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Thread: Aluminum vs Steel Skid Plates

  1. #1
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    Aluminum vs Steel Skid Plates

    I'm looking at Under Cover Fabworks for my tummy tuck/skid plate setup and had a question. I really like the Aluminum skid plates because of the weight savings, however I want to make sure I'm getting adequate protection. I know both of the steel skid options (3/16" & 1/4") will hold up on my TJ, no questions asked. And I know the heavier aluminum plate skid will also work, BUT, do I need to spend the additional $$ on the heavier aluminum skid? The two aluminum options are 1/4" and 3/8", and both are 6061-T651 Aluminum plate. It seems like the website is inferring that the 1/4" aluminum is comparable to the 3/16" Steel, and the 3/8" is comparable to the 1/4" Steel; but I really would prefer a more absolute answer. Anyone familiar enough with this that can help clear this up for me?

  2. #2
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    My personal opinion, how much belly dragging are you going to be doing? If your riding the skids all the time, go steel. If you are dragging every now and again and not constantly dragging, use the aluminum. Also my opinion go thicker on the aluminum. I have full aluminum skids on my ATV and a few of the guys here have seen me beat them like they owed me money. No issues yet. I have all steel on my XJ.
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  3. #3
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    Yeah, I agree about the metal choice. I'm not going to be on the skids all the time. They're there just for the occasional bonk off a rock. It's just that the heavier Aluminum skid is an additional $100 above the already more expensive, thinner Aluminum skid. So do I really need to spend the extra money? or is the thicker skid more for hard core off-roaders? Or, is it just a selling tactic to get people to spend an additional $100?

  4. #4
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    So I finally got a response from UCF, it looks as though they designed the aluminum skids to be comparable to the two steel options. So the 1/4" aluminum is similar to the 3/16" steel.

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    I followed a few threads on other forums regarding steel vs aluminum when I was deciding on a gas tank skid for my TJ. Savvy comes up all the time and folks that bought their skids shared images of trail damage. They sure as hell can take a beating and are 3/16" thick. Look into Savvy if you have not already. They design stuff for desert racing and rock crawling.
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    Thanks for the info. I'll look into them.

  7. #7
    For rock crawling, I would choose steel. It slides better than aluminum.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorick View Post
    For rock crawling, I would choose steel. It slides better than aluminum.
    Thats what I was thinking.

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    Aluminum does bite in and grab. That's why you see people put the UHMW plastic on the aluminum or just heavy plastic. Lightweight strong and slides, but way overkill for the casual user.

    I've done some pretty heavy damage to 3/16 steel that I know would have ripped through aluminum. Steel is more forgiving. I tend to use the skids ... as skids. they are there to slide on so that's what I do. I've ground the edges off some 1/4 inch plate on rocks. Worn through 1/4" shock mounts where I had to add some weld to replace what wore out.

    All depends on what you want. Daily driver where you still want some protection, go aluminum. If your worried about long term go steel. If your cheap go steel.

  10. #10
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    That's a good idea about using UHMW. Thanks for the tip.

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