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It's a brace, looks like you (or whomever) hit something to bend it like that (it's pretty herky steel). They usually either get removed or shimmed if you have aftermarket (larger) pipes. Considering I can see how badly the studs are bent, you're gonna play hell getting to those four 13mm nuts lol.
 

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Not really what I call thick, its stamped out of sheet metal. Looks like they backed over something and twisted it.
A pipe wrench with her on a lift can get her twisted enough to remove and replace "BUT" - Take care not to bend and break off the studs. I bet any year LX or LD will fit. Salvage yard easy find.
I would not leave it off.
Oh it's stamped, but you ain't bending it by hand, trust me on that one lol. Gonna need at least a 3' pipe wrench and it'll end up snapping the studs.
 
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