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Old 11-01-2010, 01:03 AM   #1
boostin23
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Post DIY Front Skid plate

When I first bought my car, it didnt come with the stock undertray and that never really bothered me until I started taking my car off road. Any time I would drive off road (especially through the mud), my engine bay would be DIRTY! Then if you dont clean everything quickly, all the mud thats caked on drys and its a PITA to clean days or weeks later. Then having to work under the car I was always getting falling dirty in my eyes and thats never fun.

So at first I thought about buying a stock undertray because that would help cut down the amount of dirt that makes it way into the engine bay. Then I thought that the stock one probably wouldnt last too long with the abuse I would put it through. Then I figured I would take a look at aftermarket skid pans/undertrays so they would not only keep dirt out, but also protect a lot of my under body.

Well the cheapest ones I found were $160ish + shipping + wait time to get it. Didnt want to do that. At that I figured I would just make my own.
I went out and got some aluminum diamond plate (3ft x 3ft), few new bolts, metal washers, and rubber washers.
materials used:

x1


x3 20mm and x2 30mm


x12

This is what they looked like and I had to drill some out for the bolts to fit through

x5 Metal washers (not shown)

Most if not all of the aftermarket ones that ive seen, are pretty basic and just cut in at an angle heading to the tranny away from the frame rails. Its easier for them to make and its less material.

I didnt want to do that and I wanted more area protected so I decided to run closer to the frame rails. I believe mine also protects more of the tranny than some of the basic aftermarket ones as well.

So to start off I had a 3ft x 3ft piece of cardboard to use as a stencil and cut out the shape of what fit under the car between the frame rails


Marked where to drill the holes and then mounted the cardboard as a test fit:
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Last edited by boostin23; 07-31-2013 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:04 AM   #2
boostin23
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After a couple time shaving a bit off and testing fitting again, I was finally happy with the shape/fit.

Now it was time to trace the cardboard stencil onto the back of the diamond plate. Then cut it out to get this



So I took the new bolts and washers and got ready to install the diamond plate. The metal washers went between the bolt and diamond plate and the rubber ones went between the diamond plate and car. I did that so it would reduce any chance of noise from the diamond plate rubbing any where under the car. I used 2 rubber washers on each of the 3 bolts up front, and used 3 rubber washers one each of the 2 bolts in the back.

Mounted up


What I also did (not pictured) was bent the front of the diamond plate up at a slight angle in the front. So instead of being just a flat sheet from the front to back, the first 3 inches of the diamond plate angle up towards the front bumper (to reduce the chances of something flying up inbetween the undertray and undercarriage).

Im really happy with how it turned out. I went out for a little drive after I was done to see if there were any new sounds/squeaks of any kind. So far so good
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:18 AM   #3
MY EJ20T
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nice write up.

i totally understand your pain with dirt/pebbles getting in your face/eyes
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:20 AM   #4
boostin23
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^ yea.. When I replaced my clutch... there was A LOT of dirt falling into my face
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:44 AM   #5
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that looks really good, and stuff falling into your eyes is the worst, and you can rub it out cuz your hands/gloves are all greasy and dirty....

how heavy is it?
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:42 AM   #6
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Does this block your front jack plate?
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:40 AM   #7
boostin23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastwrx25 View Post
that looks really good, and stuff falling into your eyes is the worst, and you can rub it out cuz your hands/gloves are all greasy and dirty....

how heavy is it?
I totally forgot to weigh it

I was gunna weight just the 3x3ft sheet and then weigh it again after I cut off the sides to see how much was dropped.

But ill prolly be taking it off this weekend to make some small final tweaks to it and ill weigh it then (bolts and everything).

Quote:
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Does this block your front jack plate?
Yea, but my car is lowered and a PITA to use it anyways. I typically just jack my car up from the sides.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:46 AM   #8
shadowmd
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pretty sweet idea! maybe for ease in the future when doing an oil change, you could cut out for the oil filter and drain plug, then get a slightly larger peice of metal and bolt it back over like a cover you can unbolt and put back on instead of taking the whole skid plate off....just an idea.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:28 PM   #9
DjMuzz
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Do you have any issues with the engine overheating seeing as their aren't any vent holes?
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:23 PM   #10
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I know you put the rubber washers, but is there any issues with any rattling?
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:24 AM   #11
boostin23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowmd View Post
pretty sweet idea! maybe for ease in the future when doing an oil change, you could cut out for the oil filter and drain plug, then get a slightly larger peice of metal and bolt it back over like a cover you can unbolt and put back on instead of taking the whole skid plate off....just an idea.
Thought about it.. and might try it another sometime later on
Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMuzz View Post
Do you have any issues with the engine overheating seeing as their aren't any vent holes?
Well ive only had it installed since yesterday. But ive been keeping an eye on my thermostat and oil temp and they both seem to be right on normal.

Another person said that heat issues could be a problem. I understand how it could happen but at the same time the bottom isnt sealed anywhere close to air tight. Theres a good 1/4inch between the diamond plate and frame rails. And the rear is 100% open.

But non the less, im going to be keeping an eye on my temps for a few weeks to see if theres any increase
Quote:
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I know you put the rubber washers, but is there any issues with any rattling?
Not 1 out of the ordinary noise or rattle thus far. Its only been about a day, but nothing as of now haha. Drove around with windows up and down and havnt heard anything.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:33 AM   #12
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What tool did you use to cut the diamond plate?
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:46 AM   #13
boostin23
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electric hand grinder with a semi decent blade

When the edges were off they were rough as hell and super sharp. So I went back over them a couple times just to smooth them out
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:29 PM   #14
boostin23
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Pulled the undertray off today to put my stock exhaust back on for smog.
Also because I forgot the first time, I weighed it this time. Its only 7.4lbs


pics of it now


here you can see the rubber washers that are between the tray and the car itself

and here is the slight bend i put in it so it curves under the bumper to help deflect crap haha


all and all its held up just fine
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:01 PM   #15
Rayman812
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Actually the main benefit of this whether u know it or not is aerodynamics. Note that most "exotic/hi-perf/supercars" have some type of tray/panel that covers the entire underbody to reduce drag by smoothing out airflow underneath. Ex. the entire belly of a lotus Elise is completely paneled up leading out to the diffuser in the rear.

I've wanted to do that to my other project car for a long time never got around to it. Yours looks good. I wouldve done a plain sheet instead of diamond plate however, wouldve been lighter.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:58 PM   #16
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boostin23 - Stupid Chicken?
this is java Black, I didn't know u are here.
Good seeing u
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:59 PM   #17
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sick tray. Have seen it in person and look really good!
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:57 PM   #18
boostin23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Black Pig Sac View Post
boostin23 - Stupid Chicken?
this is java Black, I didn't know u are here.
Good seeing u
haha yup, its me


I think im gunna take you up on blacking out my headlights soon too
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:03 PM   #19
boostin23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayman812 View Post
Actually the main benefit of this whether u know it or not is aerodynamics. Note that most "exotic/hi-perf/supercars" have some type of tray/panel that covers the entire underbody to reduce drag by smoothing out airflow underneath. Ex. the entire belly of a lotus Elise is completely paneled up leading out to the diffuser in the rear.

I've wanted to do that to my other project car for a long time never got around to it. Yours looks good. I wouldve done a plain sheet instead of diamond plate however, wouldve been lighter.
Ya it is more aerodynamic but i dont think we would notice any real difference without going at high speeds haha.

Ive thought about doing more under the car, but i think i would want to do it in like 3 sections or something like that just to make it easier when taking it on/off.

What type of sheet metal would you use? I thought about aluminum but it cost WAY more than the dimaond plate and I dont think it was all that much lighter. This tray as is on the car with the bolts only weighs 7.4 pounds. So its not even noticeable on the car
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:48 AM   #20
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to be honest, if your goal is to keep dirt/grim out, and not using it as a skid plate, you could easily use ABS or other composite type boards - ie. polystyrene. they are definitely lighter, though i dont think they are too cheap (mcmaster.com sells them in various sizes - i researched back when i thought about making my own diffuser at one point). that aside, i would've just gone with some thin gauge sheet aluminum, easier to cut than diamond plate, and PERSONALLY for me, less bling not that many people would see it.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:03 AM   #21
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I'm doing mine in some Clear Lexan...
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:14 AM   #22
abgusaf
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Nice job

I understand the need for one of these, but its just not practical for me, I am HORRIBLE at dropping things (sockets, bolts) when i working on the engine, and luckily most of the time they fall and hit the floor...Idk maybe if i didnt drop stuff constantly
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:01 PM   #23
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Good work, I like.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:17 PM   #24
ThaPuertoRican15
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i want one...too bad i have a 97...i wonder if they are interchangeable...
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:02 PM   #25
boostin23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayman812 View Post
to be honest, if your goal is to keep dirt/grim out, and not using it as a skid plate, you could easily use ABS or other composite type boards - ie. polystyrene. they are definitely lighter, though i dont think they are too cheap (mcmaster.com sells them in various sizes - i researched back when i thought about making my own diffuser at one point). that aside, i would've just gone with some thin gauge sheet aluminum, easier to cut than diamond plate, and PERSONALLY for me, less bling not that many people would see it.
well my primary reason was to keep things clean while off roading haha.

So secondary it was to protect everything. Im not sure if the other material you were talking about would stand up to everything, and im sure it would be lighter but beings that this is just over 7lbs its not a huge added weight.
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