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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been on the hunt for a new radiator skid basically since I bought the truck. I was out innawoods and I backed up over a rock. Because Murphy is an a-hole it basically caught the exact wrong spot and ripped the factory rad skid off the cross member and its been hanging down ever since, scraping on literally everything.

With the dollar being what it is, I wanted to find something on this side of the 49th. I eventually stumbled upon Black Widow Gear After a couple emails back and forth I went for it, cuz the price was right; even with the crazy shipping. Almost two months later it finally showed up today.




I get why it was half the price of the Hefty or Shrock pieces. AFAIK, they are laser cut and bent from a single piece of plate. The Black Widow ones, are not. These also didn't come with hardware; so if anyone knows what size bolts I need, I'm heading to the fastener store on Thursday. Also; idiot question but I assume the mount holes are threaded?





The welds definitely aren't art, but they look strong enough. The paint is apparently bedliner, and it feels like it is. Not entirely sure how durable it's gonna be though.







Tiny bit of shipping damage, but I'll just rattle can it. No big deal. The plan is to beat on this thing. It's not a beauty contest.


I probably won't be able to get to installing it for a bit, so I can't say how they fit but they look about the right size. I'll post more pictures when I get it on.


Overall, I'm not astounded with the initial quality, but if its ugly and it works, who cares? I couldn't say no to the price and needed it fixed. Black Widow also warranties them for life, so that was a neat little bonus.
 

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For $80. I wouldn't expect much more than that. For what you probably paid to get it shipped you could have
supported a local weld shop and got the same quality. But thanks for the review, if I find I need one I'll get it
local.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
For $80. I wouldn't expect much more than that. For what you probably paid to get it shipped you could have
supported a local weld shop and got the same quality. But thanks for the review, if I find I need one I'll get it
local.


I don't disagree, but I tried to recruit a couple local shops and they were either completely disinterested, or wanted to charge an and a leg for a one off piece. Hindsight being what it is, I probably would have just sprung for the Hefty or Shrock. The eventual plan is replace is with one of those when I get a bumper. If you've got sh!t luck the same way I do, and need something relatively quick or cheap I'd say they're just about right. If you're not an idiot with a functioning OEM skid, spring the extra cash for the well known brands.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Does it only mount on the ends? No bolts to the front cross member?

That would be the other thing that kinda pissed me off about this skid. It literally just covers the rad. It doesn't extend as far as the factory, or 'traditional' skid plates do. From what it shows on their website it looks like their version of the engine skid bolts up to the x-member. From a business perspective, its genius, cuz now I don't have a choice but to buy their engine skid.
 

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That would be the other thing that kinda pissed me off about this skid. It literally just covers the rad. It doesn't extend as far as the factory, or 'traditional' skid plates do. From what it shows on their website it looks like their version of the engine skid bolts up to the x-member. From a business perspective, its genius, cuz now I don't have a choice but to buy their engine skid.
Doesn't sound worth the money. My radiator and engine skid from hefty both bolt to the cross member.

Side note, last weekend while off roading, while we were stopped and I found a chunk of a birch branch the thickness of my wrist wedged between my plastic bumper and the radiator skid. Without proper protection, that would have for sure been all up in my radiator....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Doesn't sound worth the money. My radiator and engine skid from hefty both bolt to the cross member.

Side note, last weekend while off roading, while we were stopped and I found a chunk of a birch branch the thickness of my wrist wedged between my plastic bumper and the radiator skid. Without proper protection, that would have for sure been all up in my radiator....

That's my biggest issue. The factory skid is just begging to get ripped off the way it is right now, which is just gonna end super badly. I'm probably gonna end up ordering a Hefty skid and selling this at some point, hopefully when the Canadian peso improves. Until then, this is gonna have to make due. Oh well. Lesson learned. Somebody had to be the guinea pig, why not me?
 

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Does your truck have the factory installed tow hook? Pull it off the truck and match the hardware to those bolts. If you intend to re install the factory tow hook, I suggest getting bolts for that side that are slightly longer, then you could use the factory bolts on the other side.

Several of us have stripped the threads on the weld nuts inside the frame at this location. Make sure to install the bolts with anti seize and get them started using your fingers to avoid cross threading them. I also suggest you tighten them using a ratchet with a short handle and DO NOT use a breaker bar. Replacing these weld nuts is a very difficult job as they are inside the frame rails and there is no access to them.
 

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Does your truck have the factory installed tow hook? Pull it off the truck and match the hardware to those bolts. If you intend to re install the factory tow hook, I suggest getting bolts for that side that are slightly longer, then you could use the factory bolts on the other side.

Several of us have stripped the threads on the weld nuts inside the frame at this location. Make sure to install the bolts with anti seize and get them started using your fingers to avoid cross threading them. I also suggest you tighten them using a ratchet with a short handle and DO NOT use a breaker bar. Replacing these weld nuts is a very difficult job as they are inside the frame rails and there is no access to them.
My method was to run the bolts in by hand, give it a few turns with the ratchet until I felt some resistance, back it out, give it a squirt of PB blaster and run it back in a little more and repeat until the bolt threads in easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No OEM tow hooks. I guess I could always rent one from the dealer to match it up. I wanna run at least 10.9 bolts since there's only 4 of them.

Appreciate the advice. There's a pretty good chance I would have bull-in-a-china-shopped my through it and wrecked it out of the gate.
 

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I ordered the same skid for my Xterra back in April and just got it last week. I can confirm everything that @picklez has said so far.

-only covers the radiator
-does not got back to the crossmember
-welds look nice, but are not jewelry
-paint was missing on one edge
-welding spray metal (not sure what this is called) is visible all over

Overall, not a bad price for what I paid. I will probably buy a gas tank skid or engine skid from them, but would not recommend this radiator skid to a friend.

-Also, my sway bar bushings are very exposed with this skid. I have a 2" BL so I think they would be covered better if didn't have the BL.

http://www.thenewx.org/forum/70-product-reviews/239874-review-black-widow-gear-radiator-skid-plate.html
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I ordered the same skid for my Xterra back in April and just got it last week. I can confirm everything that @picklez has said so far.

-only covers the radiator
-does not got back to the crossmember
-welds look nice, but are not jewelry
-paint was missing on one edge
-welding spray metal (not sure what this is called) is visible all over

Overall, not a bad price for what I paid. I will probably buy a gas tank skid or engine skid from them, but would not recommend this radiator skid to a friend.

-Also, my sway bar bushings are very exposed with this skid. I have a 2" BL so I think they would be covered better if didn't have the BL.

Review: Black Widow Gear Radiator Skid Plate - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)

Have you got yours installed yet? I've seen some mixed reviews about fit over at TNX.

Edit: I just read your thread and it looks like yes, you had fitment issues. Fantastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I finally got around to installing this giant turd today. I tried to get it bolted on earlier last week, but I ran into some fit issues. The mount holes were like a quarter to three eights of an inch off center. I basically ended up having to mill out a quarter inch on each side of the holes to get it to line up. With a Dremel. On the hottest day of the year. Not super impressed. Other than spending all day looking for fender washers that would fit my now oversize holes, it was a painless process; once I got the holes to fit. I sent Black Widow an email telling them, but today is technically a holiday so I won't hear back until tomorrow.

At the end of it all, this stupid thing does what I need it to. It protects my rad, and gets rid of the monstrosity that was hanging down below it.. I was really hoping to be able to support a Canadian company and keep my money in my country, but there's a reason manufacturers and fabricators flock south of the border; and this illustrates that. Maybe they'll turn around and have some amazing customer service, but I'm not holding my breath. For anyone who stumbles across this thread in hopes of finding a Canadian source for Fronterra armour, look elsewhere. Black Widow Gear is not on par with the other options.
 
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