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Discussion Starter #221 (Edited)
Testing With No Front Sway Bar (02.07.16)

(UPDATE 03.15.16: More feedback after driving a lot more with the sway bar off. Short version - I'm keeping it off. Slightly longer version, see #270)

After reading a lot of threads regarding removing the front sway bar, I decided to try it out. I’ve been driving without the front sway bar for a little over a week now (since the day after Azusa OHV trip) and what many say is right - the ride is much smoother.


Six bolts, no raising the truck needed, and it’s out.

Each front wheel can now roll over things (bumps, manhole covers, expansion joints) independently, so if you hit a bump on one side, the jolt won’t be transferred through the sway bar to the other side. The one thing I wanted to avoid at all costs was compromising the daily comfort, the King coilovers feel really good even if they have stiffer than stock springs - but with the sway bar removed it’s nice and plush. That’s the good part.

The “bad” part is that the body does dive/lean a lot more when turning, especially on right-angle turns at intersections. However it only took me a couple days to get used to it, and now I just automatically adjust my turning speed and it drives just fine. I’m going to keep the sway bar off for a little more to make sure I’m okay with it, but so far I’m liking the overall ride improvement. I may have to play with the shock compression adjusters to see if I can get rid of some of the front end dive, maybe a few clicks of compression will do the trick.
 

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Not the fuel tank skid? I was thinking going with the radiator skid first, fuel tank skid second. I figure if I'm going to hit something low, the radiator skid would hit it first and I'd stop to check the obstacle... and I'm not to comfortable knowing that the plastic fuel tank is just there hanging with zero protection.
Raine, for what it's worth, the only skids I've busted up were the radiator and fuel tank. I'd say it's a good place to start.
 

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Raine, for what it's worth, the only skids I've busted up were the radiator and fuel tank. I'd say it's a good place to start.
This makes sense, as prior to my installing any skids, I'd come home finding the longitudinal chassis members scraped, in the vicinity of the fuel tank; this happened when I was clearing tallish bumps/berms on the trail. The front wheels help lift the engine/t-case out of the way, but what goes up must come down, at the belly, which is where the gas tank is. It was the fear of goring my tank that got me to install the skids ASAP.

I'd still recommend getting the full set eventually, for peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #224
This makes sense, as prior to my installing any skids, I'd come home finding the longitudinal chassis members scraped, in the vicinity of the fuel tank; this happened when I was clearing tallish bumps/berms on the trail. The front wheels help lift the engine/t-case out of the way, but what goes up must come down, at the belly, which is where the gas tank is. It was the fear of goring my tank that got me to install the skids ASAP.

I'd still recommend getting the full set eventually, for peace of mind.
That makes sense about the front wheels helping lift the forward parts out of the way, only to come down near the front of the gas tank

Question Pathung: you ordered the 4-piece set I assume? How long was the wait and how were they delivered?
 

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I ordered the complete set - 5 pcs. including Radiator Skid. These were delivered 5 days short of two months, via Fedex, in large/strong cardboard boxes. Link to my post with photo:

http://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/2675569-post268.html

Another CF member ordered just before I received mine, and he received them in just a few days - Hefty apparently made a few extra sets with the batch.
 

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Discussion Starter #226
I ordered the complete set - 5 pcs. including Radiator Skid. These were delivered 5 days short of two months, via Fedex, in large/strong cardboard boxes. Link to my post with photo:

http://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/2675569-post268.html

Another CF member ordered just before I received mine, and he received them in just a few days - Hefty apparently made a few extra sets with the batch.
Not sure how I missed that in your thread LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #228

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In my experience the first skid plate you need to get is the engine skid. Even though the nismo/pro4x comes with an engine skid, it is almost useless when taking hits to the oil pan. If you look under the truck you will also notice that the fragile aluminum front diff is the lowest and the first thing that gets hit. I had genltly tapped my diff and taken gouges out of the material before I decided to armor it up. I have the Shrock front engine skid and I am constantly tagging it on things. Almost everything else is untouched. The stock front rad skid does a pretty good job of protecting the radiator.

Unless you are seriously rock crawling, most of the time you do not encounter rocks so large that you will trundle it across the entire bottom of the truck, just a little kiss to the front lowest part of the truck.

The next thing that gets beat up are the rockers. Sliders are #2 on my list of armor. Mine have taken numerous hits, and I am about to replace my homemade ones due to them getting a little too beat up (and a used deal came up that I could pass up).

The third thing that gets beat up is the gas tank. Due to the location I seem to drag it across rocks. The stock skid plate does a decent job. Though it is not tough enough to support the full weight of the truck, it acts as a "skin" that protects the plastic tank from getting punctured. After a hard wheeling trip I will take a look underneath at the gas tank skid to see if it has been hit. If it has, it is usually dented in and making contact with the tank. In some instances it pushes in the tank a little. I drop the skid. Pound out the dent, sometime hit it with new black paint and reinstall. I have considered getting a beefy tank skid, but the OEM one seems to be doing its job. It is also very light and easy to take on and off.

I would say tied for 3rd is the rear diff. That is very easy to drag on rocks and peel the cover open. However not every contact of the rear diff results in a leaking diff cover. I had many scrapes before finally leaking.

Since I am thinking of the rear axle, those lower shock mounts really take a beating. But I think it is one of those things that if you eventually break it then replace it. If you don't regularly hit it then don't worry about it. They can take MANY hits before breaking off. Mine are a little wavy but holding fine.

Finally on one occasion I took a hit to my Transfer case. In fact I sat up on a rock and got stuck. The stock skid did a decent job of protecting the aluminum case, but I did knock a corner of the case off. It was extra material anyways :). The thing that did happen however is that I crushed my exhaust "cross over" pipe that is right next to the transfer case. There is no skid on the market that covers the t-case area frame rail to rail. Though if I did have an aftermarket skid there the pipe might have been better protected.

So far in all of my wheeling with my truck I have never come close to hitting the transmission. Maybe it is because it is a manual and the auto sits lower or has a lower pan. But 6 speed sits way higher than anything else under the truck. You are going to have to find a huge *** rock and hit it with enough speed drag over the engine skid (or crush the front diff and oil pan) before it ever reaches the transmission.

There you have it my 10 cents on armoring up the bottom side of the truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #230
There you have it my 10 cents on armoring up the bottom side of the truck.
No, I don't plan on doing any hardcore rock crawling; I'm limiting the extent of the off-roading I'll do (in terms of level of difficulty) on purpose.

For now I do have the OEM Nismo/Pro-4X engine and transfer skids on, and I see what you're saying - the OEM engine skid doesn't really cover much, it seems more like it's there so that you don't get the rear crossmember caught up on something... but there's no coverage for the front diff. And I can see how the OEM transfer case skid can just bend upward if I hit something major (since it's just attached to the chassis at the front).

But yeah... I had the radiator skid and fuel tank skid at the top of the list because those are the two things I worry about, coincidentally because both the radiator and fuel tank are both plastic.
 

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The stock radiator does a very fine job. Once you get the engine skid on there is very little space between the bumper and the top lip of the engine skid.

I think that the plastic gas tank is tougher than a steel one. The plastic tank can be dented and it just pops right back out. My one experience with a metal tank that leaked, it tore a hole from simply from scraping asphalt.
 

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Discussion Starter #232
Thanks for the input... I'm not quite at the "time to order skids" point yet, most likely I'm going to order the sliders first.
 

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I'm pretty much of the same opinion that Nissan4Life is. But then I'm pretty high off the ground at this point, and I haven't had any issues with contacting the fuel tank. Ever. I'm okay with the radiator coverage, and if I get into wheeling that rough I'll be with someone and have a spotter anyway. Or start stacking.

The transmission has no coverage whatsoever. I doubt I'll hit it with anything, but transmissions are expensive. So I'm planning on just an engine and tranny skid.
 

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Discussion Starter #235 (Edited)
Suspension Down Travel Notes (02.10.16)

So forum member “jbumx2” recently asked me about the down travel with my suspension setup. When I got home after work earlier today I pulled the floor jack and measuring tape out and took some measurements, I was interested myself to see how much extended travel my shocks gave me:

First, the baseline - with the truck on a flat surface (important to note that my sway bar is removed here) I measured the gap between the center-top of the tire to the center (highest point) of the front fender.


Fender gap to tire, at rest.



So the “static” fender gap came out to 6-7/8”. Next I put the floor jack under the frame right behind the front-left wheel and jacked the truck up until the front-left tire was suspended (I could spin the wheel freely in the air):


After dropping the wheel to maximum extension.



The gap went up to 8-1/2”, which after some simple math told me that my down travel is exactly 1-5/8” at the wheel.

While here I noticed that my Total Chaos UCAs were resting on the bump stops, and the bump stops were resting on top of the coil bucket. So that got me thinking: it looks like I could squeeze some more travel if I remove the bump stops so I unbolted them from the UCAs and then raised the front end again to see what happened:


You can see the bump stop I removed, sitting on the tire.

Hey now - the gap went up to 9-1/2”, meaning just by removing the bump stops I gained another inch of wheel “droop”, so now I had 2-5/8” down travel at the wheel. I checked some important areas for any contact, and this is what I found:


First (photo above), at full droop the Total Chaos bump stop plate was NOT touching the coil bucket. This told me that it was the King shocks that were limiting the down travel, which if fine because that means no coil bucket contact if I drop a wheel into a deep rut or something. Also note in the photo above that the UCA’s uniball area has ample clearance from the coil bucket lip.


Second (photo above), at full droop the King shocks were the correct length to ensure that the lower spring seat did not contact the front drive shafts. So I don’t have to worry about notching the driveshaft like I’ve seen some others experience with other shocks.


And third (photo above) - I looked at the steering tie rod ball end, and it’s fine; it isn’t maxed out on angle, and there’s still a lot of room for tie rod rotation available even at the ride height I have my truck at.

So with the bump stops I have 1-5/8” of down travel available, and that jumps up an extra inch to 2-5/8” of down travel when the bump stops are removed.

Now someone tell me if that’s good, or bad, or sounds about right. LOL
::smile::
 

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Agreed! I'll have to measure mine now.
 

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Discussion Starter #238
My OMEs give me exactly 2" of down travel from the static state, so I'd say that your 2.5" droop is pretty good!
I just remembered that I set the coilovers with about 1/2" of preload to get the ride height where it is... but then again unless I'm mistaken that would've just changed my fender to tire measurement, but the shock would still stop at the same place at full extension.
 

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I just remembered that I set the coilovers with about 1/2" of preload to get the ride height where it is... but then again unless I'm mistaken that would've just changed my fender to tire measurement, but the shock would still stop at the same place at full extension.
Correct
 

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Discussion Starter #240
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