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Jimmy Vance installs Skid Row's Tellico Tough Engine Skid Plate

By, Jimmy "Big Red" Vance

TellicoTough Engine Skid Plate for 1997-up Jeep TJ with 4.0L engine

I have been looking for an engine skid plate for my 1999 TJ. I ran across an ad. for the Skid Row product and opted to give it a try.

Unlike other engine skid plates available for the TJ's, the Skid Row product does not require a suspension lift. The plate has three attachment points to the underside of the TJ. The factory transfer case skid plate, the passengers side lower control arm frame mount and the drivers side motor mount.

Installation time was about 45 minutes, and only requires a few wrenches. The unit comes complete with all mounting hardware and instructions.

The instructions include pictures and are very straight forward and easy to follow. The only problem I had during the install was with the motor mount bracket. The motor mount bracket and strut rod have been revised, but the picture and text in the instructions have not been updated yet. While positioning the plate to attach the strut rod between the plate and the motor mount bracket, it was easy to see the alignment was off. No problem, since I only had the bolts finger tight it was a quick job of flipping the motor mount bracket around the other way.

Follow along with the install.

This is what comes in the box.

The skid-plate
(from left to right)
The strut rod
Motor mount bracket
Rear transfer case plate
T-bar with integral nuts for motor mount bracket
(5) 3/8-16 bolts, lock washers and nut
(1) 1/2-13 bolt, washer, lock washer, and nut
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STEP 1. The bolt on the passenger side, lower control arm frame mount needs to have the threaded portion of the bolt facing the inside of the frame. As you can see in the picture, mine was pointed the other way. While the vehicle is still on level ground, remove the bolt and turn it around. I had to rock the jeep back and forth a bit to get the bolt to slide back in. Once you re-install the bolt, leave the nut off. If your bolt is already in the proper orientation, just remove the nut.
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STEP 2. Take the T-shaped plate that holds the nuts for the motor mount bracket, and slide it into the top of the driver's side motor mount.   Once you can see the nuts thru the two holes in the motor mount you can bend the tab over, which holds the nuts in place.

Because you have the vehicle jacked up for this step and the rest of the install, be sure to place jack stands under the vehicle before you crawl underneath.

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STEP 3. Take the mounting plate and bolt it to the motor mount. The hole in the bracket for the strut should point towards the front of the Jeep.


STEP 4. Loosely attach the T-case skid plate clamp to the skid plate. The clamp mounts on top of the skid plate. Be sure to have the curved portion pointing towards the rear of the skid plate.

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STEP 5. Position the skid plate under the vehicle. Lift the engine skid plate up and place the skid plate clamp over the forward lip of the factory transfer case skid plate. Rotate the engine skid plate into position and slide it over the threaded portion of the lower control arm bolt. Once the skid plate is on the bolt, re-install the nut.

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STEP 6. Take the strut rod and attach it between the mounting bracket and the skid plate. The upper bolt uses the 1/2-13 bolt, washer, lock washer, and nut.

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STEP 7. You're almost done. Go back and tighten up all of the bolts. Be sure to torque the lower control arm bolt back to factory specs.

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The engine skid plate appears to be very well designed. The plate is made from 3/16" steel and is powder coated  The mounting system is easy to work with if you should ever need to remove the plate to do other repairs or maintenance. There is a hole in the plate so you can still drain you engine oil.  If you have an automatic like I do, it will probably be easiest to remove the skid plate to change the transmission filter and fluid.

Some of the other engine skid plates I have seen for TJ's make contact with the front drive shaft when you flex the front axle (MOPAR, for example). The way the front strut mounts on the Skid Row plate, there should be ample clearance between the strut and the front shaft. Since installing the skid plate, I haven't gone anyplace to really flex the front yet. If there is a problem, I'll update the page.

I haven't had a chance to test it out on a rock yet (hopefully I never will) but its nice knowing that I have protection covering the engine oil pan and the oil pan on the automatic transmission.  I learned the hard way on my '97 TJ while on a trip 900 miles from home. While traversing a rock garden, the front end slid off a large boulder and slammed the oil pan down onto another large rock. The pan was bent up pretty bad, but luckily it didn't leak and I was able to get back home. I was able to beat the pan back out, but the dealer gets $45 dollars for the gasket, I was afraid to ask what they wanted for a new oil pan.

For more information:
Skid Row Automotive
(800) 786-9249


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