This "mod" is for 98+ coil spring trucks and possibly 98+ torsion bar trucks as well.
So I noticed that after my last mudding trip and doing my UCAs and BJs that my factory gap guards were looking pretty sad. The UCAs had torn them severely they were starting to dry rot. I've heard new guards are $30+ a piece from Ford. So I happened to have some extra material around that would work prefect so I decided to make my own.
I used the remaining material from my dad's Protecta Rubber Bed Mat. It has a fake diamond plate design and it is very think, a quarter inch or so. I'm sure you can get any type of rubber sheet from a hardware store.
Here is my sad looking factory gap guards.
Here is my very exposed engine bay and upper suspension after gap guard removal.
To remove the gap guards they are held on by 10 of those black trim clips. It is IMPOSSIBLE to save these clips from damage. They will need to be replaced, we will get to that later.
Here's the material I used. It is VERY thick. I used 2 brand new razor blades and a box cutter while cutting it. I dulled both blades completely cutting through this stuff.
I placed the guards on the mat and I had JUST enough room. I weighed them down with bricks and used a silver sharpie to outline and mark the holes.
All cut out!
Drilled out holes with 3/8 bit
Compare new with old
Instead of getting new dinky plastic clips I brought one of them into the hardware store and found comparatively sized bolts and washers. Depending on how warn out the holes on the inner fender are you made need to go up a size or two.
On both sides I had to do some more trimming to the UCA holes and other areas. I also had to redrill a hole or two because they weren't in the right spots. I think this was due to the thicker material being not as flexible.
After about a week I have zero problems except one bolt came out of the inner fender due to the hole being stripped. They work great and keep debris out of the engine bay much better than the stock gap guards. I am interested to see other people do this "mod" with other lighter grade materials or even heavier material like aluminum sheeting.