View Full Version : Skidders ... How about your suggestions?

04-04-2014, 12:21 AM
I didn't think a general inquiry into opinion on skid plates belonged on the Tech Forum pages so here it is ...

I'm in need of upgrading the skids on my FJ - swapping out the factory tin for aftermarket aluminum. I know everyone has an opinion on aluminum vs. steel but I'm really interested in some of you pro guys views on what plates to add, what is overkill and what is a waste of time and money. Obviously, I'm going to replace the front and install the bumper plate (I have ARB on the front and back) and add the transfer case plate. But in 30 years I've never run a gas tank plate. What about transmission? Your opinions and guidance will be appreciated! :confused:

04-04-2014, 06:01 AM
For mini trucks, Tacos, 4Runners, FJC - Budbuilt.

Downside is they are heavy, which is why I ended up selling mine. I needed to shed weight if my truck was going to ever be able to get out of its own way again. No experience with the aluminum ones, they do weigh a lot less but I can tell you Budbuilt plates took the Rubicon without so much as a single hole alignment changing.

Overkill never fails.

04-04-2014, 10:05 AM
Overkill is determined by the level off application, what are you looking to accomplish? Are you just doing light wheeling on dirt roads? Are you rock climbing? etc? If you're just driving around the metro area, I'd say you probably dont need plates at all... though some of the roads around aurora blew the shock in my car recently! hahaha :)

04-04-2014, 10:27 AM
Since going back to the stock plates I've added plenty of new dents, so I would say if the budget allows and you do any off highway upgraded plates are nice. Over the last few years I've built my truck down, 33"->30" tires, lowered the suspension, cut off armor, etc.

It's purpose is just dirt roads and getting to trailheads, so nothing hard core but it did need to be friendlier to the gasoline line in the spreadsheet. I reduced the curb weight by about 200 pounds when I ditched the Budbuilt plates and the sliders, which made a noticeable difference in my mileage. Keep in mind I'm running a 22R-E in a truck with 260,000 on the clock, so my frame of reference for acceleration and highway speed are much lower...

Protection underneath isn't flashy like winches and swingout bumpers, but it is something that I think legitimately might keep you from walking home, so it's not really poorly spent money.

04-04-2014, 10:38 AM
I use Shrockworks on my T4R. I like them. Very well built.

Beach Cruiser
04-04-2014, 11:39 AM
RCI Metalworks are Colorado local and have one of the best designs in the skid market. I've pulled my aluminum Ricochet skids and will probably be going to RCI steel. http://www.rcimetalworks.com/

04-04-2014, 06:50 PM
Really only you can decide what you need but I'll agree that RCI has a great design, price and quality and you can avoid shipping by picking them up in FoCo. I have a set for my 4Runner less the gas tank skid sitting in my garage waiting to to be put on.

04-04-2014, 10:26 PM
I appreciate the comments. Rock hoppin' and stump jumpin' aren't a big part of my life but I do take some pretty extreme trails sometimes. I busted a fist sized hole through the transfer case of my '90 F250 about seven miles up South Derby Road in the Flat Tops back in about 1996. I know what a 170 mile tow to Denver costs! So an upgrade from factory tin and "nothing" certainly is in the future.

I've pretty much decided on aluminum ... probably the Ricochets, unless you guys think there is a better supplier. I know that they will be more problematic than steel from a durability point of view but I gotta' save the weight. My pop-up weighs in at 3200 and I'm thinking about a second trailer for a Polaris RZR. Next year I'm gonna' do some motor upgrades including a TRD supercharger, cam, headers and high flow pipes. Looking to push 350 HP if I can. But even then, at altitude, power will be at a premium, so ... weight is the primary concern.

How about what plates are really necessary? Do any of you guys protect your ball joints? Maybe just the front plate and transfer case? How about the transmission and lastly the fuel tank? I mean, if you had to rate them in order of importance, what's your call?

04-06-2014, 10:30 AM
I'd start with the lowest points that dip down, differentials and third members, and then move to oil pan, transfer-case, and transmission. I've never heard of anyone popping a fuel tank (although until yesterday I had never hit a pot-hole so hard that I broke the upper shock mount). I think you're more likely to bust a lower component a few times on a rock than to drop your whole engine on a rock. Although, you could suffer from a secret love of rocks... :P
Think of it this way, 60-series cruisers came with plates on the oil pan, and over the transfercase and transmission, but they had solid axles front and rear. So Maybe you might want to start with the "essential" drive-train. Honestly thought its really up to you in the end!

04-12-2014, 07:50 PM
have you checked out RCI in Ft. Collins? they make some pretty sweet stuff