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Old 08-13-2019, 11:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Beware Ironman bash plates on 2008-2014 GVs

I have a set of the Ironman bash plates fitted about 9 months ago. I mentioned then that the instructions give the wrong impression as to which order the 3 plates overlay each other so I eventually solved that.
Now I have found a more serious issue. I was coming home yesterday and the front of the car started making banging noises when going over bumps. I checked the springs/shocks (also recently fitted) but they seemed okay. Further investigation showed that the very front bash plate appeared to have shifted as far as the mounting slots would let it to one side and the plate was hitting the shipping loop. Whacking the plate made all sorts of noises. So I removed the front mounting on the plate and found the cause.
Ironman mounts the plates by slipping a steel strip into the chassis rail and attaching the plate via a bolt into a tapped hole in the strip. They do this with all the front 3 mounting positions. The holes in the chassis rails (front anyway but same concern with the other holes) have rolled lips making the hole effectively about 3-5mm deep. When you tighten up the bolts you think everything is great and rock solid. Until 9 months later with a bit of driving and hammering the bolts pull the holes in the mounting strips towards the bash plates and they come loose. Then they slip and hit the chassis rails and rattle. The mounting strips were bent at the hole so were no longer tight. A variation of this has happened at all three front mounting positions.
The mounting method is a right prick to install because if they slip you can be in for a major recovery effort if they go too far. And you are limited to the size of the mounting strips re access to slip them into the chassis rails. I have removed the two front plates until I can work on a better mounting method.
I am considering two possible solutions. Unfortunately the front mounting position is compromised by how they will mount a pair of front recovery points so will wait until this has been done first before attempting something.
The first possibility is whether I can manage to slip larger mounting strips into the chassis rails and the second is whether it would be feasible to install 10mm riv nuts into the rail and just bolt up to these. The first would possibly be simpler but installing riv nuts would make the plates really easy to remove for other servicing.
If you have the Ironman plates and they are installed using the Ironman hardware then it is only a matter of time until they start to rattle and the bolts possibly come out.
If you know how yours were mounted and it was by some other method please reply.

Last edited by Chrissybabe88!; 08-13-2019 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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if you read the instructions, you slide the plates in and turn them so they sit flat inside the chassis rails, I held mine in place with RTV to stop them moving once tightened so I can unbolt them to do oil changes etc. Mine have been on and off for 3 years now, never come loose, never had an issue. the 3 plates overlap so the "rear" plate sits under the front plate so anything you drive over slides front to rear with no edge to snag it

Rear ones on the back crossmember were a pain. but there again, once i had them in a place i was happy with, big blob of RTV to anchor them in place.
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2015 5 dr Grand Vitara 2.4 (daily driver)
1971 V8 HG Holden with 383 stroker 9" torq lok and TH350 trans (the toy)
Mitzi RVR 2.0 (not one of my better buys)
the 2013 3 dr GV is now the off road only toy

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear."

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Old 08-14-2019, 03:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have sorted the plate overlap. As I said the instructions don't make it clear that the plates should overlap front to rear so they will slide over shingle. My instructions show the reverse of this. However they are okay now and Ironman admitted they hadn't given this a thought.
And the plate mounting strips are installed correctly. I haven't rtv'd mine yet but will do so eventually. My problem is all of the front 4 mounting strips are bent in the middle where tightening them up has distorted them thus loosening them off. I will post a photo as soon as I have one plus a drawing showing what is bending.
I have absolutely no idea why mine have done this OTHER than maybe it was because I replaced all the hardware (bolts and washers only) with stainless steel or because I tightened them up too much (way too much).
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrissybabe88! View Post
I have sorted the plate overlap. As I said the instructions don't make it clear that the plates should overlap front to rear so they will slide over shingle. My instructions show the reverse of this. However they are okay now and Ironman admitted they hadn't given this a thought.
And the plate mounting strips are installed correctly. I haven't rtv'd mine yet but will do so eventually. My problem is all of the front 4 mounting strips are bent in the middle where tightening them up has distorted them thus loosening them off. I will post a photo as soon as I have one plus a drawing showing what is bending.
I have absolutely no idea why mine have done this OTHER than maybe it was because I replaced all the hardware (bolts and washers only) with stainless steel or because I tightened them up too much (way too much).
take them out, on hard surface bent bit up, smack with big hammer to flatten (use a bit of wood between hammer and bracket to avoid peening the threads in the holes)

and yeah, using stainless can cause an issue as it doesn't have the elasticity of steel, and stainless spring washers are damn near useless until they get to 12mm, they just don't have the same ability to "lock" as ZP ones do, and you have to make sure you get them the right way up so the sharp edges bite other wise the rounded edges are all thats stopping the washer from undoing. (look closely as the washers and you will see what i mean)

Interesting, my instructions show the correct overlap, and the welded nuts on the centre section make fitting it the wrong way impossible.
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2015 5 dr Grand Vitara 2.4 (daily driver)
1971 V8 HG Holden with 383 stroker 9" torq lok and TH350 trans (the toy)
Mitzi RVR 2.0 (not one of my better buys)
the 2013 3 dr GV is now the off road only toy

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear."
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
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take them out, on hard surface bent bit up, smack with big hammer to flatten

and yeah, using stainless can cause an issue as it doesn't have the elasticity of steel, and stainless spring washers are damn near useless until they get to 12mm, they just don't have the same ability to "lock" as ZP ones do,

Interesting, my instructions show the correct overlap, and the welded nuts on the centre section make fitting it the wrong way impossible.
No problem in straightening them but what will stop them doing it again ? I am thinking of making them thicker though so they won't bend (or use riv nuts if I can find a tool to do 10mm - I have one for 6 and 8mm).

My problem isn't to do with elasticity. The mounting plates shouldn't bend. Take your point re ss spring washers although I haven't used them since they aren't shown on the installation instructions.

When I post the photo and drawing I'll include one of the incorrect installation instructions. I have just double-checked and the middle plate installation definitely shows it overlapping the rear plate the wrong way. There are clearly at least two sets of instructions floating around.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrissybabe88! View Post
No problem in straightening them but what will stop them doing it again ? I am thinking of making them thicker though so they won't bend (or use riv nuts if I can find a tool to do 10mm - I have one for 6 and 8mm).

My problem isn't to do with elasticity. The mounting plates shouldn't bend. Take your point re ss spring washers although I haven't used them since they aren't shown on the installation instructions.

When I post the photo and drawing I'll include one of the incorrect installation instructions. I have just double-checked and the middle plate installation definitely shows it overlapping the rear plate the wrong way. There are clearly at least two sets of instructions floating around.
interesting. I wonder what kit you got. My plates fit inside the channels, and sit flat and theres no way they can bend. My kit came with flat and spring washers and the construction of the plates and the nuts welded to the "centre" section mean you can't fit the plates the wrong way, if you did, you would put the bolt thru a threaded hole then a drilled one.

Do you still have the factory plastic plates fitted with the ironman ones over the top? I took mine off, discovered the ironmans wouldn't sit right, so I put the plastics back on. I think i had to notch one corner of the transfer plastic cover plate to get a nut or a bolts to line up and that was it.
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2015 5 dr Grand Vitara 2.4 (daily driver)
1971 V8 HG Holden with 383 stroker 9" torq lok and TH350 trans (the toy)
Mitzi RVR 2.0 (not one of my better buys)
the 2013 3 dr GV is now the off road only toy

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear."

Last edited by 2013GV; 08-14-2019 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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interesting. I wonder what kit you got. My plates fit inside the channels, and sit flat and theres no way they can bend. My kit came with flat and spring washers and the construction of the plates and the nuts welded to the "centre" section mean you can't fit the plates the wrong way, if you did, you would put the bolt thru a threaded hole then a drilled one.

Do you still have the factory plastic plates fitted with the ironman ones over the top? I took mine off, discovered the ironmans wouldn't sit right, so I put the plastics back on. I think i had to notch one corner of the transfer plastic cover plate to get a nut or a bolts to line up and that was it.
I will have to find the instructions that came with my plates as they were different from the ones I downloaded.
My kit had no spring washers included.
I removed the factory plastic plates as shingle got caught up between the bash plate and the plastic plate. The shingle came through between the fingers on the front plate.
I will do a more extensive posting later. It looks like something is a bit off as when I look at the design I cannot see how the mounting strips won't bend.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrissybabe88! View Post
I will have to find the instructions that came with my plates as they were different from the ones I downloaded.
My kit had no spring washers included.
I removed the factory plastic plates as shingle got caught up between the bash plate and the plastic plate. The shingle came through between the fingers on the front plate.
I will do a more extensive posting later. It looks like something is a bit off as when I look at the design I cannot see how the mounting strips won't bend.
next time i'm under mine (not frequently) i'll get pics of my mounts, yours is the V6 so I wonder if the rails are slightly different on the chassis being an import?
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2015 5 dr Grand Vitara 2.4 (daily driver)
1971 V8 HG Holden with 383 stroker 9" torq lok and TH350 trans (the toy)
Mitzi RVR 2.0 (not one of my better buys)
the 2013 3 dr GV is now the off road only toy

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear."
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Okay thanks.
I am starting to wonder if it is the result of using stainless bolts. If all steel when you do the bolts up they will stretch so part of the overall tension is provided by bolt stretch. You usually tell how much pressure is being provided by the 'feel' of the spanner. This means that less pressure is being provided to the strip so it won't bend. With stainless there will be no pressure provided by the bolt stretching and it will all come from the strip so it bends. Talk about a balance between forces. So yours is okay and mine stretches. The cure in my case is very obvious - go back to standard steel bolts. But I will make some thicker and slightly wider strips if I can get them in just to be on the safe side. I have found a few strips in my scrap which might be suitable and I still have my old bolts if I decide not to reuse the stainless.
The next pair of strips (3rd from the front) are bigger and more like plates but these actually have 2 bits of unsupported bolt length along the bolt - 1 between the bash plate and the chassis member and the second between a lower and upper chassis rail before you get to the screw plate. I could very easily see these coming loose if that area received a few good bashes. You can place washers (3-4) on the first one to take up the slack but I don't think it would be very easy to get access to the second.
The security of the bolts is way less than my 4 Runners bash plate and after going through all this hassle I think I would seriously look into riv-nuts as being a more secure fastening method.
I think the chassis will be the same on all the GVs (2.4, 3.2, JDM and International). I think one way Suzuki keep their costs down is to have as much commonality between models as possible. This does raise a small concern and that is that things like CVs and axles will be possibly a little underpowered with 3.2s if they were designed for 2.4 and less. I have almost completed downloading the full IPB for the 3.2 and might do the same for a few pages of the 2.4 and compare part numbers.
In general Suzukis are extremely good value for money so I wonder how they keep their costs down ?

Last edited by Chrissybabe88!; 08-14-2019 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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my rear section the bolts on at the crossmember has spacers, and i think from memory one plate (passenger) is on the top of the crossmember and the drivers side is inside the crossmember, there again, i'll have a look next time its up in the air.
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2015 5 dr Grand Vitara 2.4 (daily driver)
1971 V8 HG Holden with 383 stroker 9" torq lok and TH350 trans (the toy)
Mitzi RVR 2.0 (not one of my better buys)
the 2013 3 dr GV is now the off road only toy

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear."
2013GV is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
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