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RhinoRamps

The weather was nice earlier in the week, but the temperature dropped to freezing today. Knowing the cold weather was coming, the RainyDayInterns got off their butts and fixed the broken splash guard which had been dragging on the ground since the Summer. Because we know better than to get under the car with just a jack supporting it (that’s just stupid), we got a pair of RhinoRamps from RhinoGear for the project. We are impressed: they’re simple, but strong, durable, and useful as all get out.

RhinoRamps are molded from a durable polymer. The design of the frame allows the ramps to nest together to save space. It also gives the ramps sufficient structural strength to support a vehicle with a max gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 12,000 lbs. While this is a lot, the GVW number is, in general, not what most people think it is (hence the link to the explanation). What you need to know is that the two ramps together can support a total of 6000 pounds, which is more than sufficient for most cars and definitely enough to hold up the Boxster. Here are few more tech tidbits on the RhinoRamps:

One of the reasons why we put off fixing the splash guard is that getting under the car is such a pain. The other reason is that the Boxster’s splash guard is a rather convoluted piece which does not look easy to replace. In fact, the dealer wanted a few hundred bucks for the labor to do the job. After thinking about it, we decided we to see if we could just attach “something” to the remaining stub to shield the underside for now. If that doesn’t work out, then we’ll think about replacing the entire piece.

The “something” for this DIY hack had to be weather-resistant (snow, cold, etc). After some back and forth, we decided that aftermarket mud-flaps would be perfect for the task, and we stopped by our local auto parts store to see what they had. We don’t know if they entered the SKU wrong or they were just getting rid of them, but the flaps we got were listed for $0.05 in their computer. Let me say that again: $0.05. We didn’t have a nickel, so we had to charge it. Yeah…a pair of mud flaps for a nickel 🙂

We were excited to get the flaps at a bargain price, but we still had no idea on how we were going to mount them under the car. To do that, we had to get the car up on the ramps and take a look around. Fortunately, getting the car up on the ramp was as easy as we had hoped.

Here are some of the checks we did before trying to get our Boxster onto the ramps:

  1. Made sure we were on level ground;
  2. Checked for sufficient clearance between the car and the ramp;
  3. Checked that the ramps were centered with the tires.

These were the steps we took to move the Boxster onto the ramps:

  1. S…l…o…w…l…y drove the car onto the ramps until we felt the car start to incline;
  2. S…l…o…w…l…y moved the car until we felt it settle on the level part of the ramps;
  3. Put the car into “Park” and engaged the parking brake;
  4. Visually inspected that each wheel was centered on its respective ramp.

With the front end of the car securely lifted, we were able to slide underneath to get a clear look around. We were able to see the difference between the splash guard on the driver side and the one on the passenger side. The guard on the driver side had a large chunk of it missing, exposing the underside. It was evident that, as the car moved, the air flow had been pushing down what was left of the the driver side splash guard, and that’s why it had been dragging on the road.

Enough of the splash guard’s hard plastic  had been ground away that it no longer made any noise (which was why we were able to ignore it for so long). However, if it wasn’t fixed, the remaining piece would have been an excellent scoop for channeling snow and slush up and into the underside of the car.

After considering a few possibilities, we determined that the best way to attach the new mud flap was to slide it under the front bumper and anchor it to the four points as indicated by the arrows. With about four inches of the flap tucked under the bumper, it wouldn’t be going anywhere (if properly secured).

The interesting question was how to secure the mud flap both to the bumper and to the broken splash guard. The answer came when we realized that there was enough space for binder clips to get a good grip at some of the key points. To make sure the clips won’t shift around, we anchored them in place (through the metal arms) with the self-drilling screws that came with the mud flaps.

After looking at the results, we are pretty confident that our hack will hold, at least for this Winter. We’ll take a look at how the clips held up when Spring comes. There are only so many things we are willing to replace on a fourteen-year-old car, Porsche or not 🙂

The star of this project was definitely the RhinoRamps. These portable ramps really made things simple, quick, and easy. They were super simple to setup (just drive on up them) and perfect for when you have to get under the car to look around (no need to jack it up and put stands underneath for support). With the car up on the RhinoRamps, we were able to see clearly what needed to be done, figure out how to slot in the mud flap, and where to attach it to the frame. What would have been a body-bending hassle of a project was done in less than 20 minutes! If you need to get under the car, don’t jack it up, ramp it up with RhinoRamps.

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