With Jeep Wrangler JK 4-doors weighing upwards of 5,000 pounds nowadays, heft is becoming an increasing issue. The 2012 does have more power to scoot your rig around, but not everyone has the new 3.6L and when off road at 3 m.p.h., horsepower isn’t a factor.
Enter Rebel Team Member Chris and his 2011 Jeep Wrangler JK 4-door. Trail carnage expert. Not only is this not his first Jeeps first engine, but every single square inch of it really has seen some sort of trail abuse.
In light of his Jeep’s increasing weight after adding bumpers, a winch, plus normal trail supplies, we thought about ways to keep his rig on the road and save some girth.
ASFIR4X4 to the rescue. According to their talking points, they have been in the underbelly protection business for 26 years. Each of their skids is born from 5052 Aluminum, cut to ¼” thickness. They say, “This gives our customers a product that is strong and durable without adding any unnecessary weight to their vehicle.”
We chose an ASFIR4X4 Oil Pan/Transmission skid plate (part #547055) for Chris’s JK. It is designed to be 100% bolt on and because it is aluminum, does not need to be powdercoated. It arrived boxed up very well, each component individually wrapped with bagged hardware and installation instructions. We were guaranteed this was right off the shelf, and not carefully made to order for a vendor build. No tricks.
Install began by inventorying the parts and ensuring the instructions were the latest version. After racking Chris’s Jeep we took inventory of his damage. The oil pan was actually the only part of his undercarriage not showing some signs of wear and tear. We’ve included pictures of the BEFORE, we will follow up with AFTER photos once we get his Jeep on a few future runs.
(Just took a quick look at more of the ASFIR4X4 talking points, did you know the company was founded by two former Israeli Special Forces Officers?)
We first removed the Jeep transfer case skid plate. We installed the driver and passenger side ASFIR4X4 motor mount drop down hanger brackets finger tight, then bolted the front of the skid to the hangers. This allowed us to check clearance and ensure there would be wiggle room to line up the cross member bolt holes. We did notice the hanger brackets were zinc coated steel – ensuring extra strength by the vital organs of the engine.
We finger tight installed the back of the skid plate to the rear cross member, ensuring we had the supplied shims lined up that space out the skid from the undercarriage. This is done when the ASFIR4X4 transfer case skid plate is not being utilized at the same time.
Once we were confident the oil pan / transmission skid plate would line up without making contact anywhere, we tightened the skid into place. We reinstalled the Jeep OEM transfer case skid plate over the ASFIR4X4 skid and tightened it back down. Quick few rattle checks with the side of our fist and we lowered the Jeep down off the rack. After a test drive around the block with no rattles we were confident the job was a success!
Initial thoughts: “Beer cans are made out of aluminum, will this work?” So far, we say yes. The ¼” thick skid is super beefy, the welds are immaculate, and the whole system is precision cut and bent.
Rust? Not an issue with aluminum.
Extremely light weight – the whole skid was a lightweight 26 pounds.
Fitment – exact fit. In fact, amazing – mind blowing – couldn’t have possibly fit better.
Weight – 26 pounds! In fact it is so light, we don’t mind shipping a few of them for free!
Priced more than a steel skid plate – these are a slightly tougher pill to swallow.
A big thank you ASFIR4X4 team leader Kelly for her assistance on this – we, well more importantly Chris, owe you one!
The patient. Chris's 2011 Jeep JK Unlimited "Storm Trooper."
The cure for the exposed oil pan and transmission!
The skid ships in one piece with safely packed accessories.