Fenders & Body Armor Installation

Cole and I went to the shop on a Saturday and fitted the body armor.  It was pretty straight forward with no major surprises.  TNT includes a battery box with their fenders, but we couldn’t get it low enough to fit the Optima battery without jamming the battery into the computer harness.  The inner fender gives you plenty of room in the wheel well, but it has to get that room from somewhere, and that somewhere is the engine bay.  The tray attaches to the firewall using two studs that held the original tray, and the front edge attaches to the angled inner fender.  We decided on a simple Z-shaped bracket at the firewall  to raise the tray and move it forward, continuing to attach the front edge to the inner fender, just higher up.

Battery box in it's "stock" location, too close to ECM

Battery box in it’s “stock” location, puts battery too close to ECM

 

Our Z-bracket, moved the tray up and forward

Our Z-bracket, moved the tray up and forward

Next we fitted the corners.  No surprises here, but TNT uses through-bolts for the places that are double paneled, some of which require a 3″ long bolt that can be overtightened and crush the cavity.  We decided to leave the holes blind and install nut-serts instead.  One other variation from their plan, we decided to add an extra bolt at the bottom just behind the wheel opening.

Cole center punches a bolt hole with a transfer punch

Cole center punches a bolt hole with a transfer punch

TNT didn't include a bolt here but we felt that it would add some strength, and we had the extra stainless steel button head bolts on hand.

TNT didn’t include a bolt here but we felt that it would add some strength.

With the fenders & corners bolted on, now to the rockers.  Again, the blind holes got nut-serts instead of through-drilling and standard nuts.

Rocker held in place and ready to drill.

Rocker held in place and ready to drill.

With the body armor all bolted on, we now took it back off and to the paint shop.  They painted the fenders & corners, and had the rockers powder coated, then we bolted it all back on and returned the whole Jeep to the body shop to have the grille, hood etc. painted.

Corners & fenders in the paint booth

Corners & fenders in the paint booth

Freshly powder coated rockers

Freshly powder coated rockers

We installed the painted armor at my barn shop

We installed the painted armor at my barn shop

Back at the body shop, prepping the grille & hood

Back at the body shop, prepping the grille & hood

In the next post, we should be finished with the body work and paint, and be installing a Rock Hard Sport Cage.  We also have to install the air bags and put the dash back together.  At that point, we should be about ready to start driving this thing.  The plan is to shake it down for a couple hundred miles, work out any bugs we don’t know about yet, etc., and then start on the suspension mods.