Product Review: R.O.R.E.'s E-Locker Skidplate
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By: Mark Griese - 8/03

R.O.R.E. Skid Plate

Ruari's Off-Road Equipment(RORE) has a heavy duty skid plate to fit the Toyota electric locking differential actuators on 1996 to present Tacomas or 4Runners, and the rear of FJ80 Land Cruisers. This skid is designed to provide the off-road protection your actuator needs, and save you from a very costly replacement. The skid comes zinc plated and ready to install after the removal of two nuts and two bolts. Made from laser cut 1/4" steel plate, the mounting brackets serve to reinforce the beefy skid. The current design will also fit the Land Cruiser high pinion, 8" front differentials that have been swapped into pre-1986 Toyota front axles.


Scraped on the rocks

I saw this skid plate long before I received one and thought it was an interesting idea. I was aware of the astronomical price Toyota gets for a replacement actuator, but thought that it was tucked up high enough that no harm would come to it.


That was until one day under the truck, I found one of the lower mounting bolts had been kissed by a rock. The nut and stud were still there, but I knew it was time to get some protection. RORE's 45 degree lead in angle will help the axle slide up and over the next rock. Even if the rock is too big to slide over, I'm confident the 1/4" plate and mounting brackets will be enough to prevent any further damage to the actuator.



Installation

The skid plate comes with an instruction sheet and only takes minutes to install using a ratchet and some metric sockets. RORE advises that stock height trucks may require the frame to be supported by jack stands so the axle can hang down and provide enough room to work. After removing the nuts and bolts that mount the actuator to the housing, you're ready to try a test fit. Install the nuts and lock washers on the studs. If, after tightening, the nut is not flush with the end of the stud, you can remove the thin factory 'rock guard' and/or the lock washer, to gain some additional clearance for the nut.

On my installation, the bottom stud was long enough to use the guard and the lock washer, but not the top one. While the 'rock guard' serves little purpose, I did not want to leave it off. I found a flanged nut at the hardware store, left out the lock washer, and used some thread locker on the stud. The instructions recommend a torque of 34 ft.-lbs., but on my truck I saw no problem with just using to the ratchet to get them snug. When finished, you'll have one short bolt that is not reused. This bolt only serves to hold the guard to the actuator, and leaving it off in no way compromises the integrity of the actuator.

RORE has tested the design by putting the weight of the front end of a truck on the skid plate. Watch for RORE to come out with a new design that will fit the front end of a FJ-80 Land Cruiser. This skid has been installed for a couple weeks, and it's nice to know I won't be seeing any more rock-kissed studs or nuts!

Skid & Instructions Finished Installation Flanged nut


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