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If, like me you are running your R as low to the ground as possible then I strongly suggest you consider purchasing a Panzer Skidplate from www.dieselgeek.com:


Picture courtesy of www.dieselgeek.com

Heres the lowdown straight from the manufacturer:

Why should I buy a Dieselgeek Panzer Skid Plate?
Our heavy duty aluminum Panzer Plate kits protect all of the parts in the bottom of the engine bay, including the cast aluminum oil pan, a/c compressor, radiator, condenser, transmission, and rear subframe. These items, and especially the very thin cast aluminum oil pan, can be easily damaged by road debris, ice chunks, and minor off-road excursions. Many A4 chassis engines have been destroyed by debris putting a hole or a crack in the aluminum oil pan and the subsequent loss of oil and oil pressure. Also, the 1998-2005 generation cars are very low to the ground and the front springs on these cars are relatively soft which causes the cars to bottom out frequently. Damage often occurs when bottoming out. In addition, the plastic belly pan that comes with these cars is often damaged. A replacement factory plastic belly pan currently costs up to $329.78 (New Beetle TDI). Why replace it when you can buy an indestructible aluminum skid plate? Installing our hefty .190" inch thick aluminum skid plate will help you avoid costly repairs and give you peace of mind that your engine is protected! Take a look at these pictures:

Click here for a picture of destroyed four cylinder oil pan.

Click here for a picture of scrap oil pans at VW dealer.
Key Features of the Panzer Plate:
* The Panzer Plate is a full-coverage aluminum skid plate that does not have large holes or open areas like our earlier aluminum skid plate.

* An integral three-point stress "bar" at the rear of the skid plate stiffens the somewhat under-reinforced rear suspension subframe and eliminates the need for costly aftermarket lower stress bars.

* Less weight than other plates-23.35 pounds installed (with side skirts) for Panzer Plate versus 34.65 pounds for other plate.

* Panzer Plate has 6/10 ths of an inch more ground clearance than with the steel skid plate. (4.200" inches for Panzer Plate versus 3.650" inches for steel plate measured on the same car on the same day and measured in the same place. Car was driven ¼ mile and allowed to settle between measurements. The absolute lowest point of the plate was the measurement location.)

* Maximum impact protection for your oil pan, transmission and subframe, A/C compressor (TDI), power steering pump (1.8T, VR6, 2.0)

* Very stout, reinforced steel front mounting posts with two rivnut anchors each. The mounting posts are black powder-coated and utilize factory-style construction and engineering.

* Extra secure high-grade hardware is included with kit.

* Sight windows are punched in plate to facilitate the customer adding 3 inch round drain "windows" for oil drain plug access and 12v and 24v VR6 oil filter access.

* Panzer Plates are computer designed and CNC manufactured to ensure a great fit and good looks!

* We use the biggest rivnut anchors and we have the best rivnut installation tool provided with kit. Our rivnut installation procedure is bulletproof!

* Panzer Plate will fit with any aftermarket sway bars.

What about oil changes?
* TDI: Best: A Pela 6000 oil extraction device may be purchased below to allow you to suck the oil out of the dipstick hole. The Pela 6000 will pull as much or more oil out of the oil pan as draining it through the oil drain plug. Alternatively, a 1/2" sight hole is also punched in skid plate to greatly facilitate adding a 3" round oil drain "window" for oil drain plug access. Filter change: The oil filter housing is at the top of engine bay and does not require access from below the engine bay. You can see that it is very easy to fully eliminate the need to get under the car at all for TDI oil changes!

* VR6: A 1/2" sight hole is punched in skid plate to greatly facilitate adding a 3" round oil drain "window" for oil drain plug access. Also, a pair of ¼" holes are strategically punched in plate to allow 12V or 24V VR6 owners to drill oil filter access holes thus eliminating the need to remove the skid plate for oil changes. A Pela 6000 oil extraction device may also be purchased below to suck the oil out of the dipstick hole. The Pela 6000 will pull as much or more oil out of the oil pan as draining it through the oil drain plug.
 
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