Mitsubishi MQ/MR Triton And QE/QF Pajero Sport Bash Plates by Loaded 4X4.
This is Loaded4X4 and blowing smoke up your bottom isn’t something we like to do. So here’s the thing, when it comes to underbody protection if you don’t plan on heading off-road into country where it’s rough enough to expose the underneath of your fourby to impacts with rocks, sand or other bits of the planet, then you don’t need to upgrade your Under Vehicle Protection (UVP) or ‘bash plates’ as they are more colloquially known. You can stick with the stock gear, save some money and avoid reducing your legal payload by 15kg or so.
However, if you’re truly awesome and plan on using your 4WD to hit the dirt, the rocks, the beach, High Country fire trails or Outback dunes, then upgrading your UVP is a really smart move.
There’s one caveat to all of this of course, and that is that you might prefer the look of aftermarket UVP compared to the stock gear, and if that’s the case, then go your hardest, because that’s as good a reason as anything else.
Loaded 4X4 UVP
Here’s the first thing you should know. We aren’t making this gear out in the back shed. We’ve partnered with Milford Industries in Adelaide and our UVP is a collaboration that brings together their talented engineering and manufacturing capabilities and our uniquely wry senses of humour, oh, and a little vehicle-specific knowledge we’ve gathered over the years.
There’s a heap of different UVP options out there, from cheap ‘made in China’ gear to flash looking stainless steel stuff, however, we wanted to solve some issues that are unique to the Triton and Pajero Sport, so we took a different approach to most.
Weak factory front crossmember mounts – Tritons and Pajero Sports are notorious for having weak front crossmember UVP mounts and it’s been an issue since the days of the ML Triton. Bolt a thicker front plate on and you’ll stress these mounts which will eventually break. So we include an easy to fit mount strengthening bracket in our kit.
Cooling issues – Mitsubishi has a lot of cooling built into the stock UVP and it’s there for a reason, regardless of what other UVP manufacturers will tell you. Mitsubishi hasn’t been overly generous when speccing the cooling systems in these cars and as a result, there are regular reports of overheating engines and gearboxes in cars fitted with aftermarket UVP. Yes, the evidence is only anecdotal and not proven scientific fact, but usually, where there’s smoke, there’s also fire.
Right from the start, we set out to match or improve OEM levels of airflow through our plates so that they aren’t responsible for reducing drivetrain cooling efficiency. It means there is no space left to write LOADED4X4 in large letters on the front plate, but that’s our cross to bear, not yours.
Full transfer case protection – We went all out here because you want a cracked transfer case, about as much as you want a hole in your gearbox pan or engine sump. Many kits on the market pay lip service to the transfer case by extending the gearbox plate just enough to hang in mid-air over the transfer case. We didn’t like that option, so we created a standalone plate that spans the chassis and fully protects the transfer case. It also allowed us to add mounting brackets for our gearbox plate and tuck it down below the crossmembers a smidge.
Ease of servicing – Servicing the Triton and Pajero sport requires the removal of the front plate to access the oil filter. We’ve slotted the plates where necessary to allow easy removal and re-fitting. There is access to the sump plug that doesn’t require removing the gearbox plate. Really, the only difference in servicing hassle with our UVP is the increase in weight which isn’t a big deal.
Hardware/fixings - All of the hardware provided with our kits is zinc plated and genuine automotive grade. The brackets and plates provided can all be bought separately if spare parts are ever needed down the track.
We avoid recessing bolt heads but do our best to tuck them out of the way as much as possible. Recessing bolt heads often requires a complicated and thus heavier design and if you’ve ever run plates with recessed bolt heads, you’ll know that service places hate them, as do fitting places. They trap mud and dirt around the bolt heads, which promotes corrosion and can make removal very difficult and sometimes impossible without doing some damage.
Mild steel vs Stainless Steel – Our Triton/Pajero Sport UVP kits are made from high-quality Australian 3mm mild steel that has been treated and coated with Milford’s proprietary hi-tech ArmorTex coating which has a slightly textured black finish. ArmorTex is an extreme anti-corrosion and anti-mar coating process, and is a product that has been developed by the clever people at Milford for their exclusive use.
The first fallacy to crush here is that 3mm mild steel will rust literally overnight, and should it miraculously survive, then it will crack and the plates will fall off, usually within a year! It’s all nonsense.
We’ve been running mild steel UVP on Tritons, D-MAXs and MU-Xs for years, as have thousands (maybe millions?) of others. Our vehicles get used off-road, one of them as an off-road driver training vehicle that has dragged its underbelly over half of South Australia. The mild steel plates have never rusted, cracked or failed, although the recessed bolt heads have caused plenty of issues. Sure, they scratch up and the steel is exposed, and a film of corrosion can develop, but it never develops beyond that.
If you’re planning to park your 4x4 in the sea while you fish, well, that’ll make them rust for sure, but for everyone else, they’ll go to the crusher with the car you’ve bolted them to, when that time eventually arrives.
If you damage your mild steel plates, you’ll be able to whip them off and knock them back into shape relatively easily or grab a replacement from us if you’re a bit fussy.
Sure, stainless has some advantages of its own. It won’t rust and the more you hit it, provided it’s not hard enough to cave the plate in, the stronger it gets although that lack of give can come with its own issues. It doesn’t need to be coated, which means there’s no coating to scratch, so in well-used 4WDs, it’ll look smarter for longer. Stainless isn’t immune to cracking though and it costs considerably more than mild steel, which means a stainless steel UVP kit is likely going to have less in the way of features when compared to a similarly priced mild steel kit.
Weight – As mentioned back at the start, moving from the lightweight stock UVP, and yes, they’re light to save weight, to stronger, thicker and heavier aftermarket UVP, you’ll reduce your vehicle’s legal payload by the additional weight of the UVP kit. Our Triton and Pajero Sport three-plate kits weigh 21.6kg/22.25kg respectively and the four-plate kits, which include the transfer case plate weigh 29.5/30.4kg respectively.
Fitting - Takes around 60-90 minutes with video fitting instructions available online and via a QR code supplied with each kit.
Features and Specs:
- High-quality OEM look and finish.
- Made in Australia by Milford Industries.
- OEM levels of airflow retained.
- 3mm Premium Aussie Mild Steel Construction.
- Milford ArmorTex Hi-tech Anti-corrosion Anti-Mar coating.
- Includes strengthening bracket for weak factory front mounts.
- Custom brackets move mounting points lower for the second and third plate.
- Fully supported stand-alone transfer case plate.
- Engine oil drain point access.
- Cut down air-deflector can be retained (Pajero Sport).
- High-quality automotive-grade zinc-coated flange-head hardware.
- Easy to fit and easy to remove for vehicle servicing.
- Four plate kit protects radiator, sump, gearbox and transfer case.
- Three plate kit protects radiator, sump and gearbox.
- Fitting time is approximately 60 - 90 minutes.
- 3-year material and workmanship warranty.
You can check out the product listings for our UVP kits here - Loaded4X4 UVP.