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Old 09-03-2018, 05:19 PM   #1
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Default A Ďskid bumperí for a Chevy Express 3500

After spending some quality time under my 2004 Roadtrek C190P Iíve been musing about something.

The impact points for the scraping are:

-The hanger bolts for the front driverís side water tank, they are bent back a little and abraded.
-The sewer dump pipe and valves

There are some areas of the frame rail that are exposed in this area. What if some steel bar stock was welded onto the frame to form a kind of Ďskid bumperí (for lack of a better term). This steel stock would be the same width as the frame and the thickness would be such that it would extend just a hair lower than the impact points.

The idea is that these bumpers would be the first thing to hit if the van bottoms out. Since itís bar stock welded to the frame it would be able to take some force.

I had been thiking about a skid plate to protect that area, but this doesnít seem practical. A plate of thin steel with a piece of plastic pipe behind it would provide very little protection.

The Ďskid bumperí would barely extend below the impact points so that ground clearance would not be lost.
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Old 09-03-2018, 05:36 PM   #2
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After spending some quality time under my 2004 Roadtrek C190P Iíve been musing about something.

The impact points for the scraping are:

-The hanger bolts for the front driverís side water tank, they are bent back a little and abraded.
-The sewer dump pipe and valves

There are some areas of the frame rail that are exposed in this area. What if some steel bar stock was welded onto the frame to form a kind of Ďskid bumperí (for lack of a better term). This steel stock would be the same width as the frame and the thickness would be such that it would extend just a hair lower than the impact points.

The idea is that these bumpers would be the first thing to hit if the van bottoms out. Since itís bar stock welded to the frame it would be able to take some force.

I had been thiking about a skid plate to protect that area, but this doesnít seem practical. A plate of thin steel with a piece of plastic pipe behind it would provide very little protection.

The Ďskid bumperí would barely extend below the impact points so that ground clearance would not be lost.
How would this setup affect the ability to change out the dump valves which even without being subject to impact, eventually need replacement from long term wear?
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:53 PM   #3
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Well, Iím probably not explaning it very well and absent the ability to go under the van take some photographs I donít know that Iíll be able to do much better.

The bumpers would weld to the frame rails and extend them towards the pavement at points near the plumbing where the frame rails are unobstructed.

You would be able to remove and replace the plumbing just as you normally would. It would not be enclosed in any way.
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:38 PM   #4
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Well, I’m probably not explaning it very well and absent the ability to go under the van take some photographs I don’t know that I’ll be able to do much better.

The bumpers would weld to the frame rails and extend them towards the pavement at points near the plumbing where the frame rails are unobstructed.

You would be able to remove and replace the plumbing just as you normally would. It would not be enclosed in any way.
Considering the low ground clearance on the Chevy it could help and certainly couldn't hurt. I have a friend with a RT 190 who ran some rebar stuck up vertically into his plumbing while parking at a construction site. He broke up the dump valves and bent one of the pull rods. The correct replacement plumbing was not easy to find and it was aggravated by the fact that an adjacent tank had to be temporarily repositioned to provide sufficient clearance to remove the trashed assembly and install the replacement plumbing.

The protection you envisage would in all likelihood have prevented this debacle. But in a way, it's a bandage for a design that needs a couple of inches of additional ground clearance. Considering that these Chevys are only 8 ft 9 in high, a couple of inches of lift would hardly be visually noticeable or significantly influence driving characteristics.
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:36 PM   #5
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Referred to as a skid plate.
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:53 PM   #6
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Getting a skid plate strong enough to protect stuff from a hit with such a heavy vehicle is not really easy. It will need to be big, thick, strong, and heavy. It will also likely to be in the way sometimes and need to be removed. But, it certainly can be done.


Raising up higher as mentioned will prevent most hits, but won't protect anything in a hit.


You can also just do an indicator bar across the van at a height that will hit before the expensive stuff. It can be lighter and smaller and will be likely damaged when hit, but will tell you to stop when it does hit by the noise. Kind of like those height hanging indicators going into low clearance parking ramps.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:15 AM   #7
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Booster that’s a really good idea. It gets me thinking. Why not make “early warning” the entire purpose?

Weld a few nuts on the frame in front of the strike area. Thread bolts of an appropriate length into them. When the bolts hit it’s time to stop. When the bolts are destroyed it’s time for new bolts.

In a way the hanger bolts for the front water tank serve that purpose now as they scrape before the plumbing does. But they serve a purpose and I don’t want them damaged.

I also have a curb feeler on the passenger side of my van. I have a devilishly tight curve in my driveway. When I hear that curb feeler scrape, I know I am too close. I wonder if curb feelers underneath would work. They are made of spring steel and would not be damaged if they scraped. They are pretty noisy.
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