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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Low cost appearance mod to OEM skid plate and step rails

But I suppose it could be called high effort. :eh:

We actually have nice aluminum under the ugly gray/bronze paint on the factory step rails and off-road skid plate. I have removed the paint and taken them to a polished/brushed finish. I really did not like the way the step rail color clashed with the high-polished Centerlines. The color was terrible IMHO. Other than the step rails and skid plate, that color does not appear anywhere else on the truck!

So I took a chance, removed the step rails, disassembled them, and stripped them. I bought the paint stripper, and already had a new brass brush and scrapers. It took 2 coats of the stripper, scraping and brushing in between. Then 320, 400 and 600 wet sanding, and finishing up with Brillo dishwashing pads (steel wool with soap). I suppose you could go on and do a full polish, but then you'd have to KEEP polishing them. Stopping with the Brillo steel wool level will enable me to simply maintain them using a Brillo pad occassionally while washing.

I liked the way the step rails came out and they were relatively easy. The stripper does not bother the plastic steps. So then I went for the skid plate. It was much harder. It must be powder-coated, cause the stripper did not work as well on it. The finish softened, but had to be 95% scraped off. Then could be finished with the brass brush and so on.

The pictures below are of the tools I used and the finished oil filter access plate on my desk. I will post pics this weekend of the mounted parts after I wash the step rails.
 

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Great idea, Mike -
I was wondering if anyone had yet done that. I've got a pair of OEM step rails ordered but really wanted the brushed aluminum. Just couldn't find any aftermarket rails that fit as well as the factory's. Will be strippin' and sanding pretty quick!
Thanks!
 

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Wow! That's gonna look like a custom skid plate when you are done. Can't wait for the pics!!!
Maybe putting a nice swirly finish on it with a high speed wire wheel on a power drill would look good to, like you seen in some elevators.
I love to see people doing these "free" mods that just take effort and inexpensive parts/supplies instead of "moding" their Titan's with off-the-shelf parts that are available to everyone. That's not custom in my opinion. THIS is.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Pics of the step rails.......

Here are some pics of the step rails.









 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Pics of the skid plate........

Here are pics of the skid plate.







 

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Wow! Extremely nice. Way to have the guts Mike and show the rest of us a great mod. And your right, it matches those centerlines perfectly.
 

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very nice-good job :cheers:
 

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Darn you Mike, that looks so good now i'm going to have to do mine as well.
I think the step rails would look great on my silver truck.
I'm just a little concerned about how the shine will stand up to the elements, I wonder if a clear poly, sealer might work?
Let us know how it looks in a month or two will ya.
Great job by the way, :cheers: :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
SarkaZm said:
Wow, those steps are killer! I think that would look sweet on my sivler CC!! I'll be adding it to the list hehe :) Is the wet sanding required in your opinion...I've never done it before, any suggestions. Good work Mike.
Thanks. Wet sanding is very similar to dry sanding, only a little wetter :jester: I like wet sanding because you can easily see where you have done, plus the water keeps the dust cleaned out of the grit. Plus the finest dry paper I've found is 320. You can dry sand with the wet paper. It is just waterproof, so if you want to use it with water you can.

I learned some things. I started with the side steps, and started with 220 grit paper. DON'T do that. I still have some scratches from the 220 to get out. I also started out using a power vibrating 1/4 sheet sander with the 220. DON'T do that either. It put a funky scratch pattern on that was hard to get out. Stick with hand sanding.

It will take you a FULL day to do the steps, and another FULL day for the skid plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
tnbowhunter said:
Darn you Mike, that looks so good now i'm going to have to do mine as well.
I think the step rails would look great on my silver truck.
I'm just a little concerned about how the shine will stand up to the elements, I wonder if a clear poly, sealer might work?
Let us know how it looks in a month or two will ya.
Great job by the way, :cheers: :cheers:
Thanks. Well, they should stand up as good as the Centerlines. They don't clear coat their wheels. You just have to polish them occassionally.

But on the plus side, I left these EASY to clean. I stopped polishing with the Brillo pads, so I could reclean with Brillo's any time. I did not high polish them like the Centerline's are. I was going to, but then I'd have to KEEP polishing them forever. The way they are right now, I can take a Brillo pad and in 10 minutes I am done with both steps and the skid plate. I did it yesterday before the pics. I wouldn't clear coat them.

By the way, I figure it goes without saying, but don't anybody ever touch your Centerlines or other HIGH POLISH aluminum with a Brillo pad. You will ruin the polish job.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How do you think a 1" hole would look at the end of each of the five indentions near the front of the skid plate?
 

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Very nice mike, can't wait to see it in person next weekend.

Jared
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, I did the last mod to the skid plate. I drilled a 1" hole near the upper end of each of the five indentions. I think it looks better and draws some attention downward, and makes it look more custom. Plus I'm sure it will be good for 50 HP :jester:


 

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Holes

Me too Mike I think those would look good with Dan Moores custom grill inserts
 

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Looks cool as **** and will help in aiding any extra mud taht wants to get hung up behind the skid plate by being able to hose it out COOL MOD
 
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