PLATED UP

A STEERING GUARD CAN PROTECT THE 70 SERIES FROM BEING BASHED AROUND IN ROUGH COUNTRY.

WORDS AND PHOTOS MARK ALLEN

RATED

AVAILABLE FROM: www.dolium.com.au RRP: $395.00 WE SAY: Sturdy protection, but interferes with some recovery points.

Under-vehicle protection is critical for many working and weekender 4x4s. Most of our favourite fullsize 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 toughas- nails Toyota Troopie (and the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series in general) isnít 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, lowslung steering arms (drag link and tie rod) and steering damper.

An 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 doesnít protect the sump at all; rather, it protects the radiator and steering components.

At least here in Australia itís billed as a steering guard.

Weighing 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 Iím relaxed in the knowledge that vulnerable parts of my undercarriage are now protected, one unexpected problem was that the recovery hooks Iíd purchased at the same time didnít fit due to interfering with the guard fittings.

Sure, a bit of angle-grinder work would have seen them slot in, but theyíve now been returned and Iím on the hunt for a replacement set.

The guard is sturdy enough to help deflect mishaps, and it looks bling