Gas tank skid plate install 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma
Installing a Victory 4×4 Gas Tank Skid Plate for 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma
I have said it before and I will say it again, skid plates are one of the most important installs you can do for a new truck. Skid plates protect the important underside parts of your truck. When you get some amazing skid plates like these from Victory 4×4, they are also a very simple install.
Today we are installing the Victory 4×4 Gas Tank Skid. I didn’t release it but the factory gas tank skid is actually made out of plastic. Yes, seriously, plastic! I feel so much better replacing that sock skid plate with a CNC cut 3/16 inch thick steel plate that’s made to withstand rock abuse.
Victory 4×4 also has an option for a ¼ inch aluminum version. If you’re looking for an upgrade from the plastic skid plate and not as heavy, you might choose the aluminum version. I chose to go with steel because it’s stronger and I am not worried about the added 48 lbs because I know that the weight is worth it for the improved protection. The Victory 4×4 Gas Tank Skid will be able to protect my truck when I need it.
The Install was performed on a 2016 TRD Offroad 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma
Lifting the Truck off the ground wasn’t required. You can install the Victory 4×4 Gas Tank skid plate with the truck on the ground. I lifted my truck because I wanted more room to move around and I wanted to get better video angles for you. Also, this install can be done by one person but having a friend to give you a hand is very helpful. All in all, the install will take about one hour. It’s quick and straightforward.
What the kit comes with:
- (1) Gas tank skid plate
- (4) Straps for skid plate (the smallest strap is used with a 2nd Gen Tacoma install)
- (5) Short 19mm Bolts
- (1) Long 19mm Bolts
- (6) Large Washers
- (6) 19mm Flange Nuts
- 12mm socket
- 14mm socket
- 19mm socket
- Various drill bits
- 1/2 inch drill bit
STEP #1 – REMOVE FACTORY SKID PLATE
Remove the four 12 mm nuts from underneath the gas tank. These four nuts hold the old gas tank skid plate to the gas tank by the studs on the gas tank straps.
From here there are two directions that you can choose from:
1. You can keep and use the studs on the gas tank straps.
The new Victory 4×4 skid plate comes with holes to attempt to fit the studs if you choose to keep them. The Straps are known to move around and its nearly impossible for the holes to match up perfectly.
2. Or, you can cut the studs off and not worry about making them fit.
I chose this option because I didn’t want anything hanging lower than the skid plate. I wanted to have a flat surface. This is the direction of this install
STEP #2 – CUT STUDS OFF THE GAS TANK STRAPS
You can cut the studs right off of the gas tank straps, but I didn’t think this was a good idea right next to the gas tank. I chose to remove the straps from the gas tank and then cut the studs off.
To remove the straps you need to hold the gas tank up into place with a floor jack or some Jack stands. I would advise you to do one strap at a time to reduce the chances of the gas tank falling.
First, you need to remove the 14mm bolt on the driver side of the gas tank strap. Then you can remove the cotter pin on the passenger side and pull it out the through bolt. On the front strap, I had to rotate the strap to give the bolt enough room to squeak by the heat shield.
Remove the rubber from the straps so you don’t cut into it. Now cut off the studs with an angle grinder or saw-all. Make sure to wear proper protection.
- Safety Glasses Clear: Check Todays Price
- Safety Glasses Tinted: Check Todays Price
- Ear Plugs: Check Todays Price
- Grinding Mask: Check Todays Price
- Work Gloves: Check Todays Price
- Nitrile Gloves: Check Todays Price
Replace the rubber strap and repeat the steps to cut the studs off the second gas tank strap.
STEP #3 – PLACE VICTORY 4X4 GAS TANK SKID PLATE INTO PLACE
With the help of a friend or a floor jack move the Victory 4×4 gas tank skid plate into place. Lift it so that it almost touches the gas tank but there is still enough room to wiggle it around.
Make sure the skid plate is facing the correct direction with the angle section pointing towards the rear of the truck and the curved sides facing up, somewhat hugging the gas tank. One way to make sure the skid plate is in the correct orientation is to check that the flat section that sticks out should be touching the driver side frame.
STEP #4 – PLACE THE FIRST STRAP INTO PLACE (BACK/INSIDE)
Place the longest of the three provided straps onto the Victory 4×4 gas tank skid plate at the rear passenger side of the gas tank. The 45° section attaches to the inside of the new skid plate and the 90° end attaches up to the crossbar. The hole for the crossbar was a little bit hidden inside the bracket where the gas tank strap attaches.
I found that the hole in the crossbar was too small and I needed to drill the hole larger (1/2 inch) to fit the new bolt. Once the hole was drilled I loosely placed the small 19mm bolt, and washer through the newly added strap and hole, and placed the 19mm Flange Nut above the cross member.
Note: leave the hardware and skid plate loose so you can ensure the proper fit for the remaining corners.
STEP #5 – PLACE THE SECOND STRAP INTO PLACE (BACK/OUTSIDE)
The next strap we will be installing is the shorter strap that has the 90° bend on one of the ends. There are two holes (large and small) on the side with the 90° bend. This is because the 2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma’s have a rivet right next to the 14mm bolt (the 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma’s do not).
Remove the 14mm bolt from the frame and place the strap into place by putting the 45° section on the inside of the new skid plate and the 90° up against the frame. Replace the 14mm bolt and add new small 19mm bolt, washer, and 19mm flange nut to the skid plate end. Do not tighten yet, make sure to leave bolts slightly loose.
STEP #6 – DRILL HOLE IN FRAME
Working on the forward most driver side section where the Victory 4×4 Gas Tank Skidplate where it comes into contact with the Toyota Tacoma frame. There are two holes on the skid plate; a large square hole and a rectangular hole. The large hole is for a rivet and the rectangular hole is for the bolt.
Since the hole is rectangular you have some flexibility as to where you want to drill your 1/2 inch hole into the frame. I lined the skid plate up with the exterior of the frame and then marked the center of the rectangle. Using a punch and a step bit I drilled a hole through the frame. Then I used my 1/2 drill bit to ensure proper hole size.
Place the new large 19mm bolt, washer, and 19mm flange nut and loosely tighten together.
Note: If you chose to keep the studs on the gas tank straps make sure the skid plate is pressed up against the frame and the straps are not being pushed into the gas tank.
STEP #7 – PLACE THE THIRD STRAP INTO PLACE (FRONT/INSIDE)
The last strap left has two 45° angles going in opposite directions. You may or may not already have the hole for the top section of the strap. If you do have a hole, place the supplied hardware into place and proceed to step 8. If you are like me and there is no hole then we need to tighten all the rest of the hardware on all the other straps down first.
Using the last strap as my template and placed the strap onto the inside of the skid plate with the provided hardware, then looked at where my strap was hitting the underside of the cross member. I marked the location with a pen and then removed the skid plate strap.
Once again I used a punch and then drilled a hole with a step bit. Making sure I drilled the correct size hole into the cross member I used a 1/2 drill bit to finish the hole. Now I could replace the gas tank skid strap with the provided hardware and affix the top section as well.
STEP #8 – TIGHTEN VICTORY 4X4 SKID PLATE TO FRAME
The last step is to double check and tighten all nuts and bolts.
You’re all done!