Zorba's JeepFor the type of wheeling I intend to do, this is probably not at all necessary. In addition, the Mercedes sourced steering box as used in the '05/'06 TJs, is far more rugged than the Saginaw unit used previously. Still, this skid was just $35 and built just as heavy/well as anybody's, and better than some I've seen. A third bolt (provided, but not a nut to go with it!) had to be installed through the bumper after an appropriate hole was drilled. This third bolt was metric, and I just happened to have a nut that fit it - it was the nut that held the original gearshift knob in place before I installed the "SickSpeed" aftermarket knob so it got reused here. I love synchronicity like this!
Steering Box Skid & Misc.
Steering box is a bit vulnerable on Jeep TJs being only slightly back from the front bumper.
"U-box" skid installed with the two stock bolts. Note 3rd bolt hole far left.
Then it was removed, the third hole drilled, then primed (not shown).
Most front bumper bolts removed to pivot it out for access.
Pivot that sucker on out!
Closeup of driver's side partially pivoted out, plus the hardware for the third hole. See text.
Wrench placed on inside of bumper...
... bumper then pivoted closed, and the two skid bolts in the stock locations temporaried back in...
Third bolt installed, everything else put back together.
I gave all this hardware a quick paint refresh since most of it was already off.
The third bolt was kinda hard to tighten it up yet have the skid in the perfectly correct position for the other two stock bolts. So - I removed most of the bolts holding the bumper on, and hinged it outward. Put the appropriate sized wrench (15mm) on the nut on the inside of the bumper, closed the bumper back up, and temporarily re-installed the other two bolts. This pushed the skid into position. Tightened the third bolt, letting the wrench inside the bumper rotate to the forward side and hold the damn nut. Then re-removed the other two bolts, hinged the bumper back open, removed the wrench from the inside, then re-assembled the whole mess. I gave the red painted hardware a quick refresh coat of paint while I had it off.
I'm not sure who "U-box Offroad" is, they seem to have some kind of connection to "Hooke Road", and are almost certainly Chinese and have some "Chinglish" in parts of their website. Indeed, there are identical looking "Hooke Road" steering skids being sold on eBay, apparently without supplying the third bolt. They also have reference to some "Virtue Signaling" on their website which annoys me. I don't care what your so-called "virtues" are - I don't want to hear about them even if I agree with them. Sell your product, provide your service, and SHUT THE HELL UP!
Update: Two weeks after writing the above, the virtue signalling seems to be gone from their website. Good - I'm wondering if its removal has something to do with my mentioning it in my Amazon review. I also think I may have figured out why the supplied third bolt didn't come with a nut. U-box also sells bumpers, I'm going to GUESS that their bumpers have a nutsert in the appropriate location. It'd be interesting to see if the third hole in the U-box skid is in the same location as the third hole in everybody else's product. Interestingly, I am unable to locate their steering box skid on their website, although it appears in at least one picture of one of their bumpers. Being phased out in favor of the Hooke Road branding? Sold as U-Box only via Amazon? *shrug*
Fooling around with the Jeep and a camera for the boys on the Jeep forum...
Put 'er in 4 low and made it to the top of the highest mountain in Florida!
Engine was running a bit rich by the time it made it up to this high elevation!
The new steering box skid almost got tested!
Idea swiped from the Jeep TJ forum...
Stops sand and mud from filling the (front) bump stops. I flushed a LOT of dirt out of them!
Stupidest addition yet!
Read on for the next part!