In its lifetime, a trail rig will tackle some pretty rough terrain head on, and we do our best to mitigate the damage by outfitting our vehicles with plate bumpers, tube sliders, and other forms of body armor. But in our quest to prevent desert pinstripes and trail scars, one shouldn’t overlook protecting the undercarriage. With vulnerable drive train components hanging down, it only takes one well placed hit to leave you stranded on the trail. That’s why and an aftermarket skid plate is the perfect solution for armoring your underside. A skid plate plays a few important roles: it allows the truck to slide relatively smoothly over obstacles, and it deflects objects that would otherwise find their way in and cause damage.
In this installation review, I’ll bolt on a Pelfreybilt aluminum skid plate designed for the 2005 – 2017 Toyota Tacoma. This skid is a hefty ¼” thick piece of laser-cut aluminum with the Pelfreybilt logo cut right into the front; the skid provides protection for the oil pan, alignment cam tabs, and the rear portion of the engine. It’s available in steel as well, but since this daily-driver sees plenty of off-road use and rarely any rock-crawling, I saved a whopping 36 pounds when opting for aluminum.
The installation starts by removing the stock skid plate and the support brackets. Almost all of the bolts will be reused, so keep them together. With a 12mm socket, remove the four 8mm bolts holding the stock skid in place. A small tab in the front cross member keeps the skid from falling; lift the skid over the tab and send it to meet Valhalla in the recycling bin!
The next step involves removing the stock support channels. With a 17mm socket, remove the six 12mm bolts and set four of them aside for installing the Pelfreybilt skid. We’re on the home stretch.
Now it’s time to install the new aluminum skid. At 26 pounds, you could hold the skid plate up with one hand and start a few bolts, but I found it much easier to support the skid with a floor jack. Before you position the skid, it should be noted that the rear bolt holes in the cross member haven’t been used until now. Take a few minutes and clean them out as mud and road grime might be in the threads.
With the Pelfreybilt skid plate in place and the bolt holes lined up, start with the front 12mm bolts, then work your way back with two more 12mm bolts in the forward recessed holes, followed by the remaining 8mm bolts in the rear recessed holes. Work your way around and tighten the bolts evenly.
With the new Pelfreybilt Aluminum Skid bolted to the bottom of my 2013 Tacoma, I feel much more confident when venturing into rougher terrain that would otherwise make me question my decisions. The engine, oil pan, front differential, and front alignment cam tabs are safe behind a quarter-inch thick aluminum plate.
# TAP Note: The TAP Taco has been successfully using the complete Pelfreybilt aluminum skid system for over 2 years with very positive results. For more information on Pelfreybilt products, click HERE
Author and Photos: Matt Gunn, Gunn Photography Services and TAP In-Field Contributor