Words & Images Pieter de Waal
When you do wander far, and frequently off the beaten track, there are more risks involved. Even the best vehicles have some soft spots. My vehicle, a single cab 70 Series Land Cruiser, also needed some protection for the bottom of the radiator and the steering arms.
I had a look at what was available on the market and decided that I had a few more requirements. Most commercial bash plates look quite impressive, but are not always practical. I believe function to be more important than looks, so I came up with a solution in my garage.
I first had a look at what the offending area looked like. The radiator hung out below the chassis and the fancy bumper, as did the steering linkages. These parts are fairly high above ground level but I would hate to damage any of them in a remote area. The plastic cover did not amount to much, and is mostly there to direct air flow.
My chosen shape was first and foremost designed for strength. The bends in the plate, with vertical slider plates welded at right angles, together support each other structurally to form a very strong base.
The shape is progressively lower from front to back, to give fair warning to the driver that he is running into trouble. The shape is also designed to draw flood water out of the engine bay as long as the vehicle is moving. At speed, it also creates a vacuum that helps to enhance airflow through the radiator and engine bay.
One of my requirements was that the bash plate should bolt to existing holes.