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Skid Plate "Fun" (ongoing)

The persuader.

TL;DR - While I think that Relentless armor is some of the best out there, the mounting of the skid plates could have been better and is causing me a bit of trouble over the years (because I lightly beat the truck).

I've quite enjoyed all of my Relentless armor on the truck, since I picked it up as one of my first modifications back in 2016. Early days, I had no skillset at the time and Eric @RelentlessFab did a great job. Since then, I've certainly beat on the skid plates, and the armor itself has held up well - only requiring the occasional persuasion to continue service.

However, attachment points to the frame have not held up well and could have been designed better in my opinion.

The Relentless skid plate system is comprised of two skids with several attachment points.

In the past, I've had trouble with the mid-skid attachment points to the frame rails as well as the transmission crossmember. After drilling out and re-tapping the frame rail holes several times, I finally replaced the self-tapping screws there with rivnuts using the Astro 1442 Rivnut Tool, which has worked out really well. At the transmission crossmember, I've consistently broken off the 3/16" steel ears on the skid plate. After welding them back on several times, I finally gave up and used a better solution - carriage bolts through the skid plate and through the crossmember.

The front skid plate has given me less trouble, and part of the reason for this - I believe - are the three 17mm bolts that secure it to the front bumper in a super-beefy way. In fact, those are the only three attachment points that I've never had a problem with. The other attachment points - to the front cross member and LCA tabs - have both needed work over the year. The LCA tabs broke off completely and had to be re-welded, and all four of the holes have needed to be drilled and re-tapped for larger bolts.

I'm at the point now where I've re-tapped all four of these holes to be 3/8"-16 thread - much larger than the OEM M8 bolts that used to secure each point - and one of the LCA mounts needs to be enlarged again to 7/16-14tpi. The captured nuts there only have so much meat, so I can't enlarge them indefinitely. So, I'm looking for a better solution. Weld the nut solid and re-drill? Some sort of insert? As yet, this is not resolved.

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