Diff skids or heavy duty diff covers?

Sputternutz

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sgtkersh

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What are you doing? What kind of wheeling? Unless you are doing some serious rock crawling where you could slip and bang the bottom of the diff really hard, you likely will only ever need stronger diff covers. Even that isn’t always necessary and from my experience really only necessary if you do lots of rock crawling, muddling, or traverse murky water where you can’t see large sticks/rocks/logs that you might run into. If you do basic trail riding, your stock diff covers are fine. Jeep tests these vehicles in all kinds of environments, bring in the off road magazines to have them test and review, and they pretty much do it stock.

Now, if you want the look, they are a great number of cool looking diff covers to personalize your Jeep and there’s no reason not to do that if that’s what you want to do. They are super easy to change, especially if you use a LubeLocker gasket. Just make sure you torque the bolts correctly and use blue locktite.
 

TheDirtyDangla

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Easiest swap is the Motobilt covers for price and protection. Factory is strong but you can screw it up pretty easy
 
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Sputternutz

Sputternutz

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What are you doing? What kind of wheeling? Unless you are doing some serious rock crawling where you could slip and bang the bottom of the diff really hard, you likely will only ever need stronger diff covers. Even that isn’t always necessary and from my experience really only necessary if you do lots of rock crawling, muddling, or traverse murky water where you can’t see large sticks/rocks/logs that you might run into. If you do basic trail riding, your stock diff covers are fine. Jeep tests these vehicles in all kinds of environments, bring in the off road magazines to have them test and review, and they pretty much do it stock.

Now, if you want the look, they are a great number of cool looking diff covers to personalize your Jeep and there’s no reason not to do that if that’s what you want to do. They are super easy to change, especially if you use a LubeLocker gasket. Just make sure you torque the bolts correctly and use blue locktite.
I'm in Arizona and the whole damned state is a pile of rocks so I run some pretty nasty trails. I'm leaning toward just running the skids unless someone can give me a good reason to change the covers.
 

spurly

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I opted for diff skids. I'm still running stock wheels, tires, and suspension on my Rubicon so I was more worried about peeling off the diff covers than smashing it. And on the front, since the drain plug is on the bottom, a diff skid makes perfect sense. I haven't wheeled that hard, and my drain plug has already been caught on a rock and turned while on the trail. A heavier diff cover probably won't help you there.

As for diff covers, there's an interesting YouTube series by Gale Banks about the inefficiencies of some aftermarket diff covers (not providing adequate lubrication, overheating, areation, etc). In short, not all diff covers are created equal and sometimes stock really is better.
 

rustyshakelford

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I’m running the Motobilt diff covers and the Metalcloak rear diff skid. Is it overkill? Probably. Do I have to worry about my diffs? Nope.

Peace of mind is worth a lot.
We did the exact same! F/r motobilt and rear Mc diff skid

Looking over them, the front motobilt and rear MC have both seen some action!

Brett
 

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I put rancho skids and rear shock mount skids. The trails around Tahoe have lots of surprises.
 
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Sputternutz

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I opted for diff skids. I'm still running stock wheels, tires, and suspension on my Rubicon so I was more worried about peeling off the diff covers than smashing it. And on the front, since the drain plug is on the bottom, a diff skid makes perfect sense. I haven't wheeled that hard, and my drain plug has already been caught on a rock and turned while on the trail. A heavier diff cover probably won't help you there.

As for diff covers, there's an interesting YouTube series by Gale Banks about the inefficiencies of some aftermarket diff covers (not providing adequate lubrication, overheating, areation, etc). In short, not all diff covers are created equal and sometimes stock really is better.
Thanks spurly, that is exactly the info I was looking for. I already knew the the skids offer the best protection but had no idea that the covers made such a difference in performance. So I am going to stick with the OE covers and order the Rancho Rock Gear skids. Unless someone can can give me a reason to look at another brand.
 

Huehue80

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I run trails in Moab and just completed the Rubicon Trail this July. I have a Rancho front diff skid and the MC rear skid. I wanted to keep the the stock diff covers to keep it how Dana designed it, but add the needed extra protection. The rear MC skid is a must, when I get hung up on my rear diff on difficult obstacles, the skid helps me just slide over. The front skid is a must for the Rubicon, it saved my front drain plug for sure. Rancho is currently the only company that makes one. Even with a MC 3.5 lift I feel adding the proper prosecution is an essential mod for any jeep that goes offroad.
 
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spurly

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As of right now, I'm only aware of one front diff skid plate and that's from Rancho. However, I think the Metalcloak is the best rear diff skid I've seen so far. Metalcloak's rear diff skid has more contours and wider making it easier to slide over and prevent a hang up like the Rancho rear skid might with its straight edge design. Not saying the Rancho is bad, but in my eyes it's more likely to get caught.
 
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Sputternutz

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As of right now, I'm only aware of one front diff skid plate and that's from Rancho. However, I think the Metalcloak is the best rear diff skid I've seen so far. Metalcloak's rear diff skid has more contours and wider making it easier to slide over and prevent a hang up like the Rancho rear skid might with its straight edge design. Not saying the Rancho is bad, but in my eyes it's more likely to get caught.
Thanks again, I'll check out the MC rear before i make my decision.
 
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Sputternutz

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Went ahead and ordered the Rancho skids and just like everything else JL specific that I have ordered it's on backorder.
 

JLUin818

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As of right now, I'm only aware of one front diff skid plate and that's from Rancho. However, I think the Metalcloak is the best rear diff skid I've seen so far. Metalcloak's rear diff skid has more contours and wider making it easier to slide over and prevent a hang up like the Rancho rear skid might with its straight edge design. Not saying the Rancho is bad, but in my eyes it's more likely to get caught.
The MC skid is a metal work of art. And installation is a breeze. I wish you could see it more from behind
 

                           
























































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