Rugged Ridge Jeep TJ Wrangler Gas Tank Skid Plate

Aug. 28, 2015 By Jim Brightly, KF7SCT
The Rugged Ridge gas tank skid plate comes with a full instruction sheet giving you step-by-step instructions. Follow the instructions carefully. Disconnect the negative side of the battery for safetyís sake.

Tired of bashing in your gas tank while scraping it over the boulders, even with the minimal protection provided by the thin tin OEM skid plate? Itís not only dangerous because of possible leaks, but it also robs you of fuel capacity.

Almost every time the plastic tank deforms, it loses capacity. Sometimes itíll flex back, other times it wonít. The last thing you want to happen on a trail ride is lose gas. Like I said, itís not only dangerous but it can also cause other problems long after youíve driven on.

Rugged Ridge has custom designed this skid plate to protect the fuel tank on 1997-2006 TJ/LJ Wranglers. These overbuilt skid plates are so strong you could drive your Jeep over them without hurting them, so theyíll easily support your Jeep while itís sliding over the rocks, logs, and boulders. Itís a must for those who want that extra bit of protection on their off-road adventures.

Carefully remove the gas tank after disconnecting the filler hose and fuel lines. I also suggest you wait until the tank is empty or siphon the fuel out before dropping it. Gas weighs approximately eight pounds per gallon so just five gallons will add 40 pounds to the gas tankís weight.

While the tank is out, thoroughly inspect the entire outside surface for possible leaks. Theyíll show up by dark spots or stains in the dirt. Also make sure the circumference of the fuel pump is not showing any leaks.

You can see how the deformed tank can lose capacity. Sometimes sealing the tankís outlets will allow you to use an air hose to over-pressurize the tank and reform it.

The tankís walls can dimple inward or outward depending on where and how hard youíve hit it.

Although the OEM skid plate is metal, itís so thin it can really protect the tank other than from tears caused by sharp rocks. But sometimes even it gets sliced and diced.

You can actually see that the Rugged Ridge skid plate is 3/16-inch thick. Itís strong enough to support the Jeepís weight will still being scraped over rocks.

The skid plate is constructed of super-strong 3/16-inch-thick steel with a rust-resistant E-coating powder-coated black paint. Itís designed to take whatever the trail throws at you!

Its bolt-on installation uses existing frame mounting locations, and is forecasted to take only three to four hours (if your frame isnít tweaked or the bolts arenít sealed with rust). This skid plate replaces the factory skid plate providing you true protection.

After carefully inspecting the tank, place it in the skid plate.

This tank was so badly deformed we could stick our fingers between the skid plate and fuel tank.

OEM straps attach the tank to the skid plate. Wrap them over the top of the tank and thread the strapís bolt into the predrilled holes in the skid plate lip.

Tighten both straps until the tank cannot move about in the skid plate.

Use a floor jack to carefully raise the tank back into position. Reconnect the filler hose(s), all the fuel lines, and the electrical connections. Tighten all the mounting bolts.

Before reconnecting the battery and starting the Jeep, check all around the tank for anything that might come into contact with the tank or any moving parts. Get back out on the trail and enjoy!

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