7. In preparation for the installation of the Up Armor skidplating, the factory engine and
8. After the new mounting holes were drilled, nutserts were installed to receive the Allen
9. Here you can see a portion of the rear-most skidplate after installation with a trio of
10. The front Up Armor skidplate was easy to install as it simply bolted to six existing h
Matt DeFelice has owned DOI since 2001 and before that he was a tool and die maker. You could say he has metal in his blood. He specializes in custom fabrication, from simple and complex components to complete buggies. His spacious shop sits in the woods in a rural area near his residence, and as a sign he's a true off-highway junkie, there are custom-built trails only a few yards away. His shop is festooned with a variety of machines of his craft, including an 8-foot press brake, a horizontal mill, a vertical mill, a lathe, a hydraulic tube bender, a plasma cutter, and a variety of welders. Everything he builds, like the products we installed, are built in-house. He also offers other custom products. Visit the DOI website for more info.
How Much Did It Cost?
Here's the approximate street price of the parts we installed at the time of this writing.
|* DOI H3 winch mount: ||$685.00 |
|* DOI front Up Armor skidplate: ||$385.00 |
|* DOI rear Up Armor skidplate: ||$560.00 |
|* Warn XD9000 winch: ||$850.00 |
|* Viking Offroad Trail Line with Safety Thimble: ||$254.92 |
|* Viking Offroad Hawse Fairlead: ||$155.00 |
One look at the underbody of our H3 Alpha is all it takes to appreciate the benefits (and beauty) of full underbody skidplating. We now have brawny protection from the front bumper all the way to the second crossmember past the transfer case. We like the fact that DeFelice designed the plates to be as smooth and strong as possible. Our rear skidplate was an early model and it doesn't have an access port for the oil filter, though DeFelice is adding that feature to new models. The front skidplate is removed to access the oil drain plug similar to the stock skidplate. We're digging the winch mount because everything is tucked tightly under the truck, thus it doesn't adversely affect the approach angle. Another thing we like is that the DOI system locates the Warn control box behind the grille. It's protected from damage and is easy to access to plug in the controller. The winch itself is an incredible unit and it's enhanced by the supple yet strong Viking winch rope. We ordered orange rope so we could easily see the rope on the drum through the fairlead even in low-light situations. We went with 80 feet of rope to make it more likely we'd have less layers on the drum while winching, which will allow the winch to produce maximum pulling power. The Viking fairlead is handsome yet rugged and the larger radius extends the life of the winch line due to reduced stress during angular pulls. As newbies to the Safety Thimble, it took us a while to get used to, but after adjusting our thought process we wonder how we ever got along with a hook.
It's no surprise that all of these items added weight to the rig. The frontend ride height dropped by 3/4 inch, so we cranked the torsion bars to return the truck to stock ride height. Now all is good, the truck tracks straight, and we didn't have to align it.
DeFelice Offroad Innovations