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Roll Cage

A Bit More Protection!

The need for this project had been haunting me for some time!  While there was never any question that the Full Roll Cage was a worthwhile investment, my issues were that I wanted everything to be done just right.  Since this was going to be a permanent change to my Jeep's interior, I had to make sure everything was just how I wanted.  My break came when I finally discovered the new shop in town, J & J Motor Sports, had a new tubing bender and they were able to build a custom roll cage to fit my needs.

My Needs

My "list of demands" was rather lengthy.  Unfortunately, I discovered those pre-bent full cage kits, like those offered by Smittybilt and Kentrol, would not fit all my requirements.  

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First, the cage I wanted had to be the style that had a front hoop that was parallel to the rear hoop.  Since I have removed my dash pad and wasn't planning on using it again I also wanted the front hoop to ride as close as possible to the windshield frame.  This would be so that my visibility would not be impaired and the entry way (between the front of the seat and the side of the tub) could be as "open" as possible. 

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Next, I wanted the front hoop to be tied into the frame.  This is for added safety and rigidity to the forward hoop.

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I wanted to retain as many creature comforts as possible.  These comforts included the grab bar (in front of the passenger seat), the full use of the glove box, and the ability to use my Tuffy Overhead Radio Console.

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I wanted the ability to retain the use of my hard top.  To use the hard top, the screws that hold the hard top to the upper windshield frame need to be accessible.

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Along with the hard top, I also wanted to retain the use of my hard doors.  However, with the hard doors I was willing to accept the limitations on the use of the wing windows and the loss of the ability to crank down the windows with the doors shut.  (The window cranks can still be rolled with the doors open.)

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I needed the ability to still use the emergency brake foot pedal and brake release.

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I wanted the front windshield to be able to fold down again.  (Something that was lost when the Overhead Radio Console was attached to the windshield frame.)

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And I wanted the ability to possibly "add on" to this cage later if needed.

The only feature I did [temporarily] lose was the sun visors.  Since they're attached to the windshield frame, now they cannot lift up due to the front hoop.  If I really feel I need them, I can re-attach them to the front hoop directly.  But for now I will experiment without them.

Follow along as I show the features and installation of the new cage addition...

Removing everything off the stock roll bar. The process started by removing everything from the stock roll bar.  In my case, this included the roll bar padding and the Tuffy Overhead Radio Console.
Hard doors were put back on for sizing the new front hoop. The hard doors were placed back on the Jeep before I took it into the shop (for use in sizing the front hoop).
Front hoop bolted to the floor. After the angles and dimensions were measured, the front hoop was bent accordingly.  Foot plates (for mounting the front hoop to the floor) were created and drilled - but not yet welded to the front hoop.
Sizing the front hoop with the glovebox door and passenger hard door. Part of the process for sizing the front hoop included the spacing to clear the glove box door and fit between the closed hard doors.  (The grab handle was removed to assist with the fitting.)  With the hoop properly located, the foot plates are now welded to the front hoop.
Hoop and spanners strapped together for sizing and spacing. Next, the overhead stringers between the two hoops were created.  In this photo, the front hoop is attached to the floor and the stringers are "clamped" between the two hoops using a tie-down strap.  Adjustments to their spacing can be made at this time.
View of frame tie-in. The frame tie-ins are welded to the frame rails and extends under the foot plates of the front hoop.  The floor of the tub is sandwiched between two plates (one plate is the foot plate, and the other is shown at top of this photo).  A urethane block is inserted between the frame tie-in and the lower sandwich plate.  This is very important as it allows the tub to flex. 
Stringer tied into the stock rollbar. To weld the new stringer into the stock roll bar, the paint needs to be stripped from the stock roll bar.
Close front hoop requires the loss of the large thumb knob for the window frame lowering option. Notice how close the front hoop is to the dashboard and windshield frame!  As such, it required the removal of the large thumb screw (used to hold the windshield up), which is replaced with a hex bolt.  Normally, the black tab is attached to the windshield frame, but the tab would swing out as the windshield frame is lowered and hit the roll bar.  So the upper two torx bolts are also removed and replaced with two 1/2" hex bolts.  To drop with windshield now, the two 1/2" bolts are removed from each side and the black tab stays attached to the dashboard.
Brand new full roll cage! The new full roll cage came home unpainted!  This was a cost-saving measure for me.  I didn't want to pay the shop rate for having them remove the 12 torx bolts holding the stock roll bar to the tub.  I then removed all the seats and seatbelt shoulder straps from the stock roll bar.
Getting the new cage ready for a quick paint job! Until I can get a chance to pull the whole cage assembly out of the Jeep to sand and paint, I opted for the "quick and dirty" rattle can paint job!  The footings for the front hoop and stock roll bar were all taped off.  After the footing were taped and the rest of the interior area was covered, I painted the full roll cage black.
FRC-painted-fullcage.jpg (60815 bytes) I let the cage dry for a few hours before I installed the seats.  The photo at the top of the page shows the full roll cage with the padding and overhead radio console attached.

What's next?

I may later opt to have the cage powder coated.  Also, I may opt to have some grab handles installed, or possibly some gussets and an antenna mount.  But for now I am content with my simple cage.