HDPE plastic

bat

Explorer
#1
I need a project for my truck and I was thinking about using HDPE plastic for my gas tank skid plate, I do have all other belly parts covered with metal skids and just thinking about something different. I am just trying to give the tank a little better protection without adding a butch of weight. It seems easy to bend and cut and pretty strong as long as something is helping with support which would be the gas tank. I am looking for any thoughts and ideas and feedback or knowledge of the product.
 
#2
Hmmm... Not impossible, but there's a lot to commend steel. If you're determined to try maybe consider ABS for impact strength. Maybe polypropylene.
 
#3
The rock crawler guys making skid plates routinely use UHMW plastic over the steel to slide over rocks. That is probably what you're looking for- it's perfect for this application.
 

Pedro

Capitan rally fluffer
#4
UHMW Is HDPE. you can buy sheets from many vendors. We use thinner sheets on the rally cars to keep the underbody in good shape and from being sandblasted away.
 

bat

Explorer
#5
I can get a 24" x 48" and 1/2" thick for about $50 and it will do my tank easy. I am going to cut a small piece off it and heat it with a heat gun to see how it bends.
 
#6
That sounds like a fairly good price. When using heat to bend it, be sure to hold it in the position you want the entire time it cools or it will spring back towards its original shape. I used to make HDPE skids for the FJs so Ive worked with the stuff a fair bit.
 

Pedro

Capitan rally fluffer
#9
just make sure that it is well backed by some sort of metal framework if you are going to use it to support the vehicle weight. it is still pretty flexible even at 1/2".
 
#10
FYI, UHMW is approx. 1/3 the weight of aluminum and 1/12 the weight of steel (based on the same thickness). Those weight savings aren't as significant, of course, if you have to use thicker sheet to achieve the same strength.

I like the metal framework idea. Then you can use thinner sheet and take advantage of UHMW's excellent abrasion resistance.

Jason
 

Pedro

Capitan rally fluffer
#11
The nice thing for salty road climates is that it doesn't get sandblasted and rust like metal skids. so the framework stays protected for the most part. and it is slippery so you don't get hung up as easily. it is nice for the lower slung rigs or those with IFS/IRS
 
#12
I am basically going to tub the bottom of my gas tank, the bottom of the tank is going to be the support for HDPE. I probably really do not need it but it will make me feel better and get me out of the house and into the garage :)
 

Pedro

Capitan rally fluffer
#14
does the Tacoma not have a gas tank skid? I am pretty sure my GX has a skid in place under the tank. and how are you planning on attaching this?

I don't think I would worry about trapped moisture. without good heat and press equipment you aren't going to achieve a complex curvature with this stuff. and you will most likely need some subframe to keep a bend in it.
 
#15
I do not have a gas tank skid hence the reason for building this one. On the Tacoma most skids are hung off 4 tank strap bolts and to a cross member. I have not figured out if I will go to the cross member or not. I think if I can get it to fit tight to the tank I will not use the cross member.
 
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