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Discussion Starter #1
We (wife and I) are pretty impressed with the KL Trailhawk belly protection, but there are still a few spots that concern us with as many rocks as we tend to play in....

So, I am in the process of making some lower arm skids and a skid for the rear trans-axle assembly.

My question is, do y'all think others may be interested in these? I am an engineer and am blessed to have a nice shop at home, so I can design, fab, and test them. However, I am not (and do not want to become) a fab shop. So I would use a local shop to make them for others. This would drive the cost up, but we would not be marking them up, so it should still remain reasonable....

My questions: 1) Do you think this is something I should look into having made for others? 2)What do you think people would be willing to pay for front lower arm skids or a rear trans-axle skid? Again, I am not looking to make money with these, just curious if there is enough interest to warrant the effort.
 

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Being this is in the brainstorming section don't expect a huge response since people don't have access. With that said, RRO is trying to do some ground work into making skid plates for the Cherokee but only to replace and improve what's already there. For the control arms either front or back the problem is you'll lose some ground clearance attaching something to the bottom of them. But if you were to make new control arms with skids built in, that might help but would require serious R&D.

People have requested skids for between the two rear control arms to protect the exhaust pipe that goes between them.


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What if you were to design a deflector of some kind. To maybe redirect or shift an impact somewhere else.


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Discussion Starter #4
Being this is in the brainstorming section don't expect a huge response since people don't have access. With that said, RRO is trying to do some ground work into making skid plates for the Cherokee but only to replace and improve what's already there. For the control arms either front or back the problem is you'll lose some ground clearance attaching something to the bottom of them. But if you were to make new control arms with skids built in, that might help but would require serious R&D.

People have requested skids for between the two rear control arms to protect the exhaust pipe that goes between them.


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That's okay of the number of responses. To be honest, sometimes less is more :) If 5-10 respond it will help a ton. :yup:

For the front, the skid will cost 3/16" ground clearance. It hold tight to the arm. I personally would give up 3/16" to protect the aluminum in a heart beat... but I agree some will have an issue with this.

For the rear the skid would be just that. It would take the blunt of the hit and be the piece to wear on impacts, but the trans-axle itself would still take the impact.

I honestly am not too worried about the exhaust. So anything I would make wouldn't address this.

The only thingk I have made up this far is half-a$$ed drawings and a cardboard template. It's been to cold for me to do much in the shop. (While I'm blessed to have a nice shop, it's too big to heat for only occasional use.)

If RRO is going to make something I likely wouldn't. Like I said, my goal isn't to get rich with anything we do Jeep related. It's a hobby and we like helping others, that is all. I don't want it to become a "job". I've learned it takes the fun out of it in most cases.

What if you were to design a deflector of some kind. To maybe redirect or shift an impact somewhere else.


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Elaborate please.... you mean for the exhaust or another spot?
 

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@SS_Syndicate RRO has been saying there were going to do it for over a year... so I think you are safe and as I said, they are only interested in replacing factory skids with stronger ones.

With regards to a deflector, I'm talking maybe something mounted in front of the arms. Maybe to ease the hit to the arms. Instead of the the arms taking a direct hit the deflector would get hit then the arm. Like slow it down. So long as the skid could be bolted on and replaced without causing issue with the current setup I'd be in.

These are the only underside shots I have of my rig.




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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'm not sure how I feel about looking at your rear this way @Len1304 but I'm glad our friendship has already become this close.... or am I????? :grin:

Seriously though, I'm not sure how effective this would be. Here in the east-ish the rocks move and are kinda like stegosaurus backs. There will come a time where we slip off the outside of a line and be totally resting on an arm. When this happens I'm not only worried about cracking the arm, but if nothing else scraping the crap out of it.

It's interesting to me the RRO feels improvements are needed to the factory skids. I think they are pretty good. In fact they are better than the JK ones. But I don't know much about the other trims so maybe they need some love.

We made this video shortly after we got our KL. I should do a follow-up after we wheel this year. (or maybe just after we do the Morrison in Wyoming :)

https://youtu.be/9cFX2zxaJHM

Edit to add: The "forum" I speak of was when we thought having our own was a good idea... WRONG! We much prefer the blog layout and just helping on existing forums. ;)
 

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Oh yea, I saw that video some time ago.

I myself have crushed 3 skid plates across two cherokees. If you watch my latest offroad video that's 30 minutes long each time you see the Cherokee NOT bounce after coming down I've bottomed out. I took a serious hit also.

So long as it can be designed to not get hung up im sure skids for those will work.


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Around the 28 minute mark or so is where I took the biggest hit.


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There is another post at the moment where the rear camber both sides is way out and they are blaming slamming the arms down on rocks.

Looking at the pics that were attached with the post its hard to see any damage but I am guessing the claim is that the rear lower arms have taken massive hits each and have straightened out some pushing the lower edge of the wheels out.

Cant see it myself but if it is the case than a skid plate formed to match the shape of the arms could only help this. And loss of 3/16 in after gaining 1/2 in min from larger tyres is not a lot of loss in my opinion. They would need to curve up front and rear to guide/slide you over the rocks.

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I would look at replacing all the stamped steel underneath with some thicker aluminum. That is just me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just a quick update... I made a prototype set of some front lower control arm skid plates. The seem to work without issue, but they took me way more time to make than I had hoped. I ended up with about $75 in metal, hardware, and consumables in them. I value my time pretty high, so I don't thing they will be worth making to sell.

Why you ask, well, I dropped by my local dealer and it's only $250-ish to replace one of the arms and they come with new bushings. Since the bushing area is left exposed even with the added skid plate they don't make much sense. I would need to sell them for nearly what a new arm costs to make it worth my time.

I am working with a Jeep armor fabrication place to see if they want to make them. They have a CNC laser cutting machine and press break do they could make them WAY easier than I can in my shop. If they don't want to, I will just post drawings and CAD files here so others can make them if they wish.

I still haven't made anything for the rear trans-axle, but that is next. (sorry, the trailer took longer than I thought)
 

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Thanks for the effort, and we look forward to seeing what comes of your design.
 
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