Aluminum vs Steel Skid Plates

Dalko43

Explorer
Only you really know what type of terrain your rig will see, and how aggressive you intend on being when negotiating said terrain. Both types of skid plates have their drawbacks and advantages. If it were me, and I just wanted skids for that "just in case" scenario where you tag a big branch or come down on a rock wrong, then I would take a look at the ARB skids for the 4Runner. They will certainly not last if you plan on rolling the Rubicon every weekend, but for the type of terrain that you will see in you region, and if you are careful what you drive over, then they should protect your expensive underbelly from that errant object. They are a cheaper option for sure, are already powder coated, and made to fit your rig. The downside is that they are thinner and subsequently less durable when subjected to constant abuse. Different models depending on whether you have KDSS or not.
Thanks for the tip on the ARB 1/8" steel plates. They look to be exactly what I am looking for: cheap, moderately durability, lighter. Like you pointed out, they probably aren't the preferred skid plates for repeated trips through the Rubicon, but that isn't what I am looking to do anyhow.
 

Jeremy556

New member
Thanks for the tip on the ARB 1/8" steel plates. They look to be exactly what I am looking for: cheap, moderately durability, lighter. Like you pointed out, they probably aren't the preferred skid plates for repeated trips through the Rubicon, but that isn't what I am looking to do anyhow.
Skip the ARB skid plates, they are crap. The exhaust crossover pipe will rattle against the trans skid no matter what you do. The stock skid plates are better.
 

motoz

Adventurer
I use 3mm (1/8") Stainless bash plates to protect the sump, front diff/actuator & intercooler on my vehicle.

Manufactured from 304 3mm stainless steel means these plates will never rust unlike painted mild steel plates.
They are heavier than Aluminium though are a lot stronger. The stainless will slide over things where the Aluminium being a lot softer tends to grab and gouge.

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High_Country

Adventurer
Do you PLAN on using the skids as a tool or a means by which to rock crawl, tackle obstacles, etc. or are the skid plates you want simply for protection of the occasional errant rock, stump, and so on?

I use my skids for the latter: protection of vital components should I happen to choose a poor line or miss something or accidentally screw up. For this I chose aluminum. Also, while the initial purchase price was more than the steel, I didn't have to pay anything to powder coat them or spend time pianist them myself, don't have to worry about touch up to prevent rust, and I have kept weight off the vehicle.

My $.02.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Perhaps you should read my post first before saying that aluminum isn't as durable.
I did read your post. I've also done more than a little research on my own on the subject of aluminum vs steel. While aluminum generally has a higher yield strength (point at which the metal deforms), it has a much lower ultimate strength (point at which the metal breaks) than steel.

So while there are different ways to interpret those factors, I feel comfortable saying that steel, in general, is stronger than aluminum.

Do you PLAN on using the skids as a tool or a means by which to rock crawl, tackle obstacles, etc. or are the skid plates you want simply for protection of the occasional errant rock, stump, and so on?

I use my skids for the latter: protection of vital components should I happen to choose a poor line or miss something or accidentally screw up. For this I chose aluminum. Also, while the initial purchase price was more than the steel, I didn't have to pay anything to powder coat them or spend time pianist them myself, don't have to worry about touch up to prevent rust, and I have kept weight off the vehicle.

My $.02.
I don't plan on hardcore rock crawling. I've seen the full armor packages offered by shrockworks and budbuilt, and while they look to offer amazing protection, I don't see myself doing trails that would necessitate that kind of armor and I'm not looking to add that much weight.

I'm looking to build a much more moderate off-roader, geared towards long-range travel and efficient trail movements. I do think that either aluminum or thinner steel plates over the vital parts would fit my needs better than a full set of armor. I'd be very interested in hearing what Australian and South African overlanders use for armor on their rigs, since they seem to focus as well on long-range, efficient travel.

I will point out however, that your location is vastly different from mine in terms of climate. Everything, including aluminum, eventually starts to rust out here in upstate NY.
 

Amphibeast

Adventurer
My entire 8x8 is aluminum other than the A-Arms, engine & axles…. Love the NO RUST! very little corrosion & only where the occasional steel hardware is attached. All bolts are stainless.. It has held the text of time. A few tears in folded sheet metal corners, but minor stuff. Bumper is steel & we will be doing some steel corner wraps & guards, all powder coated or rhino lined….. Aluminum= light & expensive, harder to fab, maintenance free…. Steel= cheap, easy, strong

The breaking point is as a rule of thumb for us anyway…..twice the amount of aluminum or thickness to equal the strength of steel in weight

if the goal is armor, steel… if the goal is save on weight, aluminum….. everything else is based on YOUR application. My truck was designed to air drop & float. It weighs less fully loaded than a deuce that is empty… big horsepower, light vehicle…. Your as strong as your weakest link (& that includes the driver)!
 

millerfish

Adventurer
When comparing the strength of steel and aluminum you need to consider the weight. 1018 steel weighs 3 times 6061 aluminum. So if you compare 1/8 steel skid to 3/8 aluminum skid I think you will find the aluminum to be far superior in strength.
 

rkj__

Adventurer
I have 3/16" aluminum skids, and have abused them. It shows.

Stainless steel would be ideal.
 

Scoutn79

Adventurer
I prefer steel for true skid plates. The aluminum is too soft and will gouge and cause resistance to sliding while the steel skid plate being harder will slide over a rock easier.
Aluminum would work as a bash plate or to keep weeds/sticks/stones form getting into areas.
A trophy truck uses aluminum for a few reasons
1) Aluminum is lighter, light weight = better HP/lbs ratio and that equates to speed and better suspension operation/handling.
2) a trophy truck does more bashing than sliding over obstacles.

Darrell
 

nater

Adventurer
What about stainless steel? Budbuilt offers them, corrosion would be minimal (but the weight would be higher than aluminum)
 

Scoutn79

Adventurer
What about stainless steel? Budbuilt offers them, corrosion would be minimal (but the weight would be higher than aluminum)
I think stainless would be fine but the most expensive of the 3 materials talked about. More difficult than steel to work with and like aluminum you need specialized welders and/or weld wire to weld it.

Darrell
 

millerfish

Adventurer
Depending on the grade of stainless it can be nearly corrosion free. However stainless Gauls, it will not slid over rocks as well as steel but will be better than aluminum. Also depending on the grade of material stainless Wiil be equal or weaker than steel.
 

Rebelord

Semper Fi
My front skid is made from 1/4" aluminum. Works great. Many others use the same one. No issues that I've seen. I made a center skid out of some 1/8" diamond plate aluminum. Not great for sliding across rocks. But the one time I high centered on a rock it did its job. For that I am grateful. It did bend and conform to my cross member. If it was made of 1/4" I'm sure it would have been fine.
In the end I believe it comes down to your specific needs.

Sent from fat fingers on S6
 
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