We finally made the move to purchase and install more protection to the underside of the Jeep. I can't say we've had any serious damage occur to justify more skid plates. I do know we have had minor damage and have gotten stuck on rocks due to the lack of skid plates in past off roading adventures.
Rear Differential Skid Plate
The first install was the Metalcloak Dana 44 Rear Differential Skid Plate. There were a couple of reasons for installing this one. We had often gotten hung on rocks along the flat surface that faces forward on the pumpkin. There is also an indention on the bottom of the pumpkin that we have gotten caught on rocks which caused difficulties. Recently I had the rear pinion seal leak badly, flinging differential oil all over the rear of the vehicle. I'm still not sure exactly what caused the seal to fail. I may have damaged it on a rock or stick. Because the Adams driveshaft doesn't have a shield that covers the seal like the stock driveshaft, it could have been anything. It may have even just wore out. Never the less, installing the skid plate should help with all of the issues we've had. The install was quite easy, taking only about 20 minutes total. The part is quite heavy and well built. The video below will go into more depth about the install process.
Front and Rear Lower Control Arm Skid Plates
This is the point that we have had damage occur. At some point I hit a rock so hard it bent the driver side rear lower control arm mount outwards quite significantly. It was so bad that even after hammering it back into a somewhat straight position I had to grind the metal smooth again. The lower control arms are the lowest exposed part on the Jeep making it prone to damage off road. The mounts are welded to the axles which makes a full repair more difficult because of the need to acquire welding services or weld it yourself. I found two types of lower control arm skid plates. Weld on style and a bolt on part by Rugged Ridge. I decided to try the bolt on and was impressed with the ease of install and the rugged construction of the parts. I would encourage anyone doing serious off roading to invest in protection of the lower control arms immediately to prevent costly repairs from potential damage. I made a video on installing the rear lower control arm skid plates. The front are basically the same so hopefully the video will help with your decision about purchase and installation.
The First Test
The first use of the skid plates in an off road environment will be in Palo Duro Canyon at the Jeep Jamboree. We have driven the Jeep on an On-Road adventure and didn't notice anything different with the plates installed. I am excited about trying them out for the first time. So it's off to Palo Duro Canyon!