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  #1  
Old 13th March 2015, 01:07 AM
gilsonkevin gilsonkevin is offline
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Location: Denver, CO
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Default Primitive Skid Plates

I have a new 2015 OB I plan to explore CO mountain trails with- (sold my 4Runner). Biggest issue I ran into previously was rocky trails and high centering. I thought I would invest in something like Primitive skid plates and lift kit. If I have to stage investment should I start with front skid or diff skid? Any other suppliers folks like out there for skids and lift kits?

Thanks for the info
Happy Trails, K
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  #2  
Old 13th March 2015, 01:36 AM
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Front skid first - I've never bothered with a diff skid; it's probably the toughest part of your car! Primitive is good; there's a new guy started up with lift kits over there ADF - Anderson Design and Fabrication; may be worth a look.
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  #3  
Old 13th March 2015, 01:36 AM
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Gidday Kevin

Firstly, a warm to the ORS forum, mate.

The most important thing in your car is your engine. It doesn't run well without oil, so you need to protect its sump ...

If your car has a low slung transmission (our SH has; our SG hasn't ... ), then it's equally important to protect this. You also have to think of the possibility of water entering the gearbox and front diff (if separate from each other). One or both of these need to have extensions for their breather holes if you are going to go through water. Water in a manual gearbox or conventional diff won't do much harm, if the oil is changed pretty well immediately. If water gets into an auto box, it will wreck it very quickly.

The rear diff is at more risk from water getting in via the top breather than it is from direct hits.

IMO get the full Primitive protection plates first. Then the lift kit if you need it to compensate for the long nose and droopy bum of the OBs generally. Then attack the water entry problem if it is likely to be problematic for you. It is far more complicated than it might seem!

An alternative to the Primitive skid plate (sump guard) is now available in the States. It is the air bag and seatbelt compliant SubaXtreme cast alloy sump guard. These comply with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for air bags etc. We aren't allowed the free rein that is pretty much common in the USA! However, our cars tend to be safer as a result ... .

I understand that the latest OB is better for approach, departure and hang angles than previous models, but these are still not as good as they could be IMNSHO.
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  #4  
Old 13th March 2015, 02:12 AM
MiddleAgeSubie MiddleAgeSubie is offline
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from AZ.

Right, the OB is not nearly as good as it could be, especially due to all the crap plastic up front

I agree on the front plate first but I beg to differ on the reason.

The oil pan is not what hurts the most. Destroy the CVT and will cost you more than the engine, talking 10,000 usd with labor, not to mention you can turn the engine off the moment you bust the oil pan...

The reason the front plate is more important is that the CVT is behind the front wheels and thus unlikely to get the hit; high-centering situations should be obvious.

I have the Primitive full armor, it is 15% off if you buy all of them at once.

The Primitive plate is terrific on dirt roads and easy trails and has covered my back on three occasions with aplomb. However, the Primitive plate will probably not provide sufficient protection against a direct bad hit, like during a descent of a rocky hill. Needless to say, CO offers a ton of opportunities to impale your front real bad and no skid plate on this no-frame, no-strong attachment points car will help if you just slam it on a big rock, I think. BUT, the SubaXtreme plate may offer enough protection against any less than catastrophic hit. Look it up on the Foz forum, they have a really good discussion. Blue Fox claims to have jacked up under the oil pan without issues. The Primitive front plate will not survive that, they allow jacking under the rear edge only.

On the other hand, the AT armor looks attached to very solid points and it covers much less area support-to-support. Looks very solid to me. I rolled off both the front and the mid plate once and skidded down a rut off both without issues. I trust it to provide protection against high-centering. High-centering will destroy your exhaust before it touches the CVT without plates but the plate is lower than the exhaust, which should help.

I have only heard the rear differential plate once. BUT if you use the Primitive lift kit you will drop the rear differential and thus make the plate helpful. Probably not needed at all otherwise.

My biggest gripe with the Primitive plates is that they drop your minimum clearance by 0.5", both front and mid. The AT/CVT one cannot be any different and, again, is behind the wheels so that is not a big issue. But the front one is a big deal.

If I were doing this again, I would press SubaXtreme to tell me the effect of their plate on clearance and if less or even equivalent to Primitive I would get that plus Primitive mid and rear plates.

Also, remember that a stock OB will have a real-life clearance of much less than 8.7. I have 225-65-17 Geolander AT-S on mine and the tire has lost 0.5" height beyond treadwear. Same with the previous, stock sized set. Same with stock tires.

You do not want to go on any but the easiest of trails on stock tires.

If you have the 17" wheels you are lucky: 235-65-17 offers good options and good prices. That is barely doable a size for me, it is just too much so I am stuck with mostly so-so options.

Can you give me examples of Colorado trails you want to do?

I have done a bunch in San Juan though nothing rockier than Cinnamon Pass, Ophir Pass, and Arrastra Gulch. I have done worse around Moab and a lot worse in AZ. Yet to drive Imogene and Black Bear though I almost went up Imogene last year. At the end, timing and weather prevented me from doing that.

You do not want to drive any of those on street tires. Stock tires are a joke even on maintained dirt roads (handling, cornering) and can make you furious even on easy trails.

Remember Traction Control OFF in deep mud, sand, or snow and foot on gas if stuck over hard surface: not too little, not too much. Car will typically regain traction without yielding an inch. There is no such thing as diagonal spin on VDC Subarus...

Good luck

Driving a Subaru off-road in the Southwest is a sport of its own.

If you can avoid some of my mistakes, you can do more faster, spending less...
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Last edited by MiddleAgeSubie; 13th March 2015 at 02:17 AM.
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  #5  
Old 13th March 2015, 10:24 AM
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ALMOSTunseen ALMOSTunseen is offline
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Subaxtreme is currently developing their 2015 OB plates, about to be released.
From their facebook page:
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Old 13th March 2015, 07:06 PM
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and no longer cast I see; interesting - and more durable!
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  #7  
Old 13th March 2015, 08:32 PM
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ALMOSTunseen ALMOSTunseen is offline
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Yeah I know interesting. I don't know why but I have a feeling the moulds for the cast plates were getting too expensive, aswell as the obvious benefits of aluminium plates.
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  #8  
Old 13th March 2015, 10:21 PM
MiddleAgeSubie MiddleAgeSubie is offline
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I love the design, but, for the love of the off-road, can anyone find me an answer to the question

How does the 2010+ Outback plate affect ground clearance? The pic looks promising, but I have not yet been able to get that info from SubaXtreme.

How does clearance at lowest skid plate point compare to clearance at lowest point of exhaust system? (leaving the bolt heads aside).
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  #9  
Old 14th March 2015, 12:19 AM
MiddleAgeSubie MiddleAgeSubie is offline
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Fingers crossed! Maybe we will be able to get the measurements soon.

In any case, I like the shape and the airbag testing.
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  #10  
Old 14th March 2015, 02:59 AM
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ALMOSTunseen ALMOSTunseen is offline
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Here is my 2010 forester, don't know how it compares to the outback. I have subaxtreme cast sump guard and a primitive rear diff guard. The rear diff guard, exhaust resonator and front bashplate are basically all at the same level.




My rear guard has been used well!(That's water at the back of it)


And suprise booty shot.
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