Is your undercarriage properly protected? Michael Hays shows us how to make your truck unbreakable!
With the change in modern 4WD suspension geometry more towards a lower more stable driving platform, it is now more common to see lift heights in the 2-4in range.
Whilst this height allows for better on-road handling and more stable off-road and touring, it may also make ALL the suspension and driveline components more susceptible to damage from obstacles.
Most factory vehicles come with some types of basic guards and although they are adequate at protecting you from stone damage and light abrasions they often do little in providing adequate protection to your vehicle in off-road situations where rocks, stumps and ruts can easily damage your suspension or expensive driveline components.
Sometimes it’s not those hardcore trails that do the worst damage, accidents like a busted radiator from a wayward stick in a campground or a bit of roadkill on the highway smashing the 4WD actuator or bending a tie rod, can be all it takes to wreck a great weekend away.
So what types of guards are available and what should I look for?
Ideally look for protection plates that integrate to your vehicle’s design and associated components.
They should also have carefully positioned holes to allow correct air flow, access for servicing and changing fluids such as oil and also allow easy cleaning of dirt, mud and debris.
Any bolts that secure the sections should be recessed or have protection rings to ensure easy removal during use.
The materials and the processes used are varied but ideally the armour should be exactly that... a thin section that will deform and be difficult to remove for servicing can become a waste of money in the long run.
By using CAD & FEA analysis software a manufacturer can design in features that not only protect vital components but also transfer energy from impacts safely back into the chassis.
Another important design criteria is the ability to allow the vehicle to slide across objects without getting stuck on joins or sharp edges.
When it comes to protecting your 4WD, start with the basics and keep adding as you go.
As with any suspension components you may need, contact your local 4WD suspension specialist for information on the best parts for your 4WD.
Contact Superior EngineeringPhone: (07) 5433 1411
1/116 Lipscombe Road
Deception Bay Queensland 4508
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