One Piece Engine + Transmission Skid Plate: RSG Offroad Steel Skid Plate Install & Review for 5th Gen 4Runner
When it comes to Toyota armor, RSG Offroad (also known as RSG Metalworks) is one of the most well-known brands in the Overland and Off-Road community.
RSG has made dependable rock sliders for years available for many platforms; 4Runner, Tacoma, FJ, Lexus GX, etc. and have recently introduced their new skid plate for the 5th Gen 4Runner. Jason, the owner also has a pretty rad 5th Gen SAS build which is a showcase of their outstanding work alone. You can see those shots all of his personal shop build, on Instagram.
After previously installing their KDSS skid plate on our Trail Edition 4Runner, we were eager to get the installation of their front + transmission skid plate going.
RSG Vs. Other Skids
While some other skid plates on the market come in separate pieces; front, transmission, transfer case, etc. the RSG Offroad plate combines the front and transmission into one incredibly strong steel plate.
That’s right, the new skid plate from RSG Offroad was designed to be both the front skid and transmission skid plate in one.
This adds increased strength and rigidity for the protection of your crossmembers, front differential, transmission, and oil pan. And, made of steel you know you can push this plate around on the trail.
Find it online:
- RSG Offroad Skid Plate: Check Price
- Material: Steel
- Weight: 60lbs
- Protection: Engine + Transmission
Tools and Materials:
- RSG skid plate
- Metric Sockets
- 6″ Extension
- Jack or lift
- Optional: Loctite
This is a really straightforward, well-designed, and extremely strong bolt-on skid plate. If you are looking for a skid plate that you can push through some extreme terrain and rocky sections, this is a pretty solid option to consider.
The skid comes in high strength steel and gives you the options of a stainless steel logo or powder-coated logo which you can add for 20 bucks. If you want to black-out the skid plate, you will want to opt for the black powder-coated logo.
The plate has a removable access point for easy oil change services without removing the entire plate. To top it off the RSG Offroad skid comes in a durable and high-quality black powder coat finish.
If you see a gap from the crossmember to the radiator, that’s because I went from the TRD Skid plate to the RSG Offroad skid and tossed the factory filler piece. I called my local Toyota recycler, and they had a replacement for $40 or you can find one online (Toyota Part: 52129-35030). If you are going from the TRD skid plate, you may want to grab this filler plate. If you are going from the factory skid to this, you should already have it. If you do have it, leave it installed as it will protect your radiator from common road debris.
The installation of the skid plate is pretty straightforward. You utilize all OEM mounting points for easy installation. This is a plug-and-play install using all existing factory bolt points, and no drilling is required. All hardware along with instructions are provided, however, the install is so easy you might not even need to use the instructions.
For this install, we took the 4Runner to Stellat Built in Sacramento. Stellar Built it a great option if you live within driving distance of Sacramento. They specialize in just about everything Toyota.
We had to go down for Stellar to weld plates on our body mounts for Jade (our 2016 TEP), so we figured while we were there, we would get the 4Runner on the lift for some better photos of this installation process. You don’t need a lift to do this install, I just thought it would make for better photos. Although you don’t need a lift, you may want a helping hand, a jack, or possibly both.
If you don’t have friends or a jack, take your truck to a shop and have someone help you out. This plate is pretty heavy for a one-person install.
Step 1. Remove factory skid or current skid
Remove your factory or current skid plate setup. If you are running a TRD Skid, you may be missing the plastic filler piece (Lower Bumper Cover – Toyota Part: 52129-35030). This part is also referred to as the Front Bumper Lower Cover Air Dam Valance. If you are missing this piece, you can buy it OE or find them on eBay used for around $20.
Step 2. Remove Support Brackets
In order to install the RSG skid plate, you will need to remove these two support brackets running from the crossmember to the radiator support. The new skid plate will essentially act as new support brackets, and much stronger ones at that since the skid a one-piece steel design.
Step 3. Remove Transmission Skid Plate
After you remove your skid and bottom filler plate, remove the transmission skid.
Step 4. Prep RSG Skid Plate
Here is the bolt installation overview. The front bolts, mid bolts, and rear long carriage bolts are pretty self-explanatory. RSG ships this plate with 3 extra bolts (the ones towards the back of the plate). Those are not used for our install here. If you are running a transfer case (t-case) skid plate; you may utilize these bolts. We are saving these for when we grab a t-case skid for this 4Runner.
Carriage Bolts with Square Washers
These are the long carriage bolts with massive heavy-duty square washers that bolt through your crossmember.
Step 5. Carriage Bolts with Square Washers over Crossmember
Now is where a couple of friends, and a jack will help for threading down the carriage bolts and front bolts at the same time.
Step 6. Front Crossmember Bolts
While the jack is being lifted into place, and someone is installing the rear carriage bolts, you can install the front bolts and washers. If you want to take it a step further, add some Loctite on the bolts.
Step 7. Two Bolts through the center plate
View from directly underneath the skid plate.
View from in between the skid plate and the bottom of the 4Runner.
Step 8. Double Check all Bolts
Once the skid plate is in place, retighten all bolts down.
WOW. First of all, that was a really simple and straight-forward install. Second, this skid plate is a BEAST. Being a one-piece steel design for the front and transmission, this plate can take some serious hits and protect your truck. I am not worried about the rust or weight for now on this plate. I live in the central valley of California where rust on steel skids are rare.
To top it off, this is one of the best-looking skid plates I have seen to date. It flows well will the lines on the front of the 4Runner, and looks REALLY GOOD.
I think this is a great option if you are looking for something incredibly strong along with an easy install all while looking pretty badass.
I installed the full skid plate kit over the weekend. Jason and I traded a few calls and texts about the Transmission Plate front holes not lining up with the main skid plate rear holes. I found that I had to loosen the rear transmission holes to give me some slack to slide the plate forward so that the holes match up. There were a few other hiccups so here are my notes if they help:
1) After removing the stock skid plate, start your installation from the front and move back. So, start with the front plate and tighten everything up. Once you add the transmission plate, you won’t be able to access the front plate.
2) Now for the transmission plate. the front of the transmission plate sits on top of the rear lip of the front plate. Line up the holes where the two plates overlap and install bolts loosely. After that, install the rear bolts and tighten everything up.
Learn from my mistakes:
– I left the front skid plate bolts a little loose thinking I’d tighten them up when it’s all done. This caused me to uninstall some bolts.
– Align the holes where the plates overlap. I installed the rear bolts of the transmission plate first and then couldn’t really move the plate to align the holes. I had to go back in there and loosen them up. It’s a pain because there’s not much access space.
I have their full skid. Very beefy. Definitely lose ground clearance. Had an 2-3 inche lift up front, truck sits lower now due to the added weight. After a few trips wheeling, it rattles like a son of a gun. Need install some rubber washers soon.
I currently have the aluminum RCI full skid plates, I was debating between the RSG and C4 and went with the RSG because its a two piece design versus 3 piece. Reading your comment about the rattling has me scared and I don’t know if I should cancel my order or not.
Hi Brenan. I am curious if you trimmed any of the factory foam after the install. I just had my RSG installed on my Pro. The foam is visible under the plate. Thanks for your time.
Or I guess I could just paint it matte black…..
I wonder if this would work with the CBI rear transfer case skid. The bolt holes look like they’d align. If anything, maybe I could modify them to be compatible, unless anyone else has paired CBI rear skids with this RSG front skid and can confirm. Or if anyone knows when RSG will finish the full set.
I have the RSG front skid and their bolt-on sliders as well. Purchased in spring of ’21. The craftsmanship is amazing. Both pieces are very aesthetically pleasing and equally durable.I’ve owned armour from a few different fabricators on my ‘Yotas over the years and the RSG stuff is very, very well made.
My skid is identical to the one in the article, and I believe that there are a few incorrect statements in this article. One: it does not cover the transmission. It covers the engine, front diff, and the front of the transmission where it connects to the engine but the entire body is exposed. Two: You can not use the plastic fill plate from Toyota. I installed this skid on my Off Road that had the plastic fill plate. The RSG does not allow the plastic piece so your rad will be exposed like in the pictures. I ordered the RCI metal filler plate and had to modify it to cover the gap and tie in with the RSG. Three: unless you’re lifting over 2.5″ in the front and need to do a diff drop, I’d suggest an alternate solution as you do lose a bit of ground clearance at the front edge with this one. If you’re rock crawling, this is the perfect skid plate. For less aggresive wheeling, you might want to go a different route. Just my opinion.
Anybody have a link to the product? I was not able to find it directly on the website. Thanks!
FYI rsgmetalworks.com for the armor.. I had trouble finding it as well. Obviously this is way late, but maybe this will help someone in the future!
I also would like to know! Was just getting ready to purchase with their sliders but it doesn’t seem to exist now
You forgot the step where we have to remove these bars from the radiator support and frame. Also, no torque specifications for bolting to the frame.
This skid plate lowers ground clearance from factory slightly by about 1 – 2 inches. The review is correct that it’s a total beast. It increases the weight of the front of the vehicle noticeably over the factory skids, which impacts road handling and probably tire wear in the front, but that’s going to be the case for any steel skid that size. RSG says the reason for the additional room under the skid (check out that 2-inch spacer in the photo above) is to accommodate the moving parts of the KDSS and other equipment when the vehicle is lifted. I had them lift my 2016 Trail Premium w/ KDSS 2 inches in the front, which resulted in the stock-listed clearance of about 9.6 inches using this skid. The few times I’ve bottomed out did nothing to this skid. It is indestructible.
I was just about to hit the button on this skid plate, but the ground clearance thing really concerns me! Do you really lose 2″ of clearance? I have a TRD Pro, so its NON-KDSS. Is there a NON-KDSS option, or is this one size fits all?
Hello! Our skid plate is designed for use on modified suspension vehicles which usually includes a front differential drop kit that relocates the front differential down lower from the stock position which putting a skid plate underneath lowers the ground clearance a little.
I think it works with both KDSS and non-KDSS but check with Jason or Justin at RSG to be sure (720-519-3300). The folks at RSG told me about 1″ less clearance and I think this extra room behind the skid becomes more critical for running a 3″+ lift that RSG frequently installs where the wheel travel is far greater than stock 4Runners. In that case, ground clearance would not be an issue. Back story is that I put this skid on my stock 4Runner Trail w/ KDSS and was disappointed to measure only 7.5 inches of ground clearance. I then lifted the front 2″ and leveled the truck with Bilsteins all around and measured 9.6 inches in the front, which meets my needs. I think a big part of my issue is that the front portion of the RSG skid under the sway bars is lower than the front portion of the factory skid, and due to vehicle geometry that skid leads ahead of the wheels, where it encounters obstacles before the wheels are able to lift the vehicle. I’ve long noticed that geometry on the TRD Pro skids as well but it seems especially pronounced on the RSG, probably because it’s geared toward beefier lifts.
Following my RSG purchase I seriously eyed the ARB skid plate because it extends further back and appears to take up less room in the front. That said, the RSG is thicker steel and that mountain logo is pretty damn sweet, plus I live in Denver and having the local gear feels pretty badass. I’m sticking with the RSG for now and at least have no fear of bottoming out in the front, which is good if you’re rocking the stock 9.6 clearance even though you got a 2″ lift… I don’t know how they make these calculations in the shop or at the factory but I know what I measure in my garage. Hope that’s helpful and see you on the trails!
Thanks for the support and running our products and answering questions!
Thank you for this Great review! Title of the post says the product is one piece engine+transmission skid plate but in the RSG website, nowhere on there says it’s engine+transmission skid plate. Does it cover the full transmission? How long is the skid plate? THANKS!!
The skid plate measures about 37″ from edge to edge. It does cover the transmission and about 2″ additional hangs over the second crossmember.
I would have liked to see the oil filter and drain plug access.
The skid has both access points.
Oil filter access door under the logo and there’s a hole for the drain plug.
Hey thanks for the article – looks great! Do you recall what the lead time is for these? Also any issues with KDSS equipped Gen5 models?
We currently have them in stock ready to ship!
Jason, does the skid plate allow for the central front lift point?
This 4Runner is KDSS equipped. No problems. They clear the front KDSS stabilizer bar.
Another one well covered my guy. Any idea when RSG plans to launch their t-case skid or if they are going to at all? Thanks.
We’re working on the transfer case skid as we speak.. Not 100% on a release date at this time.
Hey Brenan, great write up. I have a question (that RSG might need to answer), when I looked up the skid plate online, it’s only for the 2014+ models. Any insight as to why it wouldn’t fit 2010-2013 4Runners?
We’ve never tried it on an OG 5th Gen, my guess is that it works.
I’ve seen this before… even Toyota says that their own TRD skid plate won’t fit the 10-13 models, but we took a chance and it fits ours just fine. The only difference I can see is between KDSS and non-KDSS, but that’s about it.