Front Runner steering guard: Product test

Front Runner steering guard: Product test

Under-vehicle protection is critical for many working and weekender 4x4s.

Most of our favourite full-size rigs have their underbody laid out to minimise potential damage (such as having sumps that are installed nice and high), but many vehicles can benefit from aftermarket underbody protection, especially those that are used in rocky terrain.

In general, my tough-as-nails Toyota Troopie (and the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series in general) isn’t likely to be damaged too easily, but it does have a couple of weak points, not least of them being the exposed base of the radiator and the also-exposed, low-slung steering arms (drag link and tie rod) and steering damper.

Undercarriage of 4x4An easy and solid fix is a 6mm, aluminium Front Runner shield that is fixed to a substantial (supplied) cross member, which is then installed to the Cruiser chassis with no drilling or modification needed.

Overseas the plate is touted as a sump guard, but it doesn’t protect the sump at all; rather, it protects the radiator and steering components. At least here in Australia it’s billed as a steering guard.

Fixing a steering guard to underside of 4x4Weighing 10kg, the guard is sturdy enough to help deflect mishaps, and it looks bling, being the only shiny part under the blacked-out Cruiser.

While I’m relaxed in the knowledge that vulnerable parts of my undercarriage are now protected, one unexpected problem was that the recovery hooks I’d purchased at the same time didn’t fit due to interfering with the guard fittings.

Steering guard attachedSure, a bit of angle-grinder work would have seen them slot in, but they’ve now been returned and I’m on the hunt for a replacement set.

RATED
Available from: http://www.oppositelock.com.au/
RRP: $395.00
We say: Sturdy protection, but interferes with some recovery points.

Get the latest info on all things 4X4 Australia by signing up to our newsletter.