with Jay Hamvas
The install of the Shrockworks Gas Tank Skidplate is easy and straightforward. One of the most important things to do before attempting this install is to make sure the gas tank is almost empty. Gas weighs about 8 lbs. per gallon, so it doesnt take much gas to add a lot of weight. There are only 4 bolts that hold the stock skidplate and gas tank to the frame. I recommend spraying these bolts with some type of penetrating oil prior to starting the install. You will need the following items for the install; Shrockworks gas tank skidplate, spray primer, spray paint, 2 pairs of Vise Grips, 14mm socket, socket, a long extension, pry-bar, floor jack, might need some scrap wood, penetrating oil.
The Shrockworks skidplate is very well designed and stout. While some manufacturers Powder coat their products, Shrockworks skidplate is shipped to you without any finish on it. I prefer the Shrockworks method better for several reasons. First, its a skidplate and its designed to protect your vehicle. So therefore its going to get scratched and Powder coating is about impossible to touch up. Secondly, you get to pick what color skidplate best matches the color scheme of your Zuk. I prepped the skidplate for painting by using a wire wheel on a grinder. Then wiped the skidplate down with acetone. I then used white spray primer and top coated with Gloss White spray paint. (one can of each was enough) While the final coat of paint was drying I started the process of removing the stock skidplate. I began by breaking the 4 bolts loose. A long extension will help in the removal of the 2 front bolts. I then backed all 4 bolts out about inch. I made sure I left enough of the bolt threaded to hold. I used 2 pairs of Vise Grips to clamp the gas tank to the frame mount. One on the driver rear bolt and one on the driver front bolt. This was enough to hold the gas tank in place. I finished removing all 4 bolts and carefully dropped the stock skidplate out of the way. I think it weighs all of 3 lbs.! In order to make the install of the Shrockworks skidplate easier; I needed to use my floor jack. My floor jack doesnt reach high enough so I place some scrap wood between the jack and skidplate. I positioned the floor jack (with skidplate on top) under the gas tank. I slowly jacked up the skidplate. Once it got close to the gas tank I hand threaded each bolt. (Note: 2 longer bolts are supplied with the skidplate, I used these initially to get the skidplate into position then later removed them and used all 4 original bolts) I had a lot of trouble with the passenger front bolt. I ended up grinding one side of the washer on the stock bolt. I used a small prybar to help position the skidplate in order to line up the hole and get the bolt started. Once I had all 4 bolts started I removed the Vise Grips. I then tightened all 4 bolts. Then I touched up the paint. Overall the install went very smooth. I think the trouble with that one bolt was from an accident my Zuk was in. I was rear ended several years ago and it's possible that the skidplate was hit which probably shifted the frame mounts a little. Whether you rockcrawl, mud or just trailride, I think the Shrockworks Gas Tank Skidplate is a great addition to any Zook. The stock skidplate doesnt supply the protection that your gas tank needs. I can now hit the Trails and the Highways knowing that my gas tank is protected. Source: