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Some questions about skid plates.


James Morse

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Ford Ranger Skid Plate (93-97) | eBay

This does not look like my truck, I don't see the massive odd shape beam/crossmember that is in front of the left axle beam, I think it's called. This pic must be on the next gen.
 


sgtsandman

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Ford Ranger Skid Plate (93-97) | eBay

This does not look like my truck, I don't see the massive odd shape beam/crossmember that is in front of the left axle beam, I think it's called. This pic must be on the next gen.
That is a later Ranger. The rack and pinion is mounted to the front of that cross member, behind the skid plate. You can see the tie rod ends poking out the sides.

From what I remember, the earlier models have links exposed in front of the suspension arms, so could benefit also. The plate would minimize exposure to getting bent or damaged from hitting rocks. Maybe not a concern for what you plan to do.
 

James Morse

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And then plans change....
You have a point, the steering is in a place it isn't well protected and a hard rock hit there could mess you up big time as to the steering. It looks pretty rugged, but, you're right of course, it's exposed. So there's a case for front skid right there.
The thing is you go up roads and you're like the first 4 or 5 creek crossings, piece of cake, then they start getting worse and your mind says, well, those were effortless, doesn't seem like I'm taxing it much or even close to what it can do. Obviously if you are up a road you want to keep going. But you also want to get back, so where is "a creek too far"? I don't know yet.
I would tend to be less worried if I had the vent tubes up from the diff's, and front skid, and rear diff skid. To start with. And tires (diff thread).
It doesn't help if other half is like "your truck can go right up that, just go for it". That's easy for her to say, it's not her truck.
My firewood guy does mainly welding/ironwork, he welded coal cars for 15 years, he can make anything, so if I knew what the rear diff skid should look like and it's not a market item I'd probably have him make it.
And no matter what I do I have to accept that there will be trucks with huge tires and gigantic lift that are going places I will not be able to go, unless I do more upgrades and even then it will never be a cliff climber. That's life.
It is perhaps a factor of getting into 4x4 that what you think will totally satisfy you turns out later to just be a tease into what you could really do.
Rambling... but you get the idea.
 

ericbphoto

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I have a 93. It’s a TTB truck. There is no good way to get much of a front skid plate to protect my steering adequately. I haven’t had any trouble with that yet. A lot of that is in how you drive. Learning to pick a good line to prevent or minimize damage.

Now you’re mentioning axle vents. Extending the vent lines for both differentials and your transfer case is a very simple and cheap projecT to complete. Go to NAPA or Google and get 15 ft or so of good 1/4” ID rubber hose and extend those vents as high as you can get them. Remember to put the little breather thingy back in the top end to keep dirt out. Some people extend the rear diff vent way up high between the inner and outer walls of the bed side. The front one, get it up high in the engine bay. Zip tie it to the inner fender or radiator support. Check the transfer case vent. It may already go up high in the engine bay back on the firewall somewhere. But if it’s old and brittle, it should be replaced. $20 and an hour or two and that’s done.
 

James Morse

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Then yours should be the same as my '97. Good point, not sure how protecting the steering would work.
Someone, might have been you, had a little manifold they made, I think, to keep dirt/water out of the ends of the tubes. Front, done as you describe, that wouldn't be necessary.
You are saying there is a breather already there so just re-mount it. I'll look at it.
It would be just one less thing to worry about because I really do not want water in my diffs then take them apart and all that. Sounds like a lot more work than relocating tubes.
 

ericbphoto

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Then yours should be the same as my '97. Good point, not sure how protecting the steering would work.
Someone, might have been you, had a little manifold they made, I think, to keep dirt/water out of the ends of the tubes. Front, done as you describe, that wouldn't be necessary.
You are saying there is a breather already there so just re-mount it. I'll look at it.
It would be just one less thing to worry about because I really do not want water in my diffs then take them apart and all that. Sounds like a lot more work than relocating tubes.
There is a little plastic thing in the end of the hose. It looks like a plug. But it doesn’t seal. It keeps dirt out but allows air to move in and out.
 

sgtsandman

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And then plans change....
You have a point, the steering is in a place it isn't well protected and a hard rock hit there could mess you up big time as to the steering. It looks pretty rugged, but, you're right of course, it's exposed. So there's a case for front skid right there.
The thing is you go up roads and you're like the first 4 or 5 creek crossings, piece of cake, then they start getting worse and your mind says, well, those were effortless, doesn't seem like I'm taxing it much or even close to what it can do. Obviously if you are up a road you want to keep going. But you also want to get back, so where is "a creek too far"? I don't know yet.
I would tend to be less worried if I had the vent tubes up from the diff's, and front skid, and rear diff skid. To start with. And tires (diff thread).
It doesn't help if other half is like "your truck can go right up that, just go for it". That's easy for her to say, it's not her truck.
My firewood guy does mainly welding/ironwork, he welded coal cars for 15 years, he can make anything, so if I knew what the rear diff skid should look like and it's not a market item I'd probably have him make it.
And no matter what I do I have to accept that there will be trucks with huge tires and gigantic lift that are going places I will not be able to go, unless I do more upgrades and even then it will never be a cliff climber. That's life.
It is perhaps a factor of getting into 4x4 that what you think will totally satisfy you turns out later to just be a tease into what you could really do.
Rambling... but you get the idea.
More protection than you need isn’t a bad thing. The only thing I’ve had an issue hitting anything so far is the transfer case. But I plan on getting a full set of skid plates when I get the money and probably get one made to cover the bottom of the engine. The transfer case will get the OEM plates until I can get better ones made based on the OEM as a template.

As far as the rear differential, that will have to be made. The ones I’ve seen for other axles cup the bottom of the differential and have a u-bolt the clamps to the nose of the differential housing for the front and tabs in the back that use the bottom differential cover bolts to anchor the back.
 

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As far as the rear differential, that will have to be made. The ones I’ve seen for other axles cup the bottom of the differential and have a u-bolt the clamps to the nose of the differential housing for the front and tabs in the back that use the bottom differential cover bolts to anchor the back.
I've read elsewhere that the diff skidplate for a Jeep Gladiator will work since they use the same rear axle.
Also someone makes little tiny skidplates for the rear lower shock mounts.
 

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I've read elsewhere that the diff skidplate for a Jeep Gladiator will work since they use the same rear axle.
Also someone makes little tiny skidplates for the rear lower shock mounts.
I dimly recall something on the shock mounts. Unless you’re a rock crawler, I wonder how much utility they really have.
 

James Morse

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Ah, the shock mounts are just about as low as the differential so it kind of makes sense. On mine anyway, and, I'd wondered about that exposure.
I don't think you have to be specifically rock crawling to need protection (leaving aside for what). It can often be the case that you are on a back road / fire road and there are rocks, could even be pointy, sticking up, they can be part of the bedrock so stuck there and if there is no way around it you have to go over it. Or turn around and go home.
It's really a matter of inches. Say you pick a good path and you clear the rock by 1/4". All is fine. Say you don't clear it by 3/4". You will hit/scrape something. If you're off by 2", I'd say you probably will be hung up.
Where you'd hit, say, a fuel tank skid pate, is way above where you'd hit the differential, so you're trying to choose a path that works, of course, but depending on the surface (slippery?), you can move off your intended path.
Granted I'm probably the most inexperienced off-roader here, but it's geometry, you look at the underside of the truck and try to keep in your head what that looks like, then choose what path doesn't hit anything. I think this is where experience comes in, because you're not getting out and measuring outcrops with a ruler.
There are three possible situations: one, there's no visible issue, so no problem, two, there's a massive issue, clearly not passable with the vehicle. Those are easy decisions. The third situation is when it's probably/maybe ok if you take the right path/approach and the truck stays on that line, and those are the hard ones to know what to do especially for an inexperienced person.
I'll gain probably 1-1/2" height just by putting on new correct size tires. It doesn't sound like much, but it's a lot. Would 6" be better, sure, but dealing with what I have, I'd want to maximize height insofar as I can without making other changes at least right now.
 

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Over the years I've accumulated a bunch of road signs. I've always wanted to use them for skid plates.
One plate I've seen in use but never found for scrap is " exposed manhole". That would be the epitome of my collection if I could get one...
There’s a guy around here with a ‘03 is red ranger with a full size stop sign for a front skid plate and lower valance removed. Looks pretty cool.
 

Josh B

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It used to be illegal even being in possession of any road marker signs. When I first moved back here from TN I was still some ebay sales but soon found this place would not be conducive to shipping. I helped one of my mom's friends clean out some old sheds in her back yard. Her husband was deceased and they were his shed sized junk drawers.
He had been a life-long Ford mechanic and his day had obviously not stopped when he got home. I still have a barrel of his old carburetors in the shed.
Also a few road signs, he likely worked on the city and county vehicles.
One 30in.x30in says Water On Roadway, I need to ask my neighbor about that, just beyond his house he is constantly having to put signs and ribbons across the road.
The other one is holding up an old tree so it may be a while before I can get it.
The 30X30 is only about 5/64 or maybe 3/32
 

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The sign I wanted was in N. Dakota - Depressed wheel track. I always wondered what it would take to make them happy again. :ROFLMAO:
 

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It used to be illegal even being in possession of any road marker signs. When I first moved back here from TN I was still some ebay sales but soon found this place would not be conducive to shipping. I helped one of my mom's friends clean out some old sheds in her back yard. Her husband was deceased and they were his shed sized junk drawers.
He had been a life-long Ford mechanic and his day had obviously not stopped when he got home. I still have a barrel of his old carburetors in the shed.
Also a few road signs, he likely worked on the city and county vehicles.
One 30in.x30in says Water On Roadway, I need to ask my neighbor about that, just beyond his house he is constantly having to put signs and ribbons across the road.
The other one is holding up an old tree so it may be a while before I can get it.
The 30X30 is only about 5/64 or maybe 3/32
I saw this once and had to stop at the side of the road and take a pic.

Boring Area.jpg
 

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