It’s been a while since I’ve written about development of our ProMaster Skid Plate, and since we’re what I’d call “done” now, I thought it’s time for a quick update. But first… BEHOLD!!
There have actually been at least two versions since I wrote the last post on the subject. That was version 3. So I think we call this final version, “Mark V”.
But I’ll jump back a bit and catch you up.
Version 3 was a pretty stout affair, based on a European design for the Ducato, but heavily modified to fit the US-Based gasoline-engine ProMaster. It was made of heavy gauge steel and looked about like this.
I drove around with that one for several months, and all was well. But I started to notice something when the hot weather rolled around. In extreme heat, the output from my second alternator was reduced. I was still within temperature limits for the alternator (measured them), but the reduction in output was real and noticeable. Particularly when parked and idling in hot weather – I was finding my output reduced sometimes up to 60 amps from winter measurements!
So, based on this info, and some experience with another Winnebago Travato, copious venting was added to the skid plate, and we had version 4.
The vents in this version allowed the temperature of the engine bay to return to pre-skidplate levels. It also looked pretty cool, especially the holes alongside the alternator.
But while it looked cool, it wasn’t exactly what you’d call “designed for manufacturing”. The curved section, though elegant, required cutting and forming by hand. And then it had to be welded back into place by hand. All that makes for a time-consuming, and more expensive, finished product.
So we (OK, it was just Gordon) went about modifying the design to eliminate the handwork required, and to adapt the design for efficient manufacturing. The curved section was eliminated and replaced with a few bends. The “bulge” for the alternator was extended to cover the whole width of the plate. The venting all stayed. I think we’re calling it done at this point.
The new design does a couple of things. First, as intended, it makes the whole part easier to manufacture. But the other thing it does is allow more room all across the front to protect any cabling, mounting or other accessories that might be installed. You can see the space in this one I took while Lance was on the rack.
And, I guess the third thing the new design does is look more “automotive”, or more “finished”. In other words, it’s less obvious that there’s something unusual going on down there.
And finally, this should go without saying, but doesn’t… So I’ll reveal that there are strategically placed holes so that you can change the oil without having to remove the skid plate.
So there you have it, the ProMaster alternator cover/skid plate is complete. If you’re a ProMaster owner who is interested in protecting the underside of your rig, we’ve now got a solution for you. If you’re an RV owner who has installed a second alternator underneath your rig (and this includes Roadtrek and Hymer owners, who may have had this installed from the factory), you definitely want this.
Good News! They’re available!
Since originally posting this, we’ve heard from Gordon at Edge Motorworks, and you can now have a ProMaster Engine Guard of your very own. Here are the details from Gordon:
So there you have it. If you’ve got a ProMaster with a second alternator – of even if you’re just concerned about banging up the underside of your engine – now you have the chance to have the same guard Lance does. Cheers!