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Discussion Starter #1
As you all know, I had some adventures testing 4xGuard products on my XK this summer, with the Matrix and the Side Guard coming out very well. I might also have mentioned somewhere hereabouts that we also did some redesigning of 4xG's Front Guard as a result of our experiments.

Well, I'm very pleased to say that the redesigns are done. Front Guard 4 is here, and it's a huge leap forward for XK owners.

I go into the nitty gritty details of the redesign and the installation on my website (complete with a bunch of pictures), so I'll spare you all of that here and just hit the highlights.

I've got to start with the requisite full-rig "after" picture:



There are small tweaks across the kit, but the major XK-relative redesigns (they won’t change fitment for WKs but will greatly ease fitment for XKs) are primarily to the brackets and the guard itself. The old design (Front Guard HC) had the front end of the skidplate mounting bracket bending back around on itself (sort of a hook shape) in order to reach its attachment points on the vehicle’s crossmember. The redesign cuts out this hook by instead introducing a simple jog in the bracket. This won’t matter a lick for most WK owners, but to XK owners it’s a huge difference. The Commander’s front fascia, you see, hangs lower than that on the Grand Cherokee. Where the WK’s crossmember is more or less exposed, on the XK it is tucked up under the face of the fascia. One way or another, therefore, the XK owner will need to cut a slot in the fascia for his or her mounting bracket. By jogging the bracket rather than hooking it, that slot is significantly reduced in size. Here you can see the crude fascia whacking I did to make the slot:



In my defense, the biggest reason for the roughness of my cutting is this summer’s experimental work with different brackets. As you can see on the tape measure, all you need to do now is to measure over from that tab (it’s 1 away from the center of the vehicle) about 5.25″ and then cut straight back until you reach the recess in the fascia. That’s the inner cut. The outer cut begins about 7″ over from that tab. Saw it back to the same depth as the inner one and square ‘em off (I used a Black and Decker RTX, a “Dremel” type rotary cutter). As you can see, it’s important to cut all the way to that recess in the fascia, but you don’t need to cut into it. The bracket will mount flush with it.

Because of the redesigned skidplate, those two small, simple slots are all the fascia cutting you need to make. And once the Front Guard 4 is in place, you cannot see these cuts. They’re completely hidden. To make the previous version of the Front Guard fit an XK, on the other hand, required serious time-consuming and stress-inducing hacking, much of which required difficult scribing and was in the end open for the world to see (Hemi has an excellent write-up on how to do it right here on the site). The biggest reason for this difference is the fact that the sides of the Front Guard 4 are shorter than those on the previous version, while maintaining the same strength. In other words, the Front Guard 4 is just as strong as the Front Guard HC, but it weighs less and now fits an XK with less labor and far less vehicle body modification. Yahtzee!

Actually, now that I’ve said it, I need to revise that last statement. The Front Guard 4 isn’t “just as strong” as the Front Guard HC. It’s stronger. The seven vertical openings in the guard — which look dynamite under a Jeep grill — have been moved up slightly from where they were previously. On the HC version, for instance, the openings went all the way down to the bend in the plate. The HC version of the Front Guard wasn’t a slouch when it came to strength, but it doesn’t take multiple graduate degrees to know that by moving the slots off the bend Front Guard 4 becomes substantially stronger across the full width of the skidplate, particularly at the edge of that bend — which is almost assuredly the part of the plate most likely to take rock strikes on the trail. Double Yahtzee!

Another design difference is the fact that the mounting bolts now go into recesses in the skid plate. The bolt heads on the Front Guard 4, in other words, are less exposed than they were on the Front Guard HC. You can see them here on a side-view of the installed plate:



Last but not least, here's a shot of the plate and my Matrix, giving you the full effect of a 4xGuard front-end:

 

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Awsome!!!

Just curious, do your cv axles always angle upwards like that in the last picture?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, 07. I'm pretty darn pleased with these results. Hope other folks are, too.

Yes, my front axles always have a little bit of an uptick to them. That picture looks worse due to the angles of things, but the simple truth is they're not parallel with the dirt. I've actually been giving some thought about what to do with that.
 

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Thanks, 07. I'm pretty darn pleased with these results. Hope other folks are, too.

Yes, my front axles always have a little bit of an uptick to them. That picture looks worse due to the angles of things, but the simple truth is they're not parallel with the dirt. I've actually been giving some thought about what to do with that.
Your cv axles are actually at a very good angle. You haven't lost any downward travel like all of us with spacer lifts. What does the angle of your UCA/Ball Joint look like?
 

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That looks really good. When are these going to be ready for retail?

Also curious about the axle angles and what lift you're running.
 

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He has the 4 inch BDS. You have to remember that he is on uneven terrain also.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That looks really good.

Also curious about the axle angles and what lift you're running.


As for my axle angles… I don't want to hijack this thread, but 07 is right. It's the 4" BDS, which I am very pleased with (there's a thread on it here somewhere). 07 is also right that there is some advantage to an uptick (and all the post-BDS angles are very nice in this regard), but I'd just rather see them level: for aesthetics if nothing else.
 

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Great, thanks for the info. Might be some new toys for me for next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You're welcome! Glad I can help.
 

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That is great!! looks very good. whenever i get my commander thats the first thing im doing!
 

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My only problem is the rad is still full exposed :( ... I've been looking for a front guard that protects the rad from sticks and branches and from ice while fording.

Nice job though, it's WAY better then stock!
 

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Got the Matrix and the front receiver on last night after work. The instructions are a bit lame but the photos on the web site get you through. Everything fits great. I'll take a photo over the weekend. Need to order the brush guard now.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeggster - I'm not sure what more protection you're wanting. Most guards are intended to prevent vertical strikes from reaching the radiator; if you're trying to prevent horizontal (head-on) strikes, it would be rather hard to do so while maintaining proper radiator airflow. If you could link to a picture of what you're after on another vehicle, I'd seriously love to understand what you're after.

Coyote - I can't wait to see the pics. (Post in the Matrix thread?) If you want to drop me a PM about any specific problems you had with the instructions, I'd love to hear them. 4xGuard asked me to go over all their instructions to make sure they were clear for XK owners, which I'm in the middle of doing.

All - I've also been working with 4xGuard on another slight tweak to the Front Guard mounting design. The result, if it happens, will be that Front Guard 4 will mount with no fascia cutting to the Commander. We'd already gotten down to those minor cuts detailed above, but this would be zero. Zilch. Nada. None. I'll obviously keep y'all posted on the progress.
 

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Yeggster - I'm not sure what more protection you're wanting. Most guards are intended to prevent vertical strikes from reaching the radiator; if you're trying to prevent horizontal (head-on) strikes, it would be rather hard to do so while maintaining proper radiator airflow.
I think you got it :) ... if you can see the bottom 6" X 3' of rad ... it's vunerable .. I was hoping for protection in that area .. air flow could be provided by slots .
 

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Cid, stupid question
can you install the reciever deal without having the basic or HC?
Can it be done as a stand alone?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Kitkat - I assume you're talking about the Matrix and not the Front Guard 4. I'd say the answer is no. Take a look at the following picture from 4xGuard's site:



This is the Basic unit plus the optional receiver mount. The receiver component is the entire wide middle structure, the part between the little "grooves" on top. The Basic is the parts outside of that (and an interior mounting bracket that the receiver mount replaces).

As you can see, if you put it all together you get a rail-to-rail mounting. But without the Basic portion of things you wouldn't have that. You'd be relying entirely on the strength of your vehicle's front crossmember. And even though 4xG has backing plates to strengthen this area, it's not enough to rely on by itself. You need the framerails. Sorry.

On the plus side, the basic unit isn't too pricey and it gives you some nice shackle points.
 

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Whats up guys, I just installed the 4xguard front guard 4 this evening. Overall the install was pretty simple but the instructions need to be updated specifically for the XK. I was able to figure out most on my own but the instructions could be improved easily to help users. I did have to cut through the fascia and the fascia guard. All in all Im happy with the product just wish I had gotten an oil change before hand :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Awesome news, JeepLab! Give us pics when you get a chance. Can't wait to see it.

I hear you on the instructions. They're being rewritten to take care of the XK peeps (and will include more pictures, I'm happy to report), though some business things have gotten in the way. If anyone else has trouble, let me know and I can send you my installation notes. The big key is measuring for those little fascia notches, of course.
 

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Awesome news, JeepLab! Give us pics when you get a chance. Can't wait to see it.

I hear you on the instructions. They're being rewritten to take care of the XK peeps (and will include more pictures, I'm happy to report), though some business things have gotten in the way. If anyone else has trouble, let me know and I can send you my installation notes. The big key is measuring for those little fascia notches, of course.
Since you really cant see the fascia cuts its pretty simple cut, my cuts werent the best but they are covered by the skid plate anyway.......really happy with it. Not sure I was supposed to have a few parts left over specifically 3 small screws and a nut.......owell it all looked good and was very tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
3 small screws and a nut left over...

Do you have two screws holding the front of each mounting bracket in place?

Did you relocate the cooling-system hose on the passenger side to the supplied upright on the mounting bracket using a wee bolt and nut?

Those are my two best guesses for where you'd accumulate left-overs.
 
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