Well, this isn't a terribly exciting post, but it might be worthwhile for anyone who is suffering a similar problem.
Got a new set of tires the other day from Town Fair Tire (toyo proxes 4- I swear by them). When driving home, I hear something a little funny- like the sound a snow shovel makes against concrete. But it was cold and dark out, and I wasn't driving terribly fast on the city roads to get to my family's home due to the Shopping Madness, so I shrugged it off. I don't drive for a day or so, and then get set to head home. Lo and behold, the sound is a lot worse at high speeds!
You've probably guessed it by now- somehow the town fair gentlemen managed to tear my plastic "skid plate," and a portion of it was dragging on the ground, causing both the sound and increased blood pressure in the driver. They managed to rip off the plastic retainers. Must have gotten a little feisty with the jack or missed the automated lifts.
Anyway, as they were closed today and I really had to head home, I did a bit of surgury, pictured below. Taking some aluminum stock, I bent it into the shape of the plastic tray and riveted it (using Al rivets...) back together. It took me about an hour or so all said and done. Pretty cheap way to do it, if you have to get a move on and don't really want to pay for a new one of the plastic ones- how much do they run anyway? I couldn't find them online.
I think the frankenstein looks sort of add to the general sex appeal of the car.