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Discussion Starter #1
On my last outing to Fort Piute in California I notice that despite my best efforts to avoid them I was getting a fair amount of rock hitting my tank. When I go back home my fears were confirmed with some lovely scrapes! :shock: Any Ideas on ways to better protect the tank. I was considering applying thick rubber mats with adhesive backing over certain points on the tank that seem to get the most hits. Any Idea's? I know Prevention is the best method, but well we all know how that goes. :-(
 

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On my last outing to Fort Piute in California I notice that despite my best efforts to avoid them I was getting a fair amount of rock hitting my tank. When I go back home my fears were confirmed with some lovely scrapes! :shock: Any Ideas on ways to better protect the tank. I was considering applying thick rubber mats with adhesive backing over certain points on the tank that seem to get the most hits. Any Idea's? I know Prevention is the best method, but well we all know how that goes. :-(
The problem I see with the rubber mats is:
A) it'll make even less ground clearance.
B) if you were to hit a decent sized rock, instead of just skidding over it the rubber might grab it and roll it. Thus, making an oblong rock a lot taller than it was and blam-o right into the gas tank.

You'd probably be better off building some kind of steel plate to cover it. Something like this... http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62064&highlight=Steel+gas+tank
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is perfect, going to need help setting it up, but it is first on my todo list!
 

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I might think about making a skid plate like that as well. thnks for the link.
 

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I'd suggest a skid plate as well, as you might find it easier to 'slide' the vehicle over an obstacle, rather than to just let it roll up. I had a similar set of plates that I fabricated for my 12" lifted Samurai, and they ran pretty much from front to rear. Worked wonders for slithering over rocks and logs.

I agree with the notion of the rubber mat; probably not worth the trouble for the loss of clearance, with such a lack of real protection.

I have a pretty good amount of diamond-plate aluminum leaning against a wall in my garage. I'll have a look and see how hard it will be just to attach this to the tube frame already in place. For what little it would cost, and such a small amount of downward intrusion, it might be worth the trouble.

Of course, then you'll just end up having to hose the mud out of it, unless you swiss-cheese it with drainage holes.
 

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I've been having the same debate. I was up in the Yukon / Alaska where most roads are "off road"...but having an FJ wasn't the answer as its a TANK on gas - and had no flat area to sleep when camping.

I took my E into a mechanic in Boulder, Colorado who mainly does mufflers, we talked about remodeling the muffler as it hangs WAY too low and has 3 canisters that are much too vulnerable. I would have done this, along with the 3" lift kit, but the issue of a plastic low hanging gas tank in the middle of the E still remained. We considered a metal sheet as discussed in this forum, but really, the gas tank is too far centered and way too low.

Has anyone considered re-locating the gas tank? Would it be possible to relocate it into the spare tire area? I currently use this area for tools, bike gear, etc and have a Full spare tire in my roof rack, with a 10L gas can.

With a new tighter muffler system (with a 2 & 1/4" pipe which allows the E to breathe better = 1-2 mpg better), and a re-located gas tank, the E would have a ground clearance of 9"! Add the 3" lift kit, and we have a 4 cylinder truck! Its no FJ for off-roading, but I'm not crawling on rocks, I just want to get through the next creek without losing half of the E

Any thoughts on relocating the gas tank?
 

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Me (TaylorSp)

Im not sure how much fuel you could fit into the spare tire compartment, so it might be better to replace the current tank with a smaller, slimmer, tank and put an auxiliary tank in the spare tire compartment. You might even be able increase the total capacity, to allow for more milage between stops.
 

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I drove to the Yukon, NWT (Inuvik) and Alaska a couple of decades ago in an S10 pickup, and have poked around British Columbia a lot in my Element. If I had the time and money to make another Alaska trip, I wouldn't try to modify anything under the Element.

Having the full spare is the main modification that I consider important for a road like the Dempster. Gravel roads like that can eat tires (mainly with rock slivers), but shouldn't damage the gas tank or exhaust system. I have dented my exhaust, specifically the middle resonator, probably while crossing a mud hole with a hidden rock. The tank has a few minor scrapes, but nothing close to puncturing it. The bar around the tank has some scrapes - from a cemetery decorative stone. The rear subframe has some serious scrapes, but no structural damage. With a full load of camping gear, that subframe is the lowest point, not the gas tank or exhaust.

A few people have reported gas tank punctures, but I think those were caused by sharp debris on a highway, not 'off-road' rocks.

To minimize undercarriage damage I've learned to:
- stop and move rocks off the roadway
- cross mogules and waterbars at a slow speed to minimize suspension bounce
- cross waterbars (esp. major ones on BC decomissioned roads) at an angle, trying to place diagonally opposite wheels on the top at the same time.
- carefully straddle ruts.
- try to minimize weight
- turn around when in doubt; the E has an excellent turning circle.

The Element has a tough, multilayer plastic tank. In contrast to metal tanks of the past it does not have seams that can leak after a dent.
 

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The bar around the tank has some scrapes - from a cemetery decorative stone
and what exactly were you doing driving around in a cemetary?:zombie004:
Please leave zombie hunting to the proffessionals.

on the skidplate... i would make a ___\___ every 4 or so inches just for the sand/mud thing. But it might actually make it easier to clean out even. ive had mud on top of my tank before =)
 

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Go to a metal worker and have one custom made. Not cheap though, and it will add weight to your 4 banger.

I'm dropping some decent coin on 5 full skid plates made of 3/16" thick steel CNC plasma cut and bent to specification to add strength and to reinforce the edges, for the X.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The bar around the tank has some scrapes - from a cemetery decorative stone.
:twisted:
Not to get off topic Paul, but you are going to have to share the back story on that one. ;-)

I have 5 bucks that says it involves the lines
"I drank this funny kool-aid", "I was dating this Goth Girl", "That's when the ritual went wrong" or "So I told the Officer".
 

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:twisted:
Not to get off topic Paul, but you are going to have to share the back story on that one. ;-)
Thats what im sayin!:twisted:
 

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It was a cemetery in Indiana, with rocks lining the roads. You've probably seen them, painted white, just giving a bit more definition to the boundary between road and grass. Actually I wasn't driving; my wife was, so I only have her description to go by. Anyways, while parking or turning, she drove part way over one. The gas tank cage got a good scrape, and mounting tab for the rear door sill piece broke. I just fixed it with what I had on hand.

I mention the cemetery in this context just to show that you don't need to be trying serious 'off-road' stuff to incur this sort of damage.

In fact when I have run into things on camping trips it usually has been at campsites. Once while turning around on the gravel pad I nudged the iron fire ring. It was slow but with enough force to dent the plastic sheet under the bumper and pop a couple of its rivets. I was able to pop the dent out, and later replace the rivets. I might have also bent the condenser a bit, but that hasn't given problems.

In Washington and BC, large boulders are placed at strategic points on the campsite, defining the usable parking pad. They are high enough to do damage, but too low to easily see. It's nice to have an extra set of eyes when maneuvering around them.

Even on the trail, most damaging objects can be avoided with due caution. Get out and scout if there's any doubt. As a passenger to observe.

Perhaps the biggest downside to not having low range in the gear box is that to get full power you need high rpms and speeds around 20 mph in 1st. That means more suspension bounce, and less control if rear wheels kick in and produce some oversteering.
 

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thanks for the responses, and for explaining WHY you were off road in a cemetery ;-)

Although caution is always a good measure...With a relocated gas tank & redone exhaust (for about the same price as the CCM's 3" lift), the E has a ground clearance of 11.5" along the center where it most often can bottom out...Its 9.5" at the front & rear under the bumpers near the tires, the rest is 11.5" (without the Gas tank or Mufflers in the way) at its LOWEST along the sides & center of the E. Of course the axles are lowest, but the wheels will carry the E over...I'm much more concerned about "high-centering" my plastic gas tank on a rocky road in the middle of no where Yukon. I was on such a forest/mining road, and although most of the "road" was easy off-pavement driving at 10-20 mph, a few areas had bigger rocks pilled up and moving about under me...I moved a few out of the way, but boy, was I worried about the plastic tank...

I'm not as worried about scrapping my rear subframe - as its got a clearance of 9.5", plus the wheels lift you up & over - again, this isn't real "off roading/rock crawling", its just every day Yukon / Northern BC off-pavement :roll:

I also don't weigh down the rear with gear...I've removed the useless "spare" donut of a tire, and I also take out my rear seats (which are HEAVY!) when i go camping. This cuts ALOT of rear weight out of the rear! All my camping gear & full spare tire are on top in the roof rack - which happens to also be moved slightly forward / centered so I can use the moon roof for twilight camping 8)

I've got a few leads into custom gas tank manufactures from ShortestSoftroad:
www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59907

After this increased ground clearance and plastic tank out of the way, I may end up lifting the E with CCM 3" kit anyways...but that would be just for fun!:evil:
 
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