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Building a Skidplate

gavin

Explorer Addict
Joined
September 27, 2002
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City, State
Anchorage, Alaska
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 Explorer XLT AWD 5.0L
So I bought a sheet of diamond-plate yesterday, and started on my skidplate. I'm just about done now, with only a little cutting and bending left to do.
Of course I'm taking plenty of pics of the buildup :D :thumbsup:
So, I'll have pics and specs in a couple hours, and will post them. Just thought I'd get the thread started :p
Just had to take a break... seized up my jigsaw last night, or it quit working anyway... it's workin again tho, after having plenty of time to cool.
So I wanted to let it cool off again, before I make my final cuts :confused:
 



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Started out with a sheet of 48"x24" diamond-plate aluminum.
The first thing I had to do, was cut the front, so that it would fit between the frame-rails. It wasn't wide enough to fit ON the framerails, and since I removed the front-valance after my body lift, I decided to use a couple of the holes on the bumper from the valance. So I made 2 angled cuts, going about 10" back, so that the front would fit between the frame rails. The very front is 19" wide, and the first bend starts 1.5" back.

PDRM0842.jpg


PDRM0843.jpg


Then, to fit between the lower a-arms in the rear, I had to make it 16" wide at the back. So again, I made 2 angled cuts, going about about 14" from rear to end of cut. I also cut the sheet down to 36".

PDRM0844.jpg


PDRM0845.jpg


I started on the 2nd bend, so it would mount flat on the x-member. That bend is (I believe) 14" or so foward.

PDRM0846.jpg


PDRM0847.jpg
 






PDRM0848.jpg


All those marks make sense to me... how about you? :D
So the angled cut did not work for the rear, because it was still in the way of the a-arms. So I marked up some more cuts, so that the last 18" was rectangular.

PDRM0849.jpg


PDRM0850.jpg


I also had to make that rear bend tighter.

I made one more bend, but forgot to take a pic of it... basically, the angles I needed didn't work out quite right.. so the skidplate goes down below x-member, and I had to make another bend to point it back up, then was able to get the rear part flat onto the x-member.
Anyway, here it is bolted up.

PDRM0851.jpg


PDRM0852.jpg


PDRM0853.jpg
 






As you can see for the front, it's bolted to a couple holes in the bumper (as I also said previously), mainly for ease. Now, where I have it bolted to the x-member, so far I only have it held on with one bolt. But it seems to be sturdy, but of course it can't take much for damage, seeing as how it's only aluminum.
Anyway, to actually the the rear bolted, I used a left-over wire drop bracket from my body lift :D It was easy to fit into the x-member, and because of it being a bracket, I didn't have to get a socket or wrench into the x-member :D

Anybody have any questions, feel free to ask. :thumbsup:
 






Looks pretty good. Nice job. :thumbsup:
 












dman726749 said:
how did you go about making the bends? this has been on my list of to do's for a while

started most of the bends with a rubber mallet :D lined it up on a piece of 2x4, put as much of my weight on it as I could, and beat the hell out of it :D
for the really tight bends, I was able to get 'em started with the mallet, but then I sat the 2x4 on top, and just used some grunt
 












96limitedX said:
looks great..i really like it

after i did my BL i have been thinking about making one.

exactly... didn't think about making/getting one, until after I did the BL. Mainly due to the coolers being very visable, and in the way of flying debris.
My skid-plate's soul purpose is just to protect the coolers, and for cosmetic value.

FYI, you can get a sheet of aluminum at AIH.. that's where I got mine :thumbsup:
 






gavin said:
exactly... didn't think about making/getting one, until after I did the BL. Mainly due to the coolers being very visable, and in the way of flying debris.
My skid-plate's soul purpose is just to protect the coolers, and for cosmetic value.

FYI, you can get a sheet of aluminum at AIH.. that's where I got mine :thumbsup:


yeah my limited's bumper hangs down tho so its not as visible as yours. but it would still be a good idea.

yeah i was trying to figure out where to get some like that..lol + we get a discount at AIH so that works out :D
 






96limitedX said:
yeah i was trying to figure out where to get some like that..lol + we get a discount at AIH so that works out :D

you lucky SoB! :D
the sheet I got.... the spot it was in in the rack, said like $30.
So I take it up to the counter, the guy scans it, and says "$113.37, that ok?" I'm thinkin to myself "ummmmm.... yeah, I guess" lol
wasn't quite what I wanted to spend, but it's all good.
 






96limitedX said:
yeah i was trying to figure out where to get some like that..lol + we get a discount at AIH so that works out :D


This might sound gay, but you obviously know I'm not since I've brought my g/f wheelin' before....we need to go shopping sometime...lol
 






PDRM0853.jpg


From this pic, it looks like you have actually reduced your front cleareance by a good 3-4"? Do the pros of such a plate outwiegh the reduction of ground clearance? How thick is the aluminum?
 






you might wanna brace it too...looks like one well placed stump/rock will bend that tin can up into your tranny coolers... get some angle iron or tubing and cross up behind the plate. And like Robb said, you did hurt your angles and clearance, but those can be fixed with a little bit of tinkering. Looks good though.
 






yes, yes... the lowest part of the skidplate is 3" below the x-member. After getting it all bolted up, and getting another good look at it, I see where I could have made a bend in a different spot so it didn't hang down. Oh well.
My Sploder is a pavement-pounder anyway, so it prolly won't be seein much offroading. And I have no clue on the thickness... didn't pay attention, but I'd say prolly 1/8"? 22ga?
 






not close to 1/4. mines 1/4 aluminum and i drove my truck on it to try and bend it(wasnt a very safe contraption) and all it did was flex a little. i had mine bent one a 75 ton brake press and it had to be heated first so it wouldnt crack. looks like 1/8 from the pictures. i like the shinyness. mines not as bling. :( if you flipped it around, then it kind of looks like mine. i hurt my approach angle, but not my ground clearence. thats cool that you were able to work on it at your house and didnt need a shop tho. like every one else said, just brace it up, incase you decide to froad it. looks good though

edit: i swear it said 1/4" b4. its too late at night. good night. i feel like an idiot
 






mynameisaric said:
edit: i swear it said 1/4" b4. its too late at night. good night. i feel like an idiot

it did say 1/4" :D but then I realized duh, that ain't no 1/4", my bumper brackets are 1/4" lol.
and yeah, I will try to fix the angles on it... but I just wanted to get it done today, as I had spent a total of around 6hrs on it, between measuring, cutting, bending, and drilling holes.
I may brace it, but chances are, probably not... lol. If I take my truck offroad, I'd have to worry about the rubbing :D
 






and no, it doesn't take a shop. Just need a little thinking involved :p
all I used was a jigsaw with thick-metal cutting blades, a rubber mallet, some chunks of 2x4, and of course my drill. I did also use my angle grinder to smooth out the cuts a bit.
At first I tried using my air-nibbler to cut it, but it was too thick, most likely due to the diamond-plate part of it lol
 






I wasnt trying to cut you down at all. i think its awesome. my skid plate sat in my garage for over a year because i didn't have the materials to work on it. a mallet would have just bounced off and smacked me in the face. i understand the just wanting to get it done and then perfecting it later. thats what i do for all my projects, and they take me a lot longer than they should because i get lazy. but its a nice skid plate, i like the diamond plate.
 



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mynameisaric said:
I wasnt trying to cut you down at all. i think its awesome. my skid plate sat in my garage for over a year because i didn't have the materials to work on it. a mallet would have just bounced off and smacked me in the face. i understand the just wanting to get it done and then perfecting it later. thats what i do for all my projects, and they take me a lot longer than they should because i get lazy. but its a nice skid plate, i like the diamond plate.

I didn't think you were tryin to bash me.. I didn't take it that way at all :thumbsup:
and yes, I get lazy too :rolleyes: (think - my Bronco2 project that hasn't been touched in 2 yrs)
 






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