Introducing The YotaMafia Steel Skid Plate: No-Nonsense Engine Protection At An Incredible Price Point For The 5th Gen 4Runner
There are many different types of front skid plates on the market for the 5th Gen 4Runner. Aside from varying designs, you have the option of either lightweight aluminum or heavy-duty steel construction.
Steel is heavier, but provides better protection while off-roading for less money. Aluminum is lightweight and does not have to be painted to prevent rust like its steel counterparts. However, it is more expensive and offers slightly less protection against larger hits on the trail.
The YotaMafia steel skid plate brings the value and protection that you expect, with no lead times and free shipping!
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- YotaMafia Steel Front Skid Plate (Not Compatible With KDSS): Check Price
The YotaMafia Steel Skid Plate
The main features I wanted in a skid plate were an oil filter and drain access door. I change my own oil, and having the access doors makes it so much easier than having to remove the entire skid plate each time. I ended up going with the YotaMafia steel skid plate for its protection and oil access plates.
This skid plate is not compatible with KDSS.
I like that YotaMafia had recessed the holes for the access plates but wish they didn’t use retention clips. The clips prevent the access doors from sitting flush with the skid plate, resulting in a small lip all the way around. It’s not a big deal, just me nitpicking. Other brands that do not have recessed bolts instead have raised welded protection rings around the bolt heads instead.
Taking that into consideration, I definitely prefer the recessed bolts on the YotaMafia skid plate for their cleaner look.
Oil Filter & Drain Access Doors
While I was waiting for my Steel-It to arrive, I did a test run installation of the skid plate and an oil change to see how the access holes would work. They were perfect!
They are not too small where it is difficult to get your hand inside and not too big where the plates are heavy and awkward to remove. These access holes make oil changes a breeze!
- YotaMafia front skid plate 2010-2022 (Non-KDSS)
- (4) 1.5″ length bolts
- (2) Plastic spacers for the rear of the skid plate
- (8) 1″ length Allen head bolts for access plates
- (8) Clips for the Allen head bolts to go into
- 12mm socket
- 14mm socket
- 1/2″ socket
- 3/8 3″ socket extension
- 3/8 ratchet
- #5 Allen wrench
- Floor Jack (optional)
Protect The Skid Plate
To avoid lead times, this skid plate only comes in raw steel. Raw steel will rust so I would recommend at a minimum, spray painting the skid plate.
After one week without a coating and after one day of light rain and driving near the ocean, it already started rusting in a couple of spots.
In my opinion, there are better coating options that include powder coat, bed liner, or Steel-It. All of these options with the exception of powder coating come in a spray can, and can be touched up if you scratch or gouge the skid plate over time. Powder coat is not so easy to touch up and is pretty costly, so I decided on Steel It. I was very impressed with how it turned out, definitely better than spray paint!
Once you decide on your coating and have applied it, then you are ready to install the skid plate.
Remove Your Existing Skid Plate
Removing either the TRD skid plate or the Non-TRD version is pretty straightforward. You can reference one of the many articles on Trail covering how to remove the 4Runner factory skid plate.
One thing that I like about installing YotaMafia’s skid plate is that all you have to do is remove the factory skid plates. You do not need to remove cross-members like some other brands require which makes installation that much easier.
Installing The Skid Plate
Before installing the skid plate, you will need to install 8 clips for the access doors. It is not necessary to do this beforehand but is much easier with the skid plate still on the ground. After installing the clips, make sure the holes are lined up properly.
You can also install the access doors at this time to make the installation as easy as possible.
Using a floor jack for the skid plate helps a ton as steel is pretty heavy and can be awkward to maneuver underneath the 4Runner I put a towel between the skid and the jack so that the skid plate’s coating wouldn’t get damaged. The jack definitely allowed me easily install the skid by myself without the risk of injury.
I found that starting at the front was the easiest. Line the skid plate up with the front two holes. Start the bolts into their mounting holes so the skid plate is held in place for the others. I added a lock washer and a 3/4″ flat washer to all 4 bolts for extra security, though it’s not required.
Next, I moved behind the front tires to line up the back of the skid plate. YotaMafia provides plastic spacers that go between the skid plate and the frame. I had extra aluminum spacers from my diff drop kit so I opted to use those instead.
With the spacers in place, install the back two bolts while not tightening them all the way yet. Once the skid plate is positioned correctly, tighten both the front and back bolts.
The lower front plastic guard can either be left off or trimmed and reinstalled, that is purely user preference. I decided to put it back without trimming and it hangs over the skid slightly.
Overall, I really like the YotaMafia skid plate as it can be used with or without a diff drop kit. Installation is simple and straightforward, unlike some other brands. If you are looking for a full-length skid plate, YotaMafia, unfortunately, does not currently offer anything more than the engine skid.
If you don’t have KDSS and decide on going with a steel skid that you don’t need to wait for, this is a great option!