Well, this has to be one of the more no-brainer mods I have done in a long time. It ranks up there with hanging the fuzzy dice from the rear view mirror, in terms of difficulty anyway.
I caught a name and web address of a small fab shop from one of the Jeep forums. The guys name was Ron Pasch and he runs Ron's Custom Shop. I sent him e-mail and within the day, had ordered his standard D-30 diff cover guard. This was during the Thanksgiving holiday and he had a special running during the month. The price was right. I had a few $$ sitting in my account so I thought I would give this guard a try.
Well, there it is, bolted on and ready to be tested. Ron ships the guard with no coating or paint applied. In other words, you get it in raw metal form. I picked up a can of metal primer and a can of flat black and spent a Saturday laying down multiple coats of each. I stopped at the local Ace Hardware (it has to be the best place left in the USA to buy fasteners of every type you can think of). Since the outer ring on the guard was made from 3/8" thick metal, I simply bought bolts that were 3/8" longer than the stock bolts. OK....I'll save you the math. I got some 1" long 5/16"" grade 8 bolts and washers....10 of each in fact.
With a oil catch pan located under the diff (just in case the cover let go), I carefully removed the 10 bolts, being careful not to whack the cover and thus allow the Mobil1 to spill out into the catch pan (and not the garage floor, thankfully). As it was, the fluid gods were smiling down on me and I successfully replaced all 10 bolts with the new grade 8s without any problem or fluid loss. After a good snug down and subsequent recheck, I proclaimed this mod officially done! Install time, less the painting process, was about 5 minutes, plus or minus a minute. Even if you can't screw in a light bulb, you should be able to bolt on a diff guard. (the guard is much less likely to break!)
How do I like it? It sure looks beefy enough. I am no weld expert, but the welds looked even and consistent, from one point to the next. I guess that means it is consistently good or consistently bad....time and the trail will certainly tell. I expect no problems from it. All kidding aside, it appears to be a well made unit and I expect good use from it. Ron's service was both courteous and prompt. For me, that is all part of providing a good product. Oh, did I mention he takes PayPal payments too?
March 9, 2002
I recently peeled my rear diff cover on a rock while rock crawling on a local trail. The sad part was just a couple of days before it happened, I had been thinking about giving Ron a shout and seeing what he could do for a restricted clearance diff guard for my D44. After I peeled the cover, I got in touch with Ron and asked him to make me one that was similar to a picture I sent along. In a couple of days, the UPS man dropped off Ron's new guard. Here it is.
4x4 Off-Road Homestead Firearms RC Flying