Toyota 8" Differential Guard

Http:// Short Cuts
Author: Scott Wilson June 2000

At one time or another I think each of us has gotten distracted while wheeling and regretted it. My most memorable time was on a relatively easy trail, I took my eyes off the trail while chatting with my passenger. I had just taken a quick look at the trail ahead and didn't see anything exciting, so I went back to talking. What I had overlooked was a diff-eating rock. WHAM...and I was suddenly at a dead stop.

Dented axle housing

I got out to see just what I'd hit, and found that the rock I overlooked had put a fist-sized dent in the axle housing, right where the ring gear and differential are located. I was fortunate that the dent wasn't deep enough to cause the ring gear to scrape. If the ring gear was hitting I would have had to tear the entire front end down to pound the dent back if I wanted to continue wheeling that day. It is also possible to make a dent deep enough to break or chip the ring gear.

Right out of the box Very simple design!

The only piece of steel on a Toyota axle housing thin enough to bend like this is the piece that covers the differential. Westec has an elegant solution to protect this vulnerable spot. Westec sells a one piece, weld-on differential guard.

As you can see from the pictures, the piece fits perfectly over axle housing. This piece also keeps a very stock-look for the axle, almost as if it was always meant to be there.

Welded into place
Notice the large drain hole
Top View

The guard is made from 1/4" thick, mild-steel. 1/4" thick steel is extremely beefy, and will stand up to a serious pounding in the rocks. The drain hole is very large to help prevent mud from sitting behind the diff guard and causing rust.

Installation requires a welder, but only takes minutes to do. If you don't have a welder, a shop could weld this on for you, for a minimal fee. The only prep-work involved is removing the paint right where the diff guard will be welded in place. Both metal surfaces need to be clean before welding the diff guard in place.

Already doing its job

The Westec differential guard sells for $35 (US), that's about half the price of many differential guards on the market. This product is great insurance to make sure you spend your time wheeling instead of making repairs.

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