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Most of you know that little black piece of Rubber that is right under the bumped thats held on by 4 or so bolts, what is its purpose? To protect all those pipes back there? I was wonderind If I could take that thing off, its just so ugly.
 

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I think you're refering to the air dam, and it acts like a spoiler for the underside of the car.

I broke mine off when I had my 98 Taurus, by bottoming out the front end, in reverse, while I was doing donuts in a muddy field...to be honest, I never really noticed the difference, so you can probably get away with removing it.

edit:
Here's a close-up of part of the air dam from my old 98...you can see it is indeed a black plastic (close enough to rubber?) thing under the front bumper, and you can see where mine was broken off.
 

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Yeah, that's the air dam. It directs and draws air to the radiator. That explains why there's a mostly solid panel for a grille.
 
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