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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've created this thread to provide updates and gather feedback on the development of Chief Products 'Sump Protection Plate'.

As many of you probably know, WK2s only have a plastic (2011-2012) or plastic/felt (2013+) unit protecting the front underside of the vehicle. Sadly, Jeep & Mopar currently offer no skid plate protection for this area.

For many, this is one of the first parts you break off-road. It protects a critical area (see photos below) as well as holding the inner wheel well liners in place. Considering the dealer in Brisbane charged me $388.04 for a new unit, plus $4.56 for fasteners, plus GST, plus installation to replace the plastic unit when it broke off-road. I thought it might be a good idea to create a more sturdy version.

Here are a few photos:

STOCK VERSION (INSTALLED)


STOCK VERSION (BROKEN)


WHAT IT PROTECTS


WHAT IT PROTECTS 2


CHIEF PRODUCTS - PROTOTYPE V1 (INSTALLED - FRONT AIR DAM REMOVED)


CHIEF PRODUCTS - PROTOTYPE V1 (INSTALLED)


CHIEF PRODUCTS - PROTOTYPE V1 (OFF-ROAD TESTING)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Chief Products 'Sump Protection Plate' prototype V1 is made from 6mm 5005 Aluminium (marine grade). Information we've gathered from testing and feedback so far has been excellent.

As you can see in the photos, unlike the stock unit which bolts to the bottom of the front frame member only, ours rolls up and over the frame member, making it difficult for dirt or rocks to get wedged between the plate and the front frame member. This is a common failure point for the stock unit.

On July 16th, I will be meeting with the fabricator to create prototype version 2. Here are the upgrades we currently have planned for prototype version 2.

1. Dome head or flat head bolts, to protect them off-road.
2. Increased strength, either through folds and bends in the metal, thicker aluminium or a heavier grade metal.
3. Drainage slots running from the front of the plate to the back, to increase air flow and provide better drainage for dirt, sand & mud. We've decided to go with slots front to back instead of holes, to protect against rocks or sticks getting caught in the holes.
4. Black powder coating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would love to get everyone's comments and thoughts, especially on the following questions.

Steel or Alloy? Alloy is much lighter and more corrosion resistant, but also comparatively weaker. A steel plate would not only mean more weight on the front of your WK2, but also greater shipping costs.

Painted or unpainted? If we do a steel plate it will need to be painted, but an alloy plate could remain unpainted. So far the feedback has indicated that people don't want the plate to 'stick out' visually, so we've plans to powder coat it black. Of course this means scratches and marks would show up more and the cost of plate would be greater.

If the finalised Sump Protection Plate met all of your requirements. How many would want one? Would you be willing to preorder?

Our current price target is $350, plus GST & Shipping. I am hoping to have them available by 1st August.

I look forward to everyone's feedback!

Cheers,
Bill
 

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GC Overland
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I think steel is the way to go, with black powdercoating. You could offer chrome at a premium price for those Bling Blokes.

Pricing for the basic unit initially appears high. You may find it hard to get volume sales.
 

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This item is long overdue. However, I would call this a bash plate rather than a sump protection plate. I already have a steel sump protection plate as part of the Mopar skid plate kit. Unfortunately, for some silly reason, the Mopar kit doesn't extend forward of sump itself as your one does.
 

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Yes i agree this part is well overdue

I too would like one

I have no issue with alloy as it replaces a plastic part
So ally would be stronger any way.
Painted i should think
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What tires are on your WK2?

Care to post a full pic?
I'm running Maxxis MT-762s at 275/65R18. Here's a photo of the WK2 all setup for our 10 day trip to Coffs Harbour in May. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the input! :)

We did consider other names. Jeep calls the stock part a 'Belly Pan' and we did consider calling it a Bash Plate, but both of those names seemed to lack proper description of what it was. Thanks for the input, we will keep working on the name.

Sales to the USA will not include GST, and we are looking at ways to ship them 10 at a time to reduce costs for bulk orders.

Our initial price target of $350 plus GST & Shipping will come down as the order numbers go up. It is part of the reason I have made this post, to help us gauge demand for our initial manufacturing run.

Thanks for all the comments! I should have more to report very soon.

Cheers,
Bill
 

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What tires are on your WK2?

Care to post a full pic?
While you are at it, what engine is that? Your photo shows what looks like an oil filter. The CRD doesn't have the oil filter there.

I'm holding out for the ARB and Uneek4x4 bull bars that have been long promised. They may incorporate something similar. If not then I'll certainly be interested.

Also, have you considerred the differences in the bumper area of the 2011 and 2012-13 vehicles? Will this fit both?
 

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I'd vote for Aluminum I don't need it painted, you could consider matt or satin black anodising rather than painting.

I'd suggest some front to back strengthening ribs rather than thicker metal. The mounting bolts could then be countersunk into the strengthening ribs so that the heads are protected. Inserting an allen key into a crunched dome head is very difficult. You may need to consider bigger mounting bolts.

You could place mesh across any holes or slots to stop sticks.

I agree with allypally $350 + GST is a bit steep, you may struggle to find sales.

I'd be prepared to pay $250 + GST in bare aluminum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
While you are at it, what engine is that? Your photo shows what looks like an oil filter. The CRD doesn't have the oil filter there.

I'm holding out for the ARB and Uneek4x4 bull bars that have been long promised. They may incorporate something similar. If not then I'll certainly be interested.

Also, have you considerred the differences in the bumper area of the 2011 and 2012-13 vehicles? Will this fit both?
That is the 5.7L Hemi engine, we have not test fitted the prototype plate to a CRD yet, but we will. :)

Yes I think I will also go with the ARB or Uneek4x4 Bull Bars, but from what I've seen so far they are only planning to guard the front area, (lower radiator, etc.). Of course if they provide a solution further back, then our product will only make sense for those without a Bull Bar. :)

I have investigated fitment on 2011, 2012 & 2013 vehicles, but I have not had a chance to look at the 2014 which has just come out. But I understand the front bumper frame area for 2014 WK2s is basically unchanged. I have a 2012, but when we have a finalised prototype design I will be doing final test fitting on 2011, 2013 and if possible 2014 vehicles prior to sale. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'd vote for Aluminum I don't need it painted, you could consider matt or satin black anodising rather than painting.

I'd suggest some front to back strengthening ribs rather than thicker metal. The mounting bolts could then be countersunk into the strengthening ribs so that the heads are protected. Inserting an allen key into a crunched dome head is very difficult. You may need to consider bigger mounting bolts.

You could place mesh across any holes or slots to stop sticks.

I agree with allypally $350 + GST is a bit steep, you may struggle to find sales.

I'd be prepared to pay $250 + GST in bare aluminum.
Thanks for the input!

Our first prototype for the Sump Protection Plate was 6mm 5005 Aluminium. It got the job done, but deformed during 'testing' (ahem... hitting a large rock off-road). So we've moved to 3mm hardened steel for the design of the 2nd prototype, along with some strengthening cross bends. I'm hoping to have the 2nd prototype ready for testing in a week or two.

I'd love to do strengthening ribs and pockets, but unfortunately the costs associated with creating a tool for pressing ribs and pockets would raise the cost significantly.

We are also developing a 'Front Guard' for the area behind the front air dam, to protect the lower radiator, windshield washer bottle, ACC Camera and air suspension controller. I'll post more information about it and our Recovery Hooks soon.

Cheers,
Bill
 

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Thanks for the input!

Our first prototype for the Sump Protection Plate was 6mm 5005 Aluminium. It got the job done, but deformed during 'testing' (ahem... hitting a large rock off-road). So we've moved to 3mm hardened steel for the design of the 2nd prototype, along with some strengthening cross bends. I'm hoping to have the 2nd prototype ready for testing in a week or two.

I'd love to do strengthening ribs and pockets, but unfortunately the costs associated with creating a tool for pressing ribs and pockets would raise the cost significantly.

We are also developing a 'Front Guard' for the area behind the front air dam, to protect the lower radiator, windshield washer bottle, ACC Camera and air suspension controller. I'll post more information about it and our Recovery Hooks soon.

Cheers,
Bill
Fantastic
Waiting with baited breath
Looking for photos costs etc
 

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We are also developing a 'Front Guard' for the area behind the front air dam, to protect the lower radiator, windshield washer bottle, ACC Camera and air suspension controller. I'll post more information about it and our Recovery Hooks soon.

Cheers,
Bill
Fantastic! This is the most vulnerable part of the Jeep, in fact ridiculously venerable for an off-roader. However, make sure the air still gets directed up to the radiators as it is with the current flimsy plastic air intake baffle. This will be critical to the caravans.
 

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I'm also interested in progress of your forward protection plate Bill, so will keep watch on this thread.

For the exercise, I quoted Rocky Road's hornbag looking lower bumper replacement and associated requisites at US$1600 delivered :eek: but bless them for actually offering us their great product.

Chers,
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sorry for the delay on our Sump Protection Plate, I've been very busy lately. Researching manufacturers and suppliers. Organising the best possible shipping prices. Building our new website. Getting engineering certificates in place. I know everyone is anxious, but bear with me, I want to make sure every aspect of our products is the very best it can be. On the positive side, we have dozens of new products in the pipeline that will be available very soon.

We now have finalised design and CAD drawings for Chief Products WK2 Sump Protection Plate. There will be 2 versions, one standard and one deluxe. I'll post some 3D drawings and more detailed information soon.

And the final product will definitely be less than $1600! :D

Cheers,
Bill
 

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That cardboard thingy is called a "Belly Pan, Front" Mopar#68037063AD. This is for the CRD's. I think the others are a bit different. I just tore mine off driving in sand with the air dam off as recommended by Jeep :mad:. What occurred to me is that the reason this is made of a flexible material could be that it connects the engine with the body. A rigid connection could transmit engine vibration to the body or stress parts in ways they were not intended to be stressed. I was thinking of maybe making something out of conveyor belting. Also, I suspect the belly pan plays a part in ducting air around the engine so driving without one for any length of time might not be a good idea. These are just ideas to through in the pot.
 
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