Nuts & Bolts: Chevy Gas Tank Skid?Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on September 18, 2016
Chevy Gas Tank Skid
I've just spent four hours looking from one website to another and searching on many forums about Chevy/GMC fuel tank armor and have come up empty. The years 1999 to 2006 seem to be a dead zone for skidplates in general. It would seem that a plastic fuel tank even tucked on the framerails is very vulnerable to just about anything. Do you have any help here on any company that makes this other than Titan Fuel Tanks, which requires a new tank purchase and is still plastic? My truck is a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Z-71 with a 6-inch Pro Comp lift, a Detroit Locker in the rear, AEM cold air intake, and lots of other doodads.
That's a good question, but as you found, it appears that aftermarket bolt-on skidplate solutions are few and far between for your truck. We would agree that the plastic fuel tank on your truck seems vulnerable, but unfortunately no one we are aware of in the aftermarket has addressed it. There may be a lot of reasons for this, but it all boils down to a lack of consumer demand. If more people ask about it, then maybe skidplate companies will take note and look into making something for your truck. We have noticed fewer and fewer skidplates on newer vehicles in general, even ones that are optioned out for off-road use like your Z-71. This is likely the result of trying to meet increasingly strict fuel economy standards, as skidplates add weight and weight reduces fuel economy.
It is worth noting that while plastic fuel tanks are seemingly weaker than steel tanks, we haven't seen many punctured tanks on the trail. Although they are vulnerable to sharp objects, we have seen plastic tanks hold up to a surprising amount of abuse without leaking. They have some give to them, so when they encounter an object they tend to move and allow objects to slide past them rather than getting snagged. The give also allows them to deform from their natural shape without popping a seam like a metal tank. Still, it seems pretty apparent that the right object in the wrong situation could pop one open like a balloon. If you really want to add protection to the fuel tank on your truck, the best bet is to fabricate your own or have a local shop fabricate one for you.