Why are SFR drivetrain mounts better?
There are a lot of companies making Jeep motor mounts these days, and several making engine brackets and transmission mounts as well. We like to think that we build the best of both, and we feel we can back that statement up. They may seem like simple parts, but there are a lot of little details that go into building heavy duty drivetrain mounts that will stand the test of time, absorb as much vibration as possible, and not break the bank either.
We'll start with our motor mounts. The first thing is our bushings. We use our own exclusive SFR SuperSoft Polyurethane bushings. Lots of other places use polyurethane bushings, and unfortunately a lot of people think all poly bushings are the same. This is not the case at all. Polyurethane is an extremely versatile material, and it can be made in virtually any level of hardness, from bubble gum soft to nearly as hard as steel. The reason so many people have a negative view of poly bushings in engine mounts is because everybody is using the same old off the shelf HARD bushings. We went another route. We worked together with a urethane company to develop a bushing specifically for our needs. We started with the durometer reading from a stock rubber mount and worked from there. Our SFR SuperSoft bushings are as soft as any rubber bushing on the market, but with the extra oil resistance qualities and longer life that poly offers. It's truly a win win situation.
Another thing you might notice about our bushings is that though they are similar in diameter to others, the shoulder on ours is thicker. Tearing that lip off the bushing is a major problem for other mounts, and one way we solved that problem was simply by adding a bit more material. When you're building your own bushing you can do that.
Since we're talking about shoulder strength, there's something else we did to solve the problem. Most competitors mounts use a thin .120" thick outer bushing shell. Not only can these split open under load, but that thin edge is like a knife against that bushing shoulder, it just slices right through. Our mounts use a .250" thick shell, which is obviously much stronger, but also gives the bushing a nice flat face to bear against, supporting the bushing rather than slicing through it.
Another place we differ from the rest is in the construction design of our mounts. Our base is formed from a single piece of 3/16 steel, CNC laser cut and formed. This means there are fewer welds, making a stronger part with fewer potential failure points. You'll also notice that the only welds on our mounts run around the bushing shell, and not across it. We've seen a number of the other guys mounts crack right next to the weld going across the shell. This is because the heat effected zone just outside the weld is slightly weaker, and with a thin shell it creates an easy path for a crack to form right across the shell, which then peels open. Not a good thing. The combination of design, and materials in our mounts solve this problem.
You may also notice that we do not weld in the inner stud like the stock mounts and many others. There's a reason for this, and it's pretty simple. If you strip out the bolt doing maintenance or during install, you just put in a new bolt, instead of needing a whole new mount. Some people have called us asking how to hold the top of the passenger side bolt when it's covered by the bracket. Well there's a trick to it, and here you can see what it is. Simply use a short open end wrench slid under the bushing shell, then tighten from beneath just like normal.
Until a couple years ago there were really only 2 options for transmission mounts, and neither were very good. One was the stock mount that has a habit of failing prematurely, and the other was a solid poly mount that transmitted tons of vibration and only fit some models. We were the first to build a sleeved bushing style mount, and since then it has not only become one of our best selling products, but has also been copied by some other companies. They may try to imitate, but since we were the first, we've also had the most time to refine the design and make it the best it can be. We use the same SFR SuperSoft bushings as in our motor mounts, and the same CNC laser cut and formed construction. Basically all the same construction differences mentioned above in the motor mount section apply here too. Thicker bushing shell, stronger construction with fewer welds, etc. In addition we revised our design recently to make our mount more universal. Depending on what year and model your Cherokee is there are 2 different styles of transmission mount used. One with the crossmember studs centered under the mount, and one with the studs offset to one side. Our new modular design can be assembled 2 different ways which allows it to be used in place of either of these mounts, so you don't need to worry about if you're going to order the right one or not.
Engine Mounting Brackets
Last but definitely not least we have our engine plates. First I'll explain why you want them in the first place. The stock engine brackets are held to the engine block using only 3 bolts per side, and they are all quite close together. Being that the 4.0L engine is not exactly a lightweight there's a heck of a lot of leverage on these bolts, and they have a habit of giving up the fight. What we've seen the most often is that the lowest bolt will snap the head off, soon followed by the others either breaking, or tearing upward out of the engine block. This later one is really bad because it leaves you without a place to bolt the bracket to anymore. In addition to that little issue often times when the engine drops out of place it damages other things. The fan can go through the radiator, hoses get torn, wiring gets ripped out, etc. It can make for a very bad day.
This is one example of someones bad day.
Ok so now you know what the problem is, here's the solution. Our engine plates spread the load by using more than twice as many bolts as the original arrangement. Some of these bolts go into unused holes in the block and others sandwich on top of existing bracketry. They cover a much larger area of the block and attach in many more locations, making for a much stronger attachment.
So what makes ours the best?
Well just like our motor and trans mounts a lot of that is down to the little details. Once again all of our pieces are CNC laser cut and formed to reduce the number of welds. The tabs for the motor mount are also slotted into the base to precisely locate everything during assembly. We also spent the time to figure out all the differences between vehicle models and integrate the various differences into all our mounts as much as possible. As a result we only have 2 different bracket sets to fit virtually all years of Wrangler and Cherokee 4.0l engines. Like our transmission mounts this takes a lot of the guess work and potential error out of getting the right part for your application. It also allows for retrofitting newer engines into older frames when doing a rebuild. All of our mounts are designed to work with any of the common headers on the market without clearance issues.
Finally we gold zinc plate the brackets just like we do our motor and trans mounts. We choose zinc plating because it's an excellent way to prevent rust and corrosion and unlike powder coating it doesn't add a lot of thickness to the parts, and does not chip and break off when you tighten bolts against it. Powder coating is not good in a bolted connection for this very reason. Over time the powder coating can crumble under the force of a bolted connection smashing against it, and once it turns back into powder it will fall out and leave a gap where that extra thickness was. You end up with a bolt that is no longer tight because your parts just got a little bit smaller. We also feel that the gold finish on our parts looks pretty fantastic, but if you're not into the flashy gold look zinc plating also happens to be a great base for paint to adhere to.