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AFM Weld On LCA Skids


 
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:56 pm    Post subject: AFM Weld On LCA Skids Reply with quote

**DISCLAIMER - Please note that this writeup reflects my experiences only and anyone using it for reference or as a guide, etc. does so at their own risk. You may link to this writeup, but you must obtain my permission to re-post it elsewhere.***

This writeup will cover the install of AFM Enterprises Lower Control Arm Skid Plates on a 1997 Cherokee. The install would be exactly the same on a TJ as well. The skids themselves are made from 3/16" steel and will work with both factory and aftermarket control arms. They were obtained from MikeGreen4x4.

It should be noted that these are a weld on product, so in order to do this yourself you will need some type of welding equipment...or know someone that will weld for beer.

Tools used:
Floor jack
Jack stands
Impact wrench
1/2" Breaker bar
21 MM and 13/16" sockets
Rubber mallet
Angle grinder with wire wheel
Eye protection
Wire brushs
Clamps
Wire feed welder (including welding mask and gloves)
Digital camera Mr. Green

Preperation:
First, I chocked the rear wheels, jacked up the front end of the Jeep, and supported it with jackstands. Then I removed the front tires.

Now, for the last few years I've been running a set of bolt on skids, so my LCA mounts, although dirty, were in good shape. It's important that the front edges of the mount are straight so that the skid sits flush and you can get a good weld. So you might have to do a little bending to make that happen. Anyway, this is what I started with:


Now, the two skids are slightly different at the top. Each one has an angle that slopes in opposite directions. Unfortunately I did not get a pic of the skids side by side before I installed them, but you can see it in the post install pics later. The first thing to do was to test fit and make sure that everything sat nice and flush as well as to figure out which skid went where:


At that point I determined that the top of the skids should slope upwards towards the diff (again, this is illustrated in the finish shots below). Once I was sure of that, I dropped the control arm and went at the mount with a wire wheel. The purpose of this was to get the weld points down to bare metal:

Before:


After:



Installing:
So now it was time to clamp the skid to the mount and tack weld it into place. Tack welding first is important since you can confirm that everything is still lined up correctly and that the LCA's still fit prior to having complete welds in place.


After tack welding the skid in (and while I could still knock it back off with a hammer if I needed to), I test fit the control arm back into place to make sure that the skid would not interfere with it's operation.

Now, at this point I got lazy and did not drop the control arm again. However, I have heim joints in my control arms. If you've got rubber bushings, keep the control arms out of there until you're done. You do not want to have the heat generated by welding transferred to a rubber bushing...unless you like the smell of burning rubber, feel like cleaning it up later and also want to completely ruin your bushings.

Back on point, the next step was to actually weld it into place. I used a gasless core wire welder, but they could be stick welded on if that's what you've got. These are not my best welds, but they are decent ones:



After they fully cooled, I painted the welds and the skids with some rattle can semigloss black...mainly to keep them from rusting/corroding. As indicated earlier, note the orientation of the top angle on each skid sloping up towards the diff.

Passenger side :


Drivers side:


It really is that easy. Total time was about an hour and half, including raising/lowering the Jeep and removing/re-installing the tires.

Rock On!

Steve

**DISCLAIMER - Please note that this writeup reflects my experiences only and anyone using it for reference or as a guide, etc. does so at their own risk. You may link to this writeup, but you must obtain my permission to re-post it elsewhere.***
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ehirner
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Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Location: Eastern PA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would run a bead across that top lip also. It will keep the upper portion from collapsing in if the skid is hit high by an obstacles.
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ehirner wrote:
I would run a bead across that top lip also. It will keep the upper portion from collapsing in if the skid is hit high by an obstacles.


I thought about that too. There problem is I would have had to drop the steering and track bar just to get in there.


On top of that, (and as you can see in this pic) only the back edge of the top lip makes contact with the tube. So it would be a weak weld to begin with.


In hind sight, I could have run a bead along the sides of the top lip to add some strength. I might do that this weekend.
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Brad The Best
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Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Location: Kamloops B.C Canada

PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thats a great idea , i am going to fab up some and weld them on as soon as i get the time .
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