Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Skids 2; info in case you try this at home

quick heads up: http://autopartsoem.net/ is an outfit that spams with BS in comments and leaves their link. I'd never do business with them. And if it is just a person leaving comments about how I should do my page, then leaving the link--that is one sick cookie

So, I worked Monday evening as the sun was setting, the breeze was picking up, and the heat less oppressive. First, as indicated in the sketchy, yet not illustrated, instructions, I removed the existing plastic under guard. Then I proceeded to change the oil. No need to install the new shiny skid plate, then take it off to perform this task.

That being done, I installed the new item. I forget the designation of that type of aluminum which is aircraft grade, blablabla. 30/60 or something. I made up those numbers. Anyway, it is very strong and hard, for aluminum. I can't imagine anyone needing the optional thicker version of this plate.

It fit a bit close to a piece of the heat shield around the header pipe of the exhaust, but I figured, maybe it is OK. The less than detailed instructions mentioned that "on some models" you could cut the plastic thing to retain the extra bit of splash guard. I had carefully saved all fasteners and did not trash the existing plastic thing in the process of removal. Just in case.

Now I had about a gallon of old oil in need of disposing. Not like the old days when you could just dump it back into the ground from whence it came, or use it to discourage growth of unwanted vegetation. Fortunately Walmart makes a big deal out of "being green" and how they are so nice that you can recycle the oil at their store. Well, not just anywhere, they don't want it in the aisles or all over the toy department, etc.

I know from experience that they have a place next to their oil change facility where they accept your old oil and dump it into a big tank. Unless Latisha is working. She makes you dump it.

They expect you to sign a sheet and include your address. Over the last year or so I have dumped oil there for Greg Rasputin, Eddie Van Halen, Nick Buonicotti, Robert E Lee, F. Lee Bailey. That is all I recall at the moment. I drive a lot, and I keep up with oil changes. All those people live in either Alpine, Pine Valley, Boulevard, or Jacumba. Addresses vary, and I do not recall the street names I give. Usually something festive like Fiesta way, or Los Cajones Fuerte.

What's with the info quiz to dump oil at a place that only takes it because they love you and want "to help the earth"?

It was after oil change hours and the chain link gate which is locked to protect the dirty oil room has a sizable gap, so I slid the gallon oil bottle in and left. I missed the challenge of creating a new donor identity. I was leaning toward Albert Gore, had the opportunity arisen.

The oil episode gave plenty of time and highway driving to see what I thought of the new skid plate, if anything. I thought the car was noisier, and kept being troubled by the thought that the plate was touching the heat shield.

Today, I examined the set up and opted to cut the old plastic under engine guard to retain that extra splash shield the instructions vaguely mentioned. I retained as much of it as possible, then realized I had to trim more and more or the aluminum part wouldn't fit.

Finally, I got 'er done. I also pulled the plate and took it to the back deck where I managed to cut a semi circle out of the edge which had been rubbing exhaust parts. The stuff is tough. I drilled many holes, then used a Dremel tool with those cutting disks to cut the in-betweens. Then I used the little drum sander attachment, and a grinder attachment to smooth it out.

The remaining plastic is a U-shape, with the bottom of the U riding up under the radiator. They should suggest that you do this, and offer a diagram showing where to cut. It is hard to judge it because you can't have both items installed at once, and things don't work exactly as you think they will from setting one on top of the other on the ground.

I'm fairly pleased with the result so far. Instantly quieter. I noticed the skid plate actually gives a bit more ground clearance than the plastic arrangement did. Not much, but possibly an inch. It has a pad which sits up against the oil pan, so I think close is the intention. I've decided this presents no cooling issues, but I'll spare you my analysis of that matter.

Now I believe I'll remain happy with this modification. Last night I was ready to chalk it up as another dumb purchase.

Because it came from an outfit which is involved in racing and modifying Subarus, I suppose the minimalist approach to offering info should be no surprise. I've noticed that many parts and wrench pull types think it is uncool to communicate adequately. Even though their main customers for this item are just regular Joes and Janes. I figured it out, I think. I've got the best of the old part and the new part now.

Still, to change oil, I have to undo four bolts and drop the thing down. Not much more trouble than all those inadequate fasteners for the old access panel, and once it is off the oil and filter work is easier. What happens if I take it in to a quick oil change place? I do not know. Part of the reason I change my own is because the old system seemed too much for them to handle without screwing it up--either no crush washer on the plug, or missing fasteners on the plastic panel. Or both.

If I were Mr. Subaru, I'd design a much easier and more durable system for oil change and under engine protection.

****helpful hint: if you are doing work of this nature in a ground up bark covered lot, it pays to have old drop cloths. Fortunately I have several, two or three of which are reserved specifically for auto maintenance. ****

The Skids

Skid plate before changing oil, removing the plastic stuff and installing it.
It comes off easy enough.
Foggy corner of pic is because I had to tape my phone case together and a bit of the tape was over the lens.

I'll wait until I'm sure before offering a definitive review. It looked cool, as polished aluminum usually does. The little vents help.
It is a tough item.
If a rabbit hits it with his head, no longer will little plastic nonsense fasteners fall out causing something to drag on the highway.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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