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  #1  
Old November 26th, 2019, 08:57
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

I see many makers of center frame stiffeners. what are the pros and cons of each? most are 3 /16 inch thick.

Does anyone make a set that is zinc plated for corrosion protection?

I see some that are U shaped, Like Hooligans, that have a short leg of the U to be on the inside of the frame. Others have a tab that meets the floor boards, or course welding to the floor means I will need to pull the carpet and padding inside.

Pros and cons of each?

https://www.ironrockoffroad.com/prod...r-section.html

https://aresfabrication.com/shop/xj-...nter-xj-84-01/

https://www.jcroffroad.com/product/XJUNS-M.html

https://www.hooliganoffroad.com/coll...mid-stiffeners

https://dbmetalworx.com/4x4-products...NERS-p97338626

https://dirtboundoffroad.com/collect...ep-cherokee-xj

https://www.nextventuremotorsports.c...iffeners-main/

https://www.tntcustoms.com/jeep_part...toms? sku=XCS

https://affordableoffroad.com/shop/e...kee-1984-2001/

http://www.dndoffroad.com/XJ-Center-...rs_p_4807.html

https://www.jeepinoutfitters.com/pro...ame-stiffeners

https://www.ruffstuffspecialties.com...=reinforplates


The above links are sources For the center section I found on the interweb.

I have 33 tires, and do a bunch of offroad, some rock crawling too. I have had the XJ for almost 2 years. Prior owner got a dent on one frame already, not too bad, and last week I scraped one a little bit, so now I am convinced i need them, I will be adding rock rails at the rockers once the frame is stiffened.

One of my hesitations is wont the stiffeners leave a water trap area between them and the frame, ie rust problem, specially if it gets salted? how has the stiffeners worked in salty areas rust wise. mind you I dont intend to travel where the road is salted, but it is a concern anyway.
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  #2  
Old November 26th, 2019, 10:17
VAhasnoWAVES VAhasnoWAVES is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black1990jeep View Post
One of my hesitations is wont the stiffeners leave a water trap area between them and the frame, ie rust problem, specially if it gets salted? how has the stiffeners worked in salty areas rust wise. mind you I dont intend to travel where the road is salted, but it is a concern anyway.
what ever stiffener you choose...

coat the frame rail and back side of the stiffener with a weld through primer. then after you rosette weld and stitch weld, go back with a body seam sealer and run a bead around the perimeter of the frame stiffeners. thats about the best you can do. itll last longer than the jeep.
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  #3  
Old November 26th, 2019, 12:18
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black1990jeep View Post
I see many makers of center frame stiffeners. what are the pros and cons of each? most are 3 /16 inch thick.

Does anyone make a set that is zinc plated for corrosion protection?

I see some that are U shaped, Like Hooligans, that have a short leg of the U to be on the inside of the frame. Others have a tab that meets the floor boards, or course welding to the floor means I will need to pull the carpet and padding inside.

Pros and cons of each?

https://www.ironrockoffroad.com/prod...r-section.html

https://aresfabrication.com/shop/xj-...nter-xj-84-01/

https://www.jcroffroad.com/product/XJUNS-M.html

https://www.hooliganoffroad.com/coll...mid-stiffeners

https://dbmetalworx.com/4x4-products...NERS-p97338626

https://dirtboundoffroad.com/collect...ep-cherokee-xj

https://www.nextventuremotorsports.c...iffeners-main/

https://www.tntcustoms.com/jeep_part...toms? sku=XCS

https://affordableoffroad.com/shop/e...kee-1984-2001/

http://www.dndoffroad.com/XJ-Center-...rs_p_4807.html

https://www.jeepinoutfitters.com/pro...ame-stiffeners

https://www.ruffstuffspecialties.com...=reinforplates


The above links are sources For the center section I found on the interweb.

I have 33 tires, and do a bunch of offroad, some rock crawling too. I have had the XJ for almost 2 years. Prior owner got a dent on one frame already, not too bad, and last week I scraped one a little bit, so now I am convinced i need them, I will be adding rock rails at the rockers once the frame is stiffened.

One of my hesitations is wont the stiffeners leave a water trap area between them and the frame, ie rust problem, specially if it gets salted? how has the stiffeners worked in salty areas rust wise. mind you I dont intend to travel where the road is salted, but it is a concern anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by VAhasnoWAVES View Post
what ever stiffener you choose...

coat the frame rail and back side of the stiffener with a weld through primer. then after you rosette weld and stitch weld, go back with a body seam sealer and run a bead around the perimeter of the frame stiffeners. thats about the best you can do. itll last longer than the jeep.
That is good advice. Lots of zinc weld thru primer. I was thinking of welding all around, including around all the stock holes in the frame, so it would be impossible for water to get between. However the fit must be perfect for that, which will require some extra work cause of some dents in the frame. I suppose some of the high end urethane sealers would work too. but I have to seal around all the stock holes, and what ever drain holes remain as the frame still needs to drain. Miss a spot with sealing and first river crossing will soak it, and that trapped water may be stuck in there for years.
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  #4  
Old November 26th, 2019, 12:45
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techno1154 techno1154 is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Quote:
Originally Posted by VAhasnoWAVES View Post
what ever stiffener you choose...

coat the frame rail and back side of the stiffener with a weld through primer. then after you rosette weld and stitch weld, go back with a body seam sealer and run a bead around the perimeter of the frame stiffeners. thats about the best you can do. itll last longer than the jeep.
To being with, the center frame that you wish to plate is not sealed. It have 12+ holes in it permanently from the factory. That is in addition to other holes in the front and aft section. And the front and aft of the frame where the bumpers are attached are wide open. I would not do anything to try to seal the center section. Leave the holes open so water entering anywhere in the frame will drain out the lowest/center section.
On completely welding the stiffeners, manufactures and welding experts suggest not to completely welding them in but rather stitch welding them. I will take the advice of the masses on this subject.
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1996 XJ; 4.0L; AW4; NP231; SYE; D30 and D44; ECTED; 4.10 gears; 30X9.5 -15 BFG/AT/KO; 3" lift; Rusty's LCA; JKS ADJ UCA; Kevins ADJ Track bar; Drawtite Front Receiver; Dual Electric Fans; Dual Battaries.
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  #5  
Old November 26th, 2019, 15:53
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

I wonder why stitch weld verses full length weld? Maybe the heat treatment of the weld weakens the frame sheetmetal too much, such as a long tear could result? Or?
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  #6  
Old November 26th, 2019, 17:20
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Anak Anak is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Yes. Pretty much.

The weld will be of a different strength than the sheet metal. That area where the two strengths meet becomes a point of conflict, a stress riser. By using a stitch weld you blend the strengths in such a fashion that there is less of a stress riser. What stress there is exists in pockets which are distributed so they are not so prone to breaking.

Body seam sealer is your alternative bead to use between stitch welds. And I would suggest, after you finish all your welding (rock sliders included) and seam sealer and get a couple good coats of paint, then get some undercoating and apply that too. I think that is about the best you can hope for.
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  #7  
Old November 26th, 2019, 17:41
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Thanks for the confirmation, I know a bit about heat treatment, still new at welding. I had a stainless tea pot heated dry, cooked it good and hot, left too long on the burner. . Where the flame touched the bottom, the hot spots, on the inside the pot now rusts over night with water in it, the rust follows the pattern of the flame print. Evidently the high heat caused the anticorrosion bits in the stainless, i.e... Chromium, Nickel to diffuse out of the bulk, and into the grain boundaries, thus leaving areas devoid of the corrosion stopping bits of Cr and Ni within the grains. .
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  #8  
Old November 27th, 2019, 08:48
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Here is a link I found on welding technique for the uniframe body...

http://www.mallcrawlin.com/forum/sho...-Welding-Bible

confirms what techno1154 and others have said about stitch welds, not that I doubted.

Still trying to find which brand of stiffeners is the best option. It looks like I will be ordering two sets, as my jeeping buddy wants to do the same, and I got the welder.

Any comments on which brands might be best, or brands to avoid?
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  #9  
Old November 27th, 2019, 11:37
JonnyCat63 JonnyCat63 is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

I have a set of TNT's on my 95 and a set of Ruffstuff's on my 97. Really not much difference between the two. Both went on fine, if I recall correctly, Ruffstuff has an upper lip and the TNT's did not.
I'm trying a full set of Iron Rock's on my 99 build. They seem very nice and so far, I'm pleased with the fitment. I'd probably use IRO's again, but in reality, there's just not that much difference. Like others said, pick one and burn it in.
If you haven't bought some already, IRO usually has a great Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal on frame stiffeners. That's where I got mine. Definitely worth checking out.
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Old November 28th, 2019, 17:39
cwyman6 cwyman6 is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

I used ruffstuff on mine and they are super thick and have a upper lip like previously said to weld to the floor. I used tnt on my customers and they fit better and are not as heavy which made welding easier. However no rosette weld holes so I drilled my one. I have ironrock front stiffened on mine and loved the weld slots vs holes. Would use there's again in a heartbeat
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Old November 29th, 2019, 15:37
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Hi all, Here is how I summerize the ones listed. Most are two side, more or less "L" shaped. All are 3/16 inch, except for DirtBound Offroad at 7 gauge, which is darn close to 3/16 at 0.179 inch, and dbmetalworx at 10 gauge, which is thin at 0.135 inch. 3/16 equals 0.188 inch.

Two are "U" shaped, Hooligan, where the inside leg of the U is short so I may not need to disturb the tubing mounted on the driver side frame , and the other with a U shape is Area Fabrication, which provides a full height inner leg of the U, however Areas does not have weld holes stamped in it,

Three have floor tabs, but otherwise are L shaped, This means I will need to pull out the interior floor carpet for welding I assume. The three with floor tabs are... Ruff Stuff, Affordable Offroad, and Iron Rock.

So, For me, having BOTH floor tabs AND channel U shape seem to be desirable, but none of these fine folks make that combination.

Of course maybe there are some brands I missed, I really would like to see an U channel style with floor tabs. Does anyone know of other brands not on the list?

None offered galvanized steel, bummer. that would be so much better than weld thru zinc paint.

So does a galvanized U channel, floor tabbed stiffener with weld holes exist? I suppose I could live with Zinc paint, and even make my own weld holes,

I suppose I could weld some 3/16 walled 1x2 or 1x3 inch square tube under the L shaped, with floor tabs frame stiffener for better dent free rock sliding ability, but that would cost an inch of ground clearance.

Comments?

I think the U channel shape of Hooligan and Areas Fabrication would offer the best rock slider dent protection, verses any of the L shaped offerings.

However, the floor tabs of RuffStuff , Affordable, and IronRock seems to also be a nice feature, giving full height of frame coverage.

I wish I could get the best of both styles.
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  #12  
Old November 29th, 2019, 16:29
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Ok, upon reflection, maybe my best bet is a U channel design, like Hooligan, or Ares, but add my own 3/16 inch walled angle say 1x 1 or so at the top of the stiffener along the frame stiffeners length. That would provide me with an added on floor mounting full length tab!!!

So Plan A is....Weld on the U channel stiffener like Ares or Hooligan make to the jeep, then weld my locally sourced angle pieces over the top on the upper part of the stiffener and to the floorboard. Maybe that's what I will do, Comments?

Also who has done either the Ares or Hooligan instal? How do they fit?
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  #13  
Old November 29th, 2019, 18:06
Heavyopp Heavyopp is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

Galvanized wouldn't work very well anyway -- you would have to grind it off at each weld and what you didn't grind off would burn off and contaminate your welds
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Old November 29th, 2019, 19:47
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

I have not installed Hooligan centers, but I have installed their front stiffeners. I have no complaints about them and would happily choose them again.

Regardless of whose you choose, expect to need to do some work to get them to fit properly. There is going to be some clamping and jacking required in order to get them in close. Take the time on the fitment, it will make the welding go much better.
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  #15  
Old December 4th, 2019, 09:24
jonzer12 jonzer12 is offline
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Re: Differences in Center Frame Stiffeners

I would also suggest that your don't go over 1/8 or 10 guage. 3/16 is overkill in my book.
After ten years of fabbing on my XJ I wish I have had taken more care with attention to weight and not used whatever metal I had on hand. Using 3/6 angle to tie into the floor plan is way overkill.
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