Roll bars...

Discussion in 'Track Days & HPDE's' started by Bimmer Lite, Jun 8, 2009.

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  1. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Hello All:

    I've seen quite a few people smack walls in the last couple of years, and I have had my own off-track excursion as well, so I'm thinking it's time to start making my car safer in case anything bad happens. I want to start my research on roll bars here, as a service to, well, me, and to anyone else who is considering taking this step. I have some questions:

    - Should a roll bar be welded in or is bolting fine?
    - I've heard of "Autopower," is there anything else?
    - Do all roll bars allow you to move to a 6 point harness?
    - Do roll bars affect the handling of the car at all?
    - If your roll bar comes across the back seats, how the heck do you get your track tires to the track?
    - What's a roll bar/installation going to cost, ballpark?
    - At what point do people move from a roll bar to a full cage? When actual racing calls?

    I know these are noob questions, but I am a noob, so your help is appreciated.

    - Marc
     
  2. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    I'm not fluent enough in the differences between a weld or bolt in to speak on the subject. Mine is a bolt in.

    Besides AutoPower there is Safety Devices. Both have good and bad points.

    AutoPower bars have legs that mount to the tops of the wheel wells. Better for preserving space. Safety Devices mounts to boxed section "frame" rails.

    AutoPower I think makes a roll hoop, with Safety Devices you are purchasing the back half of their cage and it has the mounting points for the door bar and halo. If you do not intend to use the door bars and halo those mounting points should be trimmed off and then bar will then need to be refinished.

    AutoPower the diagonal goes from above the drivers head and mates with the floor mounted hoop section on the passenger side. Safety Devices offers the diagonal as an option and it goes from driver head to passenger side out leg mount point. You can also double up on the diagonal and make it an X.

    Both have a harness bar available as well. Safety Devices bar does not have harness guides. They need to be added, unsure if AutoPower has the guides or not.

    They do affect the handling. The bar stiffens the rear of the car a whole heck of a lot. Mine now teeters on 3 wheels when I go of off my driveway at an angle.

    AutoPower bar takes up less interior space due to it's mounting points. Tires still fit in the car, it's a bit more of a puzzle with the Safety Devices. Once the tires are in there is room for nothing else in the rear.

    Install depends on the labor rates in the area and skill of installer.

    If I was in NJ I'd head over to Stable Energies. -Stable Energies They are the only Safety Devices dealer in the US. Your wallet may hate me for sending you there when you see all the other goodies the retail shop has to offer.

    Price wise the AutoPower bar I think is about 600 bucks. I paid 800 for the Safety Devices. AUtoPower is in AZ so you'll need to add shipping.

    If I was going wheel to wheel or time trials where I was looking for the last 10th I'd go with a full cage.
     
  3. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Here are some pics of the Safety Devices bar installed...

    Full view, trim not in place.

    [​IMG]

    Trim in place

    [​IMG]

    Passenger side leg and diagonal mount point. Note how this bolts to a plate welded to the top of the frame rail. There is another plate welded to the underside that stiffens that area considerably and prevents "punch through" in the event of an incident.

    [​IMG]

    Another view of the above mounting point.

    [​IMG]

    Harness Guides added, yes I know the belts are not back through the adjusters again. This was right after install before final adjustments.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    AutoPower Bar rear legs mounting points. Image borrowed from Ryans post #848 Interior Project

    [​IMG]

    Hoop leg on Safety Devices mounts differently as well. AutoPower is a flat plate that mounts to the floor, I'd imagine there is a backer plate as well for the underside.

    The Safety Devices also mounts to the floor with a backer plate but also includes a boxed section cut out to mate to the box section Frame rail along the side of the car. This image does not do the engineering involved justice.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    From what I've seen, after someone has an accident and gets lucky walking away, they want a roll bar or cage in their next car. It's better not to learn the hard way and think about a roll bar if you're serious with your 10/10ths driving [wherever that may take place]

    A bolt-in roll bar is fine. If bolts can hold the subframe, wheels, engine, and brakes to the car then it's fine for a roll bar.

    Not all roll bars allow for seat belt harnesses beyond stock. If you desire a 4 or 6 point you'll need a harness bar as part of the roll bar [don't bother with a single sub-belt aka 5-point, they're less safe than 4 or 6 point harnesses according to Schroth's experiments]. The roll bar harness bar will allow you to use wrap-around shoulder belts. Be very careful ordering your harnesses as most belts come standard with sewn-in shoulder belt termination [which is unusable with a harness bar]

    Most roll bars cost over $300 for basic hoops. You can have a custom cage done by a reputable race shop for as much as you're willing to afford [several thousand dollars]. The 4-point Race roll bar I got from Autopower was around $650 shipped. Installation will depend on if you can DIY or if a shop does it. At that point, the details of the install will dictate final costs.

    A full roll cage is called for with competitive racing or if you can sacrifice the daily convenience for added piece of mind. If you're just adding seats and harnesses to your daily driver or weekend open-track fun toy a 4-point will proabably fit your needs just fine.

    I can't comment on the rest of your questions because I'm still in the process of installing mine. :eek: :D

    Cheers,
    Ryan
     
  6. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Lots of food for thought - thanks!

    - Marc
     
  7. DixonL2

    DixonL2 New Member

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    Also posted in the #848 thread - some things to be careful about in cage-ing or rollbarring a vehicle:

    Be very careful. A vehicle's safety systems are all meant to work together. As a general rule (and I can think of almost no exceptions), if you have a rollcage you must drive the car with a 4 or 6 point harness properly fitted and fastened, and wearing a helmet - Every Time You Drive (maybe with the exception of rolling the car around the pits or onto the trailer).

    Why? Because, padded bars or not, you can put a head into 2.5" of chrome-moly steel and smash it like a ripe melon. Not pretty, and a mite difficult to recover from.

    With a roll bar (as above) the rules are slightly different, because the cage bar that goes over the driver's door doesn't exist. In that case you must make sure that in no crash situation is your cranium able to contact a rollbar. If you're really tall, it's certainly possible that the seats will be back far enough for head contact to happen in a sideward crash. Very "not good".

    Also: Do NOT carry passengers in the back seat of a rollcage-equipped car. Hit the brakes hard and their face is toast, especially if you've also modified the tires and brakes.

    Note: I'm NOT against the proper use of safety equipment, but all for the intelligent use of safety equipment. Recognize the limitations - a rollcage has some pretty severe tradeoffs in a street driven car. A rollbar has similar, but slightly less severe tradeoffs.

    That said, properly installed and used, they're very effective and have a high "cool" factor!
     
  8. roach13

    roach13 New Member

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    If you're talking Don ask him about Gary's off and what he thinks about bolt in bars and cages.
     
  9. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
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    Mark, you'll obviously need new seats too if you go to a six point.

    I'm leaning (actually my wife is making me) toward a roll bar and stick with the schroth 4 point, eventually I'll probably put a better/lighter seat in too. I don't really care about the back seats, no one rides back there anyway, the MINI is sort of my toy now. A cage is overkill for me, but a properly designed bar is very appealing.
     
  10. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Yep - thinking of saving up and doing it all at once: bar, belts (use Schroth 4-point now), seats, and HANS. I can't get the image of 3 people absolutely smashing a barrier at NJMP last August. My back seats have been gone for a while.

    - Marc
     
  11. roach13

    roach13 New Member

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  12. beaner

    beaner New Member

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    #12 beaner, Jun 10, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
    cage1.jpg cage3.jpg

    i had this built by race car builders of so. florida. i was very pleased w/ the results. i spent about $1100 installed (welded). they got the bars very close to the interior w/out burning anything. unfortunately, now that i am building a race car, i will have them remake the whole thing and add the front section (including though-the-firewall bracing to the strut towers). i could probably keep what i have, but they can make a new one much closer to the sheetmetal. this will allow them to more easily weld the cage to the shell.

    the price of a custom piece is pretty close to the two mentioned bars w/ options. without the X-brace, they would have charged around $800 installed. no shipping costs either.

    nathan: is your harness bar as low as it appears in the picture? i doubt that it is, but i have to ask. the problem w/ a harness bar that is way lower than the seatbelt opening and the drivers shoulders is that one may suffer serious spinal compression in a shunt. shroth's website has good information. also check the requirements for any sanctioning body and/or class in which you may want to later compete.
     
  13. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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  14. beaner

    beaner New Member

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    i prefer that on over both the autopower and safety devices. it has some of the better features of both. i think that the main hoop needs a diagonal. it is what keeps a "square" from becoming a "parallelagram". the harness bar appears to be at a good height and close to the seat. i also like the termination point of the rear legs.
     
  15. discodan

    discodan New Member

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    what happened to the ones that used to be sold on ebay? they were simple harness bars, i think only 4 point
     
  16. Sneedspeed

    Sneedspeed New Member

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    We build a 4 point roll bar for the MINI. Its a weld in because the install is easier than bolt in and stronger because the welding makes it become part of the car. Our bar also allows the passenager seat to move so big people can ride in it. The auto power bar loses most of the passenager movement. For pictures Sneed's Speed Shop - MINI Cooper Parts
     

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