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Putting a diff skid plate on a differential that is stronger then said skid plate makes no sense to me. Put on a steel diff cover like arb and call it a day.
One thought is a cover like Rocky Road's with a 'deflector' lip will push a rock/boulder downwards while lifting the truck, protecting the pumpkin instead of getting hung up on the front edge of the diff. But yes it will reduce some ground clearance. I'll mount and try mine and report back.
 

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Coming from the Suzuki world where people shave their diffs to gain and extra 1/2-1 inch of ground clearance diff covers have always seemed wacky to me. The loss in ground clearance is often greater than the difference of upgrading from 33’s to 35’s and we all know the compromises people go through for that upgrade. And for what? To protect a part that’s the least likely to suffer damage from an impact. Your much more likely to chew up your driveshaft, snap an axle or bend a housing before pinching a hole in the diff pumpkin (hats excluded)


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Your much more likely to chew up your driveshaft, snap an axle or bend a housing before pinching a hole in the diff pumpkin (hats excluded)
I haven't ever heard of the differential getting punctured, but plenty of examples on the site of peeled back stock covers. I think concern about peeling the diff cover back is the reason for the covers and guards.
 

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. . . I think concern about peeling the diff cover back is the reason for the covers and guards.
^^ This, and also to prevent dents/damage to the cover that could create clearance issues with the ring gear.

Differential "skids" have an entirely different purpose - primarily to protect the housing, secondarily to improve the ability of the pumpkin to slide over obstacles.
 

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I haven't ever heard of the differential getting punctured, but plenty of examples on the site of peeled back stock covers. I think concern about peeling the diff cover back is the reason for the covers and guards.


Yeah I get the stock aluminum cover argument but as me meengreennugget mentioned get a steel hat that’s designed not to peal and call it a day. I guess there are people out there that will swear by the covers and maybe they don’t loose as much ground clearance on the X as I think, however I have seen on wranglers and F150’s and the ground clearance loss on those vehicles was substantial


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I use one of these. It does everything I need it to do. As far as I know it was on two Xterras before mine, neither of which were babied in the rocks, and all it took for me to make it new was two coats of Krylon.

 

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It has everything to do with where you wheel. If you wheel in the rocks and are constantly dragging your diff, the rocky road skid is the way to go. I have the ARB cover and still grind half the lower two bolt heads off every time out. ARB is ground up bad on the bottom and so is the diff. Eventually I’ll wear through. I should have gone with the rocky road like many people I wheel with did. Gets really old replacing those two bolts all the time.

As for the diff cover, it is to prevent the stock cover from peeling back. I have personally seen 4 or 5 stock diff covers get peeled back, and I rarely wheel with people who don’t have aftermarket covers.

If you are going to go offroad, a diff cover is really cheap insurance. If you don’t get one, you will eventually peel the stock one back. Depending on how/where you wheel, the rocky road skid thing (we affectionately refer to it as the diff diaper) could be a better option.


As for the original post... our diff covers have a different number of bolts than most other Dana 44’s. Probably won’t work without some modification.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I appreciate everyone's input. This has been great reading everyone's thoughts on this.
I was considering purchasing an steel diff cover. Just hadn't gotten to it yet then I came across the diff armor and hadn't seen many postings about armor similar to the Rancho.
I (mistakenly) thought the rear diff was aluminum and was a potential cracking risk. When I changed my fluid yesterday, the magnetic drain plug stayed stuck to the iron diff. Achievement unlocked :-D
I also thought it prudent to protect the drain plug on the bottom of the diff. Mine is already chewed up and loosing 3/8's of an inch in ground clearance didn't seem like a big loss.
 

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It has everything to do with where you wheel. If you wheel in the rocks and are constantly dragging your diff, the rocky road skid is the way to go. I have the ARB cover and still grind half the lower two bolt heads off every time out. ARB is ground up bad on the bottom and so is the diff. Eventually I’ll wear through. I should have gone with the rocky road like many people I wheel with did. Gets really old replacing those two bolts all the time.



As for the diff cover, it is to prevent the stock cover from peeling back. I have personally seen 4 or 5 stock diff covers get peeled back, and I rarely wheel with people who don’t have aftermarket covers.



If you are going to go offroad, a diff cover is really cheap insurance. If you don’t get one, you will eventually peel the stock one back. Depending on how/where you wheel, the rocky road skid thing (we affectionately refer to it as the diff diaper) could be a better option.





As for the original post... our diff covers have a different number of bolts than most other Dana 44’s. Probably won’t work without some modification.


A good way to fix the bolts getting grinded is to get a small tab of sheet metal, drill a hole for the bolt, run the bolt through the tab on the outside of the diff and bend it up over the bolts once you have tightened.


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It has everything to do with where you wheel. If you wheel in the rocks and are constantly dragging your diff, the rocky road skid is the way to go. I have the ARB cover and still grind half the lower two bolt heads off every time out. ARB is ground up bad on the bottom and so is the diff. Eventually I’ll wear through. I should have gone with the rocky road like many people I wheel with did. Gets really old replacing those two bolts all the time.
So, per what you've seen, those buds you wheel with using the diaper have had good success scraping and sliding the protected diff over rocks with no issues? I'm heading to the Sierras soon and bought the Rocky Road to try it out. I can see the 4 rear plus 2 bolts on the 'ears' would evenly distribute the load during hits. I just know contact will come and don't mind the security with a little loss of ground clearance. When my skids go over things it sounds nasty but wow do they protect, a good feeling.
 

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So, per what you've seen, those buds you wheel with using the diaper have had good success scraping and sliding the protected diff over rocks with no issues? I'm heading to the Sierras soon and bought the Rocky Road to try it out. I can see the 4 rear plus 2 bolts on the 'ears' would evenly distribute the load during hits. I just know contact will come and don't mind the security with a little loss of ground clearance. When my skids go over things it sounds nasty but wow do they protect, a good feeling.
Oh yea, it works well. Occasionally I'll clear something they don't, but it has never caused them to not be able to climb an obstacle I can.

Examples of the kinds of trails we run:



 

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Ordered the Rocky Road armor and a couple Lube Locker gaskets from Off Road Gorilla. Now to decide on which steel diff cover to get. Too many choices.


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If you're using the diaper, you can't use an aftermarket steel cover. They're designed for the titan finned cover

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I use one of these. It does everything I need it to do. As far as I know it was on two Xterras before mine, neither of which were babied in the rocks, and all it took for me to make it new was two coats of Krylon.



This is perfect imo. Don’t lose ground clearance and most likely part of the diff to receive damage is protected


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