Lite Weight Body Protection

By Christian Sturtz, azfreedom4x4@gmail.com

Photos by Christian Sturtz

Originally Published in Issue 28 of 4Low Magazine

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The 98 TJ we have been working on needed upgraded body protection. We had to take into consideration that the Jeep is powered by a 4-cylinder engine. With the lack of power we didn’t want to sacrifice protection, but we needed to be mindful of weight. Another goal with the body protection was to gain more tire clearance. So, what we came up with (that would meet all of these needs) was the Metalcloak Overline 4” system with aluminum front fenders and rear extended corner guards.

This system allowed us to cut a few pounds in areas that needed less protection without sacrificing protection in key areas. The areas that needed the most protection were the rockers and the front & rear flares. Metalcloak only makes their Rocker Rails and fender flares in steel. Steel provides more protection then aluminum.

 

Some additional features that we really liked about the Metalcloak system were the ability to change the fender flares’ width and the included inner fenders. The front and rear flares can be quickly and easily removed or changed with a few allen bolts. If you needed to thoroughly clean the vehicle or if you were going on a tight trail and didn’t want to chance damaging them they could be removed. You could also order two different width flares, one for street and one for trail use. The included inner fenders keep you from having to cut up the original fenders and makes for a cleaner finished look.

 

Before we started with the install, a few photos were taken to get a comparison of before and after.

We started by removing the rocker protection that was already on the Jeep. Next, we removed the parts that attached to both fenders, including: wiring, hoses/lines, and hard parts. Finally, the fenders were unbolted. It is important to save all of the original hardware until the install is complete, as some of it will be reused.

Before the inner fender is installed the new fender battery supports must be installed (it reuses some of the factory threaded clips). Next, the inner fenders were bolted loosely in place. Then the fenders were bolted loosely in place. Finally, the fenders were adjusted/tightened and all the original parts, wiring, and lines were reinstalled. The LED lights were also installed.

The LED lights may require you to modify the stock flasher or replace it with an electronic type for proper function. There are install directions available online for both options depending on the vehicle year. It may be necessary to adjust the hood to clear the fenders.

 

When installing the whole system it’s best to start with the front, then move to the rear, and finish up with the Rocker Rails to ensure they are aligned properly. On the rear, we started by removing the taillights, fender flares, etc. The rear aluminum corner guards were clamped into place and holes were marked for mounting locations as well as the cutout for the rear extended area. The corner guard was removed; holes were drilled to their correct sizes and the extended area was cut. There are three different hole sizes, so it is important to mark them differently (if necessary) and drill them correctly. Next the rivet-nuts were installed in the correct places. Finally, the rear corners, as well as the flares, were installed and the taillights were reinstalled.

Before installing the Rocker Rails we installed tape on the body where the rails touch for protection. We also cut tabs from the bottom of the tub. The Rocker Rails were held up on the body, lined up with the rear corner guards, and clamped. Next, holes were marked, rails were removed, and holes were drilled. Finally, the rivet-nuts were installed and sliders were bolted into place.

As you can see, in the finished pictures, the Jeep also has a completely different look. There is substantially more tire clearance and we definitely have room to move from 33” to 35” tires. This was a quick overview of the installation instructions, for complete, downloadable, instructions please visit www.MetalCloak.com.

 

Sources:

Metalcloak

2484 Mercantile Drive

Rancho Cordova, CA 95742

916.631.8071

www.metalcloak.com

 

Parts Used:

Front Fenders            2214-AL

Front Flares               2241

Sliders                        2312

Rear Corner Guards  2438-AL

Rear Flares                 2424