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Note: Toys by Troy shut down their operation at the end of 2007. Instead of removing this write-up, I am leaving it on the web site for a couple of reasons. The steps for installing it are pretty much the same as one from another manufacturer and so you'll get an idea of what is involved if you decide to do this type of modification. If you happen to come across one on the used market, you'll have some information about it that can help you do the installation correctly.
Your gas tank is a vital component on your vehicle. You only have one of them and so poking a hole in it, miles out on the trail, is a bad thing. Sure, you carry a spare tire but who carries a spare gas tank? To top it off, the TJ's tank is in a rather vulnerable position and hitting it when coming off of a ledge or big rock is very common. And as if that was not enough, the factory "skid" is quite poor. In fact, on the earlier TJs, it was more of a sheet metal tank support rather than a skid. In the past few years, DC has put a few more ounces of metal into the gas tank cover, enough I guess that it now qualifies as a gas tank "shield". But a skid it is not....and so you need to get one when you start doing your off-highway trails.
For this write-up, I'm actually replacing an aftermarket gas tank skid with a new aluminum gas tank skid made by Toys by Troy. Since the steps involved are very similar to replacing the factory "shield" with an aftermarket gas tank skid, I think you'll find the write-up helpful for when you do your gas tank skid installation.
This aluminum skid is made from 5052 alloy that is 3/16" thick. A second 3/16" layer was cut and welded to the bottom and rear edge of the skid, making the bottom 3/8" thick. The weight is approximately 31 pounds, which is right at half of the weight of the steel skid plate it replaced.
The project is pretty straight forward.....lower the tank, put on the new skid, and secure the tank back into its regular position. If your tank comes with installation instructions from the manufacturer, follow them. My first gas tank skid was from Tomken. It came in a cardboard box....that was it.
Let's get started by dropping the gas tank.
Gas weighs about 6 pounds per gallon. If you have a full tank, do yourself a favor and do the swap when you have a quarter tank or less. It is easier to handle the tank when it is not nearly so full. A full tank will come in at better than 120 pounds (including the gas tank itself). No need to wrestle that thing around when you could be doing it when it was much lighter.
In order for the tank to be dropped, the filler hose and vent tube needs to be removed. Some folks remove them at the tank by loosening the hose clamps and slipping the hoses off of the tank. I find it easier to remove the 4 screws that hold the filler neck in place. A Phillips screwdriver makes short work of the 4 screws. With the screws removed, the filler will be free to move as necessary when you lower the tank.
Before removing any of the mounting hardware, you need to figure out just how to support the tank BEFORE the mounting hardware is removed. If you are going this in your driveway (which is a great way to do it), a floor jack placed under the gas tank works well to manage the tanks up and down movement. In my case, I had the vehicle on a lift at the shop and so used a tranny jack to support the tank before removing the mounting hardware.
With the jack supporting the gas tank, remove the nuts from the studs along the rear edge of the gas tank. There are about a half dozen of them along the rear of the tank. A half inch socket works well for this.
On the front edge of the tank, there are three more nuts to remove. One is near the exhaust pipe and the other two are located more towards the driver's side of the tank.
With the mounting hardware removed from the front and rear areas of the tank, SLOWLY lower the tank several inches. Do not let it down all the way as you still have one electrical connector, a gas line, and a vent line to disconnect.
The smaller diameter rubber vent line can be slipped off of the metal line. There are no clamps to remove, just work it back and forth a bit and slip it off the metal line.
More Gas Tank Skid