailgate hinges. If
you have removed your stock CJ tire carrier (like I have) or
removed the rear tailgate on your TJ, I would recommend omitting
The corners come pre-drilled so you can bolt your factory fenders
flares right back up. If you
are going to put
flares back on your Jeep (as I originally expected to do) this
makes the job of re-installing flares really easy! There is no
need to drill through the 3/16” steel because it’s
already done for you.
was that after I installed the tube fenders on the front of
my Jeep I decided not to run flares
in the rear. Hindsight
being 20/20 I should have opted for no holes for flares and if
I later decided to run flares I’d simply have to go through
the headache of drilling them myself.
I point this out is because the corners can be completely customized.
Think about what you want to
do with the corners.
What do you want to cover/protect? What do you not want to cover/protect?
Just call the folks at Poison Spyder and if it’s possible,
they’ll build corners to accommodate you.
INSTALLATION AND MORE --->>>