Works Rally skid plate

Works rally cars' engine oil pans were vulnerable and needed protection from the elements....namely bad roads, rocks, and other obstacles.  The best protection was, and is, a plate that covers it.  I built a skid plate to remedy this exposed critical appendage on our lovingly low Healeys.

My goal with the skid plate was to tuck the plate up close to the oil pan to ensure maximum ground clearance, provide ventilation for air flow over the oil pan, and position the skid pan so the oil can be changed without having to remove it.  I decided to use 1/4" aluminum for the skid plate.  Certainly other metals can be used and of varing thickness, however I felt this provided sufficient protection, was light enough, and was available. 

I began by making 4 tabs from 1/4" steel and then tapping them. (Pic 1)  I then clamped these into place on the frame.  While the engine is out in these pictures, I had marked the mount points for the skid plate on the frame while the engine was in, so I'm really not taking a total flyer on the position as this photo might imply.  Since the frame is not neccesarily perfectly level, I bolted a piece of strap steel across the mounting tabs.  This ensured that the tabs would be welded in level to one another. (Pic 2)  I repeated this process for both the front and rear mounting tabs.  After the tabs were tacked into place and their relationship to one another rechecked, I final welded them in place.  (Pic 3)

 

Then I made a template for the skid plate.  I'd like to tell you I made the beautiful aluminum skid plate you see here, but the reality is that I took the template to my trusty aluminum fabricator at MPB Fabrication here in Denver.  The template was the basis for shaping the 1/4" aluminum plate.  Holes were drilled in the leading edge to allow air to flow over the oil pan, and gussets were added to provide additional rigidity should the skid plate actually have to do it's job of protecting.  Along both edges, a 1/2" spacer was welded in to correctly fix the oil pan to skid plate clearance. (Pic 4)  I did not drill the holes in the skid plate mounting face until the skid plate was placed onto the mounts.  With the skid plate clamped to the mounting tabs, I marked one of the holes in the skid plate and drilled a locating hole, bolted that one in place, and then marked another mounting hole....and so on until I had located each of the 8 mounting bolts.  This procedure may sound tedious, but it ensures an accurate placement of all the skid plate mounting holes. (Pic 5)  The Pic 6, shows the clearance between the oil pan and the skip plate.  You can also see the oil drain plug accessibility in Pic 7. 

   

  

 

Happy motoring,

Steve Thomton

This project paper was first posted in July 2009.

Added Pic 7 on July 16,2009