Aluminum vs Steel Skid Plates

01tundra

Explorer
6061-T6 Aluminum in 1/4 is stronger than 3/16ths steel, and will hold up better to abuse. so 1/4" 6061-T6 skid plates are significantly superior than the ****ty 1/8th inch steel skid plates you guys think are stronger on rocks. is the aluminum worth the additional cost? up to you to decide, but the ALU is much stronger in that thickness and less prone to bending.

that said, aluminum will gall on rocks. A LOT. where as steel will just kind of slide over because its 'slicker'. the way around this is to attach cutting board plastic to the bottom of aluminum skid plates. 3/16th is more than enough and is much slicker than steel, and replaceable. this is common practice in rock racing.
I had 3/8" HDPE backed with 1/8" ****ty steel skid plates on my 7,600# Tundra and they probably saw more action than most will ever see and never failed me.....blanket statement is blanket.....
 

odomandr

Observer

Here is the RCI aluminum front transmission and transfer case skids. I will post up my dents from moab two weekends in a row tomorrow when I go to b work. I wanted less weight on all parts and feel they stood up to the abuse I put them through well
 

Dalko43

Explorer

Here is the RCI aluminum front transmission and transfer case skids. I will post up my dents from moab two weekends in a row tomorrow when I go to b work. I wanted less weight on all parts and feel they stood up to the abuse I put them through well
Nice-looking skids. Yeah I think RCI and shrockworks, among others, make some very good, well-designed skids. The regular steel ones are pretty heavy. The aluminum make sense for me in terms of weight but I couldn't justify the cost.

Honestly, the more I research, the more I think ARB's skid plate set makes sense. I got to believe that the Australians and South Africans ovelanders using something similar.
 
weight vs mpg misconception

If you look at RCI skid plates between aluminum and steel I would like to show you guys something. On the 2016 Toyota Tacoma crew cab short bed every 100lbs = -2% in fuel economy, so with that said, aluminum skid plates with rock rails you are at 192 lbs vs. 269 lbs in the steel versions. So it is real to see a reduction of .88 mpg with aluminum and 1.32 with steel. Add on a typical 140 lbs front bumper plus 60 lbs winch etc and the weight just keeps going up with your mpg going on down. For anyone that is doing normal trail running etc the extra 77 lbs of weight savings by going aluminum is well worth it especially when a few companies out there make an aluminum front bumper only weighing under 100 lbs. My fully loaded Tacoma right now added 598 lbs when fully loaded. I raised the gears from 4.56 to 4.88 just to help with this and trust me you need it when your only putting out 278 or so hp.
 

ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
Thread revival. My stock Tacoma skid plate is on it's last legs so I've been researching. Think it has come down to aluminum Pelfrey Built.

If you look at RCI skid plates between aluminum and steel I would like to show you guys something. On the 2016 Toyota Tacoma crew cab short bed every 100lbs = -2% in fuel economy, so with that said, aluminum skid plates with rock rails you are at 192 lbs vs. 269 lbs in the steel versions. So it is real to see a reduction of .88 mpg with aluminum and 1.32 with steel. Add on a typical 140 lbs front bumper plus 60 lbs winch etc and the weight just keeps going up with your mpg going on down. For anyone that is doing normal trail running etc the extra 77 lbs of weight savings by going aluminum is well worth it especially when a few companies out there make an aluminum front bumper only weighing under 100 lbs. My fully loaded Tacoma right now added 598 lbs when fully loaded. I raised the gears from 4.56 to 4.88 just to help with this and trust me you need it when your only putting out 278 or so hp.
Not to mention the fact that manufactures test for aerodynamics and when you put on an aftermarket expo bumper it does not favor aerodynamics. If MPGs aren't an issue no biggie but if it is something you consider important then factory bumpers are the way to go. I have a friend who has been involved with desert racing for years and has a very capable Tacoma. He's also an aeronautical engineer. His opinion is to keep as much factory stuff as you can depending on what you intend to use your vehicle for. I'm still waiting to find out what he does when he gets his next truck but the current one is still alive.

any update on how your aluminum skids have held up?
Yes I'd like to know as well.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Thread revival. My stock Tacoma skid plate is on it's last legs so I've been researching. Think it has come down to aluminum Pelfrey Built.



Not to mention the fact that manufactures test for aerodynamics and when you put on an aftermarket expo bumper it does not favor aerodynamics. If MPGs aren't an issue no biggie but if it is something you consider important then factory bumpers are the way to go. I have a friend who has been involved with desert racing for years and has a very capable Tacoma. He's also an aeronautical engineer. His opinion is to keep as much factory stuff as you can depending on what you intend to use your vehicle for. I'm still waiting to find out what he does when he gets his next truck but the current one is still alive.


Yes I'd like to know as well.
Unless you're building a dedicated rock-crawling rig, I don't see the need for those heavy, full coverage steel skids. Too much weight, and overkill IMO for anything short of high-abuse rock crawling.

I would also like to see how the aluminum skids have held up. I like the weight savings, but I'd like to see how they handle scraping rocks and other obstacles.

Arb's low-weight skid set still seems like a decent compromise in terms of weight and durability.
 

ProWedge

New member
I am seeing more and more people on trails using ALU vs steel and many have Line-X'ed their aluminium skids for extra protection. I have seen HDPE being used to as ribs like under a snow sled to provide a sliding surface over trees and rock ledges. RCI aluminium unpainted front skids are 55$ more then steel you almoast save this amount just on shipping ! Its a no brainer if your armoring up just in case and not rock crawling.

My 2 cents
 
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