Two tummy tuck questions relating to transmission and driveshaft

tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
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May 23, 2018
1,655
Morrison, CO
Cool, thanks. I'm not sure which (if any) tummy tuck I'll end up going with, looking at GenRight and Savvy currently.
Savvy uses a crossmember that supports the transmission which allows you to run your jeep without the skid. Its a nice feature, especially when doing routine maintenance. Also, with a 1.25" body lift you can that extra 1/4" clearance. Doesnt sound like much but when you play in the rocks its a better advantage.
 
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Thunder Mass

Thunder Mass

Member
Sep 16, 2018
39
Washington
The only thing about the Savvy that doesn't give me the warm fuzzy is:

Installation Instructions for this product are out of date. Please be aware that other resources like forum guides might need to be utilized.

I dunno, seems kinda weird that they wouldn't update their own instructions.
 

tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 23, 2018
1,655
Morrison, CO

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tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 23, 2018
1,655
Morrison, CO
When you enter the phase for a tummy tuck, you're bound to deviate from any sort of "plan" or "writeup". You should expect some sort of unexpectedness. In my experience with Savvy, my pinion was rotated so far up that the bilstien shock bodies were contacting the coils. In order to fix this, I had to cut the brackets off my axle and clock them to work with the tuck. I was a little upset over it. Nowhere had I seen this mentioned. Over time though I began to realize that this level of modification is not a simple bolt on process. You will have to get creative and possibly spend a bit more money. In the long run though, you will have a jeep that is more capable than most you will see running down hwy or the trail.
 
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Qaddiction

New Member
Jul 31, 2017
22
Sunman, IN
I just did a tummy tuck “light” by installing a Barnes skidplate. It lifts the transfer case 3/4 inch and increases the ground clearance an inch or more. It is not like the OEM shovel that seems to scoop up dirt. The increase in ground clearance isn’t much but the surface is flat so it should skid over things better. Even with just the 3/4 inch transfer case lift the driveline angles are noticeably steeper but with a 2 inch lift and single Cardan I still have no vibration.
I was leaning towards the Barnes skid plate as well. Hoping for a little extra clearance, a cleaner than stock look, and to keep the headaches to a minimum (preferably non existent). Are you happy with yours?
 

TurboTJ

Member
Jan 5, 2019
88
Walnut Creek, CA
I was leaning towards the Barnes skid plate as well. Hoping for a little extra clearance, a cleaner than stock look, and to keep the headaches to a minimum (preferably non existent). Are you happy with yours?
Yes, quite happy. Admittedly it doesn't give you much more clearance but it is cheap and just bolts on. If you have a Rubicon there is a fair amount of additional work because you need to relocate the locker compressors but that is relatively straightforward. I also installed a Savvy cable shifter for the transfer case. I don't know if the 3/4 inch transfer case lift would create any problems with the OEM mechanical linkage but I decided to avoid any possibility of that. Lastly, it probably would be a good idea to modify the exhaust hangers to account for the lift but I haven't done that yet.

For a non-Rubicon and without any of the other changes it is literally a 15 minute job to put the skid plate on. Even if it doesn't buy you much clearance it sure looks a lot nicer.

Does anyone want a used OEM shovel?
 

Jorge Bolivar

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 20, 2017
786
Cleveland, OH, United States
The only thing about the Savvy that doesn't give me the warm fuzzy is:

Installation Instructions for this product are out of date. Please be aware that other resources like forum guides might need to be utilized.

I dunno, seems kinda weird that they wouldn't update their own instructions.

This should be the last of your worries. Outdated instructions are far better than no instructions.
Trust me on this one!
 
OP
Thunder Mass

Thunder Mass

Member
Sep 16, 2018
39
Washington
I'll take a look through that, thanks.

When you enter the phase for a tummy tuck, you're bound to deviate from any sort of "plan" or "writeup". You should expect some sort of unexpectedness. In my experience with Savvy, my pinion was rotated so far up that the bilstien shock bodies were contacting the coils. In order to fix this, I had to cut the brackets off my axle and clock them to work with the tuck. I was a little upset over it. Nowhere had I seen this mentioned. Over time though I began to realize that this level of modification is not a simple bolt on process. You will have to get creative and possibly spend a bit more money. In the long run though, you will have a jeep that is more capable than most you will see running down hwy or the trail.
So, I don't have the space, skill, or tools to do this job. And it's my daily driver, so I gotta get it back as soon as I can. For that reason, I won't be doing the work, and I'll have to go to a shop. Running into these problems and not being able to tell a shop what to expect sounds problematic. But, it is what it is.

This should be the last of your worries. Outdated instructions are far better than no instructions.
Trust me on this one!
Yeah, that's true! As long as the shop can figure it out, and my wallet can support it.

That's why I might just hold off on it, and bite the bullet on buying a new driveshaft again when I do the tummy tuck. Maybe.
 

Jorge Bolivar

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 20, 2017
786
Cleveland, OH, United States
I'm trying to plan out my upcoming build on my '05 LJ; assuming I can fund it. And while I'm not planning on doing a tummy tuck at this point, it definitely is something I'd like to do in the future. Which is why I'd like to make sure that the first part of my build won't be wasteful in the future.

So the first is the transmission. I've got the 6 speed manual NSG370. It pops out of first gear if I don't hold it in place, seemed to start after my father got rear ended before I bought it from him. But, it sounds like a somewhat common thing to happen with those trannys too. Anyway, at some time, I'd like to get that fixed. Not high priority for me, though. I thought that you had to drop the transmission to do a tummy tuck, so I figured I'd do them together, to save labor cost. But after looking at it some more, it doesn't look like the tranny is involved at all. Is this true? That way, I can do them independently. Or rather, maybe you have to remove the transfer case to remove the transmission?

Second is the driveshaft. I was hoping to get away with not needing a new driveshaft even with a 4" short arm, being that I have an LJ, but I think I'll just go ahead and do it to be safe. And a SYE, of course. But I gotta wonder, if I do the tummy tuck later on, will the driveshaft I got for the 4" lift still work? I'm hoping so, especially with LJs seeming to be more forgiving in that area. Or, am I just over thinking it?

Thanks.
First advise to you from an LJ'r that went true this storm.

Tummy tuck is not a simple and cheap project. As difference from the TJ the LJ break over angle and wheel base will require a flatter skid even when 33 to 35" tires are used.

Then,

Determine the tire size first. This will rule any else.

Are you sure 4" short arm lift kit will be enough for what the LJ will be used for?
If decide different then you TT skid maybe part of your new lift or you can get different system if that is the case.

It's no need to drop the transmission to do the TT but it is recommended to removed the TT to install the SYE.

Your current drive shaft will work with the 4" lift until you do the tummy tuck. Then the SYE, new drive shaft and the upper adjustable controls arms are need it.

I will think twice to do lockers at the same time TT is done. Many fellas has vibration issues after re gear, others after the TT and if your LJ end up with this issue then will be little hard to spot the vibes source.

No, you are not over thinking this, in fact it is good because you are getting outside the comfort zone, and you will be there until you ride the LJ back again after the TT is completed.
 
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jodomcfrodo

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2016
1,151
Evanston, IL, United States
So, I don't have the space, skill, or tools to do this job. And it's my daily driver, so I gotta get it back as soon as I can. For that reason, I won't be doing the work, and I'll have to go to a shop. Running into these problems and not being able to tell a shop what to expect sounds problematic. But, it is what it is.
I had a shop install my Savvy TT. They were not happy about the lack of instructions but once I sent them a forum post and told them it was an easy install, they were able to get it done. If your shop can't roll with the punches and do a little bit of "figuring it out" then find a new shop. Shops that just bolt stuff on and do nothing custom are not the type of shop you want to drop your Jeep off at.
 

jjvw

0-60 in 18 seconds
Supporting Member
Feb 17, 2018
4,792
Colorado, USA
The only thing about the Savvy that doesn't give me the warm fuzzy is:

Installation Instructions for this product are out of date. Please be aware that other resources like forum guides might need to be utilized.

I dunno, seems kinda weird that they wouldn't update their own instructions.
It's a non-issue. You aren't buying for the instructions. What you get is good enough. The forums will fill in the gaps. You are buying the Savvy kit because it is the best (mostly) bolt on option available. It is what it is.

At the end of the day, this is entering into the realm of advanced modifications. A tummy tuck is a modification where you just need to understand what needs to be done. It isn't for beginners. There are too many variables in play to be reasonably covered by a set of instructions. The good news is that Savvy has made most of the process pretty fool proof.
 
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Thunder Mass

Thunder Mass

Member
Sep 16, 2018
39
Washington
First advise to you from an LJ'r that went true this storm.

Tummy tuck is not a simple and cheap project. As difference from the TJ the LJ break over angle and wheel base will require a flatter skid even when 33 to 35" tires are used.

Then,

Determine the tire size first. This will rule any else.

Are you sure 4" short arm lift kit will be enough for what the LJ will be used for?
If decide different then you TT skid maybe part of your new lift or you can get different system if that is the case.

It's no need to drop the transmission to do the TT but it is recommended to removed the TT to install the SYE.

Your current drive shaft will work with the 4" lift until you do the tummy tuck. Then the SYE, new drive shaft and the upper adjustable controls arms are need it.

I will think twice to do lockers at the same time TT is done. Many fellas has vibration issues after re gear, others after the TT and if your LJ end up with this issue then will be little hard to spot the vibes source.

No, you are not over thinking this, in fact it is good because you are getting outside the comfort zone, and you will be there until you ride the LJ back again after the TT is completed.
Yours is an LJ, or LJR?

The break over angle is something that I'm not really knowledgeable in. I guess I have to do more reading into it. I figured just go with as flat of a skid as I could, cuz why not? Seems like the Savvy is pretty good in that area.

So, the tire size is where it gets somewhat problematic. I was origionally planning on going with 33x10.5, but I'm now leaning more towards 35x12.5. That's the size I've wanted this whole time. Only problem is that I like the more narrow tire for driving on wet roads in Washington. But I figure that a 4" short arm should be enough for either tire, when combined with a 1" BL, correct?

I am a little confused though, that I see a lot of long arm lifts here in WA. At a Jeep show it looked like at least 3/4 of them were long arms. I feel like the consensus here is that short arms are better. But long arms aren't out of the question either; just more costly. And they open up more opportunities for larger tires if I do an axle swap, which I've considered in the far future. But, being my DD, I don't want my Jeep to be too tall.

You didn't have any issues with your drive shaft and 4" of lift? It sounded like it would be okay on the street, but offroad too much articulation it could fall out? Or is that not true? If the driveshaft would work, I'd probably skip the tummy tuck for now, and do it later on.

I get what you're saying by too many mods, and trying to find the source of vibration. Just didn't think lockers could do that. Or is that just the gears?

Part of me just wants this all done, so I don't have to think about it anymore, and just wheel it!

I had a shop install my Savvy TT. They were not happy about the lack of instructions but once I sent them a forum post and told them it was an easy install, they were able to get it done. If your shop can't roll with the punches and do a little bit of "figuring it out" then find a new shop. Shops that just bolt stuff on and do nothing custom are not the type of shop you want to drop your Jeep off at.
That's fair. Maybe I should shop around and see who is in my region, and see what they can do, and what they charge. Not just go with one.

It's a non-issue. You aren't buying for the instructions. What you get is good enough. The forums will fill in the gaps. You are buying the Savvy kit because it is the best (mostly) bolt on option available. It is what it is.

At the end of the day, this is entering into the realm of advanced modifications. A tummy tuck is a modification where you just need to understand what needs to be done. It isn't for beginners. There are too many variables in play to be reasonably covered by a set of instructions. The good news is that Savvy has made most of the process pretty fool proof.
It's definitely above my head to do myself, and maybe too difficult for me to plan out at this time. It sounds really worthwhile, but might be something to wait on.

Thanks for all of the advice so far.
 

jjvw

0-60 in 18 seconds
Supporting Member
Feb 17, 2018
4,792
Colorado, USA
...

I am a little confused though, that I see a lot of long arm lifts here in WA. At a Jeep show it looked like at least 3/4 of them were long arms. I feel like the consensus here is that short arms are better. But long arms aren't out of the question either; just more costly. And they open up more opportunities for larger tires if I do an axle swap, which I've considered in the far future. But, being my DD, I don't want my Jeep to be too tall.
Long arms do not open up the possibilities for larger tires. That isn't what they for. And I'll hazard a guess today the longer arms you are seeing at the Jeep shows are not fulfilling the purposes of longer arms either.

You didn't have any issues with your drive shaft and 4" of lift? It sounded like it would be okay on the street, but offroad too much articulation it could fall out? Or is that not true?

...
If the coils are falling out, the shocks are too long and or the coils are too short.
 

billiebob

TJ Expert
Oct 31, 2015
3,164
Kootenays, BC, Canada
Body Lift
If you are doing a body lift you will be able to lift the tranny, transfer case, motor that much more too and end up with a true flat plate for the skid. Most tummy tucks still leave the skid hanging down a bit.

You might look at threads where the owner did a custom transfer case support/skid.

The ultimate goal is to get everything flush with the frame rails.
 
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Thunder Mass

Thunder Mass

Member
Sep 16, 2018
39
Washington
Long arms do not open up the possibilities for larger tires. That isn't what they for. And I'll hazard a guess today the longer arms you are seeing at the Jeep shows are not fulfilling the purposes of longer arms either.



If the coils are falling out, the shocks are too long and or the coils are too short.
I know (or, at least I think I know) that the longer arms give a smoother ride on the street. And while you don't have to get 5" or 6" long arms, 4" are available, you can go taller with them, making room for larger tires. But they do seem to get caught up on rocks easier? I am curious if there is a limit to what short arms can do, regarding tire size. If tube and highline fenders were used, what could you potentially fit under a 4" short arm?

No, not the coils. Could the driveshaft fall out if there's too much lift and articulation? Like, I might be able to get away with a stock driveshaft on an LJ with 4" lift, but as soon as I start actually using it, could it fall out? Or am I just making that up? Like how I thought you had to drop the tranny to do a tummy tuck...

If you are doing a body lift you will be able to lift the tranny, transfer case, motor that much more too and end up with a true flat plate for the skid. Most tummy tucks still leave the skid hanging down a bit.

You might look at threads where the owner did a custom transfer case support/skid.

The ultimate goal is to get everything flush with the frame rails.
As much as I don't like body lifts, I do plan on doing one for that reason.

I did see that it looks like there is still some hang below the frame, and flush would be ideal. But I'm in no position to make one myself. But I'll look into those and see if I can learn something, or maybe find something else? Thanks.
 
OP
Thunder Mass

Thunder Mass

Member
Sep 16, 2018
39
Washington
If you have a plan, I'd do the Body Lift, MML, Tummy Tuck first. That only lifts the drive line 2"-3" and you can run the stock driveline until you do the suspension if this is your DD.
So, like do the tummy tuck and once all of the kinks are worked out, of any, then roll into the suspension? Cuz I have a relative idea of what I wanna do with suspension? That might be the safer way. I was originally thinking of going the other way, suspension first then tummy. But I'd rather not replace the driveshaft twice.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,502
Salem, Oregon
If you have a plan, I'd do the Body Lift, MML, Tummy Tuck first. That only lifts the drive line 2"-3" and you can run the stock driveline until you do the suspension if this is your DD.
Good point. If you did that without doing a suspension lift, it would be much more manageable. It's when you start adding the suspension lift and the tummy tuck that you really start messing with the geometry.

Still, with the driveline being lifted 2-3" from the tummy tuck, it's still likely that you'll need a SYE and DC driveshaft, as well as upper adjustable rear control arms.