Review: Marlin Crawler Rock Plate - Differential Armor
http://www.4x4wire.com/toyota/reviews/rockplate Short Cuts

| Toyota Reviews | Toyota Section | 4x4Wire.com |

Written By: Scott Wilson 2/2004


Dented Axle Housing

Anyone who has ever dented a differential cover knows the value of good differential armor. A few years ago I had just built a new front axle for the solid axle swap on my 4Runner. With the axle swap completed I took the truck out for its first trail ride. During one relatively easy stretch of trail I found myself more interested in the conversation I was having with my passenger than I was watching the trail. A moment later the truck jolted to a stop. When I got out to see what Id hit, I found that I ran into a huge rock most of which was buried. The small part of the rock that was exposed was just tall enough to reach my front axle, and it ended up putting a fist-sized dent in the housing, right where it covers the ring gear.


Rock Plate Differential Armor Unprotected Differential Cover

That day I was lucky, the dent wasnt deep enough to cause any serious problems. If it had been just slightly deeper it could have damaged the ring gear or prevented the ring gear from turning. Either scenario most likely means you either limp off the trail in 2WD or you tear the entire front axle down right there on the trail and make repairs. A little armor plating on the differential cover goes a long way towards keeping your rolling down the trail and wont blow your budget.


Marlin Crawler has recently released his ROCK PLATE differential armor. This plate is a 1/4" piece of steel that has been cut to shape and bent to fit over the differential cover on the Toyota axle housings for 8 ring gears. The ROCK PLATE fits pre-1996 4WD pick-ups and 4Runners and also the front axle housing of Land Cruiser FJ80s.


Rock Plate Welded To Axle Housing

The ROCK PLATE is a weld-on design and only takes a few minutes to install. If you dont have access to a welder your local 4x4 shop or muffler shop should be able to install this for you for a small fee. I found the installation to be a snap. I used a flap-disc on my grinder to remove the paint where I planned to weld. I welded the top and bottom edges of the ROCK PLATE as well as two small welds on either side. Once the metal was cool I shot it with black spray paint to protect it from rust. Consider changing the gear oil in your axle housing after welding on the housing. The oil wasnt designed to handle the high temperature caused by welding on the housing.


Ready To Take A Beating

The ROCK PLATE is smaller than other differential armor pieces on the market today, but protects just as well. The ROCK PLATE was designed to fit snugly on the axle housing, protecting the ring gear and ensuring that the differential cover will not deform when hitting a rock on the trail. With the ROCK PLATE, access to the fill plug on the differential is not obstructed as it is with other designs on the market. The ROCK PLATE is also less than 1/3 the price of other differential guards on the market!


Contacts Related Links
  • Marlin Crawler
    Department 4x4Wire
    1543 North Maple Suite B
    Fresno, CA 93703
    Telephone: (559) 252-7295
    Web site: Marlin Crawler

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