Rust Never Sleeps, right?
In the on-going saga of dealing with rust on a 24 year old Jeep, this project was dealing with a gas tank skid plate that had rust, no, rotted out completely. I have dubbed the skid plate "Hopes and Prayers", mostly because all that was holding my gas tank in the Jeep was hopes and prayers.
If you're reading this, you may be well aware that Jeep TJ gas tanks are all held in place by the very skid plate designed to protect them. Meaning that if the skid plate fails, the tank falls out. I had noticed a crack in my plate last year, but it was minor and not something I was too concerned about at the time. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I was sitting on the lawn waiting for my sons bus to arrive, and I see this under the Jeep. A quick Amazon search and I had a "Amazon Warehouse Deal" (aka - small scratch on it) skid plate and strap kit on my driveway.
I became a bus rider to work for a few days while waiting for the weekend a some nice weather to tackle the "one hour job". Well, it took six, but you know how these things go.
this video from Taboo Customs on YouTube.
The Jeep TJ has seven bolts holding the skid plate on the Jeep. Three in front over the track bar (rest assured they can be reached with a ratchet and long extension) and four in the back. The confusing part in the back is that there are six bolts. Two of those hold the tank straps in place, they're the longer ones, usually with rubber covers on them. The bolts coming down from the Jeep are carriage bolts, and should be captured by the mounting frame. I had to cut two off ultimately, but they were easily replaced with new hardware from the local hardware store.
Now onto the "Hopes and Prayers". Once I had the tank sitting on the driveway, and had freed it from the straps (had to cut them off) I discovered just how bad the skid plate was. Basically the tank was being held up off the road by two flaps of rust. A solid bump may have dropped the tank out.