I’ll grab some pictures of the under carriage next time I’m out, but here’s the story:
I used my occillating tool to cut the center off the bolts in all 4 spots. The one side of the bolt fell right out clearing 4 of the 8 flange holes. The otherside was in fact a dreaded nutsert. I heated, I beated, I punched, I pounded, and I drilled, but alas I said screw it. I used a dremel to cut the back side of the bolts off and ground it down as flat as I could, then I just fit the exhaust with 4 Nickson 149 split flanges. I ended up using the longer M10 stainless hex bolts and nuts that I had bought instead of the hardware provided. Mostly just because I already had it and it initially didn’t look like the provided hardware would have had the reach. After it all cinched up I realized it would have been fine. It actually doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would. Ideally I would like to get the OE flanges cleared out and just use those for a cleaner look, but for now this works.
As far as the transmission, after I had cut the exhaust free it was real easy to slide the pan out. I did still lift it a bit from the transfer case for extra clearance in reaching the back pan bolts. Biggest lesson though....100 in-lbs is not a lot..... I didn’t have a baby torque wrench so I guesstimated. And stripped out one of the tranny pan bolts. At least it’s an easy to reach one. I still have a few threads of engagement so I’m going to leave it for now but I’ll need to get a helicoil kit in 60k miles or when it starts weeping. Whichever occurs first 🤣. She is shifting really nice now though. Probably need to check the fluid once more to make sure I’m at a good level. I ended up replacing 4.5 qts.
Lastly! On Monday my baby got new shoes! Goodyear Duratrac 295 70R17s on the stock Rubicon wheels. She looks good and balanced now with the little 1.5” Taraflex lift and level kit. I also added 1.5” wheel spacers to mitigate any potential back spacing issues.
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