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Making flat x-member...3/8" thick enough??

Safari Ary

NAXJA Forum User
Well, is a piece of 3/8" x 6" flat bar thick enough to use as a flat x-member?? I've got a piece of it in my garage is the only reason I'm trying to avoid other materials. I don't plan on putting any stiffening bends into it, or anything like that, and it might be reduced to 4" wide for exhaust clearances. So what do you think?? Will it be thick enough or will it flex?? I know ORGS's x-member is 1/4" 2x4, which is why I'm questioning 3/8" flat bar. Thanks for any input. Peace


P.S. Eventually gonna build a T-case skid off of this, so it should be able to take blows, not just hold up the tranny.
i would think 3/8" flat stock would hold up just fine. if you are worried about flex, get some angle iron and weld it to the top (make sure the clearance is there for your mounts/tranny). that should help it from flexing, but i dont think you have anything to worry about. 3/8" is some serious beef :)
I used 1/4" and had to add angle to it.

I used 1/2" x 6" plate when it was only holding up my NV4500 (before long arm), and I eventually bent it a little. It took multiple years of my driving style however, so you should be OK.

Don't try to run long arms off of it, however.

I can GUARANTEE that that materila that you listed (without reinforcement) WILL SAG.....Its not gonna happen the way you want it.

The same logic that you would use for rollcage design also exists for other things like skidplates....

Its not a question of "which materials" (how big?)

Its more of a question of how you use materials, geometry, fabrication process and methods, etc, etc....

Crash says even 1/2" will bend....

in my opinion that's uneccesary weight. You are relying on MATERIALS ALONE to provide streght with out any regard to FORM.

Think of it in terms of a strong geometrical shape, and use the right materials to match.

You can build a crossmember/skidplate out of a combination of 3/16" and 11 ga. crs that will ultimately be stronger than a solid 1/2 plate.

Like JNJ says, adding angles was basically key in keeping his skid that uses lesser materials, storng. Weight savings is the bonus.

Mine is a 3/16" plate with bends on the leading and trailing edge, a 5* bend in the middle to introduce a rib, and an 11ga. 3/4x3/4 angle in the middle.

I can jack the whole jeep by the skid/cross alone.

therefore, I will say that anything over 1/4" is unecessary.....

flame on homeboys.

phatxj has a nice on that I think he used 3/16".
Ok, let me restate the question. Will 3/8"s hold up for a month or so until I have the money to re-route my exhaust higher up and then add the reinforcements?? Eventually I'd like to do a complete skid like yours Beezil, but right now, I need to get rid of the stock crossmember and T-case skid 'cause they hang down way too low. They've caused me to take a bypass on this one obstacle many times, and I'm getting sick of it. Thanks for any further opinions. Peace


P.S. I don't have access to a welder or a brake right now, which is why I'd like to just use flat stock. I will have access to those tools later this summer. Thanks again
Ary, if you were going to stick to the street, I'd say go for it. However, it sounds like you want to wheel it so my advice would be run what you got and save the bucks to get/do what you need to make it right.

I didn't "reroute" my exhaust.....

however, the real small cat was important in getting it all to fit.....

I'd wait until you have your "ducks ina row"

no need to waste time and effort doing something temporary that may or may not work.

also, 99 percent of us are driving some serious obstacles with "stock like" clearances between the ground and the bottom of the cross.

true "frame huggers" are a more rare mod, so the fact that you don't have one shouldn't be limiting you....
Thanks guys. I just realized how impatient I'm being. I'm going to put it off for another while.

BTW, Beez, my problem with getting hung up on it, is that while you guys are all running close to stock clearance regarding the frame rails, you've also got a lot more distance under that close to stock setup. I'm only running 4.5" and 32s, and the obstacle I'm trying to conquer stops TJs on 37s, so....

Anyway, thanks


I thought that 1/2x6 bar stock would be enough as well. I ended up welding a piece of angle on top to stiffen it up because when I jack up the Jeep by the x-member it flexed. 3/8 may be sufficient if designed properly. I intended on running it flat with the frame rails but found out a TJ t-case is clocked up compared to an older XJ t-case. I had to use 1" pucks so the t-case would clear the floor. I still gained over an inch of clearance even using the pucks. Make sure that your t-case isn't clocked or you way run into the issues. My exhaust clears the x-member by only 1/4" and I had to eliminate the mount/isolator that is part of the OEM crossmember.
Oh ya, I would'nt even consider wheeling with 3/8 flat plate alone.
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Already been said but I just want to add my 2 cents.
I agree with Beezil. 3/8" will bend and a 3/16" x-member with ribs and bends will give you more stength than you need.

Mine is 1/4 inch with bends at the rear, and angle welded across the center. it does not appear to flex at all when I jack the jeep up on it. I also gained over 3/4 inch under the case. its all in the design!

are you saying that you welded in a peice of angle on top of the plate right above your 5* bend? How is it placed on the top?

What about the 4 bolts sticking out and the part of your transfercase that is exposed? Are you going to cover it up with a small bump of plate?
spanky, nope..... if I shear off the four bolts, no biggie....

and as for the t-case, that's been taken care of a long time ago, like about ten minutes after the picture I posted on this thread was taken.....it was a work in-process pic.

I wish I had a pic of the other side, but I don't

I just ised 2x6x5/16 box for my crossmember and mounted it forward of the original mounting position. Then I welded a piece if box that was cutout for the mount and the bolts are protected. Works great!
poppabear said:
phatxj has a nice on that I think he used 3/16".

Poppa, I just have a skid that follows the contours of the factory Xmember. It's just a skid, not the Xmember itself like these guys are talkin' about :)

I would use 1" solid bar and weld it with a 110 to the frame rails if it was me :eyes: