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looooooow budget rollcage

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Well guys i could no longer resist and so now i have built my very first roll cage. Its far from perfect but for now it will do me just fine.


My requirement for this cage was that it had to allow me to recline my seat all the way back. Being that i; 6'5" tall leg room is @ a premium for me. Also i wanted the cage to bolt into the car so that if i wanted to remove it i would do so easily. 


I got 1 5/8" mild rolled steel tubing with a 0.120 wall thickness and borrowed a cheap harbor freight pipe bender and a harbor freight $99 welder from a friend. 


The bends with the HF pipe bender are not perfect but for a almost 100% street car they work just fine. The base plates are made of .25" steel. and i use another 0.25" plate of steel to sandwitch the rear fender to bolt the roll cage. For the rear i built a set of plates with nuts welded to the bottom that mount onto the rear strut tower. 





Steel Tubing: $55 for 25'

Welding wire: $15 for 0.5lb flux core spool

Tube Bender: Free

Welder: Free

Grade 8 bolts, nuts and washers: $15 for 20 bolts, steel locknuts and 40 hardened washers.

Foam padding from lowes: $8 



TIME SPEND: Approx 40hrs. 





















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While I love making things myself I have towonder why you would put a cage in a car that isn't going to the track?  If its for safety then why would it matter where the wreck happened, wouldn't the results be the same and thus the need for safety? Really not trying to start anything, just curious.

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The AutoPower roll bar in my car is really just there to give me something to attach my shoulder harnesses to-it is really not much better than what this fellow has done, and he should be commended for the effort. Lets give him some constructive criticism.


1) What is the purpose of the roll bar? If it is to be safe, it is likely minimally more safe than the car without it. If it is for safety when racing, it fails to comply with ANY racing safety regulations in both tubing size and design. If it is just a bar to attach your shoulder harnesses to for a custom look and not racing, it is probably fine. If it is for looks, well, it is kind of funky to the educated eye.

2) You don't need the horizontal bar that is in the bars going back to the strut towers. It should be right behind the seats on the main hoop at about the level of your upper back/shoulders.

3) Your main hoop diagonal is leaning the wrong way-it should go from over the driver's head down toward the lower right side of the hoop.

4) None of us like the roll bars that bolt to the inner fenders-they are not very strong and he cage can punch thru them easily.

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The autopower roll bar works well as far as safety is concerned.  My issue is that the OP used seamed ERW tubing (not allowed since 1990 by any race sanctioning body), the main hoop is not one continuous bend, the welds are poor, and the bends are crimped/buckled.  The diagonal is fine, its there to reinforce the main hoop in the plane of the hoop preventing racking and its NOT there to add additional support near the driver's head.  Whether you're going to race or not, its silly not to take advantage of 65 years of accident investigation and experience that's written into the SCCA rule book regarding roll bars and cages.  There's no difference between rolling a car at 60 mph on a race track and rolling a car at 60 mph on the street.

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You would probably be safer with one made out of PVC, at least then you wont have to get hit in the head with broken pieces of steel pipe. Don't believe me? Check just about any sanctioning body's rule book and see if that would pass. They write those things for a good reason.  JohnC knows what he is doing, I suggest you read his post and take it very seriously. 

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It was a nice try though.  Some things are just much more difficult to do than they seem by appearance.



Edit - Note that the harshest comments came from the guys that could have given the best advice.  Maybe a little offended that you didn't ask before building.

Edited by NewZed
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 There's no difference between rolling a car at 60 mph on a race track and rolling a car at 60 mph on the street.

Well, except for the fact that at the track you would have likely been actually wearing a helmet and properly secured by a multi-point harness.  On the street neither of these things are likely, and that roll bar is likely to do more harm than good.

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Looking back at this thread and seeing that the OP took his pictures down, it may seem a bit harsh to some people. But I do not think it can be stressed enough, a poorly done roll bar or cage is way more of a liability than an asset in a collision. The "it'll be fine...the car is never going to be on the track. " is a really bad outlook. Sure top speed may be lower, but the road doesnt have run off areas and is full of big trucks and stupid drivers. There are plenty of race cars that would be awfully dangerous on the street. That being said I more than respect his go get it attitude. If you are new to the hobby PLEASE do you research. 

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