M.O.R.E. Front Skid Plate Installation Overview & Initial Impressions For the 5th Gen 4Runner
Bumpers, sliders, skid plates…all different forms of protection for your 4Runner.
I currently am running an SSO Slimline front bumper and factory tubular side steps. My SSO Slimline bumper helps to provide protection up front, and while the tubular side steps are not rock sliders, they do offer some protection. I wanted to add some additional protection for my 4Runner though, particularly the underside where crucial components such as the oil pan, transmission pan and transfer case are located.
I thought I’d start at the front and work my way back. So, to begin I installed a front engine skid plate.
Aluminum or Steel?
There is plenty of debate on aluminum vs steel for skid plates. While I don’t want to go into all the “ins-and-outs” of which material is better (because neither is ultimately better), I do want to mention what material I went with and why.
I chose to use aluminum. There are a few reasons why, with the first being weight. Steel is a great material, and provides the best protection; however, I don’t plan on bashing my 4Runner and wanted skid plates more as a “just in case” piece of equipment.
As such, I wanted a lighter weight solution. Another reason is corrosion. Aluminum is naturally corrosion resistant…steel is not. If I had a steel skid plate I’d have to touch up the paint or powder coat any time I did scrape. Not the end of the world…but aluminum just suits my needs and wants more.
These are essentially the main reasons I went with aluminum…pretty simple!
Which Brand Did I Choose?
There are many different companies that make 5th Gen 4Runner skid plates.
How did I select the brand I did?
To start off with, I needed aluminum skid plates. This eliminated some companies, as some only made steel plates. Next, I wanted skid plates that had a built-in door to change my oil filter so I didn’t have to remove the entire skid plate. This further reduced the number of options.
I eventually stumbled upon Mountain Off-Road Enterprises (M.O.R.E.). M.O.R.E. makes various off-road products for a 5th Gen 4Runner, and skid plates are just one of the products. They also make a passenger-side ARB Twin Compressor bracket plus their popular PowerTank bracket for the cargo area of the 5th Gen 4Runner.
There are three different skid plates offered by M.O.R.E.: front, transmission, and transfer case. These skid plates are considered the three most important skid plates (as they protect some of the most critical components of your vehicle), but many folks also install a fuel tank skid plate and rear differential skid plates as well.
Find it online
- M.O.R.E. Front Skid Plate (Aluminum): Check Price
This skid plate from M.O.R.E. is really nice.
The powder coat finish is unbelievable and the welds are very good…especially for aluminum. I got my skid plate in a custom gray powder coat finish, and it is amazing. The skid plate is very large…but sleek, and quite thick. This all correlates to protection! The M.O.R.E. skid plate actually protects a lot more than the factory skids that come on TRD Off-Roads and TRD Pro 4Runners, yet it is much more chiseled to the car.
Although the skid plate did have some hefty construction, it is quite light. This was very important to me because I didn’t want to bog down my 4Runner with lots of additional weight from skid plates.
The oil filter access plate and oil plug drain hole are well constructed and laid out. This was a must for me, and M.O.R.E. knocked it out of the park with a simple, well-made design.
Overall, this is exactly what I was looking for in a skid plate – lightweight, tough, visually appealing, and ready to take on both trails and the highway.
The install process on the MORE front skid plate is quite easy and doesn’t require much explaining. Let’s quickly roll through what all is entailed.
Step 1. Remove Factory Skid Plates
First, you need to remove your factory skid plates. This includes the very front skid plate and the skid plate directly below your oil pan. You will notice how much more sleek and rugged the M.O.R.E. skid plate is in comparison to the factory skid plates when you have them side by side.
Step 2. Install M.O.R.E. Front Skid Plate
Now you can put your M.O.R.E. front skid plate on. There are six total bolts. Two of the bolts are longer than the others and have spacers…these go in the furthest back location. The other four bolts will just use a standard washer (included with purchase).
Pro tip: As you mount your M.O.R.E. skid plate it may not fit perfectly, depending on your vehicle. That is okay. Every 4Runner is slightly different. I had an issue with the center support for a jack being too high. I essentially had to use a grinder to get this support to the right height. While it was a bit of a pain and I wish I didn’t have to do that fabrication, it was well worth it in the end.
Step 3. Tighten & Secure Bolts
Now that you have your skid plate all fitted and ready to go, you just need to tighten all the bolts (supplied) and you are ready to rock!
The Oil Change Process
I had this review wrote a few weeks ago, but I decided to wait on publishing before I could test out the oil change process on this skid plate. So…how does it work?
The simple and quick answer is it works. The process isn’t too bad, and you do have access to both the drain plug and oil filter quite easily…however, there is one issue. It is very messy!
Maybe there is a better way to do it, but I did have oil splash onto the skid plate resulting in lots of clean-up after my oil was changed – both on the inside of the skid plate and my driveway.
All in all, the design works very well and it is expected to have slightly more fuss with full skid plates than none. This really is my only complaint, but I feel this is a common problem with skid plates that have access to change the oil…you just have to deal with a little mess and clean up. Better than having to remove the whole skid plate though.
I always like to briefly consider the looks of a product I am using because it can play a factor in my decision. In my opinion, gray is the way to go. It is subtle but noticeable. But, you should get what you like and not what I like. M.O.R.E. has a few different colors to pick from, so see what fits your style.
I think the gray color looks awesome on my 4Runner and I am glad I got the custom powder coat color.
I really like the way it adds some accent color and is visible from the front. I’ve always liked the look of the TRD Pro skid plates, and this skid plate provides a very similar look.
As I mentioned, I am not looking to go crazy off-road, but I do go off the beaten path quite a bit and wanted some protection just in case I should slip off a rock section or high center. While I haven’t had an opportunity to truly use my skid plate (thankfully), I have done some road testing, and the verdict is – I don’t notice anything!
This is exactly what I wanted though. I didn’t want extra weight to slow me down, and this skid plate isn’t noticeable at all. Thanks to the aluminum and sleek design!
I have used the jack point once and it is very nice to have. This might be one of my favorite features of the skid plate actually. It is a very solid, sturdy point to lift your front end and I plan on using it in the future as my “go-to” jack point in the front.
Even though I haven’t bashed it on a rock, I have no doubts that it will take a beating if needed.
If you are like me and want some extra protection but don’t want lots of additional weight or something that can rust you should take a look at these aluminum skid plates from M.O.R.E. – you won’t be dissapointed.
They are very high quality, well made, look great, and will perform great on and off the road…exactly what I was wanting!